Thought +Language

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Quote stwo:
I'd have offered him a fennel to direct the leek to a buttercup.

Why stwo, that's downright poetic! (btw, your moniker always makes me think of Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles: "It's twoo, it's twoo..."— It's stwo, it's stwo...ha ha ha)

Quote .ren:
"The map is not the territory."

I'd like it if you were to elaborate on that one. In the meantime, I like what it means to me.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Post #41

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Mencken's English observations.

H.L. Mencken (1880–1956). The American Language. 1921.
I. Introductory 1. The Diverging Streams of English Thomas Jefferson, with his usual prevision, saw clearly more than a century ago that the American people, as they increased in numbers and in the diversity of their national interests and racial strains, would make changes in their mother tongue, as they had already made changes in the political institutions of their inheritance. “The new circumstances under which we are placed,” he wrote to John Waldo from Monticello on August 16, 1813, “call for new words, new phrases, and for the transfer of old words to new objects. An American dialect will therefore be formed.” 1 Nearly a quarter of a century before this, another great American, and one with an expertness in the matter that the too versatile Jefferson could not muster, had ventured upon a prophecy even more bold and specific. He was Noah Webster, then at the beginning of his stormy career as a lexicographer. In his little volume of “Dissertations on the English Language,” printed in 1789 and dedicated to “His Excellency, Benjamin Franklin, Esq., LL.D., F.R.S., late President of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” Webster argued that the time for regarding English usage and submitting to English authority had already passed, and that “a future separation of the American tongue from the English” was “necessary and unavoidable.” “Numerous local causes,” he continued, “such as a new country, new associations of people, new combinations of ideas in arts and sciences, and some intercourse with tribes wholly unknown in Europe, will introduce new words into the American tongue. These causes will produce, in a course of time, a language in North America as different from the future language of England as the modern Dutch, Danish and Swedish are from the German, or from one another.” 1

The first settlers were the four peoples mentioned, plus the English. New Sweden [1638] is now Wilmington Delaware.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Innatism can be seen in infants that share or help other infants without ever being taught to expect something in return. Altruism IS a quality in most and gets snuffed out by Ayn Randian, libertarian, gop, and corporate shills.

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douglaslee
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Quote .ren:

Post #41

I appreciate your referencing a thing I hadn't paid any attention to earlier in my disinclination to wade through impersonal, dubious philosophical theories (this doesn’t mean I’m calling the Wiki explanation necessarily wrong; I’m just saying it’s one guy’s opinion— the map of his own brain, which I can agree with, or not, or entertain, or not, as is my right.).

Anyway, I'd rather get your take on how "the map is not the territory” in your own words, specifically with regard to the comment of mine you may have been responding to, that is, “Wonderful. So, does that mean I can trust that if I were to overhear a person refer to me as an idiot, without qualification, behind my back, I could assume I still have a friend in them, regardless? To be honest, I sometimes find such incongruities incomprehensible. Mostly, though, I do tend to trust movement, more than I trust what people say, even to my face.” Whatever, you may not be inclined to bother. And that’s okay with me.

The thing is, I can infer from the map inside my head, the one that only describes a tiny fraction of who you really are, how you might apply the maxim to my observations, according to your map of me, but I won’t know, until you put it in your own words. Even then, even as insufficient as pictures provided by such communication may be, should we humans lose confidence in our capacity for understanding, and even judgment of others, just because we do not reside within the heads of other people?

That is to say, the map inside my head of the territory that is, say, Donald Trump, may be incomplete, or biased, but if I have come to the conclusion, based on some of his words and behavior, that he’s one dufus I pray never becomes president of the United States, do I violate some sacred rule of logic, and should I doubt myself? That is, is “the map is not the territory” a maxim to throw out every time one tries to comprehend what people do and say?

I hope not. I hope I’ve missed the point, because I’m not going to stop trusting my judgment. Of course, I know better than to trust myself absolutely, because I can be wrong, very much so. But often as not, I’m pretty good. And, if you cannot feel that way about your judgment, then you become vulnerable to gurus and all manner of manipulative jerks, politicians and the like. I will never give up the power of independence of thought. I'm all for education, for expanding intellectually —and to that point, I thank you and Doug for your presence on this forum— but if something, or someone tries to undermine my personal agency, I'm not about to go along. I doubt you would either.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

What I experience in all the multiple, gross, or subtle ways I am able to be aware of my own experience, is the territory.

What I write or say with language is the map.

I am convinced by all the evidence available to me that I and only I experience that sacred, inviolable territory. Lot's of people have tried to convince me they know my territory better than I do. They have all failed so far.

The map I provide as posts, whether another's words or mine, is open to interpretation. Scribble all over it as you please. Make up all the rules you want about it. Guess to your heart's content. That's to me why the map is not the territory.

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.ren
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Quote .ren:

What I experience in all the multiple, gross, or subtle ways I am able to be aware of my own experience, is the territory.

What I write or say with language is the map.

I am convinced by all the evidence available to me that I and only I experience that sacred, inviolable territory. Lot's of people have tried to convince me they know my territory better than I do. They have all failed so far.

The map I provide as posts, whether another's words or mine, is open to interpretation. Scribble all over it as you please. Make up all the rules you want about it. Guess to your heart's content. That's to me why the map is not the territory.

Thanks, .ren. Forgive my scribbling all over it, but I find the timbre of your wording quite rich and strong. The style also seems unique to you, if I may be so bold in saying so. :-)

Actually, as to, "I am convinced by all the evidence available to me that I and only I experience that sacred, inviolable territory. Lot's of people have tried to convince me they know my territory better than I do. They have all failed so far," I feel exactly the same way. I couldn't have expressed it that way, but I can relate.

I do believe also that your Wiki-Less-Wrong guy/gal may have asserted the reverse, explaining the map as the wiring of your brain, and the territory as objects outside in reality: "Our perception of the world is being generated by our brain and can be considered as a 'map' of reality written in neural patterns. Reality exists outside our mind but we can construct models of this 'territory' based on what we glimpse through our senses."

I'm sure an infinite variety of ways to see such a metaphor exist, according to the infinite variety of human persons.

Ah well, back to my soup. And that's not a metaphor.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

We have a organized exercise in Sweden called orienteering, and competition to navigate regions by maps and clues in various terrain. It's quite fun and tests your skills of observation as well as puzzle solving.

I have seen ren write something that I was thinking before we had even corresponded. Whether he was in my territory or our paths crossed, I don't know. I don't delve into it, but enjoy the synchronicity and continue to my next thought or post. Sometimes my posts are cryptic, but not misleading on purpose. That's why Wittgenstein's fascination with language, thought, philosophy, psychology and happiness are so interesting to me, for now.

Babies have conscious functions. Animals show altruism too.

Language can never show what one is thinking, but it can offer why or how one is thinking. i.e. a gop or tea party ranting, he/she is 95% of the time an asshole, so I don't need to know what he/she is thinking, I already know why they are thinking such, assholes are dependable and consistent.

altruism

The debate about altruism is one of those too-well-trodden paths in philosophy; more or less anything you say feels as if it has been in a thousand mouths already. I often feel there’s an element of misunderstanding between those who defend the concept of altruism and those who would reduce it to selfish genery. Yes, the way people behave tends to be consistent with their own survival and reproduction; but that hardly exhausts the topic; we want to know how the actual reasons, emotions, and social conventions work. It’s sort of as though I remarked on how extraordinary it is that a forest pumps so much water way above the ground.
the pump

“There’s no pump, Peter,” says BitBucket; “that’s kind of a naive view. See, the tree needs the water in its leaves to survive, so it has evolved as a water-having organism. There are no little hamadryads planning it all out and working tiny pumps. No water magic.”

“But there’s like, capillarity, or something, isn’t there? Um, osmosis? Xylem and phloem? Turgid vacuoles?”

“Sure, but those things are completely explained by the evolutionary imperatives. Saying there are vacuoles doesn’t tell us why there are vacuoles or why they are what they really are.”

“I don’t think osmosis is completely explained by evolution. And surely the biological pumping system is, you know, worth discussing in itself?”

“There’s no pump, Peter!”

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

.dartmouth.edu/biological_sciences/is-altruism-innate btw, Daniel Webster and Dr Suess went to Dartmouth.

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douglaslee
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.dartmouth.edu/biological_sciences/is-altruism-innate btw, Daniel Webster and Dr Suess went to Dartmouth.

John Locke, famed 17th century English philosopher, proposed that babies were born as blank slates, “tabula rasas.” Ever since, society has assumed that babies are born without knowledge, that all mental content is acquired through experience and perception. However, scientists at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center are conducting research that refutes Locke’s theory. Research suggests that infants as young as three-months-old have innate preferences for altruistic individuals (1).
I hear some Ayn Randian parents questioned their hospital's infant assignation policies when their baby showed altruism in the study. They hired a private eye to find their selfish child, obviously stolen by a jealous liberal.

Since the infants were too young to reliably reach, researchers used eye trackers to determine the children’s preferences. Eye trackers record the subject’s focus when looking at visual displays. Karen Pierce, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego, explained that eye tracking helps researchers assess young children’s preferences by recording the amount of attention spent on different visual displays (4). Children stare longer at the visuals they prefer. Ultimately, the eye tracking results revealed that infants showed a clear aversion toward the “unhelpful” characters (1).
A follow up study showed infants that could reach the remote, switched off Fox ruse whenever possible.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I was very close to one of my cousins -- she was more like a sister than a cousin. We grew up in the same household together through our earliest formative of years. In our play, even after we moved to different households, we shared greatly in each others formation of the world. I was at her home in 1957 where we watched on television a play called the Miracle Worker. It was the story of a young woman who tries to make contact with a little girl who'd become deaf and blind at 19 months of age. Most people of my generation at least knew of the little girl who became the remarkable humanist, activist and teacher, Helen Keller.

Afterwards, my cousin and I were so struck by what we were introduced to in that play that we began to play-act those roles ourselves. It was how we often went about imagining many things about the world.

Nevertheless, even then in this play world we created together and in which we tried our best to immerse ourselves completely, hard as I tried to imagine being deaf and blind, one thing I was always understood while I was at it was I would never actually be Helen Keller nor what she personally would experience through her life. I would only be reaching for it. Still, I couldn't help trying. Later I read Helen's The Story of My Life, first published in 1903. You can get it free for a Kindle.

Attempting to communicate with others on this board, with this software that elimates the possibility of sharing images with our text, is a lot like being deaf and blind. I sometimes think of Helen Keller when I begin to complain about it. Maybe Thom is only trying to challenge us to exercise our imaginations by making his board this way, who knows. How thoughtful of him if so. Or maybe this is some sort of petri dish experiment and we are all in a lab experiment to see if we can figure out how to communicate with each other somehow.

The words on the screen without the actual experience of seeing and hearing human beings in our immediate, experiential environment is an experience I can imagine would be akin (in a very limited way) to the isolation of reading someone's thoughts with one's fingers and creating an image of language (as if on a computer screen) in one's mind. A huge amount of communicable information is inevitably missing. No wonder young Helen was so "unruly" when Ann first encountered her. Imagine the fear in not seeing and hearing. There is no knowing what or how much is missing.

Oh, and I mentioned a friend who runs the vegetable section at our grocery store. I'm pretty sure he's a Republican from all the little hints I get in our conversations, though he's never said. I was play acting for a kind of ironic effect at being someone who categorizes Republicans in certain general ways when I used the word "idiot" to describe him. I think leaving all that information out is not that different from the notion that the "map is not the territory" I've tried to introduce. Funny thing is, I think he'd understand if I explained it, and would not take it personally.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

And posts #60 and 61.

You've reminded me of what we were saying about Kropotkin and anarchism on another thread.

Kropotkin published Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution in 1902. Here is just one example of many in the book of how he treats his subject matter:

Quote Kropotkin:

The first thing which strikes us as soon as we begin studying the struggle for existence under both its aspects— direct and metaphorical— is the abundance of facts of mutual aid, not only for rearing progeny, as recognized by most evolutionists, but also for the safety of the individual, and for providing it with the necessary food. With many large divisions of the animal kingdom mutual aid is the rule. Mutual aid is met with even amidst the lowest animals, and we must be prepared to learn some day, from the students of microscopical pond-life, facts of unconscious mutual support, even from the life of micro-organisms. Of course, our knowledge of the life of the invertebrates, save the termites, the ants, and the bees, is extremely limited; and yet, even as regards the lower animals, we may glean a few facts of well-ascertained cooperation. The numberless associations of locusts, vanessae, cicindelae, cicadae, and so on, are practically quite unexplored; but the very fact of their existence indicates that they must be composed on about the same principles as the temporary associations of ants or bees for purposes of migration. As to the beetles, we have quite well-observed facts of mutual help amidst the burying beetles (Necrophorus). They must have some decaying organic matter to lay their eggs in, and thus to provide their larvae with food; but that matter must not decay very rapidly. So they are wont to bury in the ground the corpses of all kinds of small animals which they occasionally find in their rambles. As a rule, they live an isolated life, but when one of them has discovered the corpse of a mouse or of a bird, which it hardly could manage to bury itself, it calls four, six, or ten other beetles to perform the operation with united efforts; if necessary, they transport the corpse to a suitable soft ground; and they bury it in a very considerate way, without quarrelling as to which of them will enjoy the privilege of laying its eggs in the buried corpse. And when Gleditsch attached a dead bird to a cross made out of two sticks, or suspended a toad to a stick planted in the soil, the little beetles would in the same friendly way combine their intelligences to overcome the artifice of Man. The same combination of efforts has been noticed among the dung-beetles.

kniaz Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin. Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (Kindle Locations 246-262).

It bears noticing that this work follows from lively world-wide disussions that came about after Darwin published Origin of the Species in 1859.

Previous to the above, Kropotkin introduces this:

Quote Kropotkin:

Of the scientific followers of Darwin, the first, as far as I know, who understood the full purport of Mutual Aid as a law of Nature and the chief factor of evolution, was a well-known Russian zoologist, the late Dean of the St. Petersburg University, Professor Kessler. He developed his ideas in an address which he delivered in January 1880, a few months before his death, at a Congress of Russian naturalists; but, like so many good things published in the Russian tongue only, that remarkable address remains almost entirely unknown.( 3)

kniaz Petr Alekseevich Kropotkin. Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (Kindle Locations 214-217).

I think to myself after reading that: the Russians had Kessler to lead their way to a social revolution and culture building (that didn't work out the way anarchists like Kropotkin hoped), while we had Hobbes.

Quote from a discussion of Hobbes' Moral and Political Philosophy:

What is the political fate of this rather pathetic sounding creature - that is, of us? Unsurprisingly, Hobbes thinks little happiness can be expected of our lives together. The best we can hope for is peaceful life under an authoritarian-sounding sovereign. The worst, on Hobbes's account, is what he calls the "natural condition of mankind," a state of violence, insecurity and constant threat. In outline, Hobbes's argument is that the alternative to government is a situation no one could reasonably wish for, and that any attempt to make government accountable to the people must undermine it, so threatening the situation of non-government that we must all wish to avoid. Our only reasonable option, therefore, is a "sovereign" authority that is totally unaccountable to its subjects. Let us deal with the "natural condition" of non-government, also called the "state of nature," first of all.

(My bold, .ren)

I strongly suspect it was that Hobbesian-induced 17th Century vision that foreshadowed our Randian "virue of selfishness free market" version of capitalist economics -- a fundamentalist vision in the full glory of all sorts of religious beliefisms -- that continues to interpret Origin of the Species in it's unique "survival of the fittest" way. We have inherited a "paradigmatically" mapped out attitude that now has a large portion of our society seeing the way we treat others as the "way of nature," and those who don't "win" by having the most toys at the end fully deserve to lose.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Well I read the Tractatus Philosophico Logicus three times and I didn't see anything about BF Skinner or positivism.

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

^^^^^^^^^^^^^joking

nimblecivet
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

ren, thanks for the discourse about your cousin and Helen, that was beautiful.

We have inherited a "paradigmatically" mapped out attitude that now has a large portion of our society seeing the way we treat others as the "way of nature," and those who don't "win" by having the most toys at the end fully deserve to lose. - ren

That is America in a nutshell.

I was into that scene in the early 90s. I voted for Reagan in '84. I thought NAFTA was good, and the Berlin Wall coming down would see pennies from heaven benefiting the oppressed. I met my soon to be wife around '92 and then visited her country. Perspective from abroad is not tainted, just less filtered, imo.

How do you post from Kropotkin? I have his work in Kindle, along with others, but copy and paste is not an option.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks doug, I do appreciate that from someone I've known for so long.

If you are using the Kindle in Cloud you won't be able to copy and paste from it I discovered first time I tried it. So now I don't bother with Cloud. Some time ago I downloaded the free Kindle for PC app from Amazon, it's on all of my computers now, and I was abe to open Kropotkin 's work in that. It has wonderful features for the way I use computers with my writing. Right now I'm sitting at a cafe I've bicycled to with my little EeeBook, open; I have with me my entire Kindle library and I can compose these posts or anything else while I look across the Willapa river at some mountains that rise up from the distant Pacific Ocean. Beautiful. And for me, very cool to be able to do.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Thanks ren, I just finished a bike ride myself to get some melon, baguettes, fresh pasta, smoked ham, and frozen lamb chops. I still have cream left over from my daughter's birthday icecream cake I made. Carbonarra is better than using the cream in coffee. I bike every day and there are dozens I run across, and hundreds before me judging from the bike racks. Our summer has been glorious, and was just at the beach with my youngest and her friends swimming. She's having overnights with friends about every other night, and the cabin we built is their haven.

Funny you mentoned the image of the environment and the thoughts it generated. I was in Boston years ago walking across the commons (where history was made) and a fog was nestling the entire park that prompted all kinds of images suitable for an author of an adventure or challenge yet to be revealed. Images prompt thoughts, and since I had to learn single lens reflex photography in design class, I still frame images with my hands, whether seated in a cafe, or standing at a bar in a pub. Trotsky's cafe in Vienna set my mind reeling. No one will ever know my territory, all I can do is leave breadcrumbs instead of a map. I enjoy sharing, even if it's not understood, if anyone experiences, or seeks to do so, similar feelings they will know an amazement words cannot do justice. ....life is good, for me. (btw, I would not change a bit my path to the present....Forrest, I know you well)

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Responding to #s 60, 61 & 62:

My father came to visit my mother (pic of her at bottom of this page) in the hospital right after she had given birth to me and told her he wanted a divorce. In the months previous to that, while I was developing as a fetus, I’m guessing the tension in their household must have been rather thick. He was a handsome dude and in the process of betraying not only on my mother, but also on his best friend with his best friend’s wife. I wouldn’t call it a recipe for a tranquil pregnancy and birth.

Quote Gabor Mate:
…most people see it [ADD] as a genetic problem. I don’t. It actually has to do with those factors of brain development, which in my case occurred as a Jewish infant under Nazi occupation in the ghetto of Budapest. And the day after the pediatrician — sorry, the day after the Nazis marched into Budapest in March of 1944, my mother called the pediatrician and says, “Would you please come and see my son, because he’s crying all the time?” And the pediatrician says, “Of course I’ll come. But I should tell you, all my Jewish babies are crying.” Now infants don’t know anything about Nazis and genocide or war or Hitler. They’re picking up on the stresses of their parents. And, of course, my mother was an intensely stressed person, her husband being away in forced labor, her parents shortly thereafter being departed and killed in Auschwitz. Under those conditions, I don’t have the kind of conditions that I need for the proper development of my brain circuits. And particularly, how does an infant deal with that much stress? By tuning it out. That’s the only way the brain can deal with it. And when you do that, that becomes programmed into the brain. http://www.democracynow.org/2010/2/3/addiction

Also this, with Gabor Mate on “getting to the source of a person’s pain.”

In any case, it’s entirely possible my mother’s emotional state during those difficult times had an effect on me— sure, go ahead and say it: “That explains everything!” :D Well, it probably does. Just this morning I found myself weeping at a dramatic depiction of the announcement of the assassination of Martin Luther King and its effect on individuals in the African American community at the time, as if it had happened today. I also still find it unbearable to see any graphic suggestion of the suffering of children or animals and avoid it, as if their suffering is mine. I can’t prove the emotional state of my mother at my birth caused my hyper-empathetic nature, but I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility automatically. (It may also account for those instances of my schadenfreude whenever something unpleasant or embarrassing happens to the likes of George Bush.)

That babies come equipped with altruism from the get-go ought to be accepted as conventional wisdom by now. Unfortunately it is not, as both .ren and Doug have indicated so well.

As for the inadequacies of online forum communications, yes, we miss so much information in this mode. I do try to include graphics and pictures, via links, to illustrate my meaning at times, but one has to depend on the willingness of the reader to bother looking. Also, emoticons help, even though lots of folks find those to be nearly meaningless by this time. Still, though I edit and work hard at being clear, inevitably folks come to the experience seemingly bent on projecting their own expectations and emotional baggage onto what I’ve written —scribbling on my map?— so that no matter how I try, my words and intentions get misconstrued. Even when I disagree with a person’s opinion, I am rarely feeling hostile toward that person, and yet that’s their take; some people take disagreement personally, and that’s just the way it is.

Of course, that can be true even in person. In fact, this mode of communication has definite advantages: Nobody can see me roll my eyes, nor have to wait while I search for le mot juste, nor be distracted by my age spots or turkey neck. In person, I might take awhile to get to my point, or laugh at the wrong moment, or fail to organize my thoughts, or ramble, but here, I can come to you with a cleaner presentation, one without all the distractions of my in-person persona.

Another thing: I often don’t know what I think about a subject, until I write about it. My thoughts don’t always enter my head verbally. Sometimes it’s in the gut, or it’s pictures, and the translation comes via the keyboard in a way that I can control. That’s nice, because of my longing to be heard and known more deeply than I can be ever known and heard in person. In fact, some of you know me better, here, in ways that my friends and family will never know me, because my communications with them mostly happen in person or on the phone or on Hangouts or FaceTime, which really leaves out so much. Not that I require a more complete knowledge of who I am to feel loved. Not at all. A Hangout session is always more satisfying than this, as fun as this is. :-)

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Sarah Manguso:

…Those who are not on intimate terms with illness, poverty, violence, exile, and war are fundamentally different from those who are. That difference isn’t a choice; it’s simply there, a gulf that cannot be bridged. I can’t know what it’s like to be an orphan, for example, and few of my friends know, as I do, what it’s like to be seriously ill. Those who have not passed through the gauntlet of motherhood cannot be equal in experience to those who have.

Women who deride motherhood as merely an animal condition have accepted the patriarchal belief that motherhood is trivial. It’s true that motherhood can seem trivial to women who have been insulated from the demands of others; they are given few reasons to value motherhood and many reasons to value individual fulfillment. They are taught, as I was, to value self-realization as the essential component of success, the index of one’s contribution to the world, the test of our basic humanity. Service to the world was understood as a heroic act achieved by a powerful ego. Until I’d burrowed out from under those beliefs, being a writer seemed a worthier goal than being a mother.

The point of having a child is to be rent asunder, torn in two. Years before I had my son I heard of an artist explaining why she had decided to become a mother: I didn’t want to reach the end of my life intact. Imperious, I judged this to be sentimental — permanently damaged by a chronic illness, I considered myself already ruined and misunderstood by the healthy and normal. And what is more normal than the ability to give birth? But motherhood is a different sort of damage. It is a shattering, a disintegration of the self, after which the original form is quite gone. Still, it is a breakage that we are, as a species if not as individuals, meant to survive.

I want to read books that were written in desperation, by people who are disturbed and overtaxed, who balance on the extreme edge of experience. I want to read books by people who are acutely aware that death is coming and that abiding love is our last resort. And I want to write those books. http://harpers.org/archive/2015/08/the-grand-shattering/

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

To try out my new kindle from old cloud, a somewhat related post, all problems are in your head according to one school of thought, Mark Twain disagrees:

BOOK I CHRISTIAN SCIENCE "It is the first time since the dawn-days of Creation that a Voice has gone crashing through space with such placid and complacent confidence and command."

CHAPTER I VIENNA 1899. This last summer, when I was on my way back to Vienna from the Appetite-Cure in the mountains, I fell over a cliff in the twilight, and broke some arms and legs and one thing or another, and by good luck was found by some peasants who had lost an ass, and they carried me to the nearest habitation, which was one of those large, low, thatch-roofed farm-houses, with apartments in the garret for the family, and a cunning little porch under the deep gable decorated with boxes of bright colored flowers and cats; on the ground floor a large and light sitting-room, separated from the milch-cattle apartment by a partition; and in the front yard rose stately and fine the wealth and pride of the house, the manure-pile. That sentence is Germanic, and shows that I am acquiring that sort of mastery of the art and spirit of the language which enables a man to travel all day in one sentence without changing cars.

There was a village a mile away, and a horse doctor lived there, but there was no surgeon. It seemed a bad outlook; mine was distinctly a surgery case. Then it was remembered that a lady from Boston was summering in that village, and she was a Christian Science doctor and could cure anything. So she was sent for. It was night by this time, and she could not conveniently come, but sent word that it was no matter, there was no hurry, she would give me "absent treatment" now, and come in the morning; meantime she begged me to make myself tranquil and comfortable and remember that there wasnothing the matter with me. I thought there must be some mistake.

"Did you tell her I walked off a cliff seventy-five feet high?" "Yes."

"And struck a boulder at the bottom and bounced?"

"Yes."

"And struck another one and bounced again?" "Yes."

"And struck another one and bounced yet again?" "Yes."

"And broke the boulders?" "Yes."

"That accounts for it; she is thinking of the boulders. Why didn't you tell her I got hurt, too?"

"I did. I told her what you told me to tell her: that you were now but an incoherent series of compound fractures extending from your scalp-lock to your heels, and that the comminuted projections caused you to look like a hat-rack."

"And it was after this that she wished me to remember that there was nothing the matter with me?"

"Those were her words."

"I do not understand it. I believe she has not diagnosed the case with sufficient care. Did she look like a person who was theorizing, or did she look like one who has fallen off precipices herself and brings to the aid of abstract science the confirmations of personal experience?"

"Bitte?"

It was too large a contract for the Stubenmadchen's vocabulary; she couldn't call the hand. I allowed the subject to rest there, and asked for something to eat and smoke, and something hot to drink, and a basket to pile my legs in; but I could not have any of these things.

"Why?"

"She said you would need nothing at all."

"But I am hungry and thirsty, and in desperate pain."

"She said you would have these delusions, but must pay no attention to them. She wants you to particularly remember that there are no such things as hunger and thirst and pain.''

"She does does she?"

"It is what she said."

"Does she seem to be in full and functionable possession of her intellectual plant, such as it is?"

"Bitte?"

"Do they let her run at large, or do they tie her up?"

"Tie her up?"

"There, good-night, run along, you are a good girl, but your mental Geschirr is not arranged for light and airy conversation. Leave me to my delusions."

ren, thanks for the tip, this is much better all around, and my library is more accessible. Pages turn easier too.
Thurber:

Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone? --Cartoon caption in New Yorker (5 June 1937)

Thurber, James (2012-01-30). Memorable Quotations from James Thurber (Kindle Locations 100-102). Jim Dell. Kindle Edition.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

A lot of free entries of compiled quotes from Camus to Churchill, wait that would only be from Ca to Ch and there might not be anybody in between, there's a lot of them if you click. (Diversity was my intention not alphabetics*)

*a hardly known anaerobic exercise

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Douglaslee, your taste is impeccable.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks, btw the pc kindle has a cool dictionary feature, just highlight a word and the definition appears in a little pop up without even leaving the screen or window.I still have the cloud to save memory space but the reading is better on the pc app. One can scan or read in the cloud, note the page and then enter the location in the pc app and voila! right where you want to be for further reading or copying, or forwarding. I have some of Emma Goodmans stuff on Anarchy and have just browsed, but if anything significant presents itself l post it.

btw, we are doing alright in our virtual associations, Zenzoe. Ren and I have been in contact for a decade now, and Laborisgood, rs allen, k allen, AIW, and antifascist have been great to toss thoughts and ideas around. I am much better off from having learned of everyone and value their input.

Having to clarify thoughts before posting is good for honing the position or observation I seek to present. Wittgenstein's view of language conveying thought is very much ren's map/territory entity.

We had a propaganda thread awhile back, and you Zenzoe have used the Skeptic's Dictionary as I have, for fallacy warnings to avoid. I also have in Kindle the Critical Thinker's Dictionary by the same author, so anything not in the Skeptic's copy I will eventually post.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Due to circumstances that actually took place on this board, I began to dramatically (both in a literary sense and in perspective) change my approach to posting on the internet around 1986. One aspect of that was my own need for some distance from the emotions that almost always come out. Because of what one of the posters here was trying to do with his discussions -- someone who doug and poly would remember, Howard -- and because of my long term interest in many thoughts about how we use our minds as shared by Krishnamurti and David Bohm, I got a copy of On Dialogue about then and in it I found a kind of map for how I could find that distance and still continue my writing practice in this environment.

I'm in no way proposing that everyone, or even anyone else, should follow this map. I'm only pointing out what I have been doing. For those who may see me as having grown cold and distant, perhaps impersonal, understanding this map might give some indication of the territory I've been exploring for myself. I'm not sure anyone else would want to find the same territory I have, so if for no other reason alone I would never in any way expect anyone else to even bother. So it's not with any such expectations that I simply offer a brief and only introductory sample of that map:

Quote David Bohm, On Dialogue:

THE VISION OF DIALOGUE

Let me give what I call a “vision of dialogue.” You don’t have to accept it, but it may be a way to look at it. Let’s suppose we stick with this, and we face the emotional charge – all this irritation, all this frustration – which actually can develop into hate if very powerful assumptions are there. We could say that hate is a neurophysiological, chemical disturbance of a very powerful kind, which is now endemic in the world. Wherever you look, you see people hating each other. So suppose you stick with this. You may get an insight, a shared insight, that we’re all in the same position – everybody has an assumption, everybody is sticking to his assumption, everybody is disturbed neurochemically. The fundamental level in people is the same; the superficial differences are not so important.

It’s possible to see that there’s a kind of “level of contact” in the group. The thought process is an extension of the body process, and all the body language is showing it, and so on. People are really in rather close contact – hate is an extremely close bond. I remember somebody saying that when people are in really close contact, talking about something which is very important to them, their whole bodies are involved – their hearts, their adrenalin, all the neurochemicals, everything. They are in far closer contact with each other than with some parts of their own bodies, such as their toes. So, in some sense there is established in that contact “one body.” And also, if we can all listen to each other’s opinions, and suspend them without judging them, and your opinion is on the same basis as anyone else’s, then we all have “one mind” because we have the same content – all the opinions, all the assumptions. At that moment the difference is secondary. Then you have in some sense one body, one mind. It does not overwhelm the individual. There is no conflict in the fact that the individual does not agree. It’s not all that important whether you agree or not. There is no pressure to agree or disagree.

The point is that we would establish, on another level, a kind of bond, which is called impersonal fellowship. You don’t have to know each other. In England, for example, the football crowds prefer not to have seats in their football stands, but just to stand bunched against each other. In those crowds very few people know each other, but they still feel something – that contact – which is missing in their ordinary personal relations. And in war many people feel that there’s a kind of comradeship which they miss in peacetime. It’s the same sort of thing – that close connection, that fellowship, that mutual participation. I think people find this lacking in our society, which glorifies the separate individual. The communists were trying to establish something else, but they completely failed in a very miserable way. Now a lot of them have adopted the same values as we have. But people are not entirely happy with that. They feel isolated. Even those who “succeed” feel isolated, feel there’s another side they are missing.

I am saying that this is a reason for dialogue. We really do need to have it. This reason should be strong enough to get us through all the frustration we talked about. People generally seem ready to accept frustration with anything that they regard as important. Doing your job or making money, for example, is often frustrating; it produces anxiety. Yet people will say, “That is important! We have to stick with it.” They feel that way about all sorts of things. I’m saying that if we regard dialogue as important, as necessary, we will say about it as well, “We will stick to it.” But if we don’t think it is necessary, we might say, “Okay, what’s the point? This is too much trouble. Let’s give it up. It’s not producing anything.” You see, you have to explore anything new for a while. In science, or anywhere, you usually have to go through a period where you are not getting anywhere while you are exploring. It can, nevertheless, be very discouraging.

Bohm, David (2012-12-06). On Dialogue (pp. 36-37). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

I just want to repeat this one short sentence from the above quote, because it's been at the heart of the map I translated and have been using as a guide from this book, and something I stick to in the most disciplined way I am able in all my posting. I find it really helps keep me skirt the emotional quicksand:

"There is no pressure to agree or disagree."

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Perhaps you've already discovered this, doug, but one irritating factor of copy and paste from Kindle is that the code that creates paragraphs, italics and the like does not copy. You will end up with one long unformatted paragraph. I make an effort to reformat in this software environment. If one is in a hurry, that can be troublesome.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I have a feeling a secret language of peace exists out there, or within me, somewhere, somehow. In my best of all possible worlds, that language of peace would be a language that tolerates dissent, or disagreement, while it refuses to reject attempts at exclusivity, inequality, hierarchy, embracing all participants as members of the group, regardless of their level of education, taste, spiritual development, gender, or politics. I have yet to find it and still struggle with these virtual dialogues, still ending up feeling I have to work hard at being included while including others, still trying to find a balance of civility, autonomy, bonding, individuality, levity, seriousness and take-no-prisoner-plain-talking-truth. Truth be told, with such contradictory intentions as that, I sometimes feel like giving up.

We don’t have a peace pipe to pass around. We don’t sit in a circle of chairs, or on a circle of mats, and practice eye contact that moves among the group, from one person listening to the next, as each person takes his or her turn holding the talking stick. Instead, absent those signifiers of democracy, it’s all too easy for paranoia to set in, or competition, or delicate, exquisite snubs to manifest —unconsciously, of course, or by unthinking habit— even more so than if we were all present to each other in bodily form.

For awhile I looked at Marshall B. Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication theories and lectures (Thom featured his book in 2011). It felt like a secret language of peace for awhile, but then my inner imp rose up in defiance, well, not defiance, but questioning.
The theory seemed all too unspontaneous, impractical and unrealistic to me. It’s all well and good to practice compassion, to begin with the assumption that individual human beings do not exist as either pure evil or pure goodness and all have the capacity for care, respect and empathy. I do try to remember that, even while evidence to the contrary appears on a regular basis. That evidence plops as a turd in the punchbowl of the language of peace for me, and I don’t know what’s to be done about it.

I think that lack of confidence, manifesting as doubts as to how to successfully dialog without incurring rejection, or appearing to reject others, arises from, in part, the fact that I am a woman in a culture with built-in advantages for men, men who often only want to communicate with each other and use an infinite number of tactics, perhaps unconsciously, to exclude women. (not so much on this thread) Words like “fellowship” betray this advantage and preference for men bonding with other men, while women get left out. “Comradeship” also has the a similar feeling to it. You may think such abstractions don’t relate to culture in any significant way; I would beg to differ.

As I'm sure Douglaslee knows, I’m not making it up. It’s a thing:

...That led to them attempting to re-center the discussion on how men feel about having their sexist comments called out as sexism, and center it away from how women feel about being excluded. I can only conclude that these guys don’t think it’s worth empathizing with women, don’t think it’s worth putting in a moment of effort to try to take a woman’s perspective. For me, that raises the question of why they don’t think it’s worth putting in the effort to empathize with women, especially given that many of them expect women to empathize with them by giving men the benefit of the doubt and always assuming they mean well. When someone demands that you participate in such an unequal relationship, in which their feelings matter but yours do not, it’s hard to believe that they consider you to be a professional peer or even a human being of equal value…

...Countering sexism requires courage and (in Samuel Delany’s words) moral stamina. It is work that largely needs to be done by men, since men who tacitly believe that women aren’t quite human are hardly going to listen to women’s opinions on the subject. A prerequisite for men to do this work is for them to believe that women belong in their communities, that women are more than just attractive bodies, and that their communities will benefit from the inclusion of women—benefit in ways that are not about aesthetics. Whether from within or without, I hope that the Haskell community will include more men who have this courage and who believe these principles—whether or not the presence of those men makes the community more attractive. http://geekfeminism.org/2012/09/17/how-to-exclude-women-without-really-trying/

“Damn, there she goes again.” Well, you have the option of ignoring it entirely. But we already know that, all of us. ;-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Yeah, I tried to edit a bit. I appreciate punctuation more than ever. I got the Bohm tome*, and still appreciate your filling us in on Howard's demise . I liked him and think we all fulfilled his natural desire for exploring discourse and pondering ordinary thought processes. He always challenged me, and I offered him some of my tool box.

*I couldn't resist a pairing right in front of me

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm positing another point to this thread, my background in problem solving includes a phase of ideation, sometimes labeled brainstorming, and labels are reated to thought and language. I hold with disdain a position on religion,, soap operas, hiphop, and a slew of other culltural norms.

I am now in a marathon viewing of 'Revenge', I like it and wonder whether it i just a prime time soap opera. Then again, Shakespeare's plots might be soap operas.

The pointt is, I think soap operas are not worth viewing. Is my liking Revenge a guilty peasure or was I just dismissive of an art form I didn't understand? Are labels condescending by nature?

I heard a great female singer off campus at UC, and I enquired further. "Oh, you like Christian music?" Whaaat? I'm kind of a dumbass, "My Sweet Lord" was a beatle single, not anything of meaning to me.

Labels are a trigger to fallacial reasoning (not fellatio reasoning- to wit, spit or swallow).

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Summary: Labels are language. language is thought, , labels are thought, I.E. GOP are assholes, fox fans are dumbshits. These are verifiable facts but not ALWAYS true. 1-5% of GOP are decent human beings. .0001% of fox fans are not dumbasses, but such a small minority are hard to find-thus the dictum: fox fans are dumbasses, dumbasses are gop, fox fans are gop. Logic 101

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I often can trace how some labels can become a kind of "what is" effort. That is, an effort to make an assumption-turned-opinion into a "known" fact. This works especially well in modern mass media where contradictory skeptical illuminations from individuals can easily be over ridden by a public mass feeling reaction simply by repeating the label with its associations over and over.

For instance:A word like "socialism" or "communism" become labels, then the label is injected into a sentence about environmentalists. A public susceptible to associating "bad" with "socialism" or "communism" then associates bad with environmentalism without bothering to go through the science.

Bob Inglis, unseated Republican Congressman during the Tea Party swarming of the 2010 election -- he's from a district in South Carolina that considers itself "the shiny buckle of the Bible Belt" -- who had been a party line advocate until he was on the Committee on Science and Technology and actually looked at the science for himself, offers some insight into how this labeling process works in politics.

Quote Bob Inglis: Climate Change and the Republican Party:

… In 2008 you had two candidates that were running for president, and on both sides it (climate change) was real. So what changed?

… First was the economy going down. … The second thing is that religious element to it. … But I think the other part of it is just purely political heresy, and that it became convenient to say that this is a Democrat idea, and therefore let’s reject everything that Barack Obama would say.

So this sort of populist rejectionism took hold, and so anything that looked like or sounded like it came from a Democratic kind of an address, that would be “return to sender” on that. So I think all three of those things happened really.

Was [Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth] part of the impact of it or what?

I think so. I mean, Vice President Gore became very associated with the issue. … It’s not like Al Gore’s running for any office these days, … but for some reason he remains a lightning rod for many conservatives on this issue. …

---->

Like [the ad about] carbon: “Some people call it pollution. We call it life.”

Right. They’re breathing it, so therefore how could it possibly be bad? And of course I tried to explain that. I’m not a scientist. I was on [the Committee on Science and Technology]. I just played one when the lights came on.

… I used to pooh-pooh climate change. In my first term in the Congress, six years, I said: “A bunch of nonsense. Al Gore’s imagination.” We had a very successful press conference where we absolutely panned Vice President Gore’s proposals on a Btu [British thermal unit] tax. So that was Inglis 1.0. …

My kids had an impact on me. I got in trouble for saying this, but my oldest was voting for the first time when I ran again in ’04, and he said, “Dad, I will vote for you, but you are going to clean up your act on the environment.” And so I had this new constituency: my son, my four daughters, my wife, all feeling the same way.

But then the other thing that really happened was as I get to Congress [for the] second time, I was on the science committee and got to see the evidence. And the main evidence really was in Antarctica, is the ice core drillings that show that in a mile of ice on top of the South Pole, … we’ve got what the scientists believe is 800,000 years or so of records of the earth’s atmosphere, because the South Pole is a desert. It only gets a quarter of an inch of precipitation a year. So in those ice core drillings, you can find a record of the amount of CO2 over time in the atmosphere. …

And so for me it became pretty clear in that evidence that, gee, that makes sense; that we just started burning all this fossil fuel, we affected the chemistry of the air. Physics are physics, and light comes in, heat doesn’t go out, you are warming.

[Journalist] David Frum once said something very interesting to me. He said, “We learn what we need to learn in order to protect ourselves.” And I think that’s a lot of what’s going on in the rejection of climate sciences, is I want to protect who I am; I want to protect my lifestyle; I want to protect what I built.

And the way to do that is to not receive information about how this fossil fuel thing really is creating a problem, because my life is sort of built on those fossil fuels. If I’m challenged to change that, and I want to protect what I’ve got, I reject that information. And so we learn what we need to learn in order to protect ourselves.

So, a party (Democrat or Republican) becomes a label, a label has associations, unexamined associations short circuit critical thinking.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I remember a label: "epic crusade." ;-)


The Contrarian: Why Labels Are Good for Us

...But labels have their uses, specifically description and categorization. You think that all ideas are created equal? Try this: take all of your canned goods in the pantry and remove the labels from everything. Now all cans are created equal!

Now try to make dinner.

Begin to get the picture? Not all food is created equal. Nor are all ideas. Not all ideas deserve respect. Without the ability to put a label on an idea, one cannot describe it, compare it to other ideas, or predict what the outcome will be. By making "No Labels" the politically-correct move, one cannot demonstrate that the otherwise lovely idea of no taxes at all is a bone-headed move which will drive the government into bankruptcy.

How about another example. Remember, no labels! So you fill the kerosene heater with gasoline. After all, it is fuel, it will heat the room, and it is cheaper. Who doesn't like to save money?

Don't tell me that gasoline will be too hot, melt the heater, and cause a house fire. You are just being alarmist. So what if it has happened every time. You are a labeler and just trying to destroy a good idea. At least meet me across the aisle and do half kerosene and half gasoline.

"No Labels" is ultimately destructive because it squelches debate and it suppresses the truth in the name of compromise, congeniality, and cooperation. Like gasoline in a kerosene heater, it will burn the house down with destructive ideas set loose without critical evaluation and labeling.

Mind you, the "No Labels" rule will be pushed ruthlessly on the liberals and progressives, who will meekly accept the requirement to be temperate in their speech. The conservatives and Tea Partiers (who gave themselves the label, mind you!) will go merrily on their way misapplying labels and lying to the American people about their motivations and actions.

"No Labels" is a one-way political weapon. Despite the baldfaced lies the Republicans have told, the Democrats have not ever forced through legislation without compromises with Republicans. The Health Care Bill was full of compromises Republicans insisted on, with a few others Obama and the Democrats just gave them. Even then, the Republicans refused to vote for it, so they could pretend the bill was just a Democratic dictatorial push. Republicans would propose an idea, the Democrats would say "great!", and then the Republicans were against it.

The political shenanigans just keep on going and going with more energy than the Energizer Bunny. The Democrats, victims of their own spineless gentility, refuse to frame the conversation, so the Republicans control the Spin.

Under "No Labels", Republicans will still control the spin. Democrats who don't wholeheartedly abandon their principles and become Republican lackeys will be labeled as "Labelers" and "hyperpartisan", while Republicans who refuse to compromise will be "sticking to their principles" and "looking to find common ground" (as long as it is completely on their own turf!).

We need labels. We need definition. We don't need warm fuzzies which will allow the rich to keep on abusing the poor, irresponsible industry to keep polluting, financial gambling which endangers our economy or political gamesmanship which puts the citizens of our nation in peril. We don't need platitudes. Without labels there can be no definition of the problems we face, and good solutions will be indistinguishable from bad solutions.

Would you drain the brake fluid out of a car to stop a fluid leak? It is a solution, after all. No mess, no fuss, and no stopping the car. Give the idea a label, for goodness sakes! Call it a stupid one, and note that such an idea would result in a wrecked car and loss of life.

Similarly, call ideas that propose deregulation for industry what they really are -- stupid, only benefiting the industry owners at the expense of everyone else. Ron Paul thinks that safety regulations should be left to the mine owners, not to Washington. Massey would be proud of such non-labeling trust. The families of the dead miners might well have other words to say about it.

Continued tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Why can't Democrats point out that the tax cuts they got under Bush did not go to hiring more people, but went to speculation, driving up commodity prices, production of economic "bubbles" and the shipping of industrial jobs overseas? Oh right. That would be "labeling".

The "No Labels" proposal is another attempt to get Democrats to let go of their principles, to stop fighting for justice for common people, and to park their brains and hearts at the door.

Instead of "No Labels", let the Democrats start a new campaign -- "Truth in Advertising" in which they clearly and loudly describe the ideas they propose and the ideas which are proposed. Flood the media with real information. Analyze, describe, make projections, demonstrate a clear command of ideas. And show some intestinal fortitude for a change!

Somehow we have got to bring the nation away from the idea that all ideas are created equal, and move toward goals which will enhance the welfare of the nation as a whole. We need to value education and experience. We need a rational and reasoned partisanship with people intelligent enough to point out the differences in positions. Uncritically accepting what those "across the aisle" hand to us in the name of "Bipartisanship" is like accepting the gift of a hand grenade from a military opponent.

Think. Describe. Understand. Take a reasonable position. Be able to tell others the how and why. Stand up for what you believe.

If we don't, not even God will be able to save us from the wreck we will make of ourselves.

Btw, it's DemocratIC Party, not Democrat Party. If one is going to label something, one should at least label it correctly. Those two modifiers represent completely different things.

Douglaslee, Revenge: I've had the similar mixed feelings about it. I have persisted too, despite the depictions of back-biting, vicious, femininity —so brilliantly portrayed by Madeline Stowe— partly because of the acting, which is of far better quality than your average soap opera, and partly because it validates some of my views about the rich and how they live and work at obtaining power. The question is, does it reinforce stereotypes unfairly? Probably. So what? It's a saga. And it has a few honorable characters. That makes all the difference.

Zenzoe
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

As I recall the Republican Party labeled the Democratic Party Democrat Party. And then a bunch of Democrats took umbrage and went around trying to correct them. Still do. There's a useful effort at thinking.

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.ren
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Quote .ren:

As I recall the Republican Party labeled the Democratic Party Democrat Party. And then a bunch of Democrats took umbrage and went around trying to correct them. Still do. There's a useful effort at thinking.


Here’s another “useful effort at thinking:” "Having a dog is like having a baby, but having a cat is like living with an interesting roommate from another culture."

Some people might enjoy elaborating on that one. Some people would find the use of one’s imagination on the subject a waste of time.

I’m of the former sensibility: IMHO, gravitas isn’t everything. :-)

THE “IC” FACTOR: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2006/08/07/the-ic-factor

"Democrat" vs. "Democratic;" A quick history lesson from the Propoganda Machine (with poll)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

The following is my attempt to portray a section of the recently released to DVD documentary: Merchants of Doubt. I focused on the remarkable story of Bob Inglis. I start at approximately the 1 hour and 14 minute mark. The documentary presents its narrative as if we the audience are the cameraman who also asks the questions. So when that perspective is that of asking questions, I present that as Viewer/watcher/listener/questioner or, for short: VWLQ.

Quote Merchants of Doubt:

Viewer/watcher/listener/questioner (VWLQ): Should I think of you as a liberal, a conservative, or....?

Bob Inglis 6 Term Congressman: Pretty Conservative is how you should think of me. Ninety Three American Conservative Rating, 100 percent Christian Coalition, National Right to Life.

I represented the 4th District of South Carolina, which is probably the reddest district in the reddest state in the nation.

When I was first in Congress I was a complete denier. I said, “That's hooey, absolute nonsense. Al Gore's imagination.” I hadn't really thought about it, I just knew that if it was coming from the other team, it had to be wrong. I got on the science committee and had the opportunity to go to Antarctica twice, actually. I saw the evidence in the ice core. You can pull it up and examine the CO2 levels. They were really stable. And then coinciding with the industrial revolution, there's an uptick. The chemistry is real clear, that you'rr changing the chemistry of the air. So I decided, really right there, I'm gonna go back and I'm gonna do something.

(Cut to scene of Bob Inglis speaking in Congress.)

Bob Inglis continues talking to VWLQ: Of course that was to my great peril with the tea party coming on and the great recession happening. (Amidst a background screen of Tim Phillips, President of Amerians for Prosperity, shouting to the protesters Bob continues:) There's a tide of doubt that comes out of the Great Recession where we started to doubt every institution, you know. And along comes some people that see the opportunity. Americans for Prosperity has been amazingly effective. They're able to organize that discontent.

(Cut to a scene with Tim Phillips speaking into a microphone saying: “In the name of Al Gorism... And by the way, can we just talk about Al Gore for a moment? Loud boos, Loud No's, a shot of a protester's back with a T'shirt that says “Global Warming My and a large red arrow below the lettering pointing downwards at his ass. Tim Phillips laughs at the response. He' seems as if he expected that reaction.)

VWLQ questioning that Tim Phillips in a car: If you see Republicans becoming sympathetic to carbon tax, do you view it as your job to knock those guys out?

Tim Phillips: Well, we hold both parties accountable.

(A series of scenes showing the "let's do something about climate change" attitudes of well known republicans (New Gingrich, John McCain, John Boehner, Romney) early in the 2008 election campaign.)

Tim Phillips continues: I remember in the mid 2000s, so many Republicans, they had a lot of the same tenets of faith that Democrats still many have today. Those days are over. Few Republicans play that game anymore and a lot of Democrats have bailed out too.

Bob Inglis: You have Newt Gingrich at the beginning of '08 on the couch with Nancy Pelosi (repeat th scene with them saying climate change is real and we need to do something about it) And by the End of 2008 (Gingrich in an inteview with Bill O'Reilly saying “I don't think we know.” Similar scenes with McCain, Boehner and Romney. Then a shot of a room full of people, apparently at a campaign rally, shouting at Bob Inglis to shut up and sit down.)

VWLQ to Bob Inglis: What happened in your election?”

Bob Inglis: Well, it wasn't even close.

(Television news room scene: One reporter: "Bob Inglis ran into a buzz saw of voter frustration with incumbents. Inglis lost every county in the district. He is a seasoned congressman going down to a huge defeat tonight." Reporters are replaced with a screen showing election results: Trey Gowdy with 71% and Bob Inglis with 29%.)

(2 years after defeat Bob is still carrying out the pledge he made while on the science committee visiting Antarctica, that is, to come back and do something. He's shown driving on his way to a talk show interview, apparently in Mississippi.)

Bob Inglis' assistant in the back seat: Did Price brief you on the climate views of this radio show?

Bob Inglis: No.

Assistant: All right, well, we better find that out, huh?

Bob Inglis: We can turn on the radio, see what he's saying.

(Bob reaches over and tunes in radio, we hear a male country singer singing “everyone knows this country is being flushed right down the drain, the ___?__ and liberals is where I place most the blame...” As the song fades to the background, Bob continues...)

We're after --- The target audience is red-state Republicans. And so I think we found some in Mississippi.

(radio announcer in the background: “From SuperTalk Mississippi”)

Eight-o-two. We go on at 8:06.

(Shot, we are outside the car now, of Inglis's car pulling into the studio's parking lot with a radio announcer introducing the next talk show host: “Paul Gallo, a shining example of the Fairness Doctrine as it should be.” Now Inglis running to the studio while Gallo can be heard, sounding a lot like Rush Limbaugh, saying: “You think polar bears are in trouble? No, they're not in trouble. In some cases we've got more polar bears than we've ever had. We got polar-bear problems out there in some cases.)

Now the studio Interview begins, Bob's got his headphones on and he's seated across from Paul Gallo:

Paul Gallo: Former South Carolina GOP Representative Bob Inglis is urging conservatives to stop denying humans are contributing to global warming. (Talking to Bob now) I don't understand. How do you come up with this? Because to me, every fiber in my body is saying you're a conservative. You can't believe this, that conservatives---? You're asking me, as a dyed-in-the-wool native-born Mississippian, will die here and blessed to do so, to believe that humans are responsible for global warming, and we must admit that? Mic's yours sir.

Bob Inglis: The challenge here is it's a conversation started by liberals, right? And what we're used to, as conservatives, is they gin up the hysteria, and then they drive through regulations and tax increases and grow government. Right? And so it's natural that we respond with, “No, we don't wanna do that.” But what if we had a different conversation? It's all about economics. You're taxing something you want more of, which is income, and you're not taxing something yo maybe want less of, which is CO2.

Paul Gallo: Why do we need to be talking about the global-warming tax again?

Bob Inglis: Because if you believe in taking care of this part of Eden that's left, and if you believe in creation care...

Paul Gallo: Now you're confusing me. Because now you're saying you do believe that we, as humans, are creating global warming. We are part-and-parcel responsible.

Bob Inglis: Yes.

Paul Gallo (speaking emphatically): I don't believe that humans are creating this, because – and neither do, apparently, the vast majority of climatologists out there.

Bob Inglis: I was tracking with you until that last part. You are wrong on that last part.

Paul Gallo: Listen, uh... Good luck to you. It was good meeting you.

Bob Inglis (as he's taking his head phones off): Good to talk with you.

Paul Gallo (moving on): Ok, Lots to do...Final two segments coming up next.

(As Bob and his assistant are getting in their car after leaving the studio)

Assistant: It's a battleship, Bob. Takes awhile to turn it around.

Bob Inglis. That's right.

(Now we're driving down a freeway; we're in the back seat looking between Bob and his Assistant at the road and all the traffic coming at us through windshield...)

Bob Inglis speaking thoughtfully: I mean, it's not just a head thing. This is very much a heart issue. It's not the science that's affecting us. I mean, the science is pretty clear. It's something else that's causing this rejection.

(Now we are seeing various scenes, an overview of crowded freeways panning to a distant city, football stadium, cheerleaders doing acrobats for the crowd, a suburban home lit up with Christmas lights, all as Bob is speaking...)

Many conservatives, I think, see action on climate change as really an attack on a way of life. The reason that we need the science to be wrong is otherwise we realize that we need to change. That's really a hard pill to swallow... that the whole way I've created my life is wrong, you're saying? That I shouldn't have this house in the suburb? I shouldn't be driving this car that I take my kids to soccer? And you're not gonna tell me to live the way that you want me to live. And along comes some people sowing some doubt, and uh it's pretty effective because I'm looking for that answer. I want it to be that the science is not real.

.ren's picture
.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Some things/people deserve labels and others don't. Skull and crossbones has saved many a life. Were a similar warning label on gop/liberatarian financial products been available (Sarbbanes/Oxley IS an attempt, and trashed roundly in all the fraud digests, WSJ, Forbes, Fortune) many lives would not have been ruined so easily with no one held accountable.

My labels, or ones I use for myself are skeptic, liberal, atheist, retiree, parent, and student.

I resigned Sierra Club and Greenpeace when nofly lists began. I travel internationally and didn't want to be renditioned. Malala (Nobel teenaged Pakistani girl) fund I still contribute to. ACLU is one I let lapse too since I will not ever return. I now seek some local ones, and Malala is Int'l with volunteers on our city streets.

I think I will give the Merchants of Doubt link to my youngest daughter's teachers when I speak to her class next time. My niece used some of our sources in her university class, ren. My nephew used Manufacturing Consent in his college courses and was greatful for the Chomsky introduction. He thought thoughtmaybe could be dangerous for him because he would never quit researching his assignments.

A label I assigned to Chomsky, one of the-thirty-six-who-save-the-world-,I'm allowed to assign it because I'm not bound by any religion. btw, it's a pun, a numerical assignation by a literal wording with clever punctuation over a 1000 years ago. A few years ago an equation purported to be the reason for Gulf 1 used to spell out in numbers on a calculator - 7I0 77345 when held upside down reads ShELL OIL.

Assholes deserve to be labeled, too. Peeing behind a dumpster will get you labeled a sex offender due to supposed flashing..hmm.. guys get labeled such but women don't. The moral is to squat if you've gotta go someplace public? [Jessica Williams did a bit on women carrying paper funnels in their pockets to use men's urinals that outnumber "women's toilets 10:1" in one venue. (women's toilets 101 is close to my quoted words)]

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Burdensome means what to the different parties privy to its usage? or are wont to use it themselves?

Pizza chains are hard to come by in Sweden. Pizza Hut is the only American chain to come in and Dominos.se has been stagnant for some years searching for a franchisee to open its first Swedish store. Michel cites hefty taxes and burdensome labor regulations as a barrier to entry. In a sea of some 5,000 independents, the website OnlinePizza.se was released.
Yes, slavery is no longer accepted in Sweden (and most of Europe), and definitely not regaled. Fast food employees get 15 bucks an hour, full medical, paid vacation (5 weeks), paid maternity (15months) and is burdensome when it is the same as execs get. Burdensome applies when the gini ratio shrinks, burdensome applies when employees are valued, burdensome applies when the same regulations cause no loss of revenue and are accepted as the norm (god forbid the word got out, a middle class might happen).

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I think Bob Inglis got onto something,

Quote Bob Inglis:

I mean, it's not just a head thing. This is very much a heart issue. It's not the science that's affecting us. I mean, the science is pretty clear. It's something else that's causing this rejection.

He runs for election back in the nineties. He wins. He gets to represent his constituents, people he apparently cares about -- their views, their way of life -- in the U.S. Congress. Democracy at work.

He is them, as he points out to us with his conservative rating. A "One hundred percent Christian Coalition" rating. He's from the reddest county in the reddest state. They all speak the same language. They commune in thought.

Then there he is in Washington. He's doing his job; he gets on the science committee; somewhere in all that he goes to Antarctica... twice. (Why twice?)

So it seems suddenly something stops. He now looks. Suppose he is now listening, not reacting to "the other team" with hatred and fear, but just listening, and he hears the scientists who are showing and telling him how they do the science. They are drilling down into the ice that's accumulated over the land in Antarctica for thousands of years, and are measuring CO2 that was in the atmosphere going back those same thousands of years. All very logical, rational, scientific. The scientific method with technology at work. He is suddenly seeing something new. He is seeing in a new way despite all his conditioning, despite all the labels about liberals and all the hatred he and his constituents use to guard their feelings of safety in the face of an environmental message for a need to change.

How many people are doing anything like that?

If you think about it, our ancestors -- just the modern human versions of us that go back maybe 200 thousand years -- had to do that when whatever they were doing to survive was no longer working. If they had not, our species would have died out.

So the question I ask isn't how do we use language and all it's components in the many ways we use them to both help ourselves and deceive ourselves, but, how do we learn to see with our very self-contained, ever self referencing thought process?

What we are shown of Bob Inglis's own thought process seems pretty remarkable when I think on it. Unlike the well known names that are more like labels of modern hated conservatives to progressives -- Gingrich, Boehner, McCain, Romney and the like -- he didn't change his message to stay in office, he ruined his career as a politician as a result of something I'd hardly expect from a politician: seeing what the science is telling us about what we are doing to ourselves and the world and staying with that, not denying it. He becomes a pariah, cast out from his group, a kind of Ancient Mariner, though much better groomed, still, and driving a nice car from one red state radio talk show to another.

It's not the language, the labels people share and sort of think with. It's not logic, reason, intelligently driven skepticism. It's something else. I'm not saying we should throw all that away. That's a binary dialectical form of reasoning to suggest that. I say just let all that be what it is. It's there, no need to reject it, just look and see it. Maybe be lucky and see it for what it is, whatever that might be.

I have a strong feeling-based sense we can see that something that drives our thinking if we look without preconception. Look, for instance, at the labels people bring to display to the world when you see these organized demonstrations, maybe you'll see it. Notice your own reactions to them. It's like meditating and you see your mind going and you simply notice it doing what it does. Yeah, some are perhaps more a reflection of the person who made up the sign and we can laugh, like a "redneck" misspelling moron in the now famous "Get A BRAIN MORANS". We can pat ourselves on the back because we know the correct spelling. Ha Ha, proof of who the moron is.

But if we get hung up laughing derisively at, not with, and massaging our hatred while overlooking the fear that drives it, we may miss something. Why are we all so eagerly taking part in the polarization we now live with? Whatever it is that drives this refusal to communicate, I suspect it goes for everyone. It seems pointless to talk about democracy when under these conditions.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I would like to send the Merchants of Doubt to my eldest sister, hoping she might stick with it long enough to see Bob Inglis' example of healthy, reasonable discernment. In the past, as a Sheriff Joe Arpaio admirer and right-wing Republican, her position on global warming aligned with the likes of Senator Jim Inhofe who said climate change is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” and that God, not humans, controls the weather. She’s also a Catholic. I haven’t dared asked her yet what she thinks of Pope Francis’ statements on climate change. I’m in big enough trouble simply by virtue of being a pro-choice progressive.

Furthermore, now that she has been appointed to the California Advisory Committee at U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (she has powerful connections in the Rep. Party), a supposedly bipartisan committee, I assume she will have to listen to views and facts, presumably, expressed by progressives (if any exist on the committee), an experience that will pose a significant challenge to her tendency of willful deafness. Who knows— maybe she’ll have a Bob Inglis moment or two. The scary thing is, she’s on the election and voting committee. That’s scary, because she has been lobbying for voter ID law for quite awhile now.

As for labels, I don’t think the problem is labels; the problem is prejudice and bigotry. So yeah, words can become red flags waving in the faces of bigoted people. For example, the bigotry of sexism:


ACLU Requests Official Investigation Into Hollywood’s Sexist Hiring Practices

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union officially requested that state and federal agencies launch an investigation into Hollywood’s sexist hiring practices.

That the entertainment industry is sexist is well-documented fact. But is it so sexist as to qualify as a civil rights violation? According to the ACLU, absolutely. Armed with piles of damning data and testimony from dozens of women directors, the organization contacted the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, asking that the agencies “initiate an investigation into systemic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film and television industry.” The ACLU argues that current hiring practices are in violation of Title VII….

It doesn’t matter if you don’t own a TV or you don’t like comic book movies, if you think you exist in some magic, insular silo where these decisions don’t affect your life. This pop culture gets absorbed not just by all citizens at home but by millions of people abroad, whether or not an individual seeks it out. What we currently have is a small, homogeneous group of people dictating what American culture should be to a sprawling, diverse population.

Films and television shows have enormous influence over who we are: how we work, how we talk, how we dress, how we date and fall in love and make families, how we see ourselves, how we see other people. In an era in which a record number of Americans self-identify as religiously unaffiliated, our shared value system comes from the church of commerce: entertainment is what we buy and sell, what we produce and what we consume. When the vision that these entities project, over and over and over again, is how a handful of white men want to see the world, everyone else is just an other in somebody else’s story, the best friend or the love interest to some guy’s protagonist. Everyone else is invisible or silent or pointless, or all of the above.

“These are products that go everywhere around the world,” said Migdal. “This is what you see. This is what your kids see. This is what they’re watching in other countries in the world: American movies, TV shows, commercials, they are everywhere. It cannot be right that we’re just limiting it to one group in the population.”…http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2015/05/12/3657906/aclu-requests-official-investigation-hollywoods-sexist-hiring-practices/
[Zenzoe bolds]

That’s an example of the pernicious labeling attached by certain segments of society to Woman, or Female. In the case of Hollywood, the labels “Male” and “Female” elicit profoundly bigoted, discriminatory responses in the minds of those in power. There’s nothing moronic about making a note of that, either.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I saw a Max Blumenthal doc covering Christians for Israel, or Jews for Jesus, whichever it was was a combined fundraiser or organization drive. Familiar GOP politicians were espousing their excitement about armegeddon because they would be raptured. They got giddy and wide eyed talking about Israel's re-taking Palestine signifying end times a commin'. Zenzoe's map showing it's progress might be seen as barometer, when Israel covers all of it high pressure reading means rapture is near, change your underwear so you'll have clean ones at the pearly gates.

Anyhow, with 40% of the country believing creationism, all the science in the world will not sway that America. With the rest beholden to corporate twaddle, USA will do nothing to change it's carbon diet. Dade county FL is outlining mitigation tactics for the thing that shall not be said in the Tallahassee State House. SC is not allowed to say sea rise or rising seas. I don't know what they call the flood zones, maybe aggressive natural irrigation occurrences? Earth saturation measures? One GOP science committee chair says God promised Noah, no more floods. Another science committee GOP says evolution is lies from the pit of hell. The Pope's talk might've put a bullseye on his back. Upon his demise will be "It was God's will for insulting his weather management". Another label for me -fatalist? realist? curmudgeon? -ren gave me that one and I liked it. Definition -Idealist: One that knows a rose smells better than a cabbage and thinks it will also make better soup.

South and Central America have made changes with Bolivian alliance poitical progress and indigenous peoples elected to national positions. Indigenous peoples do not shit in their living quarters. Europe has adopted measures too.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I don't really have much to add at this point.

I find myself musing on my oldest and best developed narrative: that complex societies organized in increasingly intractable hierarchical institutions, to which the people adapt (mostly in cities) while forgetting that there's a real biosphere that must also function for there to be life for all on the planet, is a doomed strategy for a species that fancies it has achieved through heroic struggle, Hobbesian fashion, a pinnacle position at the top of the biosphere's food chain.

What I expect to occur in this form of adaptive strategy would be these hierarchies inherently generating inequities. It appears unavoidably inherent in the structure of hierarchy. I have yet to see a hierarchy that ends up working as anything like a heterarchy (a nod to doug for bringing heterarchy to the discussion on another thread).

As those inequities get institutionalized, they tend to rigidify into a state of "what is" as the "efficient" parts of the social machinery grind on with their institutional purposes. In many case the institutional machines are intentionally blind to their long term effects, because to see is to introduce inefficiencies.

Meanwhile we can witness some of those humans adapting to the institutional webwork by struggling rebelliously to undo this process as it stifles and smothers them in ever emerging ruling "traditions." In this struggle, Yet more institutions must be created because we are no longer face to face with our adaptive process. This representational institutional creation becomes its own self reinforcing feedback loop. Democracy, what ever the term may mean, becomes vestigial in meaning.

Thus, in this complex societal environment, we need NAACP institutions, ACLU institutions and so forth to fight for our freedom from Big Oil, Mass Media and Entertainment Institutions, and the listing of these types of institutions can go on and on to identify a network forming a web around the globe, creating the basis of something abstracted from society called "the economy (stupid)" in which all living species are trapped, hauled in, processed, and consumed, one way or another. While increasing amounts of consumption in this process becomes an inert waste, devoid of life.

Others are duped into following corporate-funded, "rebelliously" contrarian, propagandistically-derived Americans for Prosperity-like institutes, Tea Party Patriots, Free Enterprise Institutes, and others that promise "freedom" in the form of "freedom" from government taxation. In particular, freedom from taxation of the pittance wage earners earn from working for private enterprise institutions. And not to neglect, freedom from an endless churning out of a dialectically-derived stream of regulations that control their lives (and what they are allowed to eat! I mean, for Christ sakes!). Meanwhile these rebels strive, like good patriots, to exceptionally progress, comfortably unaware of their participation in a suicidal way of life. An act of suicide that scientists are showing anyone who dares to look to be relentlessly unfolding as a result of this peculiar ant colony-like adaptation.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Robert W. Fuller tells us that the problem isn’t hierarchy; the problem is “rankism,” where the inevitable occasions of rank in our lives find expression in ways that deprive human beings of dignity. It’s only when folks take the status of their roles in relation to others —by education, profession, skill or talent— as permission to dominate, humiliate, and, generally, treat others to the indignities of their lower ranking in the group, where rank becomes a problem. While we would hope some cultures might be devoid of rank, that is, operate strictly from egalitarian principles, some situations simply demand that some among us will naturally assume roles of leadership and importance. For example, in medicine, the doctor plays a role where she or he may outrank certain others. However, that does not give the doctor permission to humiliate or bully those of lower rank in his office.

Quote Robert W. Fuller:
Humans have been violating others’ dignity for millennia. We have raped and pillaged, trafficked in slavery, and otherwise abused our fellow creatures. Colonialism; segregation; apartheid; torture; ethnic cleansing; corporate corruption; monopolistic pricing; sexual harassment; discrimination based on race, gender, age, appearance… The list of ways we have violated the dignity of members of our own and other species goes on and on.

So why would we think we can stop it now? The reasons are simple: We have already made progress in this area as a species. As bad as things may sometimes seem, in much of the world we now have laws that disallow such behavior…

Quote Bill Moyers:

Rankism: A Concept that Both Progressives and Conservatives Can Love

The concept of rankism is indispensable for progressives and conservatives alike. It enables us to resolve a confusing core issue central to both society and our personal lives–hierarchy vs. equality. For decades, our value of equality in relationships and desire for “flatter” organizational structures have been challenged by our daily experience of rank and hierarchy, such as the natural hierarchies of parent-child, staff-volunteers in nonprofit groups. The concepts of rankism gives us a way to distinguish between appropriate ranking and the abuse of rank (rankism) and set aside the latter in our personal relationships, or organizations, and our international relations.

If only the notion of dignity for all could be extended to include other species and the planet itself! Our rankism, which I call human chauvinism, which excludes all but ourselves from our sphere of concern, needs acknowledgment in our collective conscience as a species. I realize time is running out, and I share whatever curmudgeonist, fatalist, realist doubts others may have. I’m just thinking, now that nature’s voice is being heard —extreme weather events— humans just might decide it’s long past time to treat Mother Earth to the dignity she deserves.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thanks for that last entry, Zenzoe. Thanks to ren and you both and others that contributed to this exercise, you all expanded my horizon (isn't that now a canned expression?). How about you all increased my chances of being one of the cognoscenti or maybe a polymath? (not a label, but a definition) btw, the Kurds seem to have no ranking issues according to the msnbc/nbc field reporter that was within their midst in a city they occupied but were being challenged. Richard Engel? Thanks again to all

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

One last thought from Bohm's On Dialog. It involves the meaning of the word "serious," more specifically, "to be serious."

Quote David Bohm:

Krishnamurti said that “to be” is to be related. But relationship can be very painful. He said that you have to think/ feel out all your mental processes and work them through, and then that will open the way to something else. And I think that is what can happen in the dialogue group. Certain painful things can happen for some people; you have to work it all out.

We once had a dialogue in Sweden, in which the group seemed to divide itself into two factions. There were a lot of “New Age” people, and from the beginning they began to talk about the virtues of love and the fact that the place was full of love all around, that it was all love everywhere. Part of the group remained silent for a while, but in the next hour they started to talk. They intimated that the love talk was all sentimental nonsense and didn’t mean anything. Then one fellow got so excited that he couldn’t stand it, and he walked out. He eventually came back, and they finally got together again. Polarization had taken place, which is a typical difficulty that can arise. Someone noticed the polarization happening and said with a bit of good humor, “There are two groups here – the love group and the hate group.” That broke the tension a little, and the two sides could then begin to talk. They didn’t necessarily convince each other, but each was able to see the meaning of the other side’s position, and the two polarized groups were able to talk to each other.

Now, that was a more important point than whether they convinced each other. They might find that they both have to give up their positions so that something else can come about. It was not important whether one favored love or one favored hate or another favored being suspicious and careful and somewhat cynical, or whatever. Really, underneath they were similar, because they both had rigid positions. Loosening that position, then, was the key change.

On the whole, you could say that if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious. Likewise, if you are trying to avoid something unpleasant inside of yourself, that is also not being serious. A great deal of our whole life is not serious. And society teaches you that. It teaches you not to be very serious – that there are all sorts of incoherent things, and there is nothing that can be done about it, and that you will only stir yourself up uselessly by being serious.

But in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not – not in the way I’m using the word. There is a story about Freud when he had cancer of the mouth. Somebody came up to him and wanted to talk to him about a point in psychology. The person said, “Perhaps I’d better not talk to you, because you’ve got this cancer which is very serious. You may not want to talk about this.” Freud’s answer was, “This cancer may be fatal, but it’s not serious.” And actually, of course, it was just a lot of cells growing. I think a great deal of what goes on in society could be described that way – that it may well be fatal, but it’s not serious.

Bohm, David (2012-12-06). On Dialogue (pp. 47-48). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Krishnamurti’s opinion:


...they both had rigid positions. Loosening that position, then, was the key change…

But then we see Krishnamurti’s own, with all due respect, rigid position:

...if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious…
... in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not…

This morning I read a piece on the the two, Bohm and K., by Martin Gardner of Skeptical Inquirer. Enlightening.

Words have power, especially when delivered by charismatic idols. Mind control comes via words intended to distance individuals from their autonomous selves, autonomy being a threat to the charismatic leader’s power and group cohesion. Even Jesus, whom I admire, advised against thinking as an autonomous adult, combining his advice with threats: “...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” By the same token, do not Krishnamurti’s words —“...defending your opinions...you are not serious…”— do the same? That is to say, “Don’t think independently; only your uncritical acceptance of all things qualifies you as ‘serious,’ as worthy of my respect, as worthy of this dialogue/community.” “Be as little children…do not question me, most of all...”

Another interpretation of Jesus’ words about becoming as “little children:” Be silly, giggle a lot, play, dance, love jokes and rhymes, run, jump, climb and speak your mind directly and honestly...”

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” —Buddha

Thank you, Douglaslee, for this thread. It has been fun, even where I don't seem to fit in all that well. :-)

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

Krishnamurti’s opinion:

..they both had rigid positions. Loosening that position, then, was the key change…

But then we see Krishnamurti’s own, with all due respect, rigid position

...if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious…
... in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not…

All the words you quoted that were also in my above post were Bohm's words, not Krishnamurti's. Just want to make that clear in case anyone has been confused by reading first my post then yours.

If your quotes were also Krishnamurti's from somewhere, it would be less confusing to me if you provided a link to a source.

This is what Bohm says Krishnamuti said:

Quote David Bohm:

Krishnamurti said that “to be” is to be related. But relationship can be very painful. He said that you have to think/ feel out all your mental processes and work them through, and then that will open the way to something else.

I work from a perspective on our inherent subjectivity where I would tend to agree that everything humans say is an interpreted opinion. If it happens to be a fact, that's a happy coincidence.

Essentially, then, from my above perspective, what you are saying in the quote above is how you see (i.e., interpret) what's being said. First misconstuing it as being said by Krishnamurti, then Krishnamurti as being "rigid". Perhaps you have a group of people you can count on who agree with the way you see things, so you can feel comfortable with adding a "we" involved in what you see.

From my perspective, what you see in the words and how you express your interpretation of what's being said allows anyone who is seriously listening, and trying to understand your meaning, a way of getting some clues to your state of mind. For me, everyone's state of mind is involved when I'm trying to understand what's being said in conversation, because state of mind makes up the context of communication for me. Of course state of mind by nature will always be in that territory of uncertainty. Understanding (if I'm ever fortunate enough to actually understand) the context opens up potential for me to contribute in ways that are comfortable for me, and it allows me to meet my subjective intentionality in attempting to communicate.

Quote Zenzoe:

Words have power, especially when delivered by charismatic idols. Mind control comes via words intended to distance individuals from their autonomous selves, autonomy being a threat to the charismatic leader’s power and group cohesion.

I'm not sure who the speaker is in what I just quoted.

That aside, my observation is this: once again, the map is not the territory for me. Doesn't a declarative statement like "words have power" simply mean that the speaker (or writer) believes words have power? And "power," what does that word really mean to the speaker? To me power has a generally ambiguous interpretation that needs context. I can measure power in electricity with instruments, but I have no idea how to do so with other people's minds. How can anyone possibly know for certain what is actually taking place in someone else's mind with regards to words they hear from others? If it can't be measured, what does power really mean?

I have no idea what the speaker means by "charismatic idols." It's a label without context as I read it.

Please don't feel obliged to answer any of my questions. I merely ask questions as way of opening up thoughts, mostly for myself. Others have their ways, some more dogmatic than others. In actual, face to face conversations, I seldom do more than ask questions. I really don't know what to say to people without that, and when I do ask, they end up doing all the talking. What's actually taking place between others and myself in conversation is a perpetual mystery for me. Questioning helps me to find out where others' minds are so I can find some common ground. I'd rather have common ground than argue over beliefs and opinions. But I constantly find that common ground is not easy to find.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Quote .ren:

Quote Zenzoe:

Krishnamurti’s opinion:

..they both had rigid positions. Loosening that position, then, was the key change…

But then we see Krishnamurti’s own, with all due respect, rigid position

...if you are defending your opinions, you are not serious…

... in a dialogue you have to be serious. It is not a dialogue if you are not…

All the words you quoted that were also in my above post were Bohm's words, not Krishnamurti's. Just want to make that clear in case anyone has been confused by reading first my post then yours.

My mistake. Yes, you’re right— those were Bohm’s words. Either way, my suggestion that his words reveal him as a hypocrite remains— he criticizes the opinions of others, using the adjective rigid, then he expresses a rigid opinion/position himself. So, apparently he’s entitled to have rigid opinions, while he criticizes others for having them.

Quote .ren:
Quote Zenzoe:

Words have power, especially when delivered by charismatic idols. Mind control comes via words intended to distance individuals from their autonomous selves, autonomy being a threat to the charismatic leader’s power and group cohesion. Even Jesus, whom I admire, advised against thinking as an autonomous adult, combining his advice with threats: “...Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” By the same token, do not Krishnamurti’s words —“...defending your opinions...you are not serious…”— do the same? That is to say, “Don’t think independently; only your uncritical acceptance of all things qualifies you as ‘serious,’ as worthy of my respect, as worthy of this dialogue/community.” “Be as little children…do not question me, most of all...”

I'm not sure who the speaker is in what I just quoted.
That aside, my observation is this: once again, the map is not the territory for me. Doesn't a declarative statement like "words have power" simply mean that the speaker (or writer) believes words have power?

And "power," what does that word really mean to the speaker? To me power has a generally ambiguous interpretation that needs context...

Clearly, that was my own writing, my own opinion. I don’t expect you to agree with me. And, I do not apologize for having an opinion.
I added the entire context of my opinion quoted by you, to show that I did provide a context for my claim that words have power. The context is there, if you care to see it.

The pen is mightier than the sword.” So, yeah, I’m not alone in thinking that words have power.

But thanks for your response and for correcting my mistake.

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Zenzoe:

My mistake. Yes, you’re right— those were Bohm’s words. Either way, my suggestion that his words reveal him as a hypocrite remains— he criticizes the opinions of others, using the adjective rigid, then he expresses a rigid opinion/position himself. So, apparently he’s entitled to have rigid opinions, while he criticizes others for having them

Of course your suggestion remains if that's what you wish. You show the readers that you have opinionized that his assessment -- his interpretation of the situation he's telling the reader about, his arrived at opinion -- is also a criticism of those he is assessing. You then, with that context active in your mind, interpret and opinionize that he's a "hypocrite." I can see how you come to that conclusion. Makes a certain kind of sense.

Personally I can't imagine why he thinks there's any hope that people will ever come to do open-minded dialogue and achieve peaceful coexistence as he tries to present it in the book. I also doubt there are any skeptics parading themselves around as the king or queen of intelligent skepticism who are more consistently skeptical than I am.

Quote Zenzoe:

Clearly, that was my own writing, my own opinion. I don’t expect you to agree with me. And, I do not apologize for having an opinion.
I added the entire context of my opinion quoted by you, to show that I did provide a context for my claim that words have power. The context is there, if you care to see it.

The pen is mightier than the sword.” So, yeah, I’m not alone in thinking that words have power.

But thanks for your response and for correcting my mistake.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions as far as I'm concerned. Even me, though I'm finding more and more that mine are irrelevant to just about anyone else but me. Other's having opinions isn't much of an an issue for me. It's just the way it is or else we follow some authoritarian and don't bother to think out our lives.

If words have power over you, that's entirely your affair to deal with. I'm certainly in no proximity to hold your hand if it's troubling you.

I don't need gratitude, I'm just very serious about being clear. It's difficult to respond to fragmentation and incoherence in what I read.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote .ren:...If words have power over you, that's entirely your affair to deal with. I'm certainly in no proximity to hold your hand if it's troubling you.

Oye, I didn't say that words have power over me, ren. Quite the opposite, if we're going to look at the context where I mentioned that words have power. I was talking about manipulative words in the context of cult leaders who wish to gain uncritical devotion from their followers. That's something I have never done, that is, be an uncritical follower. Of course, you would understand that, if you weren't determined to read my words through a cloudy lens, as you demonstrate with your next comment:

Quote .ren:

I don't need gratitude, I'm just very serious about being clear. It's difficult to respond to fragmentation and incoherence in what I read.


Sheesh—I said thank you to be polite, not because I thought you needed gratitude.

I am as clear a writer as you will find on this forum, and I resent your projection of your own failure to comprehend as a flaw in my writing. Trust me, I can find oodles of vague, incoherent, and imprecise language in your writing, so you might think twice about insulting me on that score.

If you're having trouble with my words criticizing people you admire, why don't you say so? If my words make you uncomfortable, how about owning it?

Apparently, I need to be more deferential, if I want to join in a dialogue with you. For the life of me, I can't imagine why I should have to do that. I respect your intelligence and your scholarship, but respect does not include kissing people's asses, at least not in my book. Yeah— that's from my map.

Tah tah...

Zenzoe
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Sheesh Zoe, keep an open mind. Not everything is directed at you, your opinions or an attempt at a mind meld. This thread is supposed to be a discussion not a debate.

rs allen
Joined:
Mar. 15, 2012 5:55 pm

I don't know how this software reads this as a response to post #99, I clicked on reply under #149 when I posted.

Quote Zenzoe:

Oye, I didn't say that words have power over me, ren. Quite the opposite, if we're going to look at the context where I mentioned that words have power. I was talking about manipulative words in the context of cult leaders who wish to gain uncritical devotion from their followers. That's something I have never done, that is, be an uncritical follower. Of course, you would understand that, if you weren't determined to read my words through a cloudy lens, as you demonstrate with your next comment:

I haven't a clue what you mean by "words have power." If they don't have power over you, how would you even know they do have power? My perspective is that what people say (the maps they create) comes from within their territory. I don't see any way out of the trap of our own subjectivity. To me it is by nature of that we are necessarily subjective. I don't claim to know what's going on in your mind, that would be self deceptive to my way of thinking. As I said, I am consistently skeptical of words. That also means I don't know very much for certain. I'm mostly guessing.

Your subjective interpretation of what I mean is entirely yours. You are welcome to it.

Sheesh—I said thank you to be polite, not because I thought you needed gratitude.

I don't need polite either. I mostly doubt it's given without strings.

I am as clear a writer as you will find on this forum, and I resent your projection of your own failure to comprehend as a flaw in my writing. Trust me, I can find oodles of vague, incoherent, and imprecise language in your writing, so you might think twice about insulting me on that score.

If you're having trouble with my words criticizing people you admire, why don't you say so? If my words make you uncomfortable, how about owning it?

You may believe you are being clear, but I see you attempting to project something of your own awareness that you've constructed for yourself. I don't see how any of us can do anything but that. And I don't know what it is you are projecting because it resides where I can't go... that is, into your mind. Writing a fine grammatically "clear" sentence that projects something I can't possibly know anything about is not necessarily being clear in my mind. It's just expressing your opinion. We all have opinions or we'd be little more than programmed computers. We construct ourselves and our worlds with them. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know. It cuts both ways.

It's my humble opinion that whatever conclusions you've come to about anything whatsoever are entirely your own, even if you've borrowed the map from someone else with which to express yourself. I believe that following someone and giving them responsibility for your choice to go along and do as they say, and so forth, is an act of self deception better known in French as mauvaise foi. If you want to interpet something someone has said as an insult, that is entirely up to you. I in no way wish you not to have your opinions. That would be like wishing you were a robot. I will simply ignore all your attempts to make them personal, whether about me or anyone else. That's just the way I've become, especially when I can't know people up close and personally. And that is certainly the case on this message board.

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.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

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