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Re: [existlist] tough enough for what?

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  • Exist List Moderator
    ... Responding to the strange meanderings posted recently by Bill and Mc Colly (sp?). The notion that there is a nefarious political class, on left and right,
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 8, 2008
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      On Jun 08, 2008, at 16:03, eupraxis@... wrote:

      > I am not sure to whom you are responding and what your general
      > argument is
      > favoring. What text are you citing that critiques 80's anthropology?
      > What is
      > this difference that you mention between "us" and the "I/we" that
      > you say is
      > common in Continental thought? And what do mean by calling Hegel
      > anti-egalitarian?


      Responding to the strange meanderings posted recently by Bill and Mc
      Colly (sp?). The notion that there is a nefarious political class, on
      left and right, assumes a lot more negative about people than I have
      encountered. I'm not a conspiracy theorists, and knowing leaders in
      both parties I have come to believe many more are earnest than is
      realized. However, we tend to attribute negative (even "evil" or
      "bad") motivations to those disagreeing with our views.

      I spent three years in the deep pits of DARPA research. I really
      didn't see people motivated by "evil" -- they really had rationalized
      their views or their fears. If you read the Senate Intelligence
      Committee report carefully, you find a suggestion not of leaders
      lying, but of only seeing what they wanted and selectively discounting
      anything they didn't want to believe. Nothing nefarious in being
      blindly stupid... though we have seen willful ignorance can be
      dangerous.

      Yes, there are "evil" men and women. Definitely. But, I think we
      assume there are more of these than there really are. I think there
      are people who truly do believe whatever their superstitions
      (religions being included) tell them. Their "sins" are mistakes...
      while my sins are evil.

      This is where we could discuss "Bad Faith" and authenticity. We could,
      on this list, discuss the philosophical underpinnings of situations or
      issues. Rants don't help place anything in context.

      I am also stating that what we think is "right" is shaped by some
      underlying, probably evolutionary, desire to protect our group. We
      rationalize morality. (I'd point to Pinker, Hauser, de Wall, Dawkins,
      and numerous others who suggest an evolutionary origin to what is
      considered moral by our species.)

      Hegel believed in powerful states, guided by a leadership class. While
      he was a supporter of a standard education, rule of law, etc, he also
      showed a sense of elitism. I don't think this is a bad thing -- I want
      leaders who are "better" in some way: better educated? Better
      informed? I'm not sure... but I know I don't think everyone is capable
      of every job.

      Equality under the law is not the same as equality of ability. (Not
      that we have equality under the law in Western nations, but it is
      something we strive for, I believe.)

      As for the text I was reading, it was a critique of the history books
      being used in Texas and California schools. These books are both
      political correct and afraid of offending the religious right. As a
      result, these books try for a meaningless, conflict-free, version of
      history. The author of the text was the head of UCLA's history
      department, Nash.

      http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/history/nash/

      He's a supporter of "multicultural" history, but not the whitewashed
      sort we now teach. Instead of a "Western = bad, colonial, etc."
      perspective, he wants to remind people that most civilizations were
      pretty far from perfect.

      We should never delude ourselves -- all of us are biased, all cultures
      are flawed, and we (whoever "we" are) have no monopoly on good
      intentions. Of course, intentions don't make us right. We just need
      some leaders who will admit that they, too, can be wrong.

      - C. S. Wyatt
      I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
      that I shall be.
      http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
      http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
    • bhvwd
      ... anthropology? ... that ... Mc ... on ... have ... in ... rationalized ... discounting ... there ... could, ... or ... Dawkins, ... While ... also ... want
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 8, 2008
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator
        <existlist1@...> wrote:
        >
        > On Jun 08, 2008, at 16:03, eupraxis@... wrote:
        >
        > > I am not sure to whom you are responding and what your general
        > > argument is
        > > favoring. What text are you citing that critiques 80's
        anthropology?
        > > What is
        > > this difference that you mention between "us" and the "I/we"
        that
        > > you say is
        > > common in Continental thought? And what do mean by calling Hegel
        > > anti-egalitarian?
        >
        >
        > Responding to the strange meanderings posted recently by Bill and
        Mc
        > Colly (sp?). The notion that there is a nefarious political class,
        on
        > left and right, assumes a lot more negative about people than I
        have
        > encountered. I'm not a conspiracy theorists, and knowing leaders
        in
        > both parties I have come to believe many more are earnest than is
        > realized. However, we tend to attribute negative (even "evil" or
        > "bad") motivations to those disagreeing with our views.
        >
        > I spent three years in the deep pits of DARPA research. I really
        > didn't see people motivated by "evil" -- they really had
        rationalized
        > their views or their fears. If you read the Senate Intelligence
        > Committee report carefully, you find a suggestion not of leaders
        > lying, but of only seeing what they wanted and selectively
        discounting
        > anything they didn't want to believe. Nothing nefarious in being
        > blindly stupid... though we have seen willful ignorance can be
        > dangerous.
        >
        > Yes, there are "evil" men and women. Definitely. But, I think we
        > assume there are more of these than there really are. I think
        there
        > are people who truly do believe whatever their superstitions
        > (religions being included) tell them. Their "sins" are mistakes...
        > while my sins are evil.
        >
        > This is where we could discuss "Bad Faith" and authenticity. We
        could,
        > on this list, discuss the philosophical underpinnings of situations
        or
        > issues. Rants don't help place anything in context.
        >
        > I am also stating that what we think is "right" is shaped by some
        > underlying, probably evolutionary, desire to protect our group. We
        > rationalize morality. (I'd point to Pinker, Hauser, de Wall,
        Dawkins,
        > and numerous others who suggest an evolutionary origin to what is
        > considered moral by our species.)
        >
        > Hegel believed in powerful states, guided by a leadership class.
        While
        > he was a supporter of a standard education, rule of law, etc, he
        also
        > showed a sense of elitism. I don't think this is a bad thing -- I
        want
        > leaders who are "better" in some way: better educated? Better
        > informed? I'm not sure... but I know I don't think everyone is
        capable
        > of every job.
        >
        > Equality under the law is not the same as equality of ability.
        (Not
        > that we have equality under the law in Western nations, but it is
        > something we strive for, I believe.)
        >
        > As for the text I was reading, it was a critique of the history
        books
        > being used in Texas and California schools. These books are both
        > political correct and afraid of offending the religious right. As
        a
        > result, these books try for a meaningless, conflict-free, version
        of
        > history. The author of the text was the head of UCLA's history
        > department, Nash.
        >
        > http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/history/nash/
        >
        > He's a supporter of "multicultural" history, but not the
        whitewashed
        > sort we now teach. Instead of a "Western = bad, colonial, etc."
        > perspective, he wants to remind people that most civilizations
        were
        > pretty far from perfect.
        >
        > We should never delude ourselves -- all of us are biased, all
        cultures
        > are flawed, and we (whoever "we" are) have no monopoly on good
        > intentions. Of course, intentions don't make us right. We just
        need
        > some leaders who will admit that they, too, can be wrong.
        > I suggest many will not aced to so light a prescription.
        Insulation is really about being an island and even his handlers leak
        isolation. Our president now must surrender power in the middle of a
        full force political war. The transition team exists and I wish them
        luck. Executive looting is not a crime in DC. Many want to talk about
        that, is the repository of justice to become the cul de sac of
        freedom. I might stab a point at general philosophy in that it is
        better to be alive since dead is forever. Bill
        > - C. S. Wyatt
        > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not
        all
        > that I shall be.
        > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
        > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
        >
      • eupraxis@aol.com
        CS, Responding to the strange meanderings posted recently by Bill and Mc Colly (sp?). The notion that there is a nefarious political class, on left and right,
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 8, 2008
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          CS,

          Responding to the strange meanderings posted recently by Bill and Mc Colly
          (sp?). The notion that there is a nefarious political class, on left and right,
          assumes a lot more negative about people than I have encountered. I'm not a
          conspiracy theorists, and knowing leaders in both parties I have come to believe
          many more are earnest than is realized. However, we tend to attribute
          negative (even "evil" or "bad") motivations to those disagreeing with our views.

          Response: Then you should count yourself as very lucky indeed. If the Bush
          administration does not count as nefarious to you, I am not sure what can. But
          if that term strikes you as too comic book, why not just use the term
          "criminal"?
          ---
          I spent three years in the deep pits of DARPA research. I really didn't see
          people motivated by "evil" -- they really had rationalized their views or their
          fears.

          Response: Well, maybe the fourth year would have been the charm? Yikes! What
          in the world were you doing there?
          ---
          If you read the Senate Intelligence Committee report carefully, you find a
          suggestion not of leaders lying, but of only seeing what they wanted and
          selectively discounting anything they didn't want to believe. Nothing nefarious in
          being blindly stupid... though we have seen willful ignorance can be dangerous.

          Response: Yes, the report was nuanced ("bi-partisan") so as not to declare
          open war on the GOP. I have a pdf of the report, however, and it certainly comes
          as close as one could want in calling the push to war insincere and biased.
          What more could you want?

          I, for one, would love to see the whole cabal tried for treason and then sent
          to the Hague for their crimes against humanity. But maybe I am just from an
          other tribe?
          ---
          Yes, there are "evil" men and women. Definitely. But, I think we assume there
          are more of these than there really are. I think there are people who truly
          do believe whatever their superstitions (religions being included) tell them.
          Their "sins" are mistakes... while my sins are evil.

          Response: Millions dead and displaced; torture; renditions; civil liberties
          lost; politics by division? No, sir, their "sins" are quite criminal.
          ---
          This is where we could discuss "Bad Faith" and authenticity. We could, on
          this list, discuss the philosophical underpinnings of situations or issues. Rants
          don't help place anything in context.

          Response: Please, do.
          ---
          I am also stating that what we think is "right" is shaped by some underlying,
          probably evolutionary, desire to protect our group. We rationalize morality.
          (I'd point to Pinker, Hauser, de Wall, Dawkins, and numerous others who
          suggest an evolutionary origin to what is considered moral by our species.)

          Response: I disagree with that. This just another version of what used to be
          called "psychologism". The truths behind the war and the rest were kept under
          wraps, not because "the genes" made them do it, or to protect the cave, but
          because the rationale was based on motivations that were best kept secret for fe
          ar of protests. I can't believe that anyone still thinks otherwise.

          And as you mention him, I have great problems with Pinker's reductivism and
          his neo-racism -- his theory on the superiority of Ashkenazi Jews, and related
          matters (including his attitudes about certain others) is well known. He heard
          him at a talk at NYU some time ago. His apologetics were even worse than his
          initial comments. He would say that he was not a racist and did not believe in
          race, and then make a claim for race and submit his own as superior to the
          rest. It was quite remarkable. Many persons walked out, many Jews included. I
          found him arrogant and oddly naïve. But you can Google him. There are any number
          of videos and blogs about it.

          Wil



          **************
          Get trade secrets for amazing burgers. Watch "Cooking with
          Tyler Florence" on AOL Food.
          (http://food.aol.com/tyler-florence?video=4?&
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • C. S. Wyatt
          I can t comment on Pinker s views on racial differences, since I have only worked on general issues of decision making and brain damage. I do know that there
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 8, 2008
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            I can't comment on Pinker's views on racial differences, since I have only worked on
            general issues of decision making and brain damage. I do know that there are cultural
            differences that seem to affect brain development -- but those are not the result of
            breeding, since adopted children reflect the linguistic development of their new families.
            (Curiously, twin studies show moral impulses and even sociopathy more likely to be
            genetic.)

            My mention of Pinker was within a group of scholars. To dismiss his general research
            based on his ignorance or biases might not be the right thing to do. This doesn't mean his
            biases don't affect his research, either. Freud and Jung said some pretty ludicrous things
            about Jewish brains.

            This does point to something I do think we need to remember: being skilled or knowledgeable in one area does not make one special in all areas -- or even above
            reproach. We have Heidegger as a pretty good example of stupid brilliance.

            As for being deluded, versus intentionally nefarious, I theorize that anyone wanting to be
            president, prime minister, or whatever a nation has, is able to convince his or her self of all
            sorts of things. I'm not saying this is a good thing; too many are unable or unwilling to
            listen to advisers.

            What makes a person want power? Or, once a "good" person has power, what causes the
            eventual isolation and detachment? I wish I knew. Even admired men and women have
            been extremely flawed -- more so as their power and influence increased.

            - CSW
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