It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Existential crisis

page: 2
8
<< 1   >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 4 2014 @ 06:44 PM
link   
I don't think humans have the ability to even realize if there is even a reason or purpose for their being here, and that's the reason they are always looking for reason and purpose.

There is just so much we don't know about everything, we theorize but do not know, a bit of this, a bit of that, ok, that explains enough to where I can move along for a time....

But at least everybody I know, myself included, don't really know.

We only know a small percentage of all there is to know, we should stop beating ourselves up over it.




posted on Jul, 4 2014 @ 07:20 PM
link   
After my Doctor painted a bleak picture of my cancer, that was my low point which started me to question every thing I believed in. It has been quite freeing actually but the road through the crisis was filled with anger, not about the cancer and dying but being filled with nonsense from my religion. It is still a touchy subject with me at times.



posted on Jul, 5 2014 @ 01:25 PM
link   
a reply to: MyHappyDogShiner


I don't think humans have the ability to even realize if there is even a reason or purpose for their being here, and that's the reason they are always looking for reason and purpose.


That's asking completely the wrong question. It is ultimately inconsequential for us in our daily lives to care about why we exist, or if there is some "grand" meaning to it all. There are far too many assumptions in the question for us to be able to answer it with any degree of intellectual honesty.


"their"


Are you not a person, or are you just superior to all of us "mere" humans?



We only know a small percentage of all there is to know, we should stop beating ourselves up over it.


That's a pretty high standard to set for people. Some of them can't even find their own country on a map, are they really capable of knowing how little they know? Dunning-Kruger effect in action...



posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 03:05 AM
link   
a reply to: zackli

Thank you for sharing that Zackli! I can definitely relate to what you wrote on several points.
One thought that often crosses my mind is; "if my nihilism and these existencial questions make me look a little crazy in the eyes of others, then everyone else without these questions appear completely empty headed to me". Admittedly, just moments later I usually conclude that most people are smarter than myself, and also smart enough to ignore these things whereas I am unable to.

What's your thoughts on that? Do you think nihilism has anything to do with intelligence? Or do you believe that it is completely dependent on how our brains are wired?



posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 01:55 AM
link   
a reply to: ABeing




Thank you for sharing that Zackli! I can definitely relate to what you wrote on several points.



Which points, specifically? I'm just curious.



One thought that often crosses my mind is; "if my nihilism and these existencial questions make me look a little crazy in the eyes of others, then everyone else without these questions appear completely empty headed to me".


There are several things I have to say about that. The first of these, which I like to make in the form of a quote, goes something like this:

"It is naively assumed that the fact that the majority of people share certain ideas or feelings proves the validity of those feelings. Nothing is further from the truth. The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make those vices virtues, the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane." - Erich Fromm

Regardless of what other people think about you and regardless of how many people come to that same conclusion, there is no more validity to their viewpoint than there is yours. You could even go so far as to say that there is no valid viewpoint about other people, the universe or anything else because all of them, without exception, are based on limited information and are only valid at a specific time in a specific place.


Admittedly, just moments later I usually conclude that most people are smarter than myself, and also smart enough to ignore these things whereas I am unable to.


Not knowing the answers to these questions doesn't make you stupid. It makes you in the same boat as everyone else. Indeed, inventing the answers to these questions in a convincing way will make you lots of money; look at the Catholic Church.


What's your thoughts on that? Do you think nihilism has anything to do with intelligence? Or do you believe that it is completely dependent on how our brains are wired?


First things first: correcting assumptions. Nihilism may be correlated with intelligence, though I'm not sure what you mean by intelligence. If by intelligence, you mean a personality trait, I would say no. The way "intelligence" manifests itself has more to do with specific ways of retaining and conveying information than it does any inherently larger collection of stored information. A person doesn't start "smarter" than anyone else.

The way it would start out is that as the kid is growing up, kids start noticing that their peer knows more answers about more things than they do and conclude that this kid is smart. This sounds better than that the group of kids making the judgment is stupid or some other explanation. Then they tell/make fun of/congratulate him/her, and while s/he may or may not accept it at the time, s/he will start looking for evidence of his/her intelligence and s/he will find it. It may be recognition by teachers, parents or siblings, or s/he may realize it him/herself and feel a feeling of knowing that s/he is smart. Regardless of how it comes about, it is not a lifetime membership to the intelligence club that a person wins by being smart. S/He must continually improve upon his retention of answers to questions or s/he will mercilessly have his/her label ripped off.

Sociological interpretation of the meaning of intelligence aside, there is a lot more to it than just knowing stuff. There are lots of different "types" of intelligence, and people will each find a different type of "intelligence" to excel in, because it is a necessity for people to feel competent at something. When you dig down into the social meaning of words and what it actually means to have a label like that, you realize there isn't very much inherently valuable in having the label.

Nothing of what I've just said will make any sense to a common person on the street unless they have had a sociology class or a social psychology class, yet talking like this makes you smart. The distinction between reality and what is perceived to be, which is a concept from social psychology, is one of the most important out of all of them in terms of understanding people. Understanding people is a misnomer, because you really can't "understand" people insofar as grasping what actually motivates/excites them. You can only use their cues (behavior and words) to go off of.

It's impossible to know if our brain's wiring "causes" our thoughts/behavior/emotions or if our thoughts/behavior/emotion "cause" our brain to be wired in a certain way. There may be patterns/connections between the two, or I could just be a brain in a vat and you all could be imagined. What my experience has shown me, however, is that it is of little consequence whether or not I care at all about anything so long as I give off the perception of caring about it; much easier said than done.

All of those assumptions aside, the ability to question things and the ability to play with ideas mentally to see if they make sense are both ways of thinking that may manifest in outward appearances of intelligence which might lead to nihilism under certain conditions.



posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 02:20 AM
link   

originally posted by: XxRagingxPandaxX
Have you had an existential crisis? If so how did you overcome it? How did you utilize the existential angst?


I had some experiences that did not fit into my basic world vision. I saw a UFO, I had abduction type of experiences, and I did not (do not) believe in ET's. I did not know what to do with this. My memories were as clear and concrete as this moment right now- so I was in a pickle.

I was perfectly ready and willing to accept I might be crazy, delusional- probably schizoid, or at least suffering a some sort of temporary psychosis. I went to two shrinks, who each felt that wasn't true.

So I was left sitting there with this unanswerable thing. Either what I experienced did not happen- it was a dream, a hallucination- which means that anything, any moment, in my life could be a dream or hallucination- because there was no difference in sensorial clarity.

Or there are beings from other worlds or dimensions screwing with us.

Neither of those were acceptable to me, and I had no proof of either.

I had a crisis there. The whole idea of reality and existence fell apart in my mind.

I wrote a lot, got it out. I cried, I meditated, I spent time trying to open my chakras, eat healthy, be balanced.

Then

I just gave up. I cannot know. There are vaste areas of reality I cannot grasp, I cannot know, I cannot control, I cannot determine. I don't know what happened, I will never know. I only know and can describe my subjective experiences- the "true" objective reality I cannot know. There might not be one. I don't know.

Then I was okay. Just in embracing the unknown factor of existence and getting comfortable with it.

It made an absolutely HUGE change in my life- and even makes me wonder if that change is not the reason for such events to happen.



posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 07:13 AM
link   
a reply to: zackli

Maybe "statements" is the more correct term to use, rather than points.

But I completely agree that for example;



Life itself is an existensial crisis.




The fact that people can ask whether or not “life” has a purpose—or why they should continue living—doesn’t make the question valid. No object or organism, in itself, has a meaning. It is only within the social realm that meaning enters the picture at all.




...existential crises really reveal a lot about humanity and its relationship with the universe.


I really liked that quote by Erich Fromm. It described precisely what I think is the case when it comes to the issue of knowing and sanity. Most of the time, I just assume that we are all lost and confused, and somewhat crazy. But I don't mention the latter publicly. To me, it makes sense (whatever that means), that sanity is only what cultural norms dictate that is is supposed to be based on what the most common worldviews, philosophies and moral standards are in the present moment. Like it would be completely sane to believe that the Earth was in the middle of the solar system before the Copernican revolution for example, because we didn't know better, whereas now you'd be considered a total nut if you did.

Now you've gotten me more curious towards sociology and psychology. I'm going back to school this fall, which I am quite excited about, and I was considering taking classes in philosophy, religion and history. Now I wouldn't mind attending a few classes in sociology and psychology also. Thanks!

On a side note, which is also quite ironic, assuming that questioning things and playing with ideas mentally potentially may lead to nihilism in some cases; doing just that is what I enjoy most in life... So I'm quite looking forward to going back to school!



posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 07:33 AM
link   
a reply to: Bluesma

How interesting! I also had an esisode of what I assume would be described as a temporary psychosis, or state of delusion for a while about a year ago.

It was as if I temporarily just shut off my critical thinking and just accepted whatever ideas came my way. I started to believe in the god of the bible, struggled with Jesus being the son of said god and thought that I was able to communicate directly with god as well.
On top of that, I believed in visitations from extra-terrestrials, prophecy, a coming apocalypse, lots of conspiracy theories etc. It was all a giant soup of wierdness going on in my head. So I began to question everything again, because I hated feeling like I was losing my mind, and did some basic research which ultimately got me out of the pickle. Fortunately though, the curiousity stayed with me and now I'm more inclined towards and interested in science than I'd ever been before. So something good came out of the whole experience!

I doesn't however make me wonder if there was some purpose behind it. I'm more inclined to believe that for some of us, this is just part of maturing and developing as individuals. As if some of us run a higher risk of crashing into the walls that create our belief structure, rather than notice them before impact and turn elsewhere. Not sure if that analogy makes any sense...



posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 05:21 PM
link   
a reply to: ABeing


Now I wouldn't mind attending a few classes in sociology and psychology also.


Social psychology. I took abnormal psychology last quarter and it was basically the study of psychological disorders. It was one of the most irritating and the most disturbing in its implications as far as any class I've taken, particularly taking the lack of intellectual ability of my classmates into consideration. You're welcome!

A book I would recommend is "the Stranger" by Albert Camus. His essays "the Myth of Sisyphus" and "the Rebel" are also fascinating. Albert Camus, if you don't know him, was a writer and philosopher whose basic "absurdist" thought (that there isn't any sort of objective meaning, but that man will never stop searching for one) really put my experiences into context.

"The Sane Society" is the book that Erich Fromm quote came from if you're interested.

There's also a free social psychology lecture on Youtube if you want to watch that. Just search "social psychology UCLA lecture" or something similar. I've been through most of it and thought it was pretty good.

I think I've loaded you down with enough resources to last you a few weeks



posted on Jul, 11 2014 @ 06:21 AM
link   
a reply to: zackli

Thanks a lot for the information! I'm definitely going to watch that lecture on social psychology. Looking forward to it.

I can imagine that taking classes in psychology in general can be somewhat disturbing. After all, the science applies to oneself as well, which may be difficult to handle for a lot of people. Just listening to lectures on cognitive behaviour can make me somewhat uneasy, but it's incredibly fascinating nevertheless.

I'm really bad at reading books though, which is unfortunate. I can only read so much before I feel the urge to do something else. It's quite frustrating but I'll look into those books that you mentioned.

Once again, thank you!



posted on Jul, 11 2014 @ 07:47 PM
link   
a reply to: ABeing


I can imagine that taking classes in psychology in general can be somewhat disturbing.


Not disturbing in that way. What we were learning about were the psychological disorders from the DSM. It is VERY different from psychology based on hard (well, as hard as a social science can be) science. The type of psychology I'm talking about is the type that makes experiments, not the kind that is interested in "treating" people that don't get along well in society.

There are functional reasons for the distinction between the two. If the discussion of politics came up in a therapy session, for instance, a therapist with training in social psychology might suggest that his choice for president has less to do with his own independent decision-making process and more to do with how those around him perceive him. Not very good for making people feel better.

Psychology as it comes to mental health has more to do with intentionally making people fit in better with society and helping them cope with their silly little problems than it does finding any hard truths. It is intentional application of the principles in social psychology.



After all, the science applies to oneself as well, which may be difficult to handle for a lot of people. Just listening to lectures on cognitive behaviour can make me somewhat uneasy, but it's incredibly fascinating nevertheless.


Yes, the *science* does apply to oneself, and that is disturbing. What I meant by disturbing in my previous post was that the students in that class would one day go on to be treating people. They were thoroughly indoctrinated into believing they were going to one day be helping people. And indeed, if by helping them you mean helping them get better to go right back to where they were before, you would not be mistaken.

The DSM itself is based on behavioral symptoms and doesn't ask why or for what reason you acted that way. Psychologists who use it are only concerned with putting a label on you so that society knows to treat you differently because you're not what society currently calls normal. It is a way of categorizing people and doesn't mean anything to someone who doesn't take the label seriously.



edit on 11/7/2014 by zackli because: added more

edit on 11/7/2014 by zackli because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 15 2014 @ 01:32 AM
link   

originally posted by: ABeing
a reply to: Bluesma


I doesn't however make me wonder if there was some purpose behind it. I'm more inclined to believe that for some of us, this is just part of maturing and developing as individuals. As if some of us run a higher risk of crashing into the walls that create our belief structure, rather than notice them before impact and turn elsewhere. Not sure if that analogy makes any sense...


It does, to me. In my case, I didn't grasp onto any beliefs during that time, I was more just experimenting- see what regular meditation would do, for example. I guess I was looking for "Truth" of some objective sort- never really found it, but became convinced it didn't matter.

In my case, I suspect that having moved to another country, in which language, values, ways of living, were all different than what I had always known, and I had no one around to help me support my world view. I was not in a big city, where other americans could be found. My own husband, and his family, all could not relate to me. "The Stranger" indeed.... How long can a person hold on to the basic bricks of thought that their self is made of without any confirmation from another human being???

Paris Syndrome, Jerusalem Syndrome, Stendhal Syndrome.... I think something like that happened to me. The psychoanalyst I saw proposed a spiritual growth like that described by Jung- when the walls which determine self get torn down, an basically chaos is free to circulate. A passage one must go through, in order to begin building self consciously- instead of living within the walls your parents or your environment built for you as a child.

When suddenly, there is nothing to hold onto- it is just a subjective choice. You have to decide- will I believe this or that? -Not based on which is "True" but upon what does each belief (or perspective) create for me in terms of experience, emotion, thought, and behavior? What do I prefer to feel, think, and behave like?

A long period of experimentation and observation of others began, in a very constructive mode. I see people who see things one way create this sort of feeling and behavior- I personally don't want to feel that way, so I won't choose that.

THAT was the BIG change- that everyone is free to see the world and themselves however they want- they shall reap the effects of that (both positive and negative). No one has to see the same as me. Perhaps they have their own personal reasons to prefer a certain feeling. Sometimes they are just living off one of those bricks laid by their parents when they were a kid, and they haven't figured out it is the source of the feelings they don't like. In that case, one can point it out to them, but then it is up to them.

And sometimes they choose NOT to tear down those walls, because chaos and madness might get in, and that really is a sort of dangerous venture. Some people don't make it out of that enchanted forest. They have the right to stay within their walls of safety.

To give a better idea of what I mean by such deep beliefs- on superficial matters, no one around believed that raw vegetables are good for us to eat. My child was in the habit of eating raw carrots and celery as a snack- everyone around me was horrified, and condemned me as being a bad parent. EVERYONE. No one shared the idea I always took for granted that all humans believe raw veggies are good for our bodies. For a short trip, you can live through that, after a couple of years? You start to crumble.

That an individual has value- where I come from, we take that idea for granted. suddenly the entire world around me took that as heresy and quite simply, false. Child raising as especially crazy making because all other adults in my kids world would tell them "Your mama is wrong. She is mistaken." about just about everything. (that includes my husband, his mother, and their teachers).

The vegetable issue was a superficial example, chosen because it is simple to grasp. But even deeper questions about the universe and self were rejected at that time. It is amazingly hard to hold onto such things over a long period of time without anyone to converge on them with you.

So it all crumbled. I have no beliefs- I have choices of thought and perspective, and for most of them, I know exactly why I chose them. Some I change according to circumstances- in one situation I will choose to perceive one way, in another, a different way, because different reactions will be produced.

You might have to go mad, to become sane.




top topics



 
8
<< 1   >>

log in

join