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Am I a naughty Mormon boy if I like Nietzsche?


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10 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

His sister didn't write the books but the assumption is she may have modified them or at least redacted them. There's also the assumption that many of the texts, especially those compiled into Will to Power represented him thinking through ideas but not the conclusion of that thought. In other words that they represent mistakes or steps in thinking and are thus misleading as a guide to what his views actually were. But not all the works are equally problematic. I think Will to Power is the one everyone agrees you have to be cautious withYou don't hear those complaints about say The AntiChrist even though it was published well after his death.

But even outside of the works published and possibly contaminated by his sister there is a big difference between the works of say 1885-1887 and those from before 1883. In some ways his later works are rethinking through the logic and ideas of earlier works. So for instance Beyond Good and Evil is often taken as a reworking of Human, All-too-Human. It's been a while since I last read these but I recall liking Human All too Human much better.

As I said though I tend to see Nietzsche primarily valuable in shaking people out of their complacency in thinking. He's extremely fruitful to use for undergraduates. I'm not sure he's as worthwhile overall since I think there are far more valuable philosophers who engage with many of the same ideas in more fruitful fashions. Here thinking of the pragmatists or Heidegger and the phenomenologists.

It's been a while for me, and as I had recalled it his sister was prone to organize, add to, and publish material attributing it to him that was both more profitable but nationalist and anti-Semitic which did real damage to his reputation outside Germany. I don't know that one can say his sister only "possibly" contaminated his work. It's generally and widely understood to be the case as I recall.

I suspect that he isn't a true philosopher's philosopher, and seems to lack the genealogy or offspring one expects to be considered such. Regardless, the subject of this thread is how useful or valid it might be for a Mormon, apparently a member of the general public, to engage with Nietzsche's thinking. I suspect we've said what's to be said about that and the OP can decide for themselves...haha.

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18 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

His sister didn't write the books but the assumption is she may have modified them or at least redacted them. There's also the assumption that many of the texts, especially those compiled into Will to Power represented him thinking through ideas but not the conclusion of that thought. In other words that they represent mistakes or steps in thinking and are thus misleading as a guide to what his views actually were. But not all the works are equally problematic. I think Will to Power is the one everyone agrees you have to be cautious withYou don't hear those complaints about say The AntiChrist even though it was published well after his death.

But even outside of the works published and possibly contaminated by his sister there is a big difference between the works of say 1885-1887 and those from before 1883. In some ways his later works are rethinking through the logic and ideas of earlier works. So for instance Beyond Good and Evil is often taken as a reworking of Human, All-too-Human. It's been a while since I last read these but I recall liking Human All too Human much better.

As I said though I tend to see Nietzsche primarily valuable in shaking people out of their complacency in thinking. He's extremely fruitful to use for undergraduates. I'm not sure he's as worthwhile overall since I think there are far more valuable philosophers who engage with many of the same ideas in more fruitful fashions. Here thinking of the pragmatists or Heidegger and the phenomenologists.

Never heard of that school of philosophy, I'll have to check them out.

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14 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

In the world Nietzsche was writing in the personal interventionist God really was no longer believed except by the uneducated masses that Nietzsche looked down upon. I think it's undeniable that he'd have rejected the idea of an anthropomorphic interventionist God. But his main target seems undeniably the "de-mythologized" God of the philosophers he critiqued such as Descartes, Kant and Hegel. 

Where I think Mormons find common ground is in also rejecting those aspects even if we accept something Nietzsche wouldn't have (without evidence). Most importantly though unlike most appeals to God, Mormonism is fully embraced to an evidentialist view of God. 

While I agree with your first paragraph, it's important to note that this stemmed out of how Nietzsche viewed the utility of God belief and it's "death" if we will as other tools came to fill those needs but leaving other spaces unfilled.

Honestly, the entire discussion around this one point is bizarre in that we must either pretend to know how Nietzsche would have responded to Joseph Smith or apparently make jokes about the viability of one's own God belief. Shadows of God...I think that is an apt take of my position but there isn't much else to argue there. Are you referring to the experience of God through prayer regarding the BoM when you say Mormonism embraces an evidentialist view of God? That's a whole other topic and a understatedly bold statement if so.

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41 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

 

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How does the Mormon grant life meaning? Specifically, is this an act of acceptance or an act of creation? And please explain how whichever it is works.

Can't it be both? If an artist paints a picture in which something is shown in a truthful way I've not understood before, is my appreciating the thing as shown by the artist not simultaneously an acceptance and a creation?

But I think we're getting ahead of ourselves since we need to unpack many different senses of meaning. I assume by "grant life meaning" you mean give it value and make it meaningful for me. That is makes it of concern and attention. It's not merely meaning in the sense of being able to generate words about it. Although of course that's an important sense of meaning too. 

My answer for both is that we are given practices that allow us to see entities as they relate to those practices. Those practices are tied to deeply meaningful things in our life such as parental relationships, struggle, religion and so forth. All of those practices give unique aspects to the entities we encounter in life. They become meaningful and close to us to the degree we can see them continually in new light. When we turn to life in general, I think from a Mormon perspective it is the veil of forgetfulness and the encountering of death as a kind of absolute that gives quite a lot of meaning to death. Yet those are things that can be given yet can only be encountered on a personal and unique fashion. To apply the common Heideggarian refrain, no one can die for me. Even when it appears like someone does (say Christ) I still need to die. And because I am in this world in a finite fashion, all the knowledge in the world of life after death still isn't enough. I encounter death as an end that comes to me unavoidably in a fashion that radically shapes how I encounter life as meaningful.

So life gets it's meaning precisely from my choice to enter this fallen world with a veil not remembering what came before. I can encounter life only on the finite terms I encounter it here, thereby making it valuable in a fashion it wouldn't before. More or less, life becomes meaningful to the degree I appreciate and internalize the lessons of the temple.

Suppose I hear a classical musical number by Bach as a young person. Perhaps I found it pleasant enough, perhaps it wasn't to my taste but it was presented to me and I heard it. Years later I take a class on music appreciation that opens the doors of my understanding regarding the music that elevates my appreciation, and with that same passing of time my taste in music makes it more appealing to me aesthetically as well. Perhaps it moves me emotionally, perhaps I associate it with an emotional moment in life that gives it unique meaning that is all mine.

I'd still argue that was accepted meaning because it was created by Bach, I was taught about it from another's understanding, and my subjective experience with it is completely entangled in that. I think your comments above reflect the same when it comes to Mormon beliefs about life and it's purpose. Whether or not the beliefs help a person through the lose of a loved one that is purely their own subjective understanding of those thoughts or one is a professor teaching at BYU it is given not organic. I appreciate the answer though. It was interesting to see your thoughts on how you have made it your own.
 

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Does the meaning God assigns to life a universal meaning shared by humankind? Varies by categories of people? Or something other?

That assumes the meaning of life is the meaning God assigns to it. I think that an incorrect view. God doesn't command values, as if that were even possible. He might give explicit laws and templates, but ultimately meaning can only come from within ourselves. The meanings we give will be wrapped up with the rituals, lessons, and laws God gives but are not purely defined by it. At best they can provide a clearing where we can find meaning directly.

I think I see what's going on here. We're interpreting meaning purely in a subjective form. You refer to templates, which I would argue are definitions and answers to questions and one fills in with one's own experience how one connects with them subjectively. What provides the meaning then? Could a person arrive at the same conclusions without first being preconditioned to the interpretation, the underlying purpose for the ritual, the ideas and phrases one uses to articulate their subjective experience? I think we'd both agree that isn't how it works. If the details are unique and subjectively arrived at, it seems likely the answer is that the templates, the definitions, the language, the framework onto which one weaves one's own understanding is given from the Church in position of God. When can we say it truly had meaning for the person? I suspect at every step along the way the person would think they understood the purpose, and used similar language. In fact, this notion of meaning seems likely to be transitory and impermanent. Hm.

 

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D&C 88 that which will not obey law seeks to be a law unto itself and cannot receive glory and remain filthy

D&C 88 I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound (a true world theory if ever there was one)

 

 

Could you explain what you mean by "true world theory?" My sense is you mean it somewhat in the Nietzschean fashion as a fable designed to explain the real world by taking its place. 

If that is your view I honestly am flummoxed at how you can take D&C 99 as teaching that.

 

I am also a bit flummoxed. I've been arguing that the concepts of overman and others that have been brought up in this thread necessarily arise out of Nietzsche's arguments regarding the world as it is and ways people tend to deal with it. Your question seems like we're really been talking past one another for a long time if that didn't come through that I meant it in "the Nietschean fashion". So your sense is correct and I'm glad we cleared that hurdle finally.

As to D&C 99...well this is the first time that particular section came up as I recall so I'll quote it since it's short enough -

1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant John Murdock—thou art called to go into the eastern countries from house to house, from village to village, and from city to city, to proclaim mine everlasting gospel unto the inhabitants thereof, in the midst of persecution and wickedness.

2 And who receiveth you receiveth me; and you shall have power to declare my word in the demonstration of my Holy Spirit.

3 And who receiveth you as a little child, receiveth my kingdom; and blessed are they, for they shall obtain mercy.

4 And whoso rejecteth you shall be rejected of my Father and his house; and you shall cleanse your feet in the secret places by the way for a testimony against them.

5 And behold, and lo, I come quickly to judgment, to convince all of their ungodly deeds which they have committed against me, as it is written of me in the volume of the book.

6 And now, verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly unto the bishop of Zion.

7 And after a few years, if thou desirest of me, thou mayest go up also unto the goodly land, to possess thine inheritance;

8 Otherwise thou shalt continue proclaiming my gospel until thou be taken. Amen.

I suspect you meant D&C 93?

Either way, what makes a true world theory is as you noted. If on one side one has the world as it appears to be and omits all of one's hopes, beliefs, and other intrusions into the evidence one finds a cosmos that is vast and indifferent to humankind. Nietzsche believed confronting this reality would almost by necessity bring a person to nihilism which is a dangerous place. The true world theory takes the place of this reality and offers an alternative explanation for the way things are. In the case of Mormonism, life is a test and the apparently problems of evil and nihilism only come about because one fails to understand god's true purposes. At it's core, it tells the person that not only is there meaning in the creation but that the very universe itself it participating in a grand and eternal act of pursuing exaltation as everything from planets to stars to people to you name it pursue the path up or down to their inheritance as Gods and Goddesses, Kings and Queens, Urim and Thummim, all that the Father hath.

Frankly, I don't see how you can deny that it is a true world theory. It's not engaging with the world as is but proposing an alternative world or creation - and a celestial on at that where one gets to be a god no less. It's imposing interpretations, templates, language, meaning. And all of that is provided, and subsequently enforced weekly in 3 hour blocks, daily scripture study, biannual conferences, correlations correlation correlation...

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You're free to think what you want at very great odds from those who share the pews with you. But stray too far in action and there will be repercussions. It lacks a certain integrity of thinking which is why one sees so much free lance and "just so" explanations, borrowing from Christianity, unholy marriage with materialism the god of western civilization...IMO, of course.

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Speaking as someone trained in physics, someone can deny the laws of physics, but if they jump off a cliff they fall regardless of what they think. In general it's wise not to associate with such people or let them lead your kids away. What's odd is saying an anything goes philosophy represents lacking a certain integrity of thinking. But alas that is unfortunately a common misreading of Nietzsche. The idea that his perspectivism entails solipsism.

 

I admit, I actually laughed when I read this. Mark and I have history, and I've accused him of being a solipsist at heart more than once when we get down to the nitty gritty of his views. It was impossible not to find your statement funny, which I was aiming at him, to mistakenly mean I was referring to Nietzsche and arrive at that conclusion. Anyway, I was referring to Mark not Friedrich. And I agree, one should keep one's kids away from such people. ;) 

 

Edited by Honorentheos
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4 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

And as much as those like MFB tell you this is the heart and soul of Mormonism, I assume you've been a member long enough to have your own thoughts on that so I'll leave them to you.

 

This is what I actually said

On 6/30/2017 at 1:02 PM, mfbukowski said:

Everything can be learned from him, not in what he says but in the attitude behind it.

Read what you just said in the spirit of Moroni 10 and  James 1.

God - the spirit deep inside you- must be the only one you rely on.

The rest is other's opinions, and they have no clue what is good for you.

Follow your gut which in Mormonese is the spirit

Remember to Nietzsche, religion an Christianity was German pulpit pounding Protestant hell fire theology

He was right that THAT God is dead, and never lived.

N wants us to create our own world out of matter unorganized and become gods.

Sound familiar?

Let the reader decide if H is misrepresenting me or not.  For the life of me I seem to be unable to find where I said that Nietzsche is the "heart and soul of Mormonism", in fact it seems I was saying that he was not, but had an interesting attitude that was similar to the Mormon attitude. I stand by what I actually said.

It is Monday

I no longer have time for this 

And just remember that every philosopher takes bits and pieces from other philosophers and that Neitzsche did it himself

Take what you like and leave the rest.  Neitzsche did not understand love.  If you want to live that way, follow him slavishly as is apparently being advocated.

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Mark, when you say this -

"True world theory"?  So what?  We are not slaves to Nietzsche and pick and choose."

- there's nothing to refute. We agree. Mormonism isn't compatible. Carry on.

 

Rock on amigo.

Edited by mfbukowski
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Here's the paragraph the sentence you quote above originates from:

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As a community with shared beliefs, scripture, and a certain lack of elbow room when it comes to authority, there is still something in Mormonism's belief that bears a resemblance to what Nietzsche had to say. Perhaps in the language of the germ of god being within each of us one might hope to find the path to true realization of one's self. Because of this, some LDS faithful tend to walk an interesting line with thinkers such as Nietzsche or, as another example, Ralph Waldo Emerson whose essay on Self-Reliance is also similarly cited where calls to find one's true self, one's true voice get quoted and massaged into something that kinda looks like seeking exaltation. But something the varied thinkers on this share that the faithful cannot is the necessity at some point to walk out on one's own and leave the herd behind. And as much as those like MFB tell you this is the heart and soul of Mormonism, I assume you've been a member long enough to have your own thoughts on that so I'll leave them to you.

Clearly it relates to the previous sentence I've highlighted in green above and not your first post. Even more clearly it's not saying you've argued Nietzsche is the heart and soul of Mormonism. Frankly, that reading is preposterous and I question how you could possibly arrive at it. And your subsequent comments give the impression of someone firing off a blunderbuss from their hit rather than aiming carefully at specific targets.

Anyway. There's a certain undiscriminating and gluttonous approach to information and ideas one sees in Sunday Schools that this thread reminded me of from it's earliest replies. I suspect it's a product of the very thing you seem most fond of about the Church. That being it's essential nature as a theological pizza crust onto which one tosses whichever toppings one will. You say it makes Mormonism great. I say it appears to be making your intellect flabby. One has to exhibit some discipline and in this case it seemed necessary not to lose the grounding for Nietzsche's thoughts from which the more easy-to-consume concepts are raised up. Arguing for discipline doesn't make me a devotee of Nietzsche of course, but I can see how a certain lack of disciplined thought would lead a person to that conclusion.

So, yeah! Rock on amigo!

 

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13 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

What do you mean by "in a painting inside a frame?"

Nietzsche doesn't address why the world is the way it is. He just accepts that it is - which seems a reasonable thing to a degree. (We'll again ignore Will to Power and texts that appear to take literally Stoic metaphysics) 

Ignoring Nietzsche I can but say there is time and it seems unavoidable to probe the implications of that. I don't buy for a moment the more platonic takes on God where God is atemporal. Rather I think we have to take seriously what science tells us of the nature of the universe.

I think finitude lets us understand love in a fashion we couldn't before (even though I think in some ways we were very finite before as well). Here in this world there's no obvious person watching over us at all times. We have to decide what to do out of ourselves and not because someone is watching. We don't do it to please an other person but because it's what we want to do. This enable us to try lots of things.  Hopefully we'll discover the value of loving by loving. Not everyone does of course. But God doesn't force people to be what they don't want to be.

The metaphor didn't originate with me, but has rather been used before.  And this is nothing from Nietzsche.  Our eternal reality is boundless, extending in all directions, into an infinite past and into an infinite future.  Our life as we now perceive it is bounded by time.  Time is the frame.  The material universe, all we can perceive is wholly within that frame.  And G-d plops us inside the frame.

The frame puts limits on our interactions with others and things.  All will ultimately be lost.  Our economics as well as our lives work on the concept of scarcity.  We learn to value what we will lose.  The suckling infant doesn't perceive time and cannot conceive of loss.  We must learn about both.  An empty breast and a hungry tummy are a horror to us, until we learn that the breast can return to fullness.  The loss we suffer is temporary.

And all we lose, the Master taught us, will be restored to us, as the breast returns to a hungry mouth.

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13 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

It's been a while for me, and as I had recalled it his sister was prone to organize, add to, and publish material attributing it to him that was both more profitable but nationalist and anti-Semitic which did real damage to his reputation outside Germany. I don't know that one can say his sister only "possibly" contaminated his work. It's generally and widely understood to be the case as I recall.

With the book Will to Power I think that's undoubtedly the case. I just admit I don't recall for the other late books other than noting AntiChrist didn't seem to be taken as problematic. But I'll confess I'm not up on the textual debates. I just note all my teachers and as well most books on Nietzsche mention the problem of Will to Power

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I suspect that he isn't a true philosopher's philosopher, and seems to lack the genealogy or offspring one expects to be considered such.

I don't know about that. I think he's a key figure in philosophy. But again how he's taken by the Continental tradition is quite different from how he's taken by the analytic tradition. Admittedly many major takes in the Continental tradition are misreadings. I'm here thinking particularly of Heidegger's influential four volume collection of lectures on Nietzsche. But of course Heidegger's readings of philosophers is much more focused on the questions than the answers. So he's not aiming for fidelity to how the philosopher thought. Also philosophers have a tendency to pick particular influential philosophers and use them to represent what they dislike in contemporary philosophy. So they are quickly made into caricatures. Descartes, Plato, the positivists, and even Nietzsche are great examples of that. That's one reason one has to be careful when other philosophers reference major philosophers.

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I'd still argue that was accepted meaning because it was created by Bach, I was taught about it from another's understanding, and my subjective experience with it is completely entangled in that. I think your comments above reflect the same when it comes to Mormon beliefs about life and it's purpose.

My ultimate point in my comments was just that "meaning" needs unpacked. However what you describe I think gets explained quite well by Heidegger and his notion of authenticity and inauthenticity. We take the past and project it into the future in order to give meaning to the present. Thus the way we appropriate the past is tied up with our being embedded among other people and their meanings and practices. Where our unique meaning comes to play is how we take that past to make an understanding that is uniquely ours. The alternative is to simply be caught up in the practices and given meanings of our community without really investigating them. That is the objects themselves are caught up in a kind of everydayness of meaning that is their average sense in our communities. Yet we can always encounter them in a more authentic manner. In that sense the past (these social meanings) become a tool to let us encounter things in a new authentic way.

So in LDS terms the scriptures, the social traditions (right or wrong), and the like are all tools of a sort. Yet the emphasis by the community is to find out for ourselves. We are told we can't rely on the community's understanding if we want to truly know. That truly knowing happens with a direct encounter with the objects of knowledge. That doesn't necessarily mean personal revelation either. So for instance how we learn about charity is typically wrapped up in our service to others - although personal revelation can help there. But I think the standard view is that the scriptures are at best a catalyst for personal revelation in terms of understanding the economy of God. 

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I think I see what's going on here. We're interpreting meaning purely in a subjective form. You refer to templates, which I would argue are definitions and answers to questions and one fills in with one's own experience how one connects with them subjectively. What provides the meaning then?

I'm not quite sure how you are using subjective here. Again I think we have community understanding that includes things that are roughly right and things that are wrong. Yet ultimately we have to find out for ourselves. 

Just to be clear, much like the word "meaning" I think "objective" and "subjective" can have very different senses. I suspect you are using "subjective" simply to mean out of an individual's experience. But of course by that measure everything is subjective. (I think that's Mark's more Rorty inspired point)  There is no possibility of a God's eye view in the Cartesian sense. Now we can improve the accuracy of subjectivity by community dialog and testing (such as in science). But I would say that is still subjective. 

To me "objective" just means the beliefs that our inquiry would lead us to if continued sufficiently far. But of course this leaves a problem since we can never be sure absolutely if the next piece of inquiry overthrows our beliefs. Yet as a practical matter I think the beliefs that persist through long rigourous community inquiry are objective.

Interestingly this is a place where Nietzsche influences Continental philosophy. Derrida's use of Nietzsche keeps an element of his will to power but in terms of beliefs. So truth to Derrida is selection by greater powers -- but we don't select. (The interview at the end of Limited Inc goes through this) While Derrida attributes this to Nietzsche I suspect he gets it more out of C. S. Peirce who was writing around the same time as Nietzsche and was the founder of pragmatism. (As an aside Mark and I, while both deeply influenced by the pragmatists tend to differ over the question of realism. I'm a Peircean styled pragmatist and read Dewey as being much closer to Peirce. Mark is more influenced by Dewey, James and Rorty than I am and tends to downplay the realism angles.)

Anyway, Mark is apt to dislike my going down asides here. But I think they are important to explain why we are reading Nietzsche and Mormonism so differently, you and I.

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1 hour ago, USU78 said:

The metaphor didn't originate with me, but has rather been used before.  And this is nothing from Nietzsche.  Our eternal reality is boundless, extending in all directions, into an infinite past and into an infinite future.  Our life as we now perceive it is bounded by time.  Time is the frame.  The material universe, all we can perceive is wholly within that frame.  And G-d plops us inside the frame.

The frame puts limits on our interactions with others and things.  All will ultimately be lost.  Our economics as well as our lives work on the concept of scarcity.  We learn to value what we will lose.  The suckling infant doesn't perceive time and cannot conceive of loss.  We must learn about both.  An empty breast and a hungry tummy are a horror to us, until we learn that the breast can return to fullness.  The loss we suffer is temporary.

And all we lose, the Master taught us, will be restored to us, as the breast returns to a hungry mouth.

I think what was confusing me is your use of time. I think there's just as much time in the pre-mortal life and post-mortal life. It's true we're in a limited circumstance where we see ourselves as only radically finite. If that's all you mean, then I completely agree. I just wanted to be sure how you were using frame.

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13 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

I don't see how you can deny that it is a true world theory. It's not engaging with the world as is but proposing an alternative world or creation - and a celestial on at that where one gets to be a god no less. It's imposing interpretations, templates, language, meaning. And all of that is provided, and subsequently enforced weekly in 3 hour blocks, daily scripture study, biannual conferences, correlations correlation correlation...

It'd be helpful if you could make more of an argument here. I just don't see it as espousing a "true world" in the Nietzschean sense. Now perhaps what is at the base of our disagreement is disagreement over what is in this world. I don't know your particular beliefs, so perhaps we could contrast say my beliefs with the beliefs of a New Atheist. Clearly many of the entities I accept such as angels, gods, miracles and so forth they think are false and not in this world at all. My rejoinder would be that they are indeed in this world. Just because my critics haven't seen them doesn't mean they aren't there.

In the same way if I were to be transported to Nietzsche's time and started talking of quantum field theories, black holes, and so forth Nietzsche might accuse me of preaching a "true world theory." But really the disagreement is over evidence within this world. I couldn't provide Nietzsche evidence for black holes, quantum fields or the like given the technology of the late 19th century and the complexity of the evidence. But that wouldn't mean I was wrong. It would just mean Nietzsche can only deal with the perspectives allowed for him by his particularly embedded place that limits the available evidence.

I suspect you and I would disagree with evidence, but it seems we ought agree that evidence is what would determine whether D&C 88 or 93 are really "true world" alternatives.

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6 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I think what was confusing me is your use of time. I think there's just as much time in the pre-mortal life and post-mortal life. It's true we're in a limited circumstance where we see ourselves as only radically finite. If that's all you mean, then I completely agree. I just wanted to be sure how you were using frame.

Close enough.

Did you ever read Tolkien's parable, Leaf by Niggle?  My dream of figuring out a Mormon aesthetic had its birth in my reading it for the first time back in 1979.

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14 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

While I agree with your first paragraph, it's important to note that this stemmed out of how Nietzsche viewed the utility of God belief and it's "death" if we will as other tools came to fill those needs but leaving other spaces unfilled.

But again the God-function Nietzsche seemed most concerned with was it's place in philosophy. That's much more God in the tradition of Kant, Hegel and Descartes. Further I'd say that because Mormonism fundamentally rejects God in that sense, there's a lot we can learn from Nietzsche's analysis. (Or later analysis such as by Heidegger, Derrida and others who follow in Nietzsche's steps in that sense) 

The fact is most Mormon ontology[1] takes intelligences as always existing with God. God does not create them and is limited by their freedom. This entails a certain existentialist thread within Mormonism by necessity. Again, I don't want to say that means Nietzsche applies fully. I don't think it does because of how he conceives power and how he limits encounters with others. Put an other way, Nietzsche was great for introducing the problem and aspects of the solution but fundamentally misses the target. 

[1] I say most since there is a strong tradition within Mormonism that is closer to a physicalist perspective where God does at a particular time create intelligences out of eternal matter. That's Brigham Young's view for instance and arguably McConkie comes close to embracing it. But I think overall Pratt's view won the 20th century and remains the dominant view among Mormons. I also think Joseph's view in the Sermon in the Grove and King Follet Discourse is for God being among eternal intelligences that are free beings.

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

My ultimate point in my comments was just that "meaning" needs unpacked. However what you describe I think gets explained quite well by Heidegger and his notion of authenticity and inauthenticity. We take the past and project it into the future in order to give meaning to the present. Thus the way we appropriate the past is tied up with our being embedded among other people and their meanings and practices. Where our unique meaning comes to play is how we take that past to make an understanding that is uniquely ours. The alternative is to simply be caught up in the practices and given meanings of our community without really investigating them. That is the objects themselves are caught up in a kind of everydayness of meaning that is their average sense in our communities. Yet we can always encounter them in a more authentic manner. In that sense the past (these social meanings) become a tool to let us encounter things in a new authentic way.

So in LDS terms the scriptures, the social traditions (right or wrong), and the like are all tools of a sort. Yet the emphasis by the community is to find out for ourselves. We are told we can't rely on the community's understanding if we want to truly know. That truly knowing happens with a direct encounter with the objects of knowledge. That doesn't necessarily mean personal revelation either. So for instance how we learn about charity is typically wrapped up in our service to others - although personal revelation can help there. But I think the standard view is that the scriptures are at best a catalyst for personal revelation in terms of understanding the economy of God. 

I actually like your description above. Well put. Where we seem to disagree is in the second paragraph where you note the community's collective understanding is not influential on what the individual comes to know. Later in your response you also note a good description of our best access to the objective -

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Yet as a practical matter I think the beliefs that persist through long rigourous community inquiry are objective.

Good definition. But putting it back into the discussion of how the individual comes to find meaning in life experience, or assigns meaning to those things taught and given as a framework and I hope you and I can agree that the community one affiliates with will ultimately give the form to whatever subjective meaning the individual arrives at in the end. In the end, unless a person comes to an understanding that is within certain boundaries of community norms the community will not see the outcome as being valid. The individual is coached and given the tools for finding meaning from the community, is subjected to social forces that act on the experience and it's interpretation. Throughout this, the individual will begin to lean in or away from the community. It isn't controversial to suggest that the LDS faith defines truth, good, and right action by it's inclination "in" towards the community.

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2 hours ago, USU78 said:

Close enough.

Did you ever read Tolkien's parable, Leaf by Niggle?  My dream of figuring out a Mormon aesthetic had its birth in my reading it for the first time back in 1979.

That was too slapdash.  Time as I used it is as it is perceived by us.  We know that there is no such thing as absolute time, and whether or not G-d is inside creation, and therefore subject to time, is not something I was biting off.  We perceive passage of time, and we see its end in our impending end within the framework.  So  ...  frame=time doesn't quite work, but gets us closer to what I'm trying to say.

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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

It'd be helpful if you could make more of an argument here. I just don't see it as espousing a "true world" in the Nietzschean sense. Now perhaps what is at the base of our disagreement is disagreement over what is in this world. I don't know your particular beliefs, so perhaps we could contrast say my beliefs with the beliefs of a New Atheist. Clearly many of the entities I accept such as angels, gods, miracles and so forth they think are false and not in this world at all. My rejoinder would be that they are indeed in this world. Just because my critics haven't seen them doesn't mean they aren't there.

In the same way if I were to be transported to Nietzsche's time and started talking of quantum field theories, black holes, and so forth Nietzsche might accuse me of preaching a "true world theory." But really the disagreement is over evidence within this world. I couldn't provide Nietzsche evidence for black holes, quantum fields or the like given the technology of the late 19th century and the complexity of the evidence. But that wouldn't mean I was wrong. It would just mean Nietzsche can only deal with the perspectives allowed for him by his particularly embedded place that limits the available evidence.

I suspect you and I would disagree with evidence, but it seems we ought agree that evidence is what would determine whether D&C 88 or 93 are really "true world" alternatives.

I never got the impression from what I've read or heard regarding Nietzsche that his view that a secular true world theory would include scientific progress. In fact, it would be the opposite.

To use political examples I think would be opposed to Nietzsche as he was opposed to the same influences as Germany came into being, the political views that propose some perfect social order WOULD be problematic. On one end this may include belief in, and attempts to create, a world order built upon an ideology. Capitalism, communism, socialism...taken to be an ideal that society should be striving for would be a secular true world theory. It proposes that the world we live in is flawed but a perfect world is available in the future. It ignores reality in favor of the ideal.

Likewise, I gave USU a rep point because he articulated the LDS true world theory quite well.
 

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G-d places us in a painting inside a frame. Why? Nietzsche's aesthetics never addresses the question of why humanity must be subject to time and framed fore and aft by eternities they cannot see.

Love answers that question: we can only learn to love as He loves if we learn to value as He values those who have entered into covenant to become as He is. In eternity there is no scarcity. We value the mundane but little. What we can and must lose is precious, of great value.

Like that Pearl.

The frame forces us to value, and what and whom we value, we love ... as G-d loves.

 

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Our eternal reality is boundless, extending in all directions, into an infinite past and into an infinite future.  Our life as we now perceive it is bounded by time.  Time is the frame.  The material universe, all we can perceive is wholly within that frame.  And G-d plops us inside the frame.

The frame puts limits on our interactions with others and things.  All will ultimately be lost.  Our economics as well as our lives work on the concept of scarcity.  We learn to value what we will lose.  The suckling infant doesn't perceive time and cannot conceive of loss.  We must learn about both.  An empty breast and a hungry tummy are a horror to us, until we learn that the breast can return to fullness.  The loss we suffer is temporary.

And all we lose, the Master taught us, will be restored to us, as the breast returns to a hungry mouth.

 

That is clearly a true world theory.

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21 minutes ago, Honorentheos said:

I never got the impression from what I've read or heard regarding Nietzsche that his view that a secular true world theory would include scientific progress. In fact, it would be the opposite.

I didn't mean to imply a scientific world would be criticized by Nietzsche as a false 'true world.' Nietzsche made extensive use of the science of his time, although it was quite limited. My sense was that he thought he was embracing scientific knowledge. Although his perspectivism would still affect ones stance to science. And of course he wrote before the large upheavals in science that undermined the idea of a convergence theory of science.

My point was more that by embracing science as opposed to a "true world" substitute Nietzsche pointed towards evidence in how we deal with the world. A "true world" is a way of repressing evidence. My ultimate point is thus that the Mormon world is or isn't a "true world" based upon ones stance to the evidence. Since we disagree upon what the evidence is we disagree about who is actually pushing a "true world." In other words I'm making the relatively banal point that judgments have to be relative to the evidence a person has for a position.

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That is clearly a true world theory.

Again, that decision depends upon ones evidence and the use the theory is put to. To make the point I've made several times, the reasoning for a position matters a great deal.

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Where we seem to disagree is in the second paragraph where you note the community's collective understanding is not influential on what the individual comes to know.

That is not at all what I said. Indeed I think the exact opposite. By taking up the past that entails taking up the community's understanding. So the community understanding is deeply influential on the individual's knowledge and experience. However it is not determinative of their knowledge and experience. A subtle but crucial distinction. However if you break too radically from ones past then things simply become incomprehensible due to lacking the linguistic and theoretical apparatus to make sense of it.

Now of course Nietzsche could be taught by our hypothetical time traveler. But my point is that the grounds for believing our time traveler are missing since there's no extant evidence to point to.

Edited by clarkgoble
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So the community understanding is deeply influential on the individual's knowledge and experience. However it is not determinative of their knowledge and experience. A subtle but crucial distinction.

How could it NOT be determinative? Take Moroni 10. The variety of testimonies around people's personal answers range from claims of an undeniable sense of being filled with intelligence, feelings of warmth, love, positivity, to nothing noticeable that a person came to interpret to mean they already knew the answer.

To arrive at this variety of responses, a person has to be given the Book of Mormon. Most of the time they are coached into what to read, how to pray, and taught to interpret what they experienced as the spirit.

It's completely determined by the tools and framing. The meaning the individual assigns to what they experience is defined by phrases provided by the community. The exact same response in a different context may be interpreted completely differently without community coaching.

Edited by Honorentheos
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20 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Again, that decision depends upon ones evidence and the use the theory is put to. To make the point I've made several times, the reasoning for a position matters a great deal.

The decision depends on the community that defines the reality as encompassing as wide a swath of humanity as possible. One that is narrowly encircling believers only lacks standing to tell us about the world as it is. It does, however, have much to tell us about how those in that community hope the world is to become.

The LDS worldview is a true world theory. USU's comments are practically a textbook example. Your response seems to be that it could only be considered a true world theory if it isn't true. Come on. It's a theory that suggests there is something more to the world than what we observe to be the case. And by we I mean humanity collectively, not the narrow we of the LDS belief community. I think that's decided.

Edited by Honorentheos
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2 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

I actually like your description above. Well put. Where we seem to disagree is in the second paragraph where you note the community's collective understanding is not influential on what the individual comes to know. Later in your response you also note a good description of our best access to the objective -

Good definition. But putting it back into the discussion of how the individual comes to find meaning in life experience, or assigns meaning to those things taught and given as a framework and I hope you and I can agree that the community one affiliates with will ultimately give the form to whatever subjective meaning the individual arrives at in the end. In the end, unless a person comes to an understanding that is within certain boundaries of community norms the community will not see the outcome as being valid. The individual is coached and given the tools for finding meaning from the community, is subjected to social forces that act on the experience and it's interpretation. Throughout this, the individual will begin to lean in or away from the community. It isn't controversial to suggest that the LDS faith defines truth, good, and right action by it's inclination "in" towards the community.

Given the contingency of language and the consequent contingency of the self, then on the criteria of independence from the community, no one including Nietzsche could be an Ubermensch.

He was as much a member of the philosophical Community has anyone is, and was greatly influenced by Schiller and others in the Romantic Movement. That Zeitgeist was in the air he breathed.

His philosophy did not appear fully grown and without sources.

Rorty has the same problem with his Ironist as Nietzsche has with his Ubermensch, in short if we are all programmed by our culture how can anyone rise above that to become an independent thinker ?

I am not going to share what I think is the solution to the problem but I think Chantal Bax has found it in her book "Subjectivity After Wittgenstein".

Edited by mfbukowski
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This has got to be one of the best conversations ever on this here board.  Thanks everybody!

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2 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

The decision depends on the community that defines the reality as encompassing as wide a swath of humanity as possible. One that is narrowly encircling believers only lacks standing to tell us about the world as it is. It does, however, have much to tell us about how those in that community hope the world is to become.

By that use scientific knowledge is a "true world" theory since scientific knowledge is limited to a fairly small community. I'm sure you can't mean that though.

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The LDS worldview is a true world theory. USU's comments are practically a textbook example. Your response seems to be that it could only be considered a true world theory if it isn't true. Come on. It's a theory that suggests there is something more to the world than what we observe to be the case. And by we I mean humanity collectively, not the narrow we of the LDS belief community. I think that's decided.

For Nietzsche the true world is an idealized world only reachable by some idealized figure like the Stoic Sage. Nietzsche's own Superman is a play on that. The true world for Nietzsche is unobtainable and unable to be demonstrated. It's an ideal that is designed to distract from the world we live in.

The world we live as established by evidence by definition can't be a "true world" in Nietzsche's sense. There's a very simple reason for that - it's been established by evidence.

The point for Nietzsche though is that the artificial true world designed to repress the actual world but make the individual believer feel important. His whole point is that theistic beliefs are divorced from the actual world. But why does he make that claim? Because he has no evidence for them. Thus if there were evidence his claims about what constitutes the "true world" would be undermined. The whole argument in Twilight of Idols is about how science and evidence undermines the older ways of thinking.

So I think you're missing what I'm saying. Yes Nietzsche would consider Mormon beliefs a "true world" of the type his dismisses. But he can only do that because of the evidence he limits himself to. If he dealt with evidence more fully then he'd be forced to admit that these claims entail an actual world. Thus my point about scientific claims Nietzsche wouldn't have evidence for. For him at his time, claims about black holes, AI, and pocket computers would seem part of a "true world" even though they aren't.

The whole argument is to note the distinction between Nietzsche's beliefs about what constitutes a true world and where his argument takes things given different evidence. You're conflating the two.

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How could it NOT be determinative? Take Moroni 10. The variety of testimonies around people's personal answers range from claims of an undeniable sense of being filled with intelligence, feelings of warmth, love, positivity, to nothing noticeable that a person came to interpret to mean they already knew the answer.

Because the belief that results is simply different from believing it in a secondary fashion. To give an example of the distinction I'm making, consider someone who has never seen an elephant - not even a photograph. There's a difference between his knowing about elephants in a secondary fashion as people describe an elephant to him and his actually encountering a real elephant. 

Now you're right people conflate those two types of knowledge. We might call them the distinction between the experiential knowledge and the discursive knowledge. But they simply are wrong to do so. You make the same mistake. You conflate being told about an answer with encountering it itself. The content simply isn't the same in the two cases.

 

Edited by clarkgoble
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3 hours ago, Honorentheos said:

The decision depends on the community that defines the reality as encompassing as wide a swath of humanity as possible. One that is narrowly encircling believers only lacks standing to tell us about the world as it is. It does, however, have much to tell us about how those in that community hope the world is to become.

The LDS worldview is a true world theory. USU's comments are practically a textbook example. Your response seems to be that it could only be considered a true world theory if it isn't true. Come on. It's a theory that suggests there is something more to the world than what we observe to be the case. And by we I mean humanity collectively, not the narrow we of the LDS belief community. I think that's decided.

You have just affirmed Rorty view of truth as community agreement, but totally missed Wittgenstein's language games which take into account community variables.

Reality may exist in communities of language games, but it is a fantasy to suggest that it us created by humanity as a whole.

If you have ever translated anything that should be clear.

If everyone in humanity agreed on what the world was that would be true theory. Hint: that is a fantasy.

See siggy below for Rorty

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