"The Existentialists": Part 1 - Gabriel Marcel - The Neo-Socratic

in philosophy •  6 months ago 

The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism.
"Existentialists": Part 1 - Gabriel Marcel - The Neo-Socratic

"Manifested anxiety is the measure of an individual's exercised freedom of choice"- charlie777pt

1 - Introduction

There is a point of view that all existentialists share besides their different paradigmatic approaches that are through our choices that we become who we are.
Our existential angst is the mother of the manifested anxiety and man/woman is condemned to live in an eternal choice to solve it, on the stairway to freedom.
Existentialists are big contributors to the cause of anti-conformism and individual autonomy to choose the way to act.

Before starting with Gabriel Marcel, I would like to mention the contribution of two Spanish philosophers as early contributors to the existentialist cause, Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936) and José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955).
The Basque Miguel de Unamuno is mainly a poet but in his philosophical book Tragic Sense of Life, he feels a weirdo reality, where he wants to find the Truth, the meaning of Existence and himself.
His philosophical view most anchored in Kierkegaard is also very personal but based in metaphysics, knowledge theory and the existential quest for life.

"Suffering is the substance of life and the root of personality, for it is only suffering that makes us persons" - Miguel de Unamuno

The philosopher Ortega y Gasset sees Unamuno as a quasi-philosopher with deep thoughts about reality, and he contributed with a remarkable book, The Revolt of the Masses, fighting rationalism and modernity with its empty subjectivist idealism.
He is critical about the masses in society, increasingly invested with power to act by the genesis and rise of the Mass-Man that he sees in all the range of social classes, characterized by the bourgeois civilization and way of thinking.

“To be different is to be indecent.” - Ortega y Gasset

There is no confluence of thought between all the existentialists, and they all had quarrels and disagreements between them, but they all agreed in one point that Man is born entitled to the quest for personal freedom.

"Philosophy and Art as revolutions of consciousness are always dangerous to any centralized abusive power." - charlie777pt

2 - Gabriel Marcel, the Post-Socratic

"I am my body." - Gabriel Marcel

Gabriel Marcel was pointed as on the first existentialists, but he always preferred to be named a post-Socratic philosopher, and he was a big critic of Sartre and other atheist existentialists, mainly by their opposing religious beliefs.
The first influences of Gabriel Marcel are the German idealist Schelling, and Josiah Royce and the English Samuel Taylor Coleridge, but his great jump in thought came from Henri Bergson, that put him in the right path to his concrete existential philosophy, and the search for the Self.
He saw philosophy as the investigation about the Self, using what he called "ontological demand", as the main questions that are the basis of his thoughts.

His first paradigm brings the concepts of the interaction between the Problem- the control of Man over things-, that involve and imprison the Mystery- The unavailable Self -, that Man can't recognize, identify or have its mental representation.
The Self is totally subjective, and can be felt with some intuitive glimpses in Existence, and "that can't be dissolved by the dialectics of experience".

The binomial connection of Mystery/Problem between Thought and Action, he develops a second paradigm in the book Être et Avoir (To Be and To Have), as the opposing pair where the Self is immersed in the objectification of possessions because Existence is inseparable from the Body.
Gabriel Marcel wants to find the way for the Self in the binomial relation of the external Body with Reality, refusing the Cartesian separation between the subject and the object of knowledge, where the being is a mystery.

"I can not say anything about myself that is authentically myself." - Gabriel Marcel

The Ontological Demand of Man is ephemeral and it is not a conscious will, but a kind of natural desire, that has been silenced by modern society life, instilled with the search for materiality (To Have) instead of the search for the mystery of the Self.
He wants to replace the anxiety and dissatisfaction of Sartre by a feeling of hope, fidelity, and love, going in a different direction with the transcendence of religion and God making the Self irrelevant.

"It is absolutely necessary that I lose consciousness of the individual reality of being that I may be led to suppress." - Gabriel Marcel

To me this a total contradiction with his theory that leaves no answers but transcendence, as an unsolvable answer to the questions he poses making reality a prison of an outside entity, without any definable form, that makes the Self non-existant.

3- Technology is killing the Self

"But a science is exact to the extent that its method measures up to and is adequate to its object." - Gabriel Marcel

Marcel was afraid that modernity was swallowing the Self because people are getting too attached to science and technology in the construction of social decision making, where people is impersonalized and reduced to mere Things.
He had ethical considerations about the relation between Power and Technique, that is always controlling its outcomes, but he also saw Technology as a fountain of human satisfaction and realization because, it can enrich and educate the human character.
The risk he previewed is already real today, that man has become a prisoner of Science and Technology, without an escape to his natural spiritual dignity to serve Mankind, with people leaving in a to distort reality that obliterates the space of the Self.

This reality can't mirror the real Selves of people and makes Mankind renounce to the old Socratic quote of "Know Your Self" as the first philosophical paradigm of self-liberation.
He believed Technocracy was becoming a black hole that couldn't be stopped to attract Man to inhumanity, where life has no intrinsic value in face of the productivity criteria of cold technology.
Like Marcel, I believe we must dedicate ourselves to mistery of the Self, and avoid the weight of material possessions, but I can't accept that the last solution is the transcendence of the mystery of God and faith, making our being totally obsolete in Existence.
His relation between Technique and Anxiety is explained in the gap of the continuous search for possessions and the fear of losing it, and the fulfillment of the unsustainable lightness of the Being.

We have to reverse the social tendency to value possessions (To Have) as if they were great human qualities (To Be) so that humanity does not finish in a dead end.

"I can not be really at peace with myself if I'm not at peace with my brothers." - Gabriel Marcel


Intro to Personalism: Gabriel Marcel (Michael Healy)

Gabriel Marcel | On the Ontological Mystery (part 1) | Existentialist Philosophy & Literature

Gabriel Marcel | On the Ontological Mystery (part 2) | Existentialist Philosophy & Literature

The Dialectics of Liberation: Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism.
Published Posts:

I - Anarchism
II - Existentialism
  • The "Existentialists"
    • Part 1 - Gabriel Marcel - The Neo-Socratic - This post
Next posts on the Series:
II - Existentialism(Cont.)
  • The "Existentialists"
    • Part 1 - Gabriel Marcel - The Neo-Socratic - This post
    • Part 2 - Jean-Paul Sartre - The Man of The 20th Century
    • Part 3 - Simone de Beauvoir - The Castor
    • Part 4 - Albert Camus - The Absurdist
    • Part 5 - Merleau-Ponty - The Humanist Existentialist
  • Humanism and Existentialism
    • Part 1 - Humanistic Psychologists
    • Part 2 - The Fear of Freedom of Erich Fromm
  • Existentialism and Anarchism
  • The Future : Posthumanism, transhumanism and inhumanism
III - Decentralism
  • What is Decentralism?
  • The Philosophy of Decentralism
  • Blockchain and Decentralization
  • Anarchism, Existentialism, and Decentralism
IV - Dialectic for Self-Liberation
  • The Dialectics of Liberation Congress
  • Psychedelics, Libertarian and artistical movements
  • The Zen Buddism of Alan Watts
  • Psychoanalysis and Existentialism
  • The Anti-psychiatry movement
  • Anarchism, Existentialism, Decentralism and Self-Liberation
V - Conclusions and Epilogue
- charlie777pt on Steemit:
Social Reality: Index of the series about Social Reality: Power, Violence and change

Collectivism vs. Individualism
Index of Chapter 1 - Anarchism of this series Part 1 This Series:
Do Biotas dream of a blockchain city?
Oizerman, Teodor
.O Existencialismo e a Sociedade. Em: Oizerman, Teodor; Sève, Lucien; Gedoe, Andreas, Problemas Filosóficos.2a edição, Lisboa, Prelo, 1974.
Sarah Bakewell, At the Existentialist Café: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Others
Levy, Bernard-Henry , O Século de Sartre,Quetzal Editores (2000)
Jacob Golomb, In Search of Authenticity - Existentialism From Kierkegaard to Camus (1995)
Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
Louis Sass, Madness and Modernism, Insanity in the light of modern art, literature, and thought (revised edition)
Hubert L. Dreyfus and Mark A. Wrathall, A Companion to Phenomenology and Existentialism (2006)
Charles Eisenstein, Ascent of Humanity
Walter Kaufmann, Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre(1956)
Herbert Read, Existentialism, Marxism and Anarchism (1949 )
Martin Heidegger, Letter on "Humanism"(1947)
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power (1968)
Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism And Human Emotions
Jean-Paul Sartre, O Existencialismo é um Humanismo
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Sense and Non-Sense
Michel Foucault, Power Knowledge Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977
Erich Fromm, Escape From Freedom. New York: Henry Holt, (1941)
Erich Fromm, Man for Himself. 1986
Gabriel Marcel, Being and Having: an existentialist diary
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, The Visible and The Invisible
Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences. Essays on Language, Action and Interpretation
Brigite Cardoso e Cunha, Psicanálise e estruturalismo (1979)
Paul Watzlawick, How Real is Reality?
G. Deleuze and F. Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia,
Robert C. Solomon, Existentialism

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Interesting read as usual.

Looking at the bottom of the post, you appear to have planned quite a long series for the net weeks I guess. Will be great!

Regarding the detachment from material possessions I think we are on the same page. Many spiritual people, however, overexaggerate that behavior and principally start destesting materialistic things altogether. I would say that, as always, balance is the best way, which means that we can indeed enjoy physicality without attaching to it or defining ourselves over it. We live in a physical world with a physical body, and completely rejecting it will only cause us inevitable feelings of guilt, discomfort and resistance.

Thanks a lot!

Sorry my friend, but I forgot to hit the post button
Thanks a lot for the careful reading and enlighted comments as a brand that should guide Steemit.
You are definitely right, there is a balance sheet between "To Have" as Non-existence of the dark material world, and "To Be" as the light of Existence.
Yes, our bodies are the Wombs of Existence framed in Materiality.
When we go to extremes it means that there are some pathological symptoms hidden in the dark corners of our mind.
And thanks for the feeling that Steemit is still alive. :)
You're always welcome my friend with your motivation to write for people instead of bots.
And "Do worry"
"To be happy"