My other philosophical research project at the moment concerns a comparison of Martin Heidegger and Nishitani Keiji’s existence philosophies, and generalizing the similarities in order to understand a system through which we can better understand how to address problems of existence. All that is related to this eschatological venture however, is my personal system of existence philosophy which is distilled out of the generalization.
It goes something like this: we face problems of existence such as the Present Age as Kierkegaard presents, the Herd Instinct as Nietzsche presents, the Anyone as Heidegger presents, and others. The commonality, and what should be said for the benefit for readers who are not philosophers is this: society, or the way we interact with one another is pervaded with a system of giving people and things values which at the surface claims that everything has meaning, while in reality the meaning we claim is there is false. This is my conception of Nihilism, false meaning (this stems out of Nishitani’s definition). The problems that arise are the mechanization of humans and life. We are alive, but we are not living, or if we are we are not living our own lives, only those of robots obeying the capitalist overlords. Hopefully, you can see what I’m getting at.
I argue that these problems force us into a “stance of expectation”. What is a stance? A stance is the pivot point from which one observes their life, and its surroundings. A stance of expectation, is a stance in which on observes themselves and their surroundings, with expected labels and meaning prescribed into everything. This means they expect themself to be someone they are not, they expect others to be people/beings they are not, and they expect the objects around them to be things they are not. This is the cycle that perpetuates Nihilism, i.e. false meaning. False meanings force one into a stance of expectation, and one who is in expectation adds false meaning to society, perpetuating the cycle.
But this cycle is both frustrating and nullifying. Similar to the breakdown of Kierkegaard’s Aesthetic Sphere of Existence and Heidegger’s conception of fear vs anxiety, one is occasionally forced to reckon with the denial of their expectations or the inherent meaninglessness of the so-called meaning they expect to be there. They can continue to live in a stance of expectation and overlay more false meaning, perpetuating the cycle, or they can take a stance of receptivity.
A stance of receptivity is similar to Kierkegaard’s Religiousness A. That is, it is a stance of observing one’s life from the perspective that meaning is not something to expect, but rather something to be receptive to. Heidegger likes to talk about tools, and taking a note from him, we understand a tool such as a hammer as some-thing that is good for something. We cannot expect that a hammer is good for all things, or even many things. If we expect a hammer to be good for many or all things, we will break many things. If we are receptive to what the hammer shows itself as good-for, then we are in better tune with the world. Similarly, if we are open and receptive to listening to who others are, what things are, and who we are, we place ourselves at a good pivot point to engage with the world in meaningful ways.
Now all of this is not to say that my theory is correct or that it maps particularly well onto eschatology. Rather, I present the above as example of a negative and a positive stance. A stance of receptivity may be helpful in being receptive to what possibilities there are in the Apocalypse and its aftermath, but let us not pretend that when life hands you poop and then shoves it down your throat, you ought to be thankful. What stances might be helpful in the Apocalypse? One question for the comments to discuss. Some suggestions: a stance of decisiveness, namely taking hold of what you might be capable of in the moment and deciding to take those possibilities as very impactful; a stance of angst instead of fear, that is rather than being caught up in the fear of death, meaninglessness, or apathy and being paralyzed by them, you face down those very things which might stop you and invert them as reasons to act right now; a stance of absurdity, namely “Life’s crap these days, so why not live?” if that’s hard to understand, perhaps imagine Sisyphus happy.
A stance is a powerful thing. The very way in which we subconsciously, or consciously interact with our lives holds great impact. In times as tough as the Apocalypse, the stance we take in relation to that life is all the more powerful.