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There are random moments when I become undeniably stuck in "The Abyss". Yea, that not so lovely, bittersweet, utter void of emotion and desire that comes along with musing. Sometimes it happens for a few minutes, sometimes hours, sometimes days, somethings a week (hopefully I will never have it longer than a week -- the one time that I found myself stuck in the abyss for a week was a dreadful, dreadful time and the contemplation of suicide was utterly real. No bueno.).

I wont lie to you, dear reader on the interweb whom I will most likely never meet in person and thus feel an odd desire to write to you, I find writing what I'm thinking and feeling out for the world to read entirely theraputic. Yes, this is slightly sketchy, in some ways I feel like the Harry Potter character Ginny Weasely writing in a diary and getting responses from an unknown person, yet, I like it. Already, I am feeling much better than how I felt earlier, to which, here is a sample of how distraught I was:

"I hope someone makes a movie scene with me in it, smoking a cigarette and typing on an old typewriter in nothing but a white men’s button oxford t-shirt and underwear, so it can capture the pompous ass feeling I have right now. Make sure the person playing me is crying sad, angry tears.

I don’t know who I am. I don’t know who I am, what I want to be, where I want to go. I don’t know if I really do think and believe in God or something more. I don’t know if I believe I am even writing this.

Why? Why am I so unsatisfied with what I have? Why do I desire something deeper, something more? Why do I feel like I desperately need something that draws me in and fills me up with completely understanding and fullness? I want to scream and kick at the fucking people who say I need to rely on God or who say it’ll go away with time. It might go away with time and I might need God, but it’s fucking happening to me right goddamn now and I don’t have the fucking strength to get out of this goddamn void by myself! Why the fuck can’t you get that?! Why do I have to cry and scream internally for something that I need but don’t know what the fuck it is I need?!"

Dramatic? Yes. Thereaputic? Absolutely.

With a nervous disposition and panting breath, I cracked open Being and Time and fall into the bottomless chasm, uttering to myself over and over, "Menschliches, Allzumenschliches," clutching my Götzendämmerung until the vanishing light behind me recede into nothingness...

A dimensional portal with Heidegger's haughty visage looms before me, his twitchy mustache hypnotic, and i'm swiftly pulled into a shadowy labyrinth.

I wake up and a vast maze opens up before me, and the ground is full of fine dust... wait, it's ashes. A volcano must be nearby and active. Plus the sky is slightly less so, but equally monochromatic. Bleh.

A dusty path leads to a non-descript stone wall, and at its base is a rotting wooden door.

As I trod fearfully towards the door, I spot something swinging from the door handle, obscured within the shadow.

Making my way, I nearly gag from a horrible stench, and finally notice the dead bodies stacked along the side. Upon closer inspection... they're actually logical positivists from the Vienna Circle! Sweet Fancy Moses. A crow is startled by my approach, making off with a couple of eyeballs.

I quicken my pace.

At the door, it's much bigger than I thought. The wall towers before me, and seems to scrape the sky. I remind myself of the phrase "GOTT IST TOT" but somehow I come out saying "ICH IST TOT!"

On the door a crucified body hangs like a sack of potatoes. Above it is a plate that reads "RVDOLPH CARNAP REX POSITIVISTERUM". I try to laugh at this sadistic display of chutzpah, but I manage only a weak twitter.

Above the Latin etching is a bunch of letters in blood: "Neimand Versacht mit Heidegger."

Nobody fucks with Heidegger.

Lucky me, someone left keys under the welcoming mat, which of course says "ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE."


After surviving the insidious Indiana-Jones styled traps in the lobby of the labyrinth, Nietzsche and I take a break in a small enclave.

Moi: "So, Nietzsche, my esteemed German philosopher, what did we learn?"

Friedrich: "Ah, let's see. First we deciphered the hieroglyphs on the floor to indicate a horrible monstrosity that has been slumbering for so long that its true name, its very meaning has been long forgotten, and we must reawaken it. Philosophers have buried it deep with three erroneous spells in order to avoid the creature altogether."

"Right, that was on the inside of the entrance door."

"Indeed. Had we not learned of that, we would've fallen prey to the traps by now. Then we learned something about such mazes in general: the entrance always has the same form of the question: the questioned and the object of question. We end up thinking that the questioned is what is meant by the question, & the object of question is that which would suffice as an answer to the question."

"I sure did, Mustachioed one."

"The question of the monstrosity is directed at itself. Its object is its being. Therefore, there can be no ordinary definition for this being, but that definition must be something utterly different from defining, say, "Wagner" or "that slattern Lou." Heidegger also explains what he meant by Dasein, that something that is and capable of asking questions like you, me, and poor Carnap before he was crucified.

"Heidegger also gave us a hint that the meaning of the monstrosity would somehow be found in the way it shows itself to us & in the way we look at it, rather than some logical inference through premises. Thus, regardless of how it may seem at first, there is no circle in asking for the name of the nameless Being."

"Not a bad summary, Fred!"

"But of course. I've been stuck in this lobby for weeks!"

"Well, we have each other's backs. Let's go on deeper into the mystical maze, and find that nameless beast!"

With my left hand in the hand of Nietzsche, & my right hand securely in the same pocket where I keep my Gotzendammerung, I will bravely move on in my journey, that even though we just began, already seems have gone on forever.


After I spend the night stabbing my Kant voodoo doll, just to stay awake, a feeble cough wheezes from down the hall. I found myself dismissing it as a threat. After tip-toeing around the corner I find a man huddling his knees, shivering on the cold marble floor with torn clothes.

"Sir," I ask hesitating. The shriveled person hacks once more and looks up with a faint graying remnants of a once-proud mustache. "My Zod!" I gasp, "Nietzsche? Is that really you?"

He nods curtly and gets up unsteadily on his feet. "My good philosopher, what the hell are you doing here?" I exclaim and loan him my leather jacket.

"He... he..."
After a couple of violent coughs later, Nietzsche snaps, "He stole my ideas!"

Eh? Well, you can't say Heidegger was ignorant of Nietzsche while writing Being & Time. After all he did lecture on Nietzsche not too long after.

He continues: "I came here to take them back, but I got lost between existentiell and unhiddenness."

"Now, who would've thunk it?" I think to myself, and ask "What ideas did he steal, my good Ubermensch?"

"Many ideas! But in particular, the ambitions of shattering the subject-object dichotomy of Western philosophy, and a flowing philosophical ground. Also, a fetish for early Greek philosophy. Don't act surprised. I'm talking about the pre-Socratics."

"Where Being only shows its truth. I see now. I hadn't thought of that before. You say he ripped off other ideas too?" I wondered what else these two giants of philosophy could share.

"Well not as much ripped off as borrowed and forgot to return. I once borrowed Schopenhauer's pistol and sold it when I hit a rough patch. Chalk it up to the Eternal Return of bad Karma. "

"Well then, maybe you would care to join me in my mission to uncover the truths of Being & Time?" I asked, encouraged by Nietzsche's returning vigor, and somewhat unsurprised that he stole from Schopenhauer. Now there's an even bigger asshole.

"Certainly. Let us go forth and find this terribly serious Oedipal son of a bitch!" he exclaimed.

And thus we did, marching resolutely to the Prussian militant beat, to sally ever deeper into the conceptual labyrinth of Being and Time. Exhausted, but with a glimmer of Hope. Tho arational puzzles and other torturous devices await, there is a scent of wisdom in Heidegger, and there is faith in me and my newfound companion that I shall solve this maze!
One topic which is rather frequently revisited in this as well as other forums which delve into philosophy is the matter of determinism. Sometimes determinism is considered in terms of free will; sometimes determinism is investigated in and of itself. It is a good topic in which to engage in order to discipline the mind and in order to begin to learn how to cut through the opacity common to so much philosophical writing.

When trying to get a grasp of such a topic, many of us are accustomed to seeking out books and online articles, but we tend to forget that we actually have great resources right here at TGL.

For instance, speaking of determinism, this essay, while pertaining to both determinism and free will, actually gives an excellent introduction to the problems associated with determinism in itself.

Since we recently had some of our members trying to better develop their understandings of determinism during a Chat engagement, I thought it would be a good idea to from time to time remind ourselves of the good information which we may have forgotten that we have readily available to us right here at this site.

Despite my advanced years, I am very new to (formal) philosophy. In the bit of recent 'dabbling' which I have done, I have come across statements like -

Nowadays, of course, the ideas of xxxxxxx are considered erroneous ...


The theories of xxxxxxx on mind/thought/belief/knowledge are no longer acceptable ...


xxxxxxx's ideas are no longer considered to be valid

What I am wondering is, in the light of these types of statements, is there a point in going into the History of Philosophy?
“Winter is coming” and it has arrived on HBO with the grand ambitions of the novel and the visceral promise of television. The first episode of the new HBO series, Game of Thrones, dispelled a lot of my ambivalent feelings about having my all-time favorite series from the fantasy genre being adapted into television format.

Being stoked by the pre-show hype for the past two weeks, I convinced a friend familiar with neither the genre nor the series to record the early HBO show so we could watch it together. A few pauses and some brief exposition was required to help him keep up with the two dozens of characters, so I realize that the show may be too taxing for the newcomer, but this should be less of a problem as the season rolls on and each character gets more facetime to themselves.

Within the first 10 minutes there are two beheadings, and throughout the show there’s plenty of rutting and screwing. Zod bless HBO, and bless George Martin for grounding his fantasy world with realism in a medieval era. The episode is basically expository, where two houses meet together in one giant feast and the King of the 7 kingdoms Baratheon offers Lord Stark the role of the Hand of the King, and on another continent, across the Narrow Seas, the deposed royal family Targaryens scheme to retake the throne by having the sister Daenerys married off to a warlord.

Sean Bean successfully plays against type as the noble Lord Stark. But Peter Dinkleage has the juiciest role as Tyrion Lannister, thanks to some of the sauciest lines this side of Lord Henry. I was also struck by Emilia Clarke’s performance as the terrified bride Daenerys, and I hope she has the required inner strength the role will require.

The story doesn’t really pick up until the last ten minutes, so it might not have been enough to recruit new viewers, weaned on far less challenging fare like Spartacus or Tudors, where they could afford to miss a few lines here and there. Game of Thrones will punish you for missing anything because every line and scene is full of allusion and foreshadowing.

I’ve finally found a new TV show to follow, and now 2011 won’t be a total loss without Mad Men.
Come to think of it, didn’t one of those early Greek fellows say (more or less) that the more he thought about things the more he realised that he knew very little and I understand he is generally accepted as one of the wisest men who ever walked upon this earth. So what is to be gained from philosophising?
You know what you know. So if you know why or how you know what you know, does that add significantly to what you know?