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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( the cry ) Philosophy Discussion Board

On second reading

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Posted by Spratley on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 13:52:19 :

In Reply to: Whoa... posted by Joe on Wednesday, December 11, 2002 at 00:42:31 :

: slow down, cowboy. You're saying the key is "to understand exactly how valuable anotherperson's [sic] idea is."?

: I don't know Spratley, you're opening yourself up to a lot of criticism. What about all those people who insist that we should ignore the value of other's opinions or those who steadfastly claim that the value of an opinion is irrelevant?

: I just don't know who to believe anymore.

: Joe

On second reading I realize that you may have been addressing me straightforwardly (albeit with your requisite acerbic sarcasm). If so. . . my bad.

Anyway, to understand exactly how valuable a person's idea is is not necessarily to give it weight in deference to your own. What I meant by it makes more sense in the context that I read in Shane's original request. Some people adopt other people's ideas and hold them a sacred scripture, using quotations to describe their own feelings on any matter and beleiving that the ideas they've adopted are somehow perfect. This is ill-advised. Just as ill-advised as ignoring the value of other people's ideas and/or discrediting every other person's every idea. The trick is to view other people's ideas in a considerate and objective. What value did it have for them? What value does it have for you? What changes would you make to it to increase the vlaue for you? What mistakes or oversights miight they have made? What about their background might have led them to this particular idea? All questions one can ask to get at the value of another person's ideas. After asking the questions --whether its explicitly or implicitly-- then you can allow them to affect your own ideas based on the answers you find. . . and then ask the same questions about your own ideas.

As far as people who argue that the value of an opinion is irrelevant, it depends on what it is irrelevant to. Some people's ideas lead countries into war. That can be very relavent. . . unless you're a nihilistic, fatalistic type. Some people's ideas are irrelevant to their surroundings. I find your opinions about other people's opinions to be irrelevant to these surroundings. But they matter to you. So to you they are not irrelevant.

Overall I think that other people's ideas are certainly not meaningless or weightless. And I do not beleive they should be given the weight of devotion. If one agrees with another's ideas, then agree with them, but do not replace your ideas with theirs. Sure, I'm opening myself up for criticism. . . that's an unavoidable by-product of discussing ideas. But what remains to be seen is what kind of criticism. Carefully communicated disagreement in the form of a discussion I can deal with. Point blank, summary dismissal on the grounds of idiocy is just attitude and genetic fallacy, not critical thinking or evaluation of ideas.

I hope I have explained myself clearly.

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