Re:virus: Being a slave to <reason> leads inevitably to delusion

joe dees (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 16:54:34 -0500

At Thu, 18 Feb 1999 12:17:46 -0500, you wrote:
>>Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 20:56:37 EST
>>Subject: Re: virus: Lack of imagination error
>Being a slave to <reason> leads inevitably to delusion.
>>Part of the problem here is that you were applying this phrase to me, << Being
>>a slave to <reason> leads inevitably to delusion.>> and some sort of thought
>>processes that you imagine occurring in my brain.
>Actually, this wasn't my intention. I was speaking generally. In general,
>being a slave to <reason> leads inevitably to delusion.

This does not make sense to Jake for two reasons: 1) He views reason not as an enslaver but as a liberator. 2) Jake thinks that what reason liberates people from is delusion. I see nothing inherently flawed in either of these views; in fact, you yourself are attempting to reason with Jake in order to free him from what you view as delusions he might hold. Your words and the fact that you're using them for the purpose you intend mutually contradict.

>>Another part of the problem
>>is that you are wrong about these imagined thought processes.
>Prove it. Do you claim perfect introspection..or are you making
>an assertion? You've been acting a bit erratic..what with this
>"LogicNazi" is it illogical for me to deduce that you
>are feeling threatened and uncomfortable? One doesn't express
>strength of will by shouting.
>>And yet another
>>part of the problem is that you attribute any difference between your
>>imaginings and the actual thought processes to "semantic games" that you
>>imagine that I am playing.
>I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. What I meant was that you
>were using complicated terminology to obfuscate your belief that
><reason> is the judge of all things.
>But, I admit, I may have misunderstood you.
>Do you agree that <reason> is not the judge of all things? Do
>you agree that legitimate action and valid beliefs may be be
>based on principles other than those of <reason>? Do you
>agree that, while <reason> should be highly valued and
>regularly practiced, it should not be made to rule or bind
>any individual against their will?
>If you agree with these things, then I've made a terrible mistake.
>I've been reading everything you've said all wrong.
>>And then of course the final problem is that the
>>statement just doesn't make any sense.
>Every gramatical statement makes sense.

This is simply wrong. The famous philosophical example is the sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." It is grammatically impeccable, yet meaningless.

>What you mean is that you don't think the statement is true.
>That's fine..but to claim you don't understand is like sticking
>your fingers in your ears.
>As a loose analogy, my wife often says "listen to me!" when
>she wants me to do something. I have a pretty good short term
>memory, so I can usually repeat the last 5 minutes of our
>conversation to her..establishing beyond doubt that I am,
>in fact, listening. What she means, most often, is "do what
>I say!" But she feels that to say "do what I say!"wouldn't
>reflect the demure person she sees herself as. By saying
>"listen to me!" she IMPLIES that, were I paying attention,
>I would inevitably do whatever it is she wants. That's
>neurolinguistic programming, and people do it all the time.
>Actually, after discussing this with her, she has become much
>more comfortable saying "do what I say!" And you know
>what? I don't mind obeying her commands.
>By saying "the statement just doesn't make any sense." you
>are doing something similar. But, look, it's OK. Words
>can't bind you unless you let them.
>>I could if I wanted, imagine ways that some sense could be found in the
>>statement, but I would have to say that it was very poorly worded.
>I'm trying to communicate with you. I don't claim to be perfect
>or a brilliant writer. I depend on you to help me make my meaning
>clear. If it is poorly worded, then please rewrite it in your
>own, more comprehensible words. I know you can find meaning in
>what I've fact, it would be easy for you to do so. Do you
>want to? Why wouldn't you want to understand what I'm saying?
>>Considering all of the other problems that went into the statement, imagining
>>a feebly sensible interpretation would at most add nothing to the situation,
>>and at worst add even more confusion than is already there. I decline to
>>waste time imagining things that very likely will only increase your
>But, Jake, I'm not confused. I know what I think and I know who
>I am. I don't require special words or special masks. I may be
>wrong, but if so, I am confidently definitively wrong.

Well, you were confidently definitively wrong when you asserted that all grammatically correct sentences made some sort of sense. You could be wrong about other things as well.

>>There is simply no point in continuing, unless and until you consider the
>>possibility that I am not merely playing semantic games.
>I retract: you are not "playing semantic games". It was an annoying
>thing for me to say, and I sincerely apologize. If someone had said
>the same to me, I would have been I should know better.
>Now, where were we? Ah, yes..
>Being a slave to <reason> leads inevitably to delusion.
> Reed Konsler
Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan, Philosopher

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