a cry towards the absurd

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.Camus
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Re: Hose it down Spratley


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Posted by Spratley on Tuesday, December 10, 2002 at 11:47:39 :

In Reply to: Hose it down Spratley posted by blimp on Monday, December 09, 2002 at 23:50:12 :

: Perhaps in your investigation of the supercillious derider you have confused philosophy with psychology. I do not believe that in criticising others Joe has placed himself under any obligation to rationalise that criticism. Criticism for it's own sake is a rhetorical tool and a valid exercise so long as the criticism is of the idea rather than the person (and I am not sure if Joe has criticised any one person here).

: So what do you say, Spratley? Is it time to hose it down and show a little tolerance?

: Personally I find that Joe's posts, while they are not insightful, are at least amusing.
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I want to respond to this in a way that validates your perspective as well as mine, because after all, what I'm driving at and hoping for is that everyone can be amused, and tolerate, and find recreational satisfaction here.

As far as philosophy and psychology go, the difficult thing about it is that just about evrything springs from or sprang from philosophy. The natural sciences, theology, psychology. . . I won't say that philosophy was the direct ancestor of all of them, but they all share a common ancestor. I reember PSych 101 in college, the very first day I learned a definition I have taken with me: Psychology finds it origin in an outcropping of physiology and philosophy.

The ideas a person espouses and the psychological factors influencing those ideas are inseparable in many senses. Everything we study is psychology. We do not study physics --we study psycho-physics, since every perception we have of the universe has to go through our minds to get to our understanding. And to reach understanding it must go through mental operations. We don't even study psychology --we study psych-psychology. So while I do admit to drifting a bit from pure metaphysical/ethical idea-speak, I think what I've done is try to give our philosophical thought processes a self awareness. I've tried to bing philosophical principles into the realm of "why do we do what we do?" I've tried to do a little philosophy of philosophy by investigating the ways philosophers interact with one another. Aristiotle had a pet project --the classification of the natural order. No one ever accuses him of not engaging in philosophy. They call it philosophy AND science. I can do both too.

No, Joe has not placed himself under any obligation for self-examination. Except that when I proposed the topic he did seem to respond to it, and continues to respond to me in terms of this topic. I think that at least implies some recognition of the topic. Whether or not he participates he leaves himself open for it. And really we all leave ourselves open to be looked at.

I also believe in the examnied life. Joe may not. . . and that lack of beleif may be part of the source of the way he behaves. But I think wisdom suggests and depends on us examining why we do and beleive the things we do. Saying that Joe has no obligation to look at himself in the mirror does not deactivate the wisdom of doing so. Whic brings me to my purpose:

I know that I can be intolerant of some people. Does it matter at all that I am intolerant of those who demonstrate themselves to be intolerant of others? This brings us down a two-wrongs-don't-make-a-right argument as well as a all-I-know-is-that-I-know-nothing argument (meaning, is it wrong to be intolerant if all you are intolerant of is intolerance?). I know that I come off like a royal jerk ot those people. I know it, but I do it anyway because I think disrespect and devaluation of other people is the greatest evil around. A person who doesn't understand the worth of other people --in Kant's vein-- disrupts the fabric of rationality by short circuiting anyone's need to respect. It also allows a person to commit wrongs where he chooses, without having to recognize them as wrongs.

Anyway, I haven't come to any final conclusions about whether its better to ignore what I detest or to face it, ask it questions and see where that leads. Freedom lovers would insist that you have to stand up to oppression lest it run over you. Other opinions state that if you ignore it it will go away. I have evidence on both sides for both these opinions. So in the end I have to do what I feel is right at the time. I usually feel right asking people who seem to be disrespectful where that behavior comes from. I do it to see if Ican get that person to really ask the question of themselves and come up with an answer. I also do it to illustrate to other people what the disrespectful person is up to. As ignoble as it is, I do actually hope that a disrespectful person will respond in an uglier manner to my question, thereby revealing their ugliness to other people, who will then give the disrespectful person less weight in their own minds.

Criticism is indeed a valuable tool. But the line between idea and person is not so cut and dry. Assuming that a person's idea has no merit or value criticizes the person because it is a person that comes up with the idea, formulates, cogitates, thinks it out. A person who would hold a worthless ideas is. . . worthless, at least intellectually, no? However, to hear an idea that you disagree with, but to give the person and the idea the benefit of the doubt and declare that you simply don't understand whatsense the idea makes -rather than saying that it does not make sense-- gives respect to the other guy --the respect of assuming that something about the idea makes sense or else why would a person with a brain hold onto it?

So while people can perceive what I do and what Joe does differently, here's how I see it as I engage in criticism: I am addressing the ideas that lead to Joe's behavior. I am not trying to devalue Joe as a person. I beleive he is intelligent. I beleive he is capable of love and being loved. But I beleive that something inside of him --some belief or experience is leading him to disrepsect other people in a way that disrupts what those other people come here for --fun and intellectual stimulation. And I'd like to know more about that idea, that subject --the subject of some people's failure to recognize the dignity and autonomy of other people --the inability to empathize. I do my best not to get personal. I know I fail sometimes. And when I do I appreciate people like you who point it out. I will try to improve that. Do you think you would get as much from Joe?

Lastly, you find Joe's posts amusing. That's fine. I don't. Are you willing to grant that my opinion is as fine as yours? And if not, mayber we could talk some more about why you find someone's disrespect nd unilateral disapproval of other people and their ideas to be amusing. Becasue that is a perpelxing idea to me.


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