May 14th, 2006


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09:52 pm - on Wørds and Wisdom... (and a little about Women at the end)

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on Wørds and Wisdom... (and a little about Women at the end) - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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Comments:


[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 02:46 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

I can't be sure, that's my whole point. Neither can you :)

We have no point of reference from which to compare our perceptions with the real thing. We can get different perspectives from other people, but leaving aside any dishonesty or poor communication skills on their part, then all we have is our perceptions of their perspectives.

So why take the view that there is a reality outside our perceptions? A few reasons.

1) Solipsism is lonely
2) "There is no universal truth" is a contradictory, logically flawed statement. Now, I'm all for acknowledging the limits of reason (which ties in to my contention that we can't fully understand reality) but when you rest your argument on this statement, it removes your credibility. If you don't believe what you're saying is true, what possible reason could I have for doing so? Because most people agree with you? Why should I care?

On the other hand, if there is a universal truth, then I am open to arguments, because I don't want to be wrong. I will seek common ground, I will try to understand your perspective, I will listen to you because I want my model to be a more accurate reflection of reality. I might even come to accept views that I dislike. If consensus becomes reality, I don't have to do any of that. I just have to shout louder, construct arguments that sound good, impress you with big words and blinking lights. Or just build a mind-control device.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 08:42 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

While you chose to focus on the "truth" part of "universal truth," I focus on the "universal" part of it. That is to say that I have my truth that works for me. I recognize it doesn't work for others, but that doesn't make it any less true.

In your model, well, maybe you don't want to be wrong and you are open to arguments. But there do seem to be an awful lot of people who operate in your model who believe they are right and are not open to arguments. My model allows me to say, "Okay, enjoy that," and walk away from fanatics, fundies, schizophrenics, and poopooheads.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 09:00 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

But there do seem to be an awful lot of people who operate in your model who believe they are right and are not open to arguments.

My model is not nearly as popular as I'd like it to be. What these guys are missing is the key ingredient that it's not possible to know what the universal truth is. When people assume they've got it, then yeah, there are problems. However your model is casting all these folks as fanatics, fundies, schizophrenics, and poopooheads, and if you're honest with yourself I don't think you'll find that you actually approve of their ideas as truths having as much validity as yours.

I recognize it doesn't work for others, but that doesn't make it any less true.

But if your truth doesn't apply to me, I'm not compelled to try and understand it. I might try to a point, but if it doesn't make some headway quickly, I'm likely to just stick to my own truth. I think this leads to more walking away and less understanding.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 09:39 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

However your model is casting all these folks as fanatics, fundies, schizophrenics, and poopooheads, and if you're honest with yourself I don't think you'll find that you actually approve of their ideas as truths having as much validity as yours.

They are welcome to their ideas so long as they do not force them on other people or go around screaming at people and beating people up for thinking differently. It is forcing your ideas on someone else that makes you a poopoohead.

I'm not compelled to try and understand it.

As a general rule, I'm not into compelling people.
Yes, this does make my professional life difficult, but it works for my personal life. Some random person doesn't wanna understand me? Fine. Doesn't bother me.

[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 10:23 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

But they're not welcome to those ideas which require them to beat people up for thinking differently. So some ideas are better than others.

Some random person doesn't wanna understand me? Fine. Doesn't bother me.

I'm all for avoiding conflict as much as possible, and in general I'm happy to let people believe what they want. But if someone (conscientiously adhering to his own truth) is doing something that's hurting me, I need to be able to make a compelling argument that he shouldn't do that (and I can't do that honestly unless I believe my point of view is superior, i.e. closer to an unknown truth which applies to us both). Maybe he'll listen and maybe he won't, but he should at least have the opportunity. There are only so many places I can walk away to.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: May 17th, 2006 - 11:21 pm (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

So some ideas are better than others.

The idea of beating people up is generally a bad one, IMO. But deciding to beat people up based on the fact that they hold different ideas from you is not the fault of the ideas.

In any case, I don't see how you can convince anyone that your point of view is closer to The Truth if they believe that their idea is closer to The Truth.

At least you don't resort to veiled insults and imply that only people who agree with you are smart. I consider that kind of behavior equivalent to fundamentalism.
[User Picture]From: max1975 Date: May 18th, 2006 - 03:41 am (Link)

Re: and then i thought on it some more

The idea of beating people up is generally a bad one, IMO. But deciding to beat people up based on the fact that they hold different ideas from you is not the fault of the ideas.

It is if beating people up for that reason is part of the idea. And there are plenty of ideas like that (although I guess they normally prefer "kill" to "beat up.")

In any case, I don't see how you can convince anyone that your point of view is closer to The Truth if they believe that their idea is closer to The Truth.

It's not easy. It requires that people be open to the possibility, however remote, that they're wrong. Maybe most people aren't able to do this, but if you neve give them the chance, they'll never surprise you.

It's probably pretty rare that one person convinces the other completely, but I think it frequently happens that each person comes away with an expanded point of view that is closer to the Truth than the ones they held previously.
 

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