Respect is a modern luxury

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by gendanken, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    How do you deemotionalize a punch in the face?

    If you're looking for a *reason* for saying things like "Giving in to strict reason, and trying to be value-neutral, and talk about the greatness of Einstein and Hitler in the same breath -- is a dangerous thing, testifying of a lack of heart.", I don't think there really is a *reason*. I think such a position is another expression of the survival instinct, and it is internalized and instinctualized similar as fearing a rabid dog is.

    What Einstein's thinking and Hitler's thinking have in common is intensity -- yet one intensitiy is good, beneficient, creative, while the other intensity is bad, destructive. (Or so they are mostly perceived.) Is just so happens to be that humans have a strong tendency to choose what is beneficient for them, hence Albert.

    Also, in a system with more elements, we tend to make a hierarchy ( antural consequence of being a limited being and having to orientate oneself): whatever happens to be at the extremes will be either pursued as worthy, or rejected as unworthy. This hierarchy is always relative -- it is not an absolute hierarchy. If I compare Hitler and Stalin, I'd say Hitler was worse. If I compare Hitler and Ghengis Khan -- I'd think Ghengis worse. But does this make Hitler a good one then? Not necessarily.


    I know, you don't hold instinctive "reasoning" in high esteem. However, I firmly believe that there are more ways of processing and explaining information that just reason. Some meanings cannot be conveyed via means of reason -- this is why we do all sorts of other things, like kiss, fight, paint, draw, play music ... The way of reason is the long, tedious way, sure and (seemingly) safe -- and eventually quite boring. Those other ways are, in comparison to the way of reason, like magnificent wormholes.

    I know, you may say that it is all just a chemical soup -- but we, at least many of us, don't experience ourselves on the level of this chemical soup.

    We are led to believe, esp. with this "faith in reason" movement, that everything is explicable and understandable by means of reason. I think it is an ascetic madness to hold such a position.

    Reason, for its proper work, needs the tools of logic and empirical data. The tools of logic are sometimes hard to learn, and empirical data takes a lot of time and effort to gather and analyze. To make a *reasonable* claim, takes a lot of work. It is simply not feasible and not viable to indulge in that reasonable analyzing for long amounts of time and effort -- for we must also live: work, do things, act. -- So we act a lot on intuition, we act on instinct, we bluff all the time -- it is just that some aren't really aware of it.

    So saying "Giving in to strict reason, and trying to be value-neutral, and talk about the greatness of Einstein and Hitler in the same breath -- is a dangerous thing, testifying of a lack of heart." is something like a synthetic effect of a long line of influences, thought processes, experiences, and I don't think there is much to analyze.

    ***
    Once, it was just around 9/11, I was at a linguistics seminar with college students from the former Yugoslaw republics and Albania. Some of those students had their houses burnt down, were deported, some were even in battle.
    Then 9/11 happened, and one of the seminar topics that was to be about journalism, was abruptly changed and newspapers were brought and 9/11 was to be discussed. Of course, the topic of the Balkan war was inevitable, and some of the students started arguing about it -- like who deserved what.

    What I found most appalling is that the teacher from Germany thought the war no big deal -- Why couldn't we rationally talk about it? he asked. I could smash his fat face for that. The comforts of capitalism have made people think that everything can be and should be rationally discussed.

    But once life strikes with its brutest forces, the whole idiocity and unnaturalness of this "faith in reason" can become apparent. We are not just heads, and he is a fool who thinks we are.
     
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  3. Cyperium I'm always me Valued Senior Member

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    You really got your point through there RosaMagika, it's nice to see that someone are defending basic human understanding. We are less becoming humans, and more becoming a brick-wall if you ask me.
     
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  5. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    How could you? It's your actions that follow the punch that need to be considered.

    Well obviously your context brought this thought to be, so your context is your reason.

    Perhaps then you're phobic, or you fear that which you don't understand. It makes your jowels all frothy while you're waiting to pounce on the threat. That you have such a reaction to the comparison is perhaps because of your personal connection to it. Having no such connection myself, a similar impact is absent. When considering "thinkers who have taught us lessons that changed the world", I don't see how the comparison isn't valid. The stark contrast in their methods was intended to illustrate how your model of what constitutes "thinkers" is too narrow. I didn't know there was a nerve to touch there.


    Oh? You say it, so no other points can be valid or relevant? You DO know that some people view Eistein as the asshat and Hitler as the good guy right?

    Wow, a prescription for humanity. Thanks Rosa. Your benevolence is comparable in magnitude to your denial that people don't all think the same way. Mind you, I like Albert.. but there are a lot of fucks around the world who like Hitler, who like Hussein, who like to chop of the heads of people to make examples - who don't give the slightest shit about Einstein. It's probably not healthy to fixate on them, but it's denial to try and pretend they don't exist. You don't have to share their values, but it would be wise IMO, to take into account that they value their opinions in a manner similar to how we value might value our own.

    How naive to pretend that your heirarchy means anything to people of alternative cultures. What if it's flipped upside down or sideways? Does it matter to you that your heirarchy doesn't matter to someone else?

    That doesn't make sense. Why make a classification of reasoning that you seem to condone, then reject all reasoning?

    Who said reason is supposed to convey meaning? Reason is a means for comprehension. Words/actions convey meaning. Reason is how how you go about choosing them. If your conclusions about your experiences are valid in your context, you are reasonable.

    As an example of my meaning: If you go outside every day for your entire life and it's sunny - it is reasonable for you to expect that it's sunny every day. You reach that conclusion by reasoning based on your experience. If it rains once a week it would not be reasonable to expect it to be sunny every day.

    Man that sounds like a hormone-ridden teen in an afterschool special having a hissy fit about having to do homework every night. Is it finals week or something? "the way of reason" is basically "not being an idiot" or "using your brain for more than a hat rack". I don't see how that is "safe", tedious or boring. Maybe you're blond? Hehe. Yeah I'm just teasing.

    But you're comparing things that aren't the same.

    I'm with you on that. What's the difference anyhow? If the chemical soup adds up to a sense of self, you still have a sense of self. The chemical soup is interesting and all, but it does little to negate the sense of self.

    What "movement"? I'm the only one I'm aware of who uses that term. You know you can also use reason to determine what isn't understandable or explicable... right? Observational distance and all? Do you think someone reached the term "observational distance" by making out? Even if they were making out when they came up with the idea, it was still based in a valid conclusion from their prior experiences. If properly implemented, reason illuminates its boundaries.

    Faith in reason (the way I use it, and I'm the only one I know who uses it) is a statement about epistemology. I translate as follows: "I can't really know anything, even if my experience is real. That is difficult to base a perspective upon. I therefore assume (have faith) that my experience is "real", as it seems to promote my continued existence." Further, one might think based in "faith in reason" that reasonable actions are favored over those that aren't. That doesn't require that "everything is explicable and understandable by means of reason".

    And I think you're using terms incorrectly - like reason as a means for conveying meaning.

    Who says what's proper? Reason dictates that "proper" is a judgement call. If you don't have empirical data and still have to make a decision or reach a conclusion, it's perfectly reasonable to use whatever data you have - even if it's just your experience. Actually, I'd say the required quality of the data and analysis is directly proportional to the value placed on the result of your reasoning.

    Oh, and reason birthed logic - so it is not "required". Reason can be inclusive of intuition, emotional feedback, etc - depending on your context. The key is reaching valid conclusions in that context. The method for reaching those conclusions isn't necessarily correlated to its reasonability. "If I think 2+2 = 4 because if cheese I still came to a reasonable conclusion. The method is obviously questionable, but perhaps it's because my mom used to alway cut cheese into four pieces and put two of them on the right side the sandwich and two on the left. It didn't seem reasonable, but in the context of the person it was. Perhaps I made the connections unconsciously, so when asked about how I got there "cheese" was all I could think of.

    Why? You're thinking of science and calling science reason. While there's a lot of overlap, reason is a much larger context than science. Again, validity in a context. It's easy to do subjectively. It's when you're trying to make conclusions that should be valid to everyone everywhere that the bar gets raised on evidence and analysis. That doesn't keep you and I from having a perfectly reasonable conversation regarding whatever we like, and not have to spen all our time gathering and analyzing data. We can share our data and analysis with one another, or do analysis together or whatever. Why isn't that *reasonable*?

    Obviously it's up to the individual to determine how much time they'll spend on that.

    Intincts help you survive, so does work.. I suppose maybe even bluffing depending on the scenario, so..... why isn't that stuff reasonable?

    But you just analyzed it. You're personally involved with the results of Hitler's actions, so you instinctively dislike hearing him compared to men of respect. But now your put your foot down like an angry kid and say "there's not much to analyze"... pretending to yourself that you haven't already done the analysis, pretending there's no reason. It's more comfortable than having to face your deep disgust for asshats of Hitler's ilk. Meh, sometimes it's reasonable to pretend, especially if that's what helps you survive.

    Nice negotiation skills there. Okay Rosa, so you see these people as "real" and you validate their emotions because you have similar emotions about whatever (like your grandparent in a concentration camp), so you are disgusted at the prof's detachment from the topic because to be so removed he has to discard their emotions and they're so hurt and you're so hurt and blah blah blah. Then you blame it on capitalism? Pathetic.

    Now it's an essay on economic systems? Please. You're reaching to avoid that which pissed you off. You're taking the shit personally for yourself and for other people. You see the validity of their pain and are disgusted by the prof's detachment. Capitalism has SQUAT to do with it.

    When life strikes with it brutest force, you are still responsible to survive in the way that you see it. As such, you have to choose actions that are reasonably condusive to your furthered existence. I don't invalidate emotions, they are the spice of life. However, calling "faith in reason" which you apparently don't really understand very well "idiotic and un-natural" sounds to me like a school girl lashing out against her brain-straining homework. Understandable - but fucking pathetic.

    Who thinks that? Give me an example of your fool.
     
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  7. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    What do you want, Wes?


    Do you want me to get down on my knees and say "I have no opinion, I don't have the right to have an opinion, because Wes is great, Wes knows everything, Wes is always right, Wes rules, Wes is all and everything!"


    Fuck it, it's not worth arguing with to you.
     
  8. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

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    From this site? From you? Interesting or amusing conversation.

    No, but I can't help that I have such a sweet ass.

    As you wish.
     
  9. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Wesmorris:

    Leave. We have you to thank, again, for needless fiber.


    **

    On we go, and pardon the bloodfucking delay:
    And how do you cease from thinking something is?

    Abortion, sexual freedoms and legalized alcohol are all issues mother dear considers horrific. She will stand all day pontificating on its evils and get nowhere because she considers all three a punch in the face.

    She doesn't think, she believes and that is the problem she needs to demotionalize.


    Consider for a moment Mr. Shindller’s value system.

    He's a philanderer and on his best days a greedy, German pig with a swastika on his shoulder. War invades Poland and he's beaming- people are getting slaughtered but in the blood he smells profits.
    He embodies everything that the Jew is programmed to despise becuase he's a blasphemic.....but watch how these self righteous parasites betray every last word in their scripture for this man that protects them.
    He is a good man now that they need him.

    Were it not for that one factory in Krakow sheltering them from death every last one of those thousand some odd Jews he saved that year would have spat in his face as a miscreant.

    What I am trying to say here is that you would not have evil thoughts about Hitler if you were a German indoctrinated to believe all the Balkans were out to destroy you and here he is, protecting you.
    He’d be an archaengeal. Muddy, but good.
    Thinking just like the Jew in his factory.

    Demotionalize when you speak. You’re wonderfully logical, it surprises me to see you so partial at times.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2004
  10. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    I meant the punch in the face literally. With all the blood and the pain, and eventually having your nose fixed at the hospital.


    Yup, and his greatest fear is not that he should run out of his luck -- but *that the war should end* ...


    What were they to do, according to you? Have themselves be killed?

    When it comes to practical real life morality, it is about choices that are usually regarded as "second-best", meaning that if others behave immorally, one could distance oneself both from what others are doing, as well as from the behaviour that would have to be accepted in an ideal situation of a universally moral behaviour.

    If one would act blindly on the basis of the ethical rule that is not sensitive to context (go strictly by the Jewish scriptures in this case), that wouldn't be a sign of autonomous behaviour, and it would also be to one's own demise.

    To act blindly on the basis of the ethical rule is frequent with persons who need rules and avoid ethical judgements. Even though they may appear to be the paradigms of morality and autonomy, they actually lack both.

    A most ethical life means to break the rules that have become too narrow for a certain situation.

    And this is what the Jews did when they accepted Schindler's help: It would be to their own demise to blindly follow their scriptorial rules. In that given situation, the ideal option for them was to give in to the Nazis, and come what may, while the second-best option was to hope for salvation from Schindler, at least optically a Nazi himself.

    This way, the Jews have shown autonomy -- and this is why they cannot be resented the way one can resent all those characters in soap operas who blindly go by the rules, and "suffer righteously".


    Sure, because there would not be a situation where they would have to act on their autonomy -- and they would blindly follow their rules, as usual. It is a question of everyday economy, actually.

    It is in adversity that the human ethical judgement is challenged, and only then can it show how much it is able to do, how much autonomy it is capable of.


    I brought up this whole issue of autonomy because it seems that this is the concept you're after, esp. when it comes to respect. In order have respect for someone, and accept someone's respect, one must have a certain autonomy, a certain ability of ethical judgement (and the willingness to make ehtical judgements is one of the signs of this ability).


    1. It is a folly to think that we can be value-neutral, and even worse to pretend as if we were value-neutral.

    2. I can understand your point -- if I were a Deutsches Mädel in the Reich, I would l.o.v.e. Hitler, and h.a.t.e. the Jews and the Balkans, sure.

    3. If you think that my position is "Hitler is only bad, Tito is only good" -- then you have misunderstood me. Our opinions and beliefs are rarely a product of a choice between "purely good" and "purely evil". When we choose, one option usually looks something like "A={+, +, +, -, -,+}" and the other like "B={-, -, +, -,+, -}" -- and then we induce and generalize, and say "A is good, B is bad". It is a question of feasibility, economy.
     
  11. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    But don't you see how this:

    …completely destroys ethics?
    Webster tells me its a theory of moral values- in my book, these are systemized by the promulgator and given as truth.

    Exception, goes the saying, tests the rule.
    And rule, truth.
    If either you or I find ourselves in a brothel with violent men salivating for young blood, every last truth we ever held dear is destroyed by this need to survive.
    You agree with this completely, as ethical rigidity is the lunacy of hardcore objectivism that leads to needless demise.
    Therefore, there are no truths.

    My problem is that you seem to be bargaining with the notion of truth- on the one hand you recognize the factory Jew brownnosing Schindler as good but with the other hand hesitate in defining it :

    Where everything is 'relative' Hitler could be Jesus.
    You too see this, in that last post.

    I think we've cleared up on things, barring these instances where you seem to contradict yourself.
    I only wonder if you believe that truths exist.
     
  12. water the sea Registered Senior Member

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    What surely exists is the concept of truth. We fill this concept by need and opportunity.

    But when it comes to truth, and most other concepts, we can split it up into a form and a content. The form is this ever present concept of truth as such, thinking that "there is truth, even though we may not know it yet", while the content is whatever we (momentarily) consider to be that truth, e.g. "We are humans and bound by human rules".
    We cannot escape this duality between content and form. It is also this duality that enables change: when you learn a new truth, you don't throw away the whole concept of truth, you throw away only the old content. Also, you can change the form of the concept of truth -- depending on whether you see it is e.g. traditional ethics suggests, or the way Game Theory, or some other theories suggest.


    As for destroying ethics: Do you know Game Theory? Game Theory says that there are two kinds of environment that human agents act in: parametric environments (dealing with inanimate objects, or beings that we do not consider rational as we are), and strategic environments (dealing with agents that we consider rational as we are).

    When acting in a parametric environment, we can indeed act fully on our ethical values, whatever they are. (Given the consideration that you cannot pull out trees yourself and such.)

    But when acting in a strategic environment, this consideration enters the agents' minds: I consider myself a rational agent. By what I have seen so far from other agents, it is only rational to consider them rational too. If I have a certain information, it is likely that they can have it too, or they could obtain the way I have obtained it. Survival is a matter of having more information, more resources, better options than other agents. This means that if I wish to survive and be ahead of you, I must withhold certain things from you, lest you should get ahead of me. I cannot afford to be cooperative; I can afford to be cooperative only to a limited extent that ensures that I will get from you what I want, and in return not make you want to hurt me. (I could simply steal from you, but then I'd have to live in fear that you'd come and steal from me -- for if I can steal from you, and I am rational and consider you rational, then I must consider the option that you would steal from me as fully valid.)


    And puff, off goes ethics! Traditionally, ethics is conceptualized as if we were living in a fully parametric environment. Those people who rigidly follow rules indeed consider the world to be a parametric environment.

    But being a rational agent, a necessary consequence of being rational AND wanting to survive is that you consider the environment strategic, and minimize your cooperation.

    Some call this "dishonesty" or "insincerity" -- but it really is a matter of feasibility in a strategic environment.


    To conclude with the main postulates of GT:

    If the environment is strategic, with more agents who interact, then these inter-relations apply:

    1. The reward for each agent depends on the reward for all agents, through envy, altruism, ...

    2. The reward for each agent depends on the acting of all agents, through general social causality.

    3. The acting of each agent depends on the acting of all agents, because of startegic thinking.

    Elster* adds:

    4. The wishes of each agent depend on the acting of all agents.


    Now wouldn't you say that this is just the perfect tool to describe social behaviour too?



    *Jon Elster: Sour Grapes. Studies in the subversion of rationality.
     

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