Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Virtues of Pessimism.

Nietzche, one could argue, was a complex and unhappy man,
in that he spent most of his life living in his head, alone.
He was very lonely and in the end fell into the arms of insanity
His life ended when he was 56 and he became known as the anti christ.
His virtues lay in the philosophy of pessimism.

Nietzche did not drink alcohol because he saw this as the same thing
as believing in religion.
Alcohol, like religion, dulls pain and suffering without actually resolving any problems.
Resolution of problems, leads to happiness .
By over coming difficulties, one turns a negative into a positive.

In fact he believed anguish, suffering, turmoil,indignities etc.. was good to experience and made you stronger if they helped you learn to overcome them.
Achievement and success to Nietzche, was a result of hard work and learning from failure.
(I don't know but seems religion also teaches this about hard work and learning from failures).

He used envy for example, saying it could make you bitter but it also could make you competitive
and thus successful which in turn makes you happy.
Anxiety can lead to panic . Panic can help you look for the reason behind it and this can bring about peace and happiness.
(so could avoiding falling into panic and envy altogether)
He objected to religion saying things like poverty is a virtue because the rich will find it hard to get into heaven. He said there is nothing wrong in being rich, healthy and successful.
(nothing wrong if you build and run proper business on ethical moral grounds and not hurt people and share  your fortunes with those who are not so lucky. Today many businesses are not moral or ethical or share)What Nietzche also may have not understood is that the Bible does not concern itself with financial riches as much as it does with the riches of the mind soul and spirit because they belong to God. Bodies are just the outer wear and they enjoy financial riches found in material wealth.

Nietzche believed abolishing pain and suffering was just plain idiocy because it is through these sort of things that happiness could be found. Imagine being a Prima Ballerina without blisters and muscle pain and agility which requires a lot of work. Well joy can be found in becoming one but sacrifices in love, family, children must be made as well  and this leads to a lonely life.

He was a brilliant man but as all brilliant people find, it is lonely at the top because people do not understand you. He could not find a solution to this problem.
He could not find a purpose or reason to continue life and  living.
Death to him, was a solution to all things.
(religion could have helped him here. He could have opened the doors to true love. Love, giving and nurture resolves many issues. He would have experienced the joy of camaraderie)

You can bring a horse to water as they say but you cannot make him drink.
This makes teaching a very difficult undertaking. You have to get people to want to learn and understand. Identifying the problem is half the battle.
Today we have the problem of identifying why students go into rap, as opposed to science and learning. lol

Seneca was another philosopher during psychotic Neros' time. He was Neros' tutor and tried to leave but Nero did not let him go.
Seneca dealt with issues of anger and fury. He saw much of it in Rome as we see it today on our own streets in road rage except then it had to do more with the ineptitude of slaves.
He attributed anger to optimism and having  high expectations, saying we would benefit psychologically from lowering expectations.
He said people are similar to dogs on a leash. The dog has freedom of movement but the leash limits where he can go.
The difference between man and dog is that man has reason and rationally can determine what he can and cannot do.( I'd say a dog does too. A dog knows to stay away from danger. A dog knows not to pee in the house.)
Fury can be avoided if one prepares for things to go wrong.
 Every morning there is an exercise to go through, to prepare yourself for your day,
as to what can go wrong.
 Use of pessimism can be helpful
in adjusting to the world which you can't control and won't conform to your wishes.
(again it can be argued that with a positive mind, you can adjust if you prepare but with a negative mind you can prepare and then say: Aha! I knew it! and still have fury.)
In Italy there was a Goddess called Fortune who held control over man. The biggest achievement
was her message sent , by destroying Pompei.
 She showed that she was in control and not man.

Seneca made an imprint on the world by the way he died and this is why philosophy is something to learn from.
Nero ordered  Seneca to kill himself.

Senecas' teachings on the virtues of pessimism, learning to prepare for things to go wrong, helped change his attitude from anger, desperation, fear, fury etc.. to one of quiet calm, as he took a knife to his wrist. Acceptance of defeat, acceptance of not worrying over something he could not control and lowering his expectations of life and in living,
made it psychologically easier for him in death.

He died in dignity, living and more importantly dying, what he taught, amazing his students of philosophy.

" What need of it to cry over parts of life when the whole of it is a cause for tears?"

We say this today when someone is killed.
Why punish the killer, when the life he took, cannot be returned?
 Let him carry the psychological burden.
( Many of our soldiers carry this burden as the imprint of their actions remains in their souls.
Today we desensitize people to killing and even torture by the games and movies we show.
Children raised in day care do not have the nurture they need from a Mother.)

Cry when the person is alive. Cry to save life for the living, not the dead.
Stop crime before it happens, not after.
 Take precautions to avoid bad things from happening, as best you can.
Close the loop holes. Say NO!

We find trouble preparing for this kind of loss.
We feel fury, anguish, pain and suffering in spite of ourselves and find no comfort from philosophical teachings
and yet............
Having something to look forward to, found in faith and hope of an eternal existence ,
 is another philosophy and perhaps a solution to many of our psychological dilemmas.
Philosophers and philosophy do not end in death.

In this lie the virtues of pessimism.
(Unless of course we raise people to be cut off, immune or desensitized to pain and suffering
and psychological distress. In the past we called these people insane. In todays' world
we may call them martyrs, who feel nothing and love what they do.)


No comments: