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Member Skype #32 Warmup – Existentialism & ‘Death’

This is the Warmup thread for Member Skype Call #32, which is focused on existentialism and ‘death’.

Suggested by Dante from New York. Why did I put inverted commas around ‘death’? Good question.

‘Existentialism’ is a word we can use to describe the practice of pondering about the nature of our existence.

It is considered a distinct sub-branch within philosophy, but ultimately all branches tie in with one another.

In fact, official sources will try to tell you that existentialism is a doctrine, with certain inherent/common beliefs among ‘existentialists’.

For the purpose of this call I will be ignoring that suggestion.

To me, ‘existentialism’ is a word I use to describe the practise of pondering the nature of our existence.

If you have ever found yourself wondering, ‘why the hell am I here’, then you have spent at least some time dealing with existentialism, as so defined.

A lot of people cite Nietzsche as an existentialist philosopher. Others cite Kierkegaard as the ‘original’ or ‘pioneering’ existentialist.

While I am sure that these dudes had interesting things to say, what I’m looking forward to in this thread (and associated call) call is hearing what you have to say.

In Member Skype Call #29 we discussed stories, meaning, and purpose. It was a thoroughly enjoyable call, as both participant and listener.

In Member Skype Call #31 we discussed The Thirteenth Floor, a film which explores questions about the nature of our reality and our existence.

Some people truly believe that we are living in a ‘computer simulation’.

Even if this were indeed the case (I doubt it), where would our meaning come from?

In a world which may seem absurd, how could any thinking person not feel the occasional sense of disorientation?

I don’t know about you guys but every now and then, I find myself wondering, ‘what the hell is going on here?’

Sometimes I ask myself directly, in my own head: ‘Seriously bro wtf is this world?’

I don’t know where that voice comes from. I assume it is my own.

This just leads the the next problem of wondering what ‘I’ am.

I’ve got some hypotheses about things, some theories (in the general sense of the term).

Have you ever had a dream where you were certain you were going to die?

And then you ‘woke up’ and it was just a dream?

I have, many times. Although oddly, not lately (that I can remember, anyway).

In MSC #31 the topic of ‘lucid dreaming’ came up, although only relatively briefly.

The topic deserves an entire call all to itself.

Anyhow, there is a film called Waking Life. Many of you will have seen it.

The protagonist is encouraged to test to see if he is dreaming, by flicking the light switch in any room he enters.

If the light switch doesn’t work, you’re probably dreaming.

Might sound crazy, at first. You know what sounds crazy to me?

Waking up every day and following the orders of some shmuck just to get paid a living wage.

Sitting around an office with a bunch of turkeys who honestly believe that they evolved from bacteria.

Day in, day out, for forty years.

Now that is insane to me, but it does give the Epsilons meaning.

And there are far more Epsilons out there than there are JLB’s.

And as we discussed in MSC #27 (expected release date some time next week), the proportion of Epsilons out there grows with every passing year.

Everything appears to be going to somebody’s plan…

So it seems silly to me to bemoan the absurdities of the normie life. They seem happy enough.

What I ought to concern myself with is my own happiness, my own contentedness with life.

And when I feel I have purpose, I feel good.

But I have to give myself that purpose. I have to find goals and work towards them.

It would all be so easy if I were just suggestible enough to believe that some book, or some dude on the TV, could give me purpose.

Perhaps if I were to spend a decade or so damaging my brain via heavy substance abuse, I might be able to regress to such a level of buffoonery.

Alas, this is beyond me, at least for the time being.

I find myself in what seems like an somewhat-happy truce with the Kosmos.

It plays jokes on me, and I laugh along. Well, I try.

What else is there to do?

I suppose I could always jump in front of a train.

But what if I do that and then simply wake up in my bed, still intact?

That would be rather embarrassing for all parties concerned.

Sometimes I wonder how interactive a film can be.

What is supposed to be a one-way transmission can seem like a truly two-way experience.

When I reviewed The Thirteenth Floor the other night, I found myself asking:

Was this film made specifically for me to watch right now, in this very moment?

I know the answer to this question.

Well, I know the appropriate answer. The one I would give if asked by another ‘human’.

Speaking of humans, these two supposedly wrote some cool stuff. I wonder if they were truly happy.

I can’t help but suspect that neither of them are terribly happy right now…


Uncle Jung ftw.


Cousin Friedrich lookin’ cosy.


I look forward to the call this weekend. Hope to see you there 🙂



8 thoughts on “Member Skype #32 Warmup – Existentialism & ‘Death’

  • i volunteered to lead this call, but by no means wish to monopolize its direction. my best thinking thus far has yet to get me where i want to be, so others’ perspectives are most welcome.

    much of my interest in the ACT realm is directly connected to existential questions, which can both trouble and beckon the imagination.

    recognizing deception around (and within) me has certainly added layers of nuance to these issues, and most definitely has forced me to re-evaluate some of my formerly obstinate positions.

    more on this later, but if there are any particular points / directions you would like to discuss / explore – i’m as open to suggestions as julia’s orifices : )

  • Hey Crew

    Bugger …….. I would have enjoyed participating I am sure you will solve the meaning of life in my absence and I will be able to hear the call later as edutainment so that I may get my monies worth of enlightenment and have the secrets of the universe laid out for me.

    Yeah right …… not……. after reading the short piece on the art and science of the practice of scepticism by JLB, the practice of asking existential questions would seem to be a minefield that the logic mind and purveyor of quantifiable facts and primary source documentation would have to tread upon with trepidation.

    In the context of the conspiracy realm, An existential threat is a threat to a people’s existence or survival which seems to be a tactic used as a control mechanism by the dark lords so I would be interested to hear the thoughts on how this influences Existential questions about how and whether life has meaning, and why we exist and indeed if it can be manipulated to a level that has the desired outcomes of population control and subservient messaging. Regards Russell

    • Your perspective would have been perfect for this call.

      I will be sure to read out your last above paragraph here during the discussion, as well as anything else you add ahead of time.

  • I would like to join the discussion next weekend concerning existentialism and death.

    I have a request, though…

    I live in Europe and these calls always take place at a very inconvenient time for me.
    Is there any chance that the skype call can be scheduled at a more convenient time for all participants involved?
    May I suggest that you start sundayevening at about 2100 hours, so that I can tune in sundayafternoon (8 hours earlier). That way, Dante can be there sundaymorning (14 hours earlier). If my calculations are off, pls let me know.

    Typing this message makes me realize how far apart from each other we actually are. Isn’t that the funniest thing? Even with the greatest invention of the previous century (the internet) it’s still a bit of a challenge for the 3 of us to connect simultaneously.

    • Hey DNA, nice to hear from you.

      I will be more than happy to set aside a second block for this call, if for no other reason than to squeeze in one final debutante for Season One of the MSC.

      9pm is a little late for me, because it means that if the chat goes well, I won’t get to bed until midnight, and I already stay up too late, too often, as it is.

      How about I set aside 8pm for me on Sunday night? This would be 6am New York and 11am London.

      This means that participants for the call this weekend can choose to join either Block A (usual time) or Block B (as above).

      I can then release MSC #32 in a Part A and a Part B.

      If the proposed times for Block B are amenable, then this is how it will look:

      (Calls start)

      Block A: 9am Sunday morning (Brisbane) | 7pm Saturday night (New York) | midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning (London)

      Block B: 8pm Sunday night (Brisbane) | 6am Sunday morning (New York) | 11am Sunday morning (London)

      How does this sound?

  • not my call, but perhaps the next season of MSC’s can shift to a new time based on JLB’s new headquarters and new demand from the European outpost.

    as for me, while working (and waiting) for the installation of new operating system(s)…the present hard drive is still not functional early in the morning, despite all its heavenly glory : )

    • If there is enough interest, I’m more than happy to set aside two blocks for these calls.

      One in my morning/afternoon, one in my evening.

      Then everybody will have at least one opportunity to participate at a convenient time.

      The only proviso is that if I am going to set aside an entire day of my life for the purpose, then I expect the other participant(s) to be committed to the project.

      In other words, not ‘oh I might have nothing better to do that day, I might pop in’, but ‘I will set aside that time and look forward to the call’.

      In the case of DNA this weekend, it sounds like he is genuinely interested in contributing to the call, so I am more than happy to set aside Sunday night on top of Sunday morning/afternoon. I’m already looking forward to chatting with him.

      I have suggested in the past that if enough people were committed to Block B, it could become a regular thing, almost like how WWE has ‘Monday night Raw’ and ‘[whatever night] [whatever their other line is called]’.

      Group discussion being what it is, it could eventually be the case that the Block B crew develop a distinct atmosphere of their/our own.

      For example, suppose the topic of the week is, ‘Predictions for the year 2030’. It may be that everybody expects ahead of time that Block A will take a serious and logical approach to the call, but that Block B is likely to be taking the piss and cracking jokes the whole way through. Or vice versa.

      Most people would probably still listen to both calls, but over time, different listeners will develop their own preference, and the contrast between Block A and Block B would work in a synergistic way i.e. seeing/listening to each topic/conversation being addressed in very different ways will add a new level to the experience.

      We might not have reached a critical mass for Block B to be a regular thing yet — we still struggle to get more than one other person to some of the current calls (thank god for Mezzie and Chad) — but in time, I could see the Block A / Block B thing working well, in several ways.

  • Thank you, John, for being so flexible. I have given it some thought.

    IMHO, A big plus of these chats is that there are several people present. Therefore I suggest we use the regular block and I stay up for the occasion. I shall take a little nap before the show 😉

    Also, since it is my first time, I think the flexibility should come from my part first.

    I hope to speak to you all in a few hours.

    PS: I tried to find you on skype, but somehow i am unable to.

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