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“At the risk of being tediously pedantic, let’s consider one or two possible disanalogies between a fistfight and a political debate. To start with, the purpose of a debate is, presumably, to convince someone somewhere of something. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Of course, in a great many contexts your opponent won’t change his mind. Even in the context of casual arguments among friends, it’s rare for anyone to change his mind “in the room.” It’s very difficult in practice for most people to disentangle their egos from the positions they’re defending during a conversation, even a relatively calm one. (As anyone who’s ever been around philosophy professors and graduate students knows, even professional training in weighing the virtues of arguments doesn’t do all that much to cut down on this problem. The best you can usually hope for there is a grudging, “That’s an interesting point. I’ll have to think about it.”) It’s easy to draw extreme conclusions from this observation. I’ve heard many people who clearly thought they were being insightful saying that no one ever changes their mind because of an argument. This view is as silly and psychologically shallow as the mistake you’d be making by expecting an opponent to change their mind in the room. People do change their minds all the time, and arguments can and do play a role in this process, sometimes because they gradually gnaw at the back of your mind and sometimes because after enough time has passed that your ego isn’t bound up in some previously held position, you just realize to your own surprise that you now accept the contrary position for the very reasons that you dismissed when you first heard them.

(…) A conversion in the other direction would be just as unlikely for all the same psychologically obvious reasons. When you’re arguing with someone whose personal and professional worlds would be thrown into crisis if they came around to your point of view, or even just with your racist uncle who’s deeply emotionally invested in what he’s saying about immigration, convincing that person isn’t going to be a realistic goal. If there’s a worthwhile purpose to be served by engaging with them—and in the uncle case, there may not be—it’s to convince persuadable observers.

One way of doing this, if the observers are gullible enough to fall for it, is to just rattle off superficially plausible-sounding points so quickly that no one has time to stop and think about them. If this is your strategy, then the analogy between a point made in a debate as a punch thrown in a fistfight makes perfect sense. If an opponent has their guard down … you should keep hitting them. Otherwise, they might recover their equilibrium and hit you back! Again, this is the opposite of how you should act if you actually want to make sure that your argument is a good one and your conclusion is true. If you want that, you need to slow the hell down and think through possible objections.”

(Ben Burgis – Give them an argument. Logic for the left)

(Chapter II – Facts don’t care about your feelings: Ben Shapiro vs. David Hume)

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“E uşor să te târăşti ca un vierme; greu e să înveţi cum să-ţi crească aripi.
E uşor să pleci; greu e să rămâi şi să faci să conteze cu adevărat asta.
E uşor să învinovăţeşti pe alţii; greu e să priveşti adânc în tine şi să fii cinstit până la durere cu ceea ce găseşti acolo.
E uşor să spui “
m-a dezamăgit“; greu e să spui “m-am dezamăgit“.
E uşor să treci de la o … poartă la alta; greu e să rămâi şi să-i construieşti poveştii ziduri de apărare.
E uşor să te faci aplaudat de cineva; greu e să reuşeşti să nu te raportezi la aplauzele alea îmbolnăvindu-te de autosuficienţă.
E atât de uşor, cumplit de uşor, să-ţi îmbraci laşităţile în haine strălucitoare, să le dai o tentă de eroism ieftin, să-ţi justifici alegerile cu menajamente generos acordate ţie însuţi; e greu însă când rămâi doar cu tine, tragi linie între cine eşti şi cine ai fi vrut să fii iar rezultatul îţi dă cu minus.
E greu să rămâi vertical! Dar e şi mai greu să te doară cocoaşa o viaţă!”

Nina Tărchilă

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“Una din revelatiile care mi se par cele mai ingrozitoare este revelatia prostiei invingatoare. In privinta asta nu prea exista retete care sa te apere: exista prostii la prima vedere, exista prostii care pot fi depistate intr-un timp relativ convenabil, dar exista, din pacate, prostii atat de bine camuflate, incat poarta ani in sir, fara sa se tradeze, hainele inteligentei. Nu cred ca exista descoperire mai dramatica decat detectarea unei asemenea prostii, cu atat mai mult cu cat aceasta descoperire nu serveste decat la infectarea dispozitiei afective. Observi cu stupoare cum castiga teren, cum creste si se umfla, ca o tumoare, prostia celor de langa tine, asisti neputincios la falimentul inteligentei tale in dialogul dinainte castigat de prostia lor. Nu ne vom putea mira niciodata indeajuns de superioritatea pe care o au prostii fata de inteligenti, desi, evident, este o superioritate fireasca si, cred, pe deplin meritata. Ca si cand Dumnezeu, induiosat de purtatorii de prostie, le-a adaugat in ultimul moment forta si fascinatia cu care sa domine inteligenta. Inteligenta nu are, cel mai adesea, decat o singura arma – propriul ei exercitiu – si nenumarate handicapuri: timiditate, bun simt, teama de ridicol, mila, nesiguranta, toleranta, indoiala de sine, loialitatea, ca sa le numesc numai pe cele care-i fac cinste. In vreme ce prostia dispune de un arsenal, precum cantitatea de armament nuclear depozitata in Europa, capabil sa distruga orice inteligenta de cateva ori. Daca inteligenta e adeseori neatragatoare (caci, prin definitie, trebuie sa iubeasca adevarul), prostia are aproape intotdeauna ceva frumos, uneori insasi frumusetea fizica, alteori o energie iesita din comun sau un talent incontestabil, profesional sau artistic.”

(Tia Serbanescu – Femeia din fotografie)

Ironia face ca autoarea, pe care o plac nespus, sa cada, treizeci de ani mai tarziu, in aceeasi capcana a prostiei invingatoare, bine camuflate. Daca a stiut cum sa stea la distanta de impostura comunista, n-a reusit acelasi lucru fata de impostura democrata. A inghitit, ca toata lumea jurnalistica si intelectuala buna, frauda pioasa a luptei impotriva coruptiei, care a castigat teren, a crescut si s-a umflat, distrugand in calea ei orice doza de criticism legitim fata de impuritatea metodelor acesteia. Partea bolduita din text se potriveste de minune perplexitatii incercate de orice om inteligent sau lucid in discutiile cu cruciatii justitiari. Lupta impotriva coruptiei a devenit o religie, astfel ca dialogul cu credinciosii neofiti care fac scut in jurul marii preotese Kovesi este imposibil. Societatea civila a esuat in a-si produce anticorpii de spirit critic, necesari oricarui corp sanatos. A preferat adevarului un mit convenabil, o fictiune care sa ne gadile bovarismul ideologic reductionist. Binele care lupta cu Raul. Fecioara care lupta cu balaurul Coruptiei. Hotii care lupta cu vardistii. Fat Frumos care lupta cu Zmeul. Faptul ca acestia din urma sunt prieteni la catarama si rad de Povestitor in cramele subterane ale stapanirilor e doar un detaliu insignifiant. Ca omul de rand are nevoie de naratiuni maniheiste simplificatoare e de inteles, ca jurnalistii si intelectualii le crediteaza inversunati este insa iresponsabil. Domnul Liiceanu, unul din apostolii noii religii, care ne-a anuntat ca se documenteaza intens in biblioteci si pe teren pentru o carte omagiu dedicata doamnei Kovesi, nu va inceta apoi sa ne tina conferinte despre unul din subiectele lui favorite – tradarea intelectualilor. Sper sa reuseasca sa ne explice si cum penita dumnealui, de-a dreptul vitriolanta cand a infierat terfelirea prestigiului academic de catre furii doctoranzi Ponta, Oprea, Toba, Negoita, Pandele etc, a amutit in fata plagiatului doamnei Kovesi. Ca vorba aceea, “tradare, tradare, fie, daca o cer interesele partidului, dar s-o stim si noi!

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In aceeasi nota, o alta forma de prostie invingatoare care “poarta hainele inteligentei”, camuflata intr-un fel de explicatii totalizatoare cu panas intelectual, este backlashul impotriva stangii la care asistam de cativa ani. Internetul a fost luat cu asalt de catre cohorte intregi de oameni terorizati, supposedly, de corectitudinea politica, de politici identitare, de feminism, de globalizare, de postmodernism, de multiculturalism, de pederasti si transexuali revansarzi, de relativism cultural, de neoprogresism, de social justice warriors etc care si-au gasit in sfarsit profetii care sa-i reprezinte si sa-i salveze de la pieirea in nerelevanta (e.g. Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Anne Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos etc). Zeci de mii de femei care in trecut si-au dat foc sutienelor ca protest simbolic fata de patriarhat, si le pun la loc declarandu-se antifeministe. Huh. Astept cu nerabdare momentul in care crestinii nu se vor mai considera crestini din cauza derapajelor sectare ale mormonilor sau iehovistilor. Bucatarii nu se vor mai numi bucatari din cauza shaormierilor. Aeroplanele nu se vor numi aeroplane din cauza parapantelor. Toata aceasta revolutie culturala venita din bolgiile conservatorismului ar fi fost perfect legitima daca nu se transforma intr-o religie. N-am nici cea mai mica problema cu criticile mentionate mai sus atata timp cat nu au pretentia ca explica ceva si ca se pot inchega intr-un diagnostic totalizator. Nu corectitudinea politica este de vina pentru resurgenta xenofobiei si pentru alegerea lui Trump, ci prostia.

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Cea mai delicioasa deconstructie a acestui fenomen de religie ideologica, care loveste in stanga progresista incurcand tapii ispasitori, vine de la Natalie Wynn a.k.a. ContraPoints. “The Oscar Wilde of YouTube”. Misoginul din mine ma ispiteste sa spun ca numai dintr-un barbat putea iesi o femeie atat de inteligenta si frumoasa in acelasi timp. 😛 Ideea ca verbiajul pedant al unui Jordan Peterson sau Ben Shapiro e dat in vileag tocmai de catre un transgender flamboiant e de o ironie si umor irezistibil. Si cum era de asteptat, e amuzant sa vedem acum un fenomen invers, cum multi din acesti followersii cultici de care vorbeam, care au pus botul necritic la simplificarile oferite de profetii dreptei, se deconvertesc si isi regasesc scepticismul pierdut.

 

Productia de materiale care da in vileag curul gol intelectual al acestei miscari revansarde dinspre dreapta devine pe zi ce trece mai bogata. Daca nu suportati pasarile moarte din capul madamei ContraPoints, puteti incerca un barbat mai normal la cap:

Three Arrows’ channel.

 

 

 

Sau Shaun’s channel, despre cum prostia la dreapta se transforma in propaganda:

 

 

 

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“In 1807, Thomas Jefferson, al treilea presedinte american si autor al Declaratiei de independenta, ii raspundea unui tanar intreprinzator care il intreba cum poate fi condus un ziar cat mai bine:

Adevarul este ca, din pacate, suprimarea presei ar face mai putin rau decat o presa care se prostitueaza mintind. Acum nu mai poti crede nimic din ce apare intr-un ziar. Adevarul insusi devine suspect, odata plasat in acest mediu poluat…. Voi adauga ca omul care nu citeste un ziar este mai bine informat decat cel care il citeste, in masura in care cel care nu cunoaste nimic este mai aproape de adevar decat cel a carui minte este plina de falsuri si erori.

“Marian Voicu – Matrioska mincinosilor. Fake news, manipulare, populism”

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Despre ierarhia ratacirilor, despre cum nu toate ratacirile sunt la fel. Ratacirea ca ignoranta versus ratacirea ca pseudo-cunoastere. Ratacirea de pe loc versus ratacirea ca distantare fata de drumul catre adevar.

De cele mai multe ori ratacim. Uneori recuperabili, in directia drumului, alteori dezastruos, in inversul lui. A fi inteligent se reduce, in ultima instanta, la o chestiune de orientare. Geografie. Sa stii unde este Nordul astutiei si sa te indrepti spre el.”

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“Relatia matematica “1+1“ are un singur raspuns corect si o infinitate de raspunsuri gresite. Unele mai aproape de raspunsul corect decat altele, insa toate aflate oricum de aceeasi parte a erorii.”

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(It’s a classic, I know, but it was fun reading that letter again. 😀 )

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“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

The (…) passage above was cited by Laura Schlesinger, who dispenses advice to people calling in to her US radio show. Dr.Schlesinger said that, as an Orthodox Jew, she believes homosexual­ity is an abomination that cannot be condoned. In response Kent Ashcraft, a guitarist in Bowie, Maryland, wrote a letter to Dr Laura. When she failed to reply, Mr Ashcraft’s friend posted the letter on the internet as ‘An Open Letter to Dr Laura’:

Dear Dr. Laura,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind him that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to best follow them.

  1.  When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord ( Lev 1:9 ). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this?
  2.  I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7 . In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  3.  I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness ( Lev 15:19-24 ). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  4. Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
  5.  I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
  6.  A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an Abomination ( Lev 11:10 ), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?
  7.  Lev 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?
  8.  Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev 19:27 . How should they die?
  9.  I know from Lev 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
  10.  My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? ( Lev 24:10-16 ) Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? ( 20:14 )

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted disciple and adoring fan.

(“The sexual rainbow. Exploring sexual diversity” by Olive Skene Johnson)

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Reiau sumar o tema anterioara. Spuneam ca exista trei grile de lectura, trei directii in care iti instalezi negotul cu cartile:

  • in aval, in directia curentului, cand alegi lecturi care iti confirma si intaresc opiniile pe care le ai deja;
  • in amonte, contra curentului, cand alegi lecturi care iti infirma pre-judecatile, iti chestioneaza si testeaza opiniile pe care le ai deja;
  • la mijloc, in repaus, cand nu ai inca opinii formate si esti in cautarea lor.

Spuneam ca, experimentam ca cititori toate cele trei forme de abordare a lecturii, dar ca in ceea ce ma priveste, lectura de confirmare, lectura in aval, e forma privilegiata. Agenda de confirmare poate fi o forma de hubris, de aroganta intelectuala, poate fi o forma de obtuzime, de inchidere obstinata a mintii dar, la fel de bine, poate fi o forma de autoritate legitima a cunoasterii. Daca stii ca Holocaustul a avut loc, nu-ti pierzi timpul cu lucrari revizioniste sau negationiste, doar de dragul de a iesi din zona ta de confort si a merge contra curentului, for the sake of it. Nu orice lectura de infirmare isi merita prestigiul, asa cum nu orice lectura de confirmare e vinovata in sine. Dozajul sanatos al celor trei forme de lectura e diferit de la persoana la persoana. Propensiunea mea pentru confirmare poate fi legitima pentru mine si smintitoare pentru altul. Nu exista retete magice, universal valabile. In ce ma priveste insa, e un fapt ca ascendentul a fost mereu in aval, in biasul de confirmare. Opinia mi-a precedat lectura. Esenta a precedat existenta. Cel mai des, in lectura, sunt in cautarea teritoriului comun, al identicului, a ceea ce stiu deja. “Nu m-ai cauta daca nu m-ai fi gasit deja.“ (Blaise Pascal). “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. “ (C.S. Lewis)

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Now. Cand si cand dai peste cate un text pe care celalalt l-a scris … cu mana ta. Nu atat opinia comuna e surprinzatoare, cat suprapunerea fara rest a expresiei acelei opinii. Identitatea merge pana la nuante. Un exemplu recent de astfel de expresie fara rest, care frizeaza plagiarismul, l-am intalnit intr-o carte citita recent (Rules for ageing – Roger Rosenblatt) si pe care m-am hotarat sa-l impartasesc si aici. Si poate continui seria pe viitor…

 

Chapter 10:

Swine rules

1. A swine is not a swan. Over a lifetime, one will encounter several swine—true lowlifes—and one is sometimes tempted to treat them kindly under the theory that, if shown kindness, they will be less swinelike and, perhaps, even reform. (Much laughter here.) As in rule 3, this is the sort of o optimism that ought to be criminalized. A swine is a swine is a swine is a swine. He was almost certainly fully formed as a swine by age three, and he is not going to grow virtuous simply because you are burdened with hope. To be sure, there may be one swine in a billion who is susceptible to improvement, but why take chances? Even if you are wrong in one or two cases, you will still live longer, which I remind you, is your objective.

2. A swine is known to be a swine. You may feel that though you know a swine for what he is, others do not. You may think, therefore, that when the swine does you dirt behind your back, others will accept his swinish opinion.  Fear not. Everyone knows a swine to be a swine. He did not become famous by behaving swinishly toward you alone. You may turn your back with impunity.

3. When a swine sucks up. He is still a swine.

4. A swine is a swine all the time. While one might remember that a swine is not a swan, one is bound to forget that a swine is a swine all the time – either because he is not behaving swinishly toward you personally or because he appears to be in some temporarily unswinely state and bears all the outward signs of a decent human being. You know perfectly well that the swine is a swine. But he looks okay at the moment, so you let down your intelligence. You are so gulled that you might even do him a favor.

When you are tempted in this way, please recall the following joke my grandmother told me which, while not specifically about swine, does pertain to the laws of human consistency. A man on a visit to a lunatic asylum is suddenly approached by an inmate. The inmate calmly and politely asks the visitor if he may have a moment of his time. He explains carefully and in exquisitely rational detail why his incarceration in the asylum is a bureaucratic error, that someone has made a terrible mistake and that he—who is perfectly sane —has been wrongly condemned for 10 years. The visitor, who first wishes to free himself of the inmate, begins to listen sympathetically. And eventually he determines that the man is indeed sane and sound and a victim of somebody’s error.

“I will come back next Tuesday with the necessary papers for your release,” he tells the inmate.

“Excellent,” says the man, who then accompanies the visitor to the doorway, kicks him down the stairs, and calls out, “Don’t forget next Tuesday.”

(Rules for ageing – Roger Rosenblatt)


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The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.