The empty and not empty people
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17-07-2014, 02:20 PM
The empty and not empty people
Here's something I learned from some discussions on Facebook, mostly initiated by my Christian frienemy, but other people join in, especially one guy, let's call him George, a completely random name, I apologize to all nice Georges out there.

I don't know much about people, the way I am, social skills are slowly worming their way into my brain like pine roots into solid rock. So I learn them in a very strange way.
There is this human quality that could be called "mental endurance". I call it "mental endurance", because it's such a nice neutral buzzword that can not offend anybody.

Not everyone has this mental endurance, for example people like George.
What does that mean? I could say with a bit of metaphor, that if I say that the sky is blue, George will have to argue with me. Why? Because George will be afraid, that I think less of him because he might not know that the sky is blue. What worse, people around might think that he is stupid because he did not say it first, that the sky is blue. In any case, he looks and feels stupid now compared to me, because I said that the sky is blue and he didn't. So he has to take this glorious achievement from me, so he can look smarter, such as correcting idiots like me. George does not grow, but he surely can look bigger by cutting people's heads off.
So George must say, that I am wrong, because the sky can also be red during the sunset and orange during sunrise, grey when overcast and black at night, so it's me who is stupid and not him.
If I correct myself and take extra care to be precise, because George is kind of nitpicky, I'll say, "the sky is colored by oxygen that filters out red wavelengths out of sunlight due to its molecular size". This is something that Goerge can't attack factually, but attack he must, for the reasons above. So he must say, that I am an intellectual showoff, a smartass, that I shift the goalposts and that nobody cares about this stuff anyway.

George is wrong as often as most people, if not more about some things. But never once in history of mankind was George observed to admit a mistake to a living soul, correct himself and apologize. It is speculated that such an action would send him into a deep depression resulting in suicide attempt - or murder. Some professionals think that George was shamed and brutally punished for not knowing things or not getting things right when he was a child, as children are wont to not know things.
On some deep level, George knows that. He knows that every argument is a fight for all his honor as, and because that's all he is, it is his fight for existence. George is trapped in a terrible quandary. He must never, ever turn down a fight or philosophical debate on epistemology, morality and physics, because he'd be a chicken, arrogant and/or stupid, everyone would think that. But if he ever loses in a debate, he is stupid, everyone would think that. So he must never lose.

However, fortunately for George, there is a very easy way not to lose. Well, that way is not exactly very easy, but it is proportionally easy to his intelligence. And despite of how he feels, George is rather intelligent. Not a genius, but above average IQ definitely.
That indomitable defense is to never use clearly defined concepts, for example. Each concept must mean at least two different things and if I use one meaning, he argues with the other. There are many tactics that George uses and it is only speculated how many does he use consciously, how many subconsciously and which are simply ignorance on his part. George can understand things very clearly when his boss at work tells him to do something, but if I ask George about something that might show I was correct in some way, George suddenly misunderstands. Especially if it's related to my "blue sky hypothesis". He has many opinions, but if I reflect on them correctly back to him for clarification, because I disagree with them, he does not recognize them as his own and in turn attributes them to me and shows where they are incorrect.

To an independent observer, this looks like a legitimate debate on astronomy, meteorology, optics and chemistry. An independent observer will be left completely clueless as to whether the sky is really ever blue at all.

To an independent observer, my fascination with George may seem morbid, unhealthy and obsessive. The truth is also, that George is somehow familiar to me.
In the same way that an independent observer is confused about the color or the very existence of the sky, I am confused about humanity. It seems to me that many people I have ever known were like George in some way. Not about intellect or the sky-stuff perhaps, but other things. Most people did not seem intellectual enough to pull off the George gambit, so they did let themselves to be bullied. Most were either dazzled by George's stellar expertise of the not so blue sky, or discouraged by seeing how hard this blue sky stuff is.

The more I know George, the more I loathe him. Which is difficult, because I was raised by people like George, I was educated by them and some people I know on the internet are like George. So I know there is sometimes something like George about me. I know that, even though I instinctively loathed George all my life and tried to be as completely unlike him as humanly possible. However, George has an enormous influence on how things are actually done - they are either done George's way, or not at all.

One ways I try not to be like George is, as much as I am afraid to admit it, admitting that I am somewhat like George sometimes. I try to watch myself, but a person alone is too not good at watching himself. It is the easiest thing to see the other person's faults, but it is madness to let anywhere near, because that person might be like George. So if I say sometimes that I have my inner George too, that is something George would never admit - and that paradoxically makes me less like him and I love that, even though it hurts and terrifies me. At least when it hurts, I can stop myself sooner if I ever feel an urge to behave like George.
I know George would be silent when an authority speaks wrong, but he'd be first to speak against me to defend the authority. George would say nothing when old things are discussed, but he would defend the old things when new things are discussed. George would not be ashamed of re-hashing the old things, he seems as interested in the old, as I am in the new. So I try to notice, What Would George Do? That is what I sometimes do (nothing), because George is as slippery as a well-oiled maggot and he burrows into depths of my being, away from my sight. The only way to track George's dark lessons is to follow the pain - or follow where I would never decide to go on on my own, follow where it seems most difficult and most pointless to go, especially where the external George tells me not to go, not to speak or act. It is every bit as difficult and unpleasant as it sounds and there are moments in which the maggot of George-ness is finally caught which are nothing short of agony.

Still, I wonder if there is someone out there who is not like George, but has a voice, has a thought, and doesn't think that my "sky is blue theory" is wrong, weird or too conceited and arrogant. I wonder how such people would be like. Would I recognize them as such? Logic tells me yes, such a person would be the very opposite I ever knew, impossible to miss. Yet for the same reason it is difficult to imagine any specifics.
What worse, would they recognize me, as someone who may seem like George sometimes, but does his best to change that? Would they accept my paradoxical warring nature? Would they be put off by my exhausted appearance of deep fight against George? In a circle of friends dominated by George, I must definitely look like a lowlife, the worst one and, disgustingly so, a wannabe George. But I know there is no way to win against George. Sometimes I debate against George, to sharpen my thoughts and to get to know him better. Sometimes I think I do George wrong by thinking too low of him - and so I go to be reassured that no low thought about George is low enough. But fundamentally, it's not what I want. I wonder about the life without George, as scientists wonder about the life on other planets. And maybe it visited our planet, too.
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17-07-2014, 02:32 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
(17-07-2014 02:20 PM)Luminon Wrote:  One ways I try not to be like George is, as much as I am afraid to admit it, admitting that I am somewhat like George sometimes.

Only by this single aside do you save yourself from mere spiteful whining.

It is telling that you presuppose yourself to always be the one taking the "sky is blue" positions throughout this analysis.

And of course...
(17-07-2014 02:20 PM)Luminon Wrote:  George is wrong as often as most people, if not more about some things. But never once in history of mankind was George observed to admit a mistake to a living soul, correct himself and apologize. It is speculated that such an action would send him into a deep depression resulting in suicide attempt - or murder. Some professionals think that George was shamed and brutally punished for not knowing things or not getting things right when he was a child, as children are wont to not know things.
On some deep level, George knows that. He knows that every argument is a fight for all his honor as, and because that's all he is, it is his fight for existence. George is trapped in a terrible quandary. He must never, ever turn down a fight or philosophical debate on epistemology, morality and physics, because he'd be a chicken, arrogant and/or stupid, everyone would think that. But if he ever loses in a debate, he is stupid, everyone would think that. So he must never lose.

There's also this deranged psychobabble.

...

What you've done here is create a mechanism whereby anyone who disagrees with you - ever, about anything - can be dismissed without consideration.

That is not productive.

... this is my signature!
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17-07-2014, 02:55 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
You get to tend the rabbits LuminLenny.




There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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17-07-2014, 03:38 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
There are many people that come across as argumentative.
I fall into this trap many times myself.
Most arguments boil down to semantic differences.
Almost all arguments also include either the desire to convince the other person and get them to agree with you (almost never happens) or having a feeling of being attacked and feeling the need to defend one's self (I fall for this one a lot).

Some people are predisposed to arguments (e.g. people with Aspergers).
I think a wise way to approach differences of opinion, is to try and understand the other person's position. Ask questions, try very hard to understand even though you don't agree. Walk away having learned another viewpoint (maybe even thank them for offering you a viewpoint that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of) rather than trying to get agreement from them that they are wrong and you are right.
But it is easier said than done (for some people, myself included).
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17-07-2014, 04:21 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
(17-07-2014 02:32 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Only by this single aside do you save yourself from mere spiteful whining.

It is telling that you presuppose yourself to always be the one taking the "sky is blue" positions throughout this analysis.
Not really. I actually meant Facebook conversations on epistemology, where my position is "reality exists and we know the truth about it and it's not faith". There are many people educated in physics and chemistry who think science is based on nothing solid, that reality can only be accepted on faith, whatever that means. They're friends with Christians, too.

On the forum, I know most of my positions are extremely non-obvious. One of my hobbies is esotericism. But on the forum, I am high much of the time, because I meditate at the computer. *When you're in the psychedelic state, it's hard to tell what behavior is appropriate sometimes.*




(17-07-2014 02:32 PM)cjlr Wrote:  There's also this deranged psychobabble.

...

What you've done here is create a mechanism whereby anyone who disagrees with you - ever, about anything - can be dismissed without consideration.

That is not productive.
Well, one might say that esotericism and anarchistic economic theory requires me to consider a great amount of things without dismissing them. So what do I actually do? I see, I dismiss the things I shouldn't dismiss and consider the things I shouldn't consider. There's no pleasing some people.




As for productivity, I believe in division of labor. You be productive, I'll be insightful and purposeful.

(17-07-2014 02:55 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  You get to tend the rabbits LuminLenny.
I didn't see the movie, so I don't quite get the connotations, but... if I consider the acting... I think I do get an idea.

It seems to me a bad idea that someone with big, strong hands who likes to stroke soft fur should tend the rabbits.
And maybe it's not the right time to say that my favorite toy as a kid was a stuffed plush fox.


(17-07-2014 03:38 PM)Stevil Wrote:  There are many people that come across as argumentative.
I fall into this trap many times myself.
Most arguments boil down to semantic differences.
Almost all arguments also include either the desire to convince the other person and get them to agree with you (almost never happens) or having a feeling of being attacked and feeling the need to defend one's self (I fall for this one a lot).

Some people are predisposed to arguments (e.g. people with Aspergers).
I think a wise way to approach differences of opinion, is to try and understand the other person's position. Ask questions, try very hard to understand even though you don't agree. Walk away having learned another viewpoint (maybe even thank them for offering you a viewpoint that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of) rather than trying to get agreement from them that they are wrong and you are right.
But it is easier said than done (for some people, myself included).
Wise words. Only if people were like that! With philosophy nowadays I find myself too good at dissecting other people's opinion. You're right, it is often about semantic differences. Some of the most fascinating conflicts are semantic. But most of the conflicts is about ignorance, shame of ignorance and elaborate cover-ups through semantics, not semantics itself. Anyone who shows ignorance or other form of vulnerability or genuine feeling, is attacked.

People's opinions are mostly undefined, inarticulate. To build an opinion out of hard logic and principles is like to build a hard muscle by exercise. Soft opinions are like a fog, they can never be knocked down and people think it's an advantage (eternal faith!). People don't want to build the hard muscle, because that will lead them to the fighting pit of getting knocked down. They stay outside, have pretend-fights with waving fists and say they are fighters for reason.

People who have articulated viewpoints, usually treat them as shopping bags. They put in whatever they like and don't care that faith, reason, socialism and saving the rainforests do not go well together. Nobody has any principles, but everyone calls their shopping bag a paragon of virtue.

So you're right, we can learn a lot from other people's worldviews, but I stopped seeing anything new in what they say, I see a lot of new info on how and why they say that.
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17-07-2014, 04:56 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  Only if people were like that!
It takes two to argue.
If you attempt to behave like that yourself then you may avoid wasting time in arguments with argumentative people.
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17-07-2014, 05:01 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  It seems to me a bad idea that someone with big, strong hands who likes to stroke soft fur should tend the rabbits.
And maybe it's not the right time to say that my favorite toy as a kid was a stuffed plush fox.

You get to tend the rabbits.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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17-07-2014, 05:51 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2014 08:16 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The empty and not empty people
The empty and not empty people

Well we all know I'm not empty.
In fact I'm told I'm full of it. Weeping

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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17-07-2014, 06:15 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(17-07-2014 02:32 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Only by this single aside do you save yourself from mere spiteful whining.

It is telling that you presuppose yourself to always be the one taking the "sky is blue" positions throughout this analysis.
Not really. I actually meant Facebook conversations on epistemology, where my position is "reality exists and we know the truth about it and it's not faith". There are many people educated in physics and chemistry who think science is based on nothing solid, that reality can only be accepted on faith, whatever that means. They're friends with Christians, too.

Okay. Disprove solipsism. Go.

(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  
(17-07-2014 02:32 PM)cjlr Wrote:  There's also this deranged psychobabble.

...

What you've done here is create a mechanism whereby anyone who disagrees with you - ever, about anything - can be dismissed without consideration.

That is not productive.
Well, one might say that esotericism and anarchistic economic theory requires me to consider a great amount of things without dismissing them. So what do I actually do? I see, I dismiss the things I shouldn't dismiss and consider the things I shouldn't consider. There's no pleasing some people.

If you assume the position that others are disagreeing with you not because of the content of your arguments but because [insert deranged psychobabble here], you're going to have a bad time.

(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  As for productivity, I believe in division of labor. You be productive, I'll be insightful and purposeful.

I can parse no meaning from this non sequitur.

What is the purpose of discussion?

No reasonable answer to that question would suggest that a priori dismissal of disagreement would aid it.

(17-07-2014 04:21 PM)Luminon Wrote:  People's opinions are mostly undefined, inarticulate. To build an opinion out of hard logic and principles is like to build a hard muscle by exercise. Soft opinions are like a fog, they can never be knocked down and people think it's an advantage (eternal faith!). People don't want to build the hard muscle, because that will lead them to the fighting pit of getting knocked down. They stay outside, have pretend-fights with waving fists and say they are fighters for reason.

... And here you are doing exactly that.

Rhetorical autofellatio is not going to help you relate to other people. So be it; that's your prerogative.

... this is my signature!
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17-07-2014, 08:36 PM
RE: The empty and not empty people
Hi. I'm George and I am right and you are wrong.

Dodgy

Fucking Aspies!

Wink

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