« Philosophize This!

Episode #078 ... Marx and Kierkegaard on Religion pt. 2

2016-01-27 | 🔗

Today we talk about Soren Kierkegaard and his views on the function and value of religion. 

Support the show on Patreon!

www.philosophizethis.org for additional content.

Thank you for wanting to know more today than you did yesterday. :)

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen West. This is philosophize. There's gotta be honest with you. I had no idea how any of you would respond when it made the patriarch page. If page, I thought part of me back my mind expected two dollars in seventy five cents to be pledged, but to the one hundred and fifty three people currently contributing per episode and, of course, all the people that donated over pay pal this week, people about a book this week or bad coffee mugger- something thank you I mean I don't know how to say you, people truly make this shit possible, and I guess the exciting thing is you're, making other things possible as well the webs it is being redone. I'm able to higher an audio engineer, to make sure that each episode is mixed, mastered and levelled. Well, I'm in talks with a few people right now, just doing some price comparisons. Keep you posted I know all of your generosity goes directly towards making the show a better thing I mean we are honestly in a place right now, where we are very
close to you guys, never having to hear another out on the show again like that a feasible milestone that might be reached on Patria anyway. That said, we still don't have sponsors for this month or next month. So if you want to contribute to the show, is that something that Europe interested in go to Patreon com philosophies this or you can just go to philosophies. This org there's a link on the very front page. The very first page, you see a couple, quick things on that same note, for the people that donated on patriotic that will be receiving tee, shirts, stickers, pens etc, other parks fun fun. I got so many contributions that I had to reorder t, shirts and stickers. You PS, when I go to their website and talk to them. They swear to me that they are out for delivery, even though its seven twenty five p m right now, but rest assured, as soon as I have them, I'm sending it out. You're gonna have yours. He's doing two hundred and fifty shadows on the show today, yeah, it's not gonna happen again. I'm
humbled by your generosity, grafter adapt. I think we're going gonna do five percent until we knock them all out. So it's not too intrusive upon the show. On that note, the five today Matthew Gail shout out to you case Arkle or case Arcel. That sounds cooler. That's your name now case Arcel Jack Williams, Jason Price, paying the price so that you don't have to and, of course, Chad, Eldridge. Thank you all of you. I could never do the show without you phobia of the show today. So among historians, of philosophy and people that, just in general, look at the thinking of Karl Marx there's not much of a consensus on how he felt when it comes to the subject of individual people and the relationship to the task of making moral progress. It's too bad really, but the Good NEWS is for us as fans of philosophy, rather than his
dorians of philosophy or people that path to attach their identity to these people's liking. For us, the value of a philosophical concept, really This lies in the idea itself. Right. What I mean is we dont aid to necessarily understand the complex inner workings of marxist brain, as well as heated, to get value out of an interpretation of his work. I mean as long as that interpretation produces some novel string of thought and gets us to think about possible Sometimes we have in our thinking. Then it's really done its job for us to talk about a common reading of marks. What did you think about individual moral progress, but we know about what he thinks based on. But we already know about him in religion is the opiate of the masses, but that statement in itself really doesn't tell us the whole story. I mean religion is just one catalyst for individual moral progress. To be honest, the Sunday times
without an conversation, religions and open to the masses. My first assumption would be that, while they probably have some other thing, that's not religion that they think is a better means of facilitating individual moral progress be very easy assumption to make. But marks takes a much more interesting position here. I think she D marks when we talk about individual morality, when all the varying forms that it takes all of them, really don't matter that much in his worldview mark doesn't care about what the individual What does he have been told for so long and most people still see themselves in today's world as these into visual moral agents, it's our duty to contemplate our values, work as hard as we can towards being the best individual embodiment of those values that we can. Marks has not always that a waste of time it's an illusion. Been fed into was over the ages oftentimes coercive we thats a sound like that
AMOS conversation between Socrates and dress images at the beginning, a plate of republic for us amicably, He says morality is nothing more than a mechanism for the people in power to control the weak mark says, stop thinking about the individual, the thing that can be said to matter in this world? Is that dialectical, historical process of change? The moral progress of society towards the ultimate in goal Hegel. As we know it was minds, total understanding of itself, but marks differed from Hegel. On this point, he thought the ultimate in goal of this dialect The process was the ideal society. After all, So many of the values that people claim are such strong moral convictions that they've arrived at individually marks, thinks they're, ultimately the byproducts whatever cultural values they were born into. In other words, we should be thinking about ourselves as individual moral agents to marks. Instead, we should be doing
about our relationship to this historical process of change, but I may the fifth eighteen, thirteen a very unique character came along, probably couldn't have disagreed with marks more on how we view the individual, his name was sore and Kircher Guard and how we respond to this common reading of Mars is probably by asking ok market you're, saying about this historical process and how it should be appointed emphasis. But answer me this: what accounts for all those changes that you're talking about in government or culture or other institutions that you call the historical process. What accounts for those well I'll tell you what it is. It's the conglomeration of all the choices of the individuals that make it up it's a conglomeration of individual existences understand workers regards coming from here probably helpful to understand the world that he was living and, as I said before, coverage born and eighteenth, and the reason that your matters as because that puts him
coming of age smack dab in the middle of the inception. This age of mass communication, now a telegram when did the eighteen forties telephone event, admit eighteen, hundreds for the first time the railroads of the industrial age are able to quickly and efficiently deliver. Daily newspapers p free articles to everyone Parker Guard living in this world while. The writing on the wall before there was riding on the wall really interesting. Kircher Guard thought that it was very likely in the near future for a world to emerge where most people individuals anymore, acting on their individuality, but sort of faceless drones in a sea of spectators, He thought eventually be more people spectators and living vicariously through other people that are actually doing stuff. Then there would be individuals doing stuff in that world picture a massive Colosseum filled with people in the middle there's this the spectacle of all,
individuals in the world that are doing stuff running for political office, starting companies putting on Academy award, winning performances and then all around them in the crowd is this: enormous stadium of people just sort of power, simply watching what occurred regard. These spectators have lost a piece of what makes them their self and because of this they aren't the embodiment of a true individual to him sounds gonna harsh, but it's actually funny went up to each and every one of these people in the crowded, and you ask them: do you think you're in individual? They would unequivocal. Please say: yes, I am an individual have to be right and I have a car. I have my own clothes. I have a job, even at my own number, I have a social security number I have. My own number seems clear, I'm an individual. So what went wrong? Why
this Kircher Guard not give them this title. Why would he say that their not being as individuals, they could be when we talked a lot about the stuff, but let's talk about two primary pitfalls that he thinks people typically are at the mercy of that makes them less of an individual that makes them lose that piece of their self right. He says it. Times. One thing that people do is they lose their self in the infinite? What do you mean by this? To lose yourself in the infinite is to be in a state of sort of analysis. Paralysis now has a famous quote. Anxiety is the. Dizziness of freedom. We live in a world where we seemingly have an infinite number of possibilities at our fingertips and whenever we find ourselves at one of these decision points, oftentimes will become overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible choices and a tactic that a lot of It will use to mitigate that sense of overwhelm is just too not make the decision they just gonna sit there at that
vision, point weighing their options forever and never actually taking action. Let's do an example of this Imagine somebody who's eighteen years old, the graduate school and now they find themselves at that wonderful point in their life when they have to decide what. Gonna be doing for the rest of her life. At that moment, you have an endless sea of possibilities. Only do I become g I'll. Just so I become a meteorologist do. I study business criminal justice paralegal. What a giant decision I have to make and the pros and cons to each one I just don't know what I want to do yet what ends up happening if they don't make that choice, know what tell you what I'll go to college but I'll, just all the prerequisites in the general education stuff and buy me enough. Time to figure out what I want to do with my life? That'll work, yeah, grandma's, calling me every six months. Have you decided what you'll go to school for yet no grandma
so think about it. Still between geology, meteorology or business now Kircher Guard could see this. He be like. What are you doing? What are you doing? This is not an individual. This is but he that thinks there and individual lost in the infinite. Honestly you could sit around and have this exact same conversation with herself for the rest of your life? When are you? make a decision in act on it by the way how do you think that decisions can be made anyway? Is it just gonna is? Just gonna come to your one day: I'm just gonna collapse on them floor of a gas station start convulsing. You have vision of yourself as a meteor allergist now one day, your action going to consider the possibilities and make the best decision you can at that time. You're. Just prolonging that process. And as long as you're in the state of limbo, as long as you're not acting on what you think the best decision is, you may possess the ability to freely
act on your behalf. You may truly be autonomous, but if you never use it, if you never used that ability to freely act. Know you just get lost in the infinite thinking about an endless, see a possibilities you effectively are not capable of freely acting your paralyzed, you lose a piece of yourself in the infinite By the way, this goes for every choice. We may go my job to have a person the merry what diet to choose its easy to find out cells lost in the infinite. Now the other side of that the cooking guard, the other common pitfall. The people are at the mercy of its called being lost in the finite. So, as you can imagine, the kind of the other side of the coin here being lost in the finite is not considering of possibilities and succumbing to the lure of just mind. Sleep going along with social conventions or culture or expectations of you, etc. This one's a particularly scary one, because most people that are losing a piece of themselves in the finite
are less equipped to realise that their doing it in the people losing themselves in the infinite seated these people. They see everything there doing as their own choice, think of a cow but how is just following the herd in any direction. It goes to that cow very well seems like it's making its own choice, cow. Synapses are firing it it's telling its little cow who's this Gary across the pastor, but really that cow isn't freely? Acting? It's always at the mercy of wherever the herd is going. It just sort of disappears into the crowd. By the way. Listening to this, you may find yourself being more prone to one of these in another, but make no mistake: these pitfalls are not mutually exclusive things. She D Kirk Guard. You could be losing a piece of yourself in both of At the same time, and on that same note, I guess in two extreme versions of both: in the very same lifetime like. I know this guy Madame and Middle school,
a number of a very long time didn't talk to him for years, but within those years that I didn't talk to him, the sky met a girl when he was a senior in high school, and he said they instantly a madly in love and became Highschool sweethearts that we're gonna get married to each other. They both go to college. They gotta colleges on opposite sides of the country, because well, that's the next step after high school right he's going to school to become a music teacher, because well that's what he said he wants to do to his guidance counselor in the ninth grade when they asked him to pick something I he partied and leave the college lifestyle, because well that's what he saw. The movie American pie too, that that's what you're doing and college right they both graduate. This girl move then with them they get married. They have a baby and one day at all, just kind of collapses.
Later told me that all this stuff that he did, but the last five years of his life was a a complete lie. Partly he was just doing it because it's what his mom and dad and society and all the people, is but told him was what you do with your life after high school, he lost his endeavour duality in the finite for five. Years of his life. He wasn't being an individual and Kirk Egards you just go along with this paradigm that he was supposed to embody. So they get it the voice. He moves back in with his parents. Ia works at a fast food place. Now. Smokes we'd every day, and now, if you talked him, he has all can the great ideas about where he's gonna go next, maybe I'll start as on business. Maybe he'll go back to school, maybe he'll move and try to see his kid more often and look these things would be great next steps. If this is what he said,
on the first day and has taken action on it, but when he's been having the same conversation with himself day after day month after month, eventually he has lost a piece of himself in the infinite. The only way to stop thinking about the endless sea of possibilities and actually make a decision is to do what Kircher Guard sees as the most pure act of reason that you can ever make, and that is to make a leap of faith you a climate where There is often this dichotomy created between faith and reason and philosophers all throughout the middle ages are trying to find some way to make the to work together. Here's Carker Guard saying that making a leap of faith is actually the most reasonable thing you could ever do, because, instead of being mercy of whatever limited evidence you have were being limited by whenever advice you could conjure up when you make a leap of faith,
You choose the person that you're going to be rather than the world choosing for you, and when you make that choice, you can actually act on it and be an individual and, of course, this concept can be met with resistance here together. Sign up. Ok guard, but there's a problem there. I don't believe in the things that I do based on. What I want to believe is true, because I choose to I believe in whatever is the closest thing to truth possible. How can I we're justify arbitrarily assenting to a belief in something especially about the nature of existence. Just because I happen to choose to well, but Kircher Guard saying here is actually far more interesting than that. First off yes, Perker Guard is a Christian and yes, this is his justification, for why should take a leap of faith towards Christianity, but here's the other thing. If
If you looked at Kircher Guard and then you compared him to every other christian that you had ever met in your life, he would be a totally different creature than all those other people. Not only would it be different, he probably be disgusted with how leisurely and selfishly every Christian you ve ever met in your life. Practices their religion Kirk regards task and a lot of an earlier work is to find out what it means to truly be a good christian and Muslim. Rising and frustrating thing to him as he does it is that as he does it he's blazing a trail. Has its famous quote My task is new in such a way. That their literally is no one in Christendom eighteen hundred years, from whom I can learn how to go about it here he compared himself as a wild goose that was teaching all these domesticated geese. How to fly again, He goes on at length about practically every aspect of Christianity and how it's been distorted and
Angolan and a desperate attempt to try to make it easier and more time active for people to join, and then you know not after try very hard once they call themselves. A christian resemble. Listen to him here quote Christendom is pampered with the nonsense that the Christian God is a decent and harmless chap a good fellow and especially a friend of female business and the beginning of children. All human effort tends towards hurting too other let us unite, etc. Naturally, this happens and are all sorts of high sounding names, love and sympathy and enthusiasm need the carrying out of some grand plan in the like. This is the usual hypocrisy of the scoundrels we are, but the truth is that heard. We are free from the standard of the individual, so Miss millions of men live and die there just now members and the Numerical becomes the horizon, that is to say, they are just copies and Christianity
which, in the divine love once every one to be an individual, has been transferred by human bungling into precisely the opposite and called really interesting away. Puts it there when you're lost in the finite. And you become a member of this heard it's very alluring to you, because it frees from the standard of the individual and Millions and millions of people have been born and they find themselves in this place of being lost in the finite and they never question it and they live and die, but live and die, not as individuals that have lived and died, but basically is just numbers copies. So most people have a criticism of religion in today's world. Just given that we live in this age of empiricism, I feel like most people would see. These points occurred. Regards making see them is kind of a a weird place to take issue with religion about most people in today's world. It's not like that
the problem with religion in general, but they have a problem with as all of the unfounded claims that they think it's making about the nature of existence. They know that there's a personal god that has rules for you that that some guy walked across shampoos fish tank two thousand years ago, those kind of things right, but current guard sort of the opposite. Here we said he's not concerned with the what of religion but the how of religion. In other words, he doesn't think the goal of religions to make some sort of doctrinal proclamation about objective truth. This is the way that the world is, or here is how it was created now what Kirke Guard sees is that the only way religion can exist is, if it has. Some sort of human being that is being delivered to the Bible, isn't and encyclopedia card. Why do people think of it? That way,
Human beings are an inexorable part of religion. The Bible is just a system, a system for bringing about the highest form of us as an individual. It's not. The guard thinks that the book of Genesis is the most accurate depiction of how the universe was created, but the values ascribed throughout the books are the best method him getting us. Be our true individual cells. So, in that sense, religion is not the opiate of the masses, as marks would say, the function of religion is to organise a commitment to a particular way of life, but you know it at this point: it's really easy to get muddied up by all the biases that were brand of the table. Thinking about in the word religion and the word and Christianity and all that stuff. Let's try to take all the buzzwords out of the mix and let's do a thought, experiment right, because I think the point that Kirk guards making here is actually a really good one. This is
the thought, experiment that I've done at several points throughout my life and it's always been really help we're getting you to think about my actions? Here's what it wants to do. Let's I'll start our own religion right now, just to get a pen piece of paper action. Get a pencil and a piece of paper, because you can we make corrections to this religion over the years she don't imagine that a multi billion air comes up to you. Mark Human comes up to any says: ok, ok, I need your help you are uniquely qualified in this field and here's what I want to do for me. I'm gonna give you Ten million dollars to scour the deep places in that brain of somebody wanted to do. For me is right now in the end. Be all perfect recipe for success right down from sun up to Sundown, exactly which actions somebody would need to, To achieve the goals that you have right now for Europe,
discipline for you? Don't motivation right down a list of activities where we can program someone to do them. They would definitely achieve the goals that you have right now. What would that they look like I know that you guys, but I would I would just cite in reference, every self help book Youtube, video online article I cite everything that I had ever read. I mean, I know, This person waken up at the at the crack of dawn after eight hours, asleep, of course, and they go into the kitchen, they would get a cup. They feel that cup, with lukewarm filtered water squeeze a lemon. Maybe a clove of garlic and a pinch of salt and they drink it then they'd get in the Lotus position. They'd sit down on the floor. They would do breathing exercises and visualization and meditation for thirty minutes. Then it'd be off to the sand dunes to do some interval hill sprints for a while, then they come home and they'd have a perfectly balanced macro and micro. Nutrient breakfast doesn't really taste that good, but it's just what their body needed and all this is going
for the even get to work. Does you I'm doing here? I'm scouring my brain for everything I've ever heard about morning routines and how to start your day, the best way possible and bay. On my current understanding of living, I'm creating the ultimate morning routine. Now do that for the rest of the day, pretend The cuban standing in front of you with a ten million dollars on a briefcase and what you have is a best practice, is guide for achieving your goals. What you have is the old from a cheat to following your own advice and isn't that most people's problem, they know they should be doing something they just can't find the motivation or the wherewithal to actually do it. Every day. Like I know for a fact, I would be more of a physical space and if I went to the sand dunes every day and did some hill sprints, I just don't, I digest would rather burn reentered powers on the treadmill where they elliptical and be done with it. On that same note, I know for a fact:
but I would feel better and live longer and all kinds other great stuff, if I just eight leaves and drank rain all the time I just don't I find a happy medium between that and eating pizza and ice cream everyday point is most people know what to do and if somebody asked them for their, I stay could give them a much better way of doing things that they do in practice. So when Encarta Guard says the value of religion, is that it's a commitment to a particular way of life to do this set of behaviors, religiously, replace the Christianity occur garb with your own personal religion that you just made, and you can start to see the value of religion and curb regards eyes by taking a leap of faith, that this is
the best ceta behaviors? You can hold yourself to which it obviously isn't right. You you'll go on to read more books, you'll do better experiments, you'll, learn more about yourself in life and you'll, make adjustments, but by taking that leap of faith in that moment, and committing yourself to action on this religion of yours, you'll avoid the whole process Losing a piece of yourself either in the finite or the infinite and you'll be truly living the best life you can possibly be living. This is why Kircher Guard sees faith as the ultimate active reason, because you can choose the type of person. You're gonna, be as opposed to pay, simply being rendered paralyzed by that reasoning process. One other interesting,
to do with that list of behaviors that you have print NY. Some try to come up with a few virtues that are embodied in all of these behaviors are all of your behaviors temperament. Are they courageous? Are they honest and when you come up with that list of virtues, write the virtues down on the paper with the behaviors, because when you do that, I think you might learn something about yourself. Thank you for listening I'll talk to you next time.
Transcript generated on 2020-09-30.