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Re: [existlist] It's all an illusion

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  • George Walton
    Eduard, Cynicism is, of course, everywhere. And, for the most part, it comes in 2 flavors: reflectivie and non-reflective. Reflective cynicsm is derived from
    Message 1 of 52 , Jul 11, 2003
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      Eduard,

      Cynicism is, of course, everywhere. And, for the most part, it comes in 2 flavors: reflectivie and non-reflective.

      Reflective cynicsm is derived from an understanding that the relationships between "I" and "we" and all that is "other" are so immensely complex, convoluted and inextricable [while, concommitantly, being ceaselessly constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed over and again into differeing permutations from the cradle to the grave] that, for one individual to have more than just a superficial or [in most cases] superfluous effect on the whole, is enormously unlikely. And even if you attain a position of power that can, indeed, reverberate consequences around the world, you are still stuck with devising a policy that will not be roundly condemned by many others and from many different points of view. And, of course, with no way to reconcile them so as to construe the most reasoanable or ethical aggenda of all. In that context, most cynics [and I include myself among them] do what they can on the local level, contribute what they can to those who act on the higher levels and then
      watch what unfolds "in reality". Afterwards, of course, squabbling endlessly with others [like we are now] over what exactly "reality" consists of.

      Non-reflective cynicism revolves around the rest of the folks in the so-called "Western Industrial Nations" who go about living their lives from day to day largely oblivious to The Big Questions, either because they are too absorbed in the practical realities of living their lives or because they are too absorbed as modern day epicurians in feasting on all the pleasurable distractions there are to be had when the big bucks are, in fact, there. Their cynicism reflected in the distance they maintain between people like us who openly think about and discuss these things cynically.

      Then, again, there are the millions upon millions of folks who are so embedded from day to day in their own precarious "nasty, brutish and short" existences, that the only time they give the matter much thought [aside from religious reflection] is when they subsume their cynicism in the political struggle to change things. But here, of course, we are talking about a kind of integrity and courage that is not really all that relevant to folks like you and I, eh?

      Yes, I agree that "consideration for others" is less and less a part of the world we live in. I have, in fact, concocted a theory about it regarding the proliferating "Pop Culture Consumer" mentality that is rampaging across the globe. I call it "pathological selfishness". In other words, distinguishing it from the more conventional kind.

      Conventional selfishness at least considers how the consequences of our behaviors might adversly effect others. It just largely ignores them. Pathological selfishness, on the other hand, does not really factor in other folks at all. It becomes, in effect: "what do I want and how do I get it." We only consider others when they deign to tap us on the shoulder to object. That's when most just transfigure it back into the more conventional aggenda, right?

      Which attittude, I wonder, is more pernicious? And, of course, being myself profoundly cynical I have to wonder if "pernicious" is even the right word. In other words: "Says who?"

      Biggie

      yeoman <yeoman@...> wrote:
      Biggie,

      I agree with your assessment of American foreign policy. It
      is quite true that the motives are based upon who has the
      most influence in Washington. I should think that the
      United Fruit Company did not appreciate the possible coming
      of a democratic regime and would have sought Washington
      support for putting a friendly dictator in place. Look at
      Cuba. A lot of the prejudice against Fidel may well find
      its origin in the moneyed interests on the Island that found
      a friend in Baptista.

      But then I am a bit cynical about the whole thing. People
      complain about what is happening outside and yet they are
      not prepared to take steps of their own at the individual
      level. I think that it would be of benefit if people here
      would only do some small kind thing, like not taking up two
      spots in the parking lot.

      I was buying groceries today and went to the quickie cash
      [12 items or less]. There was a woman in front of me and a
      man in front of her. The man looked back and saw that she
      had several items, so he moved his stuff forward and put
      down that separator bar so that she could have room to put
      her load. So what does she do -- she puts her stuff down
      and uses up the entire conveyor without even considering for
      the moment that I could also some space.

      There is an old 1940s movie [which I cant seem to find]
      wherein Sydney Greenstreet has this line -- "There isn't
      enough consideration in the world". I think that is fairly
      accurate for our state today. There isn't enough
      consideration for others. Perhaps there are children
      starving in the world, but a bit of niceness in our own
      backyard would go a long way.

      eduard

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "George Walton" <iambiguously@...>
      To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:47 PM
      Subject: Re: [existlist] It's all an illusion


      > Eduard,
      >
      > Anytime you are trying to assess the "nature" of something
      revolving around "right" and "wrong" behavior, you will
      necessarily become entangled in the extraordinary
      complexities that swirl about human interactions. So, I
      acknowledge, in turn, that my own "political aggenda" will
      be become as inexpressibly embedded in this tangled state of
      affairs as anyone else's. It is not, after all, like the top
      10 policy makers sit around the conference table every
      Monday morning and plot the week's aggenda for the rest of
      us on the planet. In some ways, our behaviors will reflect
      an evolving amalgamation of enormously complex and
      convoluted biological, psychological, historical, cultural,
      political, economical, circumstantial, interpersonal etc.
      factors....forces that are far beyond our understanding or
      control. And, in other ways, they reflect those things we
      think we do understand and control. That's what makes
      "judgemental" assessments [including my own] so profoundly
      problematic.
      >
      > So, what is "evil" and what is "good" will always be in
      the mind of the particular beholder, sure. And what makes it
      all the more exasperating, of course, is that it is very,
      very difficult at times to know whether someone is acting
      out the "politcs of conviction" [in which she sincerely
      assesses her opinions as, in fact, ethical] or the "politics
      of convenience" [in which she cynically pursues her own
      selfish ends, the rest of us be damned, and only wishes us
      to believe she is acting out of conviction].
      >
      > Then it becomes even more complex because you may well act
      from good intentions and still precipate disasterous
      consequences for others. Or you may act without regard for
      others at all yet the consequences, however, are extremely
      beneficial for many.
      >
      > Thus American foreign policy will always benefit some and,
      in turn, be disasterous for others---no matter what the
      policy is, who is forging it and what their intentions are
      in doing so. My own beef, however, revolves around the
      stunning ignorance I encounter in my discussions about it.
      There may well be many American government officials who do,
      in fact, believe what they say about the benevolent nature
      of American policies abroad. But, in my view, even a cursury
      examination of the actual historical record reveals just how
      preposterous this naive assumption/rendition is.
      >
      > Biggie


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    • George Walton
      Eduard, Cynicism is, of course, everywhere. And, for the most part, it comes in 2 flavors: reflectivie and non-reflective. Reflective cynicsm is derived from
      Message 52 of 52 , Jul 11, 2003
      • 0 Attachment
        Eduard,

        Cynicism is, of course, everywhere. And, for the most part, it comes in 2 flavors: reflectivie and non-reflective.

        Reflective cynicsm is derived from an understanding that the relationships between "I" and "we" and all that is "other" are so immensely complex, convoluted and inextricable [while, concommitantly, being ceaselessly constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed over and again into differeing permutations from the cradle to the grave] that, for one individual to have more than just a superficial or [in most cases] superfluous effect on the whole, is enormously unlikely. And even if you attain a position of power that can, indeed, reverberate consequences around the world, you are still stuck with devising a policy that will not be roundly condemned by many others and from many different points of view. And, of course, with no way to reconcile them so as to construe the most reasoanable or ethical aggenda of all. In that context, most cynics [and I include myself among them] do what they can on the local level, contribute what they can to those who act on the higher levels and then
        watch what unfolds "in reality". Afterwards, of course, squabbling endlessly with others [like we are now] over what exactly "reality" consists of.

        Non-reflective cynicism revolves around the rest of the folks in the so-called "Western Industrial Nations" who go about living their lives from day to day largely oblivious to The Big Questions, either because they are too absorbed in the practical realities of living their lives or because they are too absorbed as modern day epicurians in feasting on all the pleasurable distractions there are to be had when the big bucks are, in fact, there. Their cynicism reflected in the distance they maintain between people like us who openly think about and discuss these things cynically.

        Then, again, there are the millions upon millions of folks who are so embedded from day to day in their own precarious "nasty, brutish and short" existences, that the only time they give the matter much thought [aside from religious reflection] is when they subsume their cynicism in the political struggle to change things. But here, of course, we are talking about a kind of integrity and courage that is not really all that relevant to folks like you and I, eh?

        Yes, I agree that "consideration for others" is less and less a part of the world we live in. I have, in fact, concocted a theory about it regarding the proliferating "Pop Culture Consumer" mentality that is rampaging across the globe. I call it "pathological selfishness". In other words, distinguishing it from the more conventional kind.

        Conventional selfishness at least considers how the consequences of our behaviors might adversly effect others. It just largely ignores them. Pathological selfishness, on the other hand, does not really factor in other folks at all. It becomes, in effect: "what do I want and how do I get it." We only consider others when they deign to tap us on the shoulder to object. That's when most just transfigure it back into the more conventional aggenda, right?

        Which attittude, I wonder, is more pernicious? And, of course, being myself profoundly cynical I have to wonder if "pernicious" is even the right word. In other words: "Says who?"

        Biggie

        yeoman <yeoman@...> wrote:
        Biggie,

        I agree with your assessment of American foreign policy. It
        is quite true that the motives are based upon who has the
        most influence in Washington. I should think that the
        United Fruit Company did not appreciate the possible coming
        of a democratic regime and would have sought Washington
        support for putting a friendly dictator in place. Look at
        Cuba. A lot of the prejudice against Fidel may well find
        its origin in the moneyed interests on the Island that found
        a friend in Baptista.

        But then I am a bit cynical about the whole thing. People
        complain about what is happening outside and yet they are
        not prepared to take steps of their own at the individual
        level. I think that it would be of benefit if people here
        would only do some small kind thing, like not taking up two
        spots in the parking lot.

        I was buying groceries today and went to the quickie cash
        [12 items or less]. There was a woman in front of me and a
        man in front of her. The man looked back and saw that she
        had several items, so he moved his stuff forward and put
        down that separator bar so that she could have room to put
        her load. So what does she do -- she puts her stuff down
        and uses up the entire conveyor without even considering for
        the moment that I could also some space.

        There is an old 1940s movie [which I cant seem to find]
        wherein Sydney Greenstreet has this line -- "There isn't
        enough consideration in the world". I think that is fairly
        accurate for our state today. There isn't enough
        consideration for others. Perhaps there are children
        starving in the world, but a bit of niceness in our own
        backyard would go a long way.

        eduard

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "George Walton" <iambiguously@...>
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:47 PM
        Subject: Re: [existlist] It's all an illusion


        > Eduard,
        >
        > Anytime you are trying to assess the "nature" of something
        revolving around "right" and "wrong" behavior, you will
        necessarily become entangled in the extraordinary
        complexities that swirl about human interactions. So, I
        acknowledge, in turn, that my own "political aggenda" will
        be become as inexpressibly embedded in this tangled state of
        affairs as anyone else's. It is not, after all, like the top
        10 policy makers sit around the conference table every
        Monday morning and plot the week's aggenda for the rest of
        us on the planet. In some ways, our behaviors will reflect
        an evolving amalgamation of enormously complex and
        convoluted biological, psychological, historical, cultural,
        political, economical, circumstantial, interpersonal etc.
        factors....forces that are far beyond our understanding or
        control. And, in other ways, they reflect those things we
        think we do understand and control. That's what makes
        "judgemental" assessments [including my own] so profoundly
        problematic.
        >
        > So, what is "evil" and what is "good" will always be in
        the mind of the particular beholder, sure. And what makes it
        all the more exasperating, of course, is that it is very,
        very difficult at times to know whether someone is acting
        out the "politcs of conviction" [in which she sincerely
        assesses her opinions as, in fact, ethical] or the "politics
        of convenience" [in which she cynically pursues her own
        selfish ends, the rest of us be damned, and only wishes us
        to believe she is acting out of conviction].
        >
        > Then it becomes even more complex because you may well act
        from good intentions and still precipate disasterous
        consequences for others. Or you may act without regard for
        others at all yet the consequences, however, are extremely
        beneficial for many.
        >
        > Thus American foreign policy will always benefit some and,
        in turn, be disasterous for others---no matter what the
        policy is, who is forging it and what their intentions are
        in doing so. My own beef, however, revolves around the
        stunning ignorance I encounter in my discussions about it.
        There may well be many American government officials who do,
        in fact, believe what they say about the benevolent nature
        of American policies abroad. But, in my view, even a cursury
        examination of the actual historical record reveals just how
        preposterous this naive assumption/rendition is.
        >
        > Biggie


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        Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



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