a cry towards the absurd

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.Camus
mail list ° site map ° @  

  existentialism ° art ° poetry ° exquisite corpse ° chat ° search engine
( the cry ) Philosophy Discussion Board


[Follow Ups] [Post Followup] [(the cry) philosophy discussion board]

Posted by trablano on Thursday, December 19, 2002 at 02:58:30 :

In Reply to: Re: Do we need to justify our existence? posted by Anitah on Wednesday, December 18, 2002 at 22:27:23 :

When I think of some villainous people I myself got to know in my life I always try to understand them, try to see what justifies them. Sometimes I figured it out, sometimes I couldn't. I think it depends on someone's intelligence. Intelligent people are calculable, you can understand them, but primitive people you can't, only perhaps in the basic needs area.

To your example ... I think that none of the two sides are justified, ok, the indians perhaps a little, because they didn't start the whole business, it were the whites who started it. In that sense the one who starts shit is always the least justified one. Also, sometimes justifications don't count, they should not become valid reasons for breaking life rules. The whites for instance felt themselves justified by claiming that they were the ethically superior civilisation, they believed the indians to be barbarians. They didn't see that their civilisation meant nothing good to the indians.

: Justification was something my mentor, Stella Adler, would talk about a lot. "You must justify your character" she would say repeatedly to each actor attempting to play a villain or anti-hero. Most amateur actors will play up the villainy of the character, she insisted that was the wrong approach. You have to play against the stereotype. That's why I consider politics amateur drama, because it plays on stereotypes.

: All villains justify themselves, all villains are right in their own eyes, and everyone is the hero of their own story. Therefore it is senseless to portray a villain as a fiend or monstor. To create interesting, true-to-life drama, you have to play him as a human being with valid justifications. And finally, it is then up to the audience to decide whether his justification was right or wrong, true or false.

: Let's look for example at the story of the American Indian Chief, Geronimo. According the white people living in Arizona at the time, he was a villain, a terrorist, a mass killer. But according to Geronimo, he was absolutely justified in killing white people. Why? Because one day while he was out hunting the whites came in and massacred his whole tribe and family. All the women and children were murdered. From that point on he went on a killing rampage.

: Whose justification was the correct one? The whites, who claimed to be retaliating against a psychopathic mass killer, or Geronimo? Obviously the "play" aims to reveal that the white man was the villain of the story concerning the American Indian.

: As they say, "When the white man kills Indians he calls it a victory, when the Indian kills whites, it is a massacre." Likewise today, suicide bombers justify themselves as "freedom fighters," while the west calls them "terrorists."

: Each side tries to justify thmeselves, but only one side is justified.

: : I think I can safely say that our existence in the present times, within most of the people, is free of the old assumptions that it had been given to us by god and is therefor justified. It now depends what we consider to be true ... whether this existence we have is totally free, that we're thrown into existence without any justification and therefor don't need one, or that this existence, just because of it being so free, needs us to justify it.

: : Then ... how can someone justify his existence? Several things come to mind ... by creating, by giving something of worth to other people, by acting responsibly, by caring for other people and the common work humanity means etc.

: : What do you think about that? Does someone who doesn't justify his existence loose its meaning?

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link
Optional Image Link

thecry!!! existentialism