abortion...and existentialism...

Robert V. Scheetz ay581 at yfn.ysu.edu
Tue Aug 15 18:05:18 MDT 1995

Walker: "1. Why do you think the Hippocratic Oath forbids abortion and assisted
suicide? I don't have the text in front of me ...?"

The proscription against abortion/euthenasia is unequivocal; and exegesis
would elaborate the article to indicate he felt the need to take a "civilized" stance
against what were widespread practices which he held to be "barbaric".

Walker "2. What's wrong with the Enlightenment perspective ...? "

The anthropology which held Reason to be the dominant mode of human being
and coterminus with, or constitutive of,  the old Patonic trinity, Goodness/
Truth/Beauty has been resoundingly discredited for even the most provincial of us;
not only in theory by Freud and Einstein but by such events as the sustained indisciminate
mechanized butchery that was WW I /WW II and the "madness"
which Science serenely and willfully practiced: Auschwitz/Hiroshima.
     A contemporary Western consciousness is Swiftean with a vengeance.  It perceives
a landscape dominated by manic acquisitiveness and moronic consumption; an
ironic anthropology, vicious/inane/repulsive.  Contemporary reality (Bosnia, Rwanda,
Somalia, Haiti...Oklahoma City, Waco...The Gulf War Massacre ["Operation Just Cause"],
"dirty war" torture and death squads from Argentina to Mexico,...inner cities, drugs, gang-
banging, etc.etc., ad nauseam) bludgeons us into acknowledging that "sweetness &
light" is a very inconsiderable part of being human; and Reason rather demonic  (we have
science to thank for nuclear weapons, industry for ecological breakdown, and bourgeois
liberalism [in the classic sense of the laissez faire market and mercenary ethic] for our
moral desolation) than salvific.

Walker: "3. What's Marxist about the position you described as "Existentialist

Existentialist in its acknowledgement of nihilism as the milieu of being, the human
condition, and positing human being as the maker of meaning, becoming.  In an ironic
sense we are our own gods, free to do as we please, beyond/beneath good and
evil.  Mostly, by inertia, meaningless biological existences like the rest of brute
creation, we are, however, free to become...thru will and violence an exalted man,
ubermensch, like Zarathustra, (Napoleon/Hitler), now considered rather unsalvific,
or, a "maker" in the marxian humanist sense.
      When we examine our culture for something redemptive we discover something very
demotic: it is all the achievement of Labor.  Chartres, for us, is not a monument to God, a
bishop or a  warlord (Philip the Fair ?) but to the creative glories of human labor.
Consider Pound's famous estimation of Capitalism:
                                        With usury has no man a good house
                                         made of stone, no paradise on a church wall...etc.
                                                                                 (Canto 51)

with its implicit humanist paeon to Labor, etc. etc.
     From this insight arises the proletariat's moral right to leadership, and its
earnest of a humanist salvation for Western Civ., etc.

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