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Reason and Evidence: False Dichotomies

The world of today is different from the world of 100 years ago. Geographically, politically, culturally, scientifically, and in many other ways too. Different does not always mean better, nor does it always mean worse. It just means different. Obviously, there is a natural anthropocentric bias for our current society as being “best”, for it is “our” society. But this bias is being confuted with some generic idea of steady progress of society in all ways and in all manners from year to year. Technological progress aids this illusion, among other things.

One difference that is not better, I would say, is the standards of reason and evidence used in discussions among people. We have much more come to rely on emotional appeals, not just as an adjunct to a good reason, but as the reason itself for holding a view or belief. We have become more likely to try and ostracize someone who holds views we do not like or find offensive, and much more likely to appeal to some authority or expert, and class this as in itself “evidence”. As if the correct answer to a riddle or problem, is simply a matter of following directions to the respected authoritative source of evidence, and then accepting this view blindly with no attempt to apply your own critical faculties of reason to it, or questioning or debating with this viewpoint.

Reasons for holding views have become much more fickle and changeable, and we see intellectual fads that come and go all the time. Yet people still hold and defend views with an avid passion. They just defend them more often with poor arguments, appeals to authority, attempts at ridicule, attacks on the people who hold the opposing view, rather than on their arguments.

All of this shows us that rationality is not something guaranteed to us by some safe and secure logical procedure, or by some infallible source of evidence. The error of logical positivism was to imagine it had supplied both of these. It felt science, through verification theory of meaning was an infallible source of evidence, and it felt that logical procedures of understanding could all be reduced to safe and secure, (but null and void) tautologies or conventional agreements.

On both fronts it was wrong, on both fronts it failed. Yet despite this theoretical failure, we seem to be largely living in a world now that takes these views as successful for practical purposes. Conventions are accepted because they are convenient, and this itself is a tautology. The snake eats its own tail, and happily continues so far, till it runs out of its own body to feed off.

Instead of this sad state of affairs we need to appreciate again that reason and rationality is not guaranteed to us, it is not a faculty that simply needs to be allowed freedom to express itself. It is a complex set of values and practices maintained only by a community of people with an active interest in preserving those values for future generations. We are the source of reason, not some isolatable part of our mind, or isolatable set of procedures to follow. We either continue the discussion in a reasonable way, or we revert to appeals to authority, when such appeals can only ever end in the use of forced consent when people refuse to agree.

EU Referendum

Woke up the other day surprised to see that the UK had decided to leave the EU. Take out London and most of the rest of England voted to leave at around 57-43. Scotland voted to remain at around 60-40. As did London. Another surprise for me initially was the polls showing that young voters were more likely to vote in. I remember seeing a BBC pro EU propaganda piece early in the campaign that quite in reverse to this, boldly stated that younger people would be more likely to vote out. The point of that particular piece, of course clearly was not about facts, as it is reverse of the facts as it turned out, but it was a subtle piece of attempted delegitimization of people’s motives who wanted to leave, suggesting they were young, inexperienced, naive etc.

This subtle manipulation, uniformly pro EU across all the major TV channels, pervaded the whole campaign, and successfully swayed large numbers of younger voters for whom what the TV says is more real than what they see outside their window. It was a tiring few weeks having to spot and repel all this attempted manipulation of your basic motivational drives to act. And all the attempted shaming of leave voters on social media such as Facebook. Basically it was a case of trying to demonize and polarise people into an untenable position from which they would then no longer be motivated to act. This process is continuing afterwards by shocked people who cannot believe what the TV told them was so, turned out not to be so.

It has been a learning experience for me, and I think for many people, we were more prepared for these tactics after similar tactics were used to scared Scottish people out of leaving the UK. This was still fresh in people’s minds, and I think was a decisive factor. All in all, not an awful lot changes, economic arrangements will still be made with the EU, the difference is we will be free to decide our own economic arrangements with countries outside the EU.

Through all the bad arguments, through all the ad hominem character attacks, through all the attempted demonisation, the attempted shaming, the appeals to authority insteady of reason, people in large numbers ignored it all, or fought against it all, and stuck with the conviction they felt inside. It is an interesting time now that lies ahead.

Forever Paranoid

Lost in Paranoia

the Mind Destroyer

What is this person thinking

are they trying to hurt me?

Implications forever linking

never safe to simply be.

But is it just my illusion

or am I subject to malicious confusion?

Hard to tell the true from the lie

hard to find a friend I can trust

no matter how much I think and try

the enemies seem always to forwardly thrust

so I set up my defensive measures

I wait on guard forever unsure

it brings me discomfort and displeasures

and I know it has no cure.

But I must remain true to my own conviction

to my own ideas and mental restrictions

I have no choice but to choose myself

even though it may be bad for my health

in the long term there is no other choice

except to kid yourself you have no voice

to stay quiet and submissive

of paranoia suspicious and dismissive.

But this is not a choice at all

just an inertial state of free fall.

 

The necessity of scarcity

Scarcity or the threat thereof, will always pervade human life

This basic reality is where many well-meaning people lose touch with said reality

They want no one to suffer, sure, they want poverty gone, sure

But how exactly do they expect natural selection to take effect on such an insulated population?

Bad mutations build up over time as a natural tendency, in the population as a whole,

natural selection is a process for weeding this out and keeping those bad mutations out.

By only letting a select few breed, while others lose out in the natural struggle..

Yes it is ruthless, it is not nice in any way, sure, but it remains reality.

We must come to terms with this, more importantly, women, naturally more compassionate, must learn to accept this reality now we are in a equal society where there influence on our political and cultural developments are much greater.

This is coming from someone who may well lose out by this system. I am not successful or wealthy as of yet. I have little to no sway over anyone else in this world. But still I can accept this is the reality of how life must go on. We cannot insulate ourselves from it for ever, or even for very long.

It needs a new place accepted within our politics, away from this childish game of snap between the political left and right.

My view here would cross over with the libertarian approach. But I would not cross over with them on many other things. I do not see their better appreciation of this economic reality as coinciding with some greater rationale in all areas of moral and political debate. In fact, in many other areas their slavish adherence to their rationale gets in the way of a better appreciation of reality. For instance the libertarian view on things such as world conflicts, and religious and cultural influence in society is very naive and impractical.

We need a free market on sexual breeding of the better genetic material. By competition etc, threats of scarcity, that weed out the best from the rest, in how they react to these situations. But we don’t need a similar free market on many other things. A pure free market on ideas would soon descend into chaos. Some/many ideas are simply accepted as easier due to traditions, and easier as they are naturally passed on by one generation to the next. You cannot treat each newborn as an isolated atomic tabula rasa, free to be moulded by ideas in a purely rational way. It simply doesn’t work. All you end up with is disenfranchised, disempowered individuals, dependent on passively being manipulated by media association games that play with their emotional responses and short cut any intelligent thought. And hopelessly dependent also on science and technology and experts to tell them what to think and how to act. This is not a culture, but a society void of culture, ruled purely by instrumental relationships with people being used as means to others ends, and not respected in their own right.

 

 

My Terrible Dilemma

I face in life a terrible dilemma

that gives me shuddering heart tremors

Should I try, should I help this world in its current course,

or watch on and let it be crushed under natural force?

Maybe it is better that we have our demise

at times is the conclusion I surmise

At other times, I have more hope

I feel with life’s problems I can just about cope.

At rare times I even have joy

all negativity and enemies can be destroyed.

But for the most part, I really struggle much to care

my heart for this human world, has very little to spare

Its not that I am incapable, its not that I am lazy

its simply that I dont care to help a world gone crazy.

Maybe I have been manipulated into this apathy

if so, it must be by people of extreme psychopathy

If such people rule this world, its already too late

to stop our destruction and terminal fate.

Why should I care, why should I bother?

Why over petty human problems should I permanently hover?

The space closes in around me, the pressure builds

the second chances run short, hope must flee or be killed.

I can jump, there is only a void,

why be scared, I can die but never be destroyed

My Secret

I have a secret to let you in on

I am a white person who you cannot heap guilt upon

I do not drive a car, I use little oil,

I get by on the minimum, with intelligence and toil

where do you want to place me on your oppression olympic table?

a person who doesn’t fit in line with your night time fables

Your shallow games and abuse mean nothing to me

I will always be proud of what I am

you cannot tell me what to see

and I will never fall for your scams

save them for the brainwashed fools

the zombies, and the dead inside ghouls

I will not be your enabler

I will be your permanent disabler

 

 

Forgotten

Only minutes away, but feels like miles

the faded joys, the tears and smiles

Out of touch, and out of mind

Lost memories I cannot find.

There is no reaching anymore

hope lays too low to the floor

Waiting for a miracle that simply cannot be

Lies a blindness, that will never end in “I can see!”

 

 

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