Quad: 3rd Party Commentary

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by Gustav, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I think I mentioned earlier that I wondered about the Irish element after realising that the Irish immigrants escaping famine and the civil rights activism were only a few years apart. I posted a picture in the South African thread to show the 100 years between the beginning of the civil rights activism and the civil rights era.

    If I was referring to the civil rights era, I would have said civil rights era.

    My exact words were:

     
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  3. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Well, of course. It should go without saying that evaluations of good/bad-faith must themselves be undertaken in good faith to be reliable. And that said evaluations, like any evaluation, are themselves subject to dismissal/attack/marginalization if they are seen to be undertaken in bad faith.

    Perhaps more to the point: I don't suggest some unitary, individual "arbiter" that we hold up as a paragon of perfect good faith and rationality. I've been pretty clear in this thread that such evaluations are necessarily communal in nature - everyone makes their own evaluation, and the weight of that falls where it falls. My purpose here, is to raise consciousness of such considerations so that members, in general, so evaluate more carefully, frequently and reliably.

    Well yeah, obviously. That's the entire premise of this thread - that we need to watch our for such and disincentivize it when we encounter it. Given that you have spent most of this thread arguing that such a pursuit is impossible and oppressive, and positing blanket defenses of such derangement under the rublic of relativism and individual autonomy, I'm unclear on why you're complaining about it now. This is exactly what you are advocating, and you manifestly view resistance to such as an attack on you personally. So, isn't this state of things exactly what you want?

    I think you need to step back from your oppositional stance in this thread, and take a careful stock of where you actually stand on this question. I'm getting the sense that your posts here are driven by some oppositional ideation, rather than a positive stance on the first-order subject matter.

    Again, I'm at a loss. You seem to be, at least nominally, in favor of scientific rationalism overpowering personal bias in this post. And yet you've spent the bulk of this thread arguing directly against my suggestions to empower the former, and defending the latter as a matter of personal autonomy and relativism. Frankly, I don't see where you're actually coming down positively on either side of this issue - there's only the negative inferences of your voicing opposition to certain people/posts/statements.
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I think my previous post can stand as exhibit A as to exactly what I am opposing here.
     
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  7. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Are these exclusive things as practiced by Buddhists?
     
  8. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed - and that caused much confusion (which I voiced in direct response), because the standard connotation of "civil rights activism," in timeline terms, is the 1960's.

    And I'll note that, in that post, you used the term "reconstruction era," and contrasted it with "civil rights era," and so avoided any confusion.

    So you said "civil rights activism" instead of "civil rights era." You can surely see how the supposed distinction there is not obvious, even in hindsight. It looks for all the world like an elision. When you use the term "civil rights" to refer to a specific time period in US history (whether you say "era" or "activism" or "movement" or whatever), it's going to be understood to refer to the 1960's. There are other terms for the other periods (Abolitionism, Civil War, Reconstruction, etc.) which you should use to refer to other periods, in order to minimize confusion.

    The fact that you posted a picture in another thread and referred to civil rights advocacy in the Reconstruction period, does not impose upon anyone any obligation to assume that you are referring to the Reconstruction era when you subsequently use the term "civil rights," especially in other threads. The only definitions and connotations that anyone is answerable to, are the standard ones. Adherence to such standards being a prerequisite of the function of language - if you go around redefining every term every time you use them, then nobody will ever be able to understand what you're trying to say. Which is why I'm encouraging you to learn and adhere to the general standard usages.

    Anyway, I'm not sure what you're trying to prove to me here. All I'm telling you is what the standard connotations of "civil rights" are, in timeline terms, when referring to the American context. When you don't follow those standards, it confuses your audience. So, probably the best response is to just stick with the standard terminology to avoid any confusion.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    You are opposing your own confusing usage of nomenclature for periods of American history? Or, your defenses of such? I don't see what you're trying to suggest, nor how it relates to the thread topic.
     
  10. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Since I do not possess your perspective, it looks like civil rights activism to me, especially when I have combined it with clearly stated Irish immigration following famine. The point is that as a third person commenting on an aspect of civil rights somewhere in the world, I am offering my perspective here. The fact that you can only see it through the lens of yours, is quite frankly, not my problem
     
  11. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Nobody is saying that civil rights activism is not civil rights activism.

    The point is that when you use the phrase "civil rights" to refer to a specific time in American history, it's understood to mean the 1960's.

    And note that multiple Americans were confused by this, and responded that there is a century gap between the civil rights era and the Irish famine. So clearly, your phrasing did not have the intended effect, and instead confused your target audience. I mean, who exactly were these speculations about American history addressed to, if not the Americans that you were interacting with when you posted them?

    Nobody is having the slightest difficulty understanding your underlying point, once the timeline confusion is addressed. Indeed, I substantially agreed with parts of it. But the way you worded it is unnecessarily confusing, and so I have suggested to keep the standard word usage in mind to avoid such confusion in the future. I'm unclear on why you view this suggestion as so threatening or oppressive. Using standard terminology is a simple matter of clarity, not some hegemonic imposition of Orientalist ideology or something. So, how about you forgo the cagey "fuck off I don't care what you think" defensiveness and instead simply pocket this as a lesson learned about terminology for American historical periods that will improve your clarity going forward?
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Ok. Now can you show me when I used the phrase "civil rights" to refer to a specific time in American history?


    Yes, because apparently, Americans are not aware that there is a history of civil rights activism which predates the civil rights era. Or, they don't read whole sentences. Or, they automatically dismiss the opinions of others as ignorant or mistaken. Or, they prefer to think that others are lying rather than they might have mistaken the issue.



    What is the standard terminology that we can use instead of civil rights activism to refer to civil rights activism?

    According to the free dictionary:

    Noun 1. civil rights activist - a leader of the political movement dedicated to securing equal opportunity for members of minority groups
     
  13. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Of course. That's the entire issue in this digression. Don't be obtuse.

    The phrase you used in the confusion-inducing post was "civil rights movement for blacks in the US." Here is the relevant Wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_rights_movement#Civil_rights_movement_in_the_United_States

    "The civil rights movement in the United States includes noted legislation and organized efforts to abolish public and private acts of racial discrimination African Americans and other disadvantaged groups between 1954 to 1968, particularly in the southern United States. It is sometimes referred to as the Second Reconstruction era, echoing the unresolved issues of the Reconstruction era in the United States (1863–1877)." (bold mine)

    Note, again, that your previous picture post exhibited the correct nomenclature ("reconstruction" for the 1860's, "civil rights" for the 1960s). Also note - again - that two other posters besides myself also read your post as referring to the 1960's.

    Don't be silly. This is no different than people talking about "the depression" or "the war" or "slavery" or "the revolution" to refer to specific times and places. It doesn't mean they think those are the only instances of such in history. It just means that they are prominent enough to have taken on special connotations.

    Does the fact that "partition" connotes a certain period in Indian history imply that anybody believes that it is the only instance of a country being partitioned?

    Interesting the lengths you'll go to to avoid admitting that you flubbed the terminology. Why are you in such a rush to start a flamewar over the simple suggestion that you adopt standard historical terminology to avoid confusing people?

    I just said that there is no difficulty there, in my last post in this thread. The difficulty is in using "civil rights" to refer to a specific period of American history. I hope you'll drop this derail now.

    This "quote-the-dictionary" tactic is extremely disrespectful, and obtuse when it comes on the heels of an direct, explicit address of that point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  14. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Indifference isn't quite how I understand it.
    Although I am trying to think how I do understand it and failing to find a succint way of doing that.
    It's more becoming impersonal to oneself and others.
    This doesn't mean you don't care about the sufferings of the sentient creatures around you.
    In fact, shutting your mind up and no longer focusing on oneself...you notice it more.

    The sun shines on the saintly and on the vicious killers as well?:shrug:
     
  15. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    "Detachment" might be a better term. I dunno - we could always just stick with the actual Buddhist terms rather than settling for translations. The major ones are pretty widely known to most English-speakers anyway.

    And what could be more (Zen) Buddhist than that?

    Also the description of Buddhism as anti-pragmatic seems to ignore some pretty major features, like the Middle Way.

    Let's also consider the words of the Zen master Sent-ts'an:

    “If you want truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.”​
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  16. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I think that a kind of curious reading as well. I can see how it might apply to certain strains of Buddhism as practiced in South Asia (I'm thinking primarily India), but not so much else.

    Moreover, I would add that a number of thinkers have drawn parallels between Buddhism and American Pragmatism, from the Pragmatists of the early 20th century to more latter-day commentators.

    And as Quad notes, "detachment" seems more apt than "indifference," and would be consistent with both Western readings and Asian alike--I'm thinking here particularly of the dialogue between Thomas Merton and D.T. Suzuki, amongst countless other examples.

    That said, Merton, et al, saw parallels in Eckhart's Gelassenheit and Abgescheidenheit (best translated--or most succinctly rather--as "detachment" and "releasement") and there's been no shortage of "thinkers," within and outside of Catholicism, who are wont to interpret these notions as mere indifference or quietism.
     
  17. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, it's worth bearing in mind that Buddhism, in the west, is more of a bourgeoise intellectual phenomenon and tends to very pragmatic expressions. The classic American Buddhist, in my imagination, is a 20-something female grad student who considers herself both Buddhist and <whatever Christian denomination she grew up in>. Which is to say that she has some Buddha statues in her apartment, medidates sporadically, and visited Nepal one summer, but never misses a major family church event. It's almost more of a lifestyle affectation, than a genuine religious undertaking.

    The impression I get is that Buddhism in Asia is much more focussed on the monastic and devotional aspects.
     
  18. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    In grad school, I studied briefly under this guy who was amongst a group of scholars--mostly North American, but a few European as well--who were focused upon a more critical historiography of Buddhism and it's spread throughout Asia than the likes of Suzuki, Blythe, Alan Watts,Herrigal, et al, prior them--whose work was by no means proper "scholarship" (though Suzuki considered himself quite the "scholar"

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    ) but nonetheless was what the vast majority of Western Buddhists had been exposed to prior. Interestingly, this was the late 1990's and while much of the popular stuff had been available for decades, there was a serious shortage of truly critical scholarship in the area by Westerners until this period.

    When discussing some of this stuff with Buddhists outside of the university, I often encountered outright rage at the suggestion that, say, the transmission of the Dharma from patriarch to patriarch within the various Chinese Ch'an traditions was highly politicized and that Buddhism was every bit as regimented and dogmatic (though perhaps somewhat less violent) as was/is Catholicism or any of the Abrahamic traditions in the West.

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  19. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    Gee
    You'd think they'd have figured out that we're all screwups by now...
     
  20. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

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    IIRC it was in The Perennial Philosophy that Aldous Huxley first wrote of his experiences in India. Prior to visiting India, he suffered that common affliction--"Enchantment with the Orient"--but was quickly relieved upon stepping off of the train (or boat?); that is, the "sacred cow" wasn't accorded quite the respect he had come to expect.

    I had a very similar experience: I dropped out of college after my first two years and bought a plane ticket to India with the scholarship money I had saved--when I arrived, I had about 6 hundred dollars to my name and I spent 6 months in South Asia.

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    The disenchantment was overwhelming at first, until I simply concluded that people are--in certain respects--pretty much the same wherever you go. Still though, I maintain that Indians are by far the most resourceful people on the planet--many an Indian can accomplish with a stick and a nail what an American would require a sizable tool chest for.
     
  21. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jugaad
    They do go well beyond the white-trash engineering I'm familiar with...my gods...they often don't even have duck tape.

    Oh, Rhett, Rhett, whatever shall we do?

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  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    This is why I call it indifference. Data is objective, indifference is subjective. I tend to think of detachment as inability to connect, which I think is the wrong word for what Buddhism aims for. Disconnect seems the wrong word too. And I'm talking with reference to the self. You address issues concerning self with the same indifference which provides objectivity when you do it for someone else. Is it uncaring. I don't think so, but yes there is an emotional distance in the degree of involvement.

    As to why I consider it less pragmatic. Its because it doesn't translate well into practice. Its a state of mind where actions have no consequences to the self. Where there is no karma. Thats indifference
     
  23. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

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    That's the idea...
    Yes.
    I'm not there yet, but I am told the point is to transcend the self by redefining the self as including...the entirety of your experience? Which I guess means that the self is literally redefined so radically that it ceases to have any practical identity. Self and experience and surroundings run together...and you can't be indifferent to suffering because it's a part of the whole and you see the whole, and well... So indifferent isn't the word. Not attaching is part of it. But not all by a long ways?
    That's part of where I think Buddhism goes, but even when I get there, I probably won't be able to tell you what it is that I've found anyway.
    As long as we are sucking oxy, we can be improved on.
     

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