Re: virus: Take off the masks
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 20:30:50 EST

In a message dated 2/18/99 10:39:49 AM Central Standard Time, writes:

>> << You're welcome to play semantic games. >>
>That is one possibility (that I am playing semantic games). Can you think of

That you are parroting with derision but without understanding.<<

Are you talking about the "That is one possibility . . . " meme? Actually, I sort of like it, I am not being entirely derisive of it.

>>[I'm clipping the center of the converse becuase it's got too abstract]<<

I think it is unfortunate that you are skipping that. Those aren't just floating abstractions. I was describing to you how I think, which I understand to be the crux of most of your misundertandings about me - and why I find "logic nazi" to be humorously out of character for me, while you seriously treat it like a genuine boogeyman. First I was playing "semantics games", now I am being "too abstract". All the while, you are willing to make all sorts of wild guesses about my thoughts and anxieties, and yet when I actually tell you forthrightly my thoughts, you evade them as if I said nothing important.

It is at least entertaining to parade around your "logic nazi", where trying to reasonably explain myself has been only futile.

>>>>Everybody's faith is generally going to be compatible with THEIR reason.
>>point that makes it faith and thus irrational, is that they do not hold
>>articles of faith in principle (or in practice either) open to rational
>>criticism. Not that they don't hold anything open to rational criticism.
>I'll fiat. So what? What is wrong with that?
>>From my perspective? It's not horrendous, but it is unecessarily limiting.
>do not place limits on what I expect to understand about the universe, nor do
>I cop out to delusions. Some people feel more comfortable if they do.

Well, that at least is getting somewhere. Faith is something you feel that you
can live without, but it's OK for others?<<

Well, its like taking drugs. Other than caffeine, I can live without them. If somebody were to ask my honest opinion about having a drug habit, I would have to say that they are generally not good things to have. But I also think it is wrong to coercively deny people drugs if that is what they really want, and I don't generally mind if other people use them.

>>I think you're being disingenious. You think there is something wrong
faith, or you wouldn't be so adverse to it.<<

I wasn't being disingenuous. I only said it wasn't horrendous. I am not "so adverse", but I am not going to endorse it either.

>>Going to school, holding down a job, being rational...all of these things
are both limiting and a sense. Unnecessary to what, though? What is the purpose? You have to know what you goals are before you can determine what the necessary and sufficient conditions for fulfilment are.<<

True enough. But who and what we are, will determine some general purposes for all people. All humans must eat. All humans need some sense of meaning. All humans need some familiarity with their environment and some knowlege about how the universe operates. Humanity collectively needs progress, or we will seal our own extinction. Far be it from me to dictate what people *should* be doing with their lives, or what their purposes *should be*. And certainly I wouldn't ever try to write another person's narrative for them. But there is enough commonality between humans, and we are in enough of a prisoner's dillema collectively, that I AM still going to participate in establishing normatives, and I will not withhold my judgements on these things merely to seem tolerant to a fault.

I generally think having faith is not a good thing. Neither is smoking tobacco, or drinking alcohol excessively. Neither is having indiscriminate unprotected sex. Neither is illiteracy, or homophobia, or racism. I am not going to condemn people to hell for these things, nor do I think it is appropriate to legislate coercion against these behaviors and thoughts. I may even be good friends with people who I know variously engage in these things. But if somebody asks me, "Is this good?" then I am probably going to tell them, and if I think it is otherwise appropriate, I may volunteer as well.

I don't see any good purposes that faith furthers. In fact I think it limits people in the pursuit of things good, both individually, and humanity collectively. I still think that the greatest good can tolerate lots, perhaps even most people having faith. But the fewer people that cop out to it, or feel the need to cop out to it, the better. There are far greater problems in the world than people falling back on the crutches of faith, but that doesn't stop me from saying my peace about it.

>>As Yoda says: "Fear, hatred, aggression, these lead to the darkside".<<

What about a lack of a sense of humor?

>>Think, for a moment, of the symbolism Jake. You have changed yourself
from a "MemeLab" to a "LogicNazi". Is that a movement towards reason? towards goodness? I think you will agree it isn't.<<

I think of it as a move toward parody, which is occassionally necessary in dealing with people who take themselves to seriously. I didn't stop calling myself "Jake" did I?

>>What are you without <reason>? I think you are still Jake. No one
here is trying to hurt you. Take off the masks.<<

Sorry buddy, masks are just part of life, and we are all always wearing one or another whether we think we are or not.

Do you think my name is "Jake" in real life? Do you think I am the same person today that I was five years ago? Do you think I will be the same person five years from now? Do you think that "Jake" is the same person that talks to my criminal defendant clients? Do you think that is the same person that talks to a district attorney, or a judge, or my father, or my wife?

Do you deny that we all have, not a single persona, but a repetoire of personalities that we present to the world and ourselves? Personalities are just learned modes of behavior, and we all have many, and no single one is "who we are". We are all a collection of masks, and the thing that lies behind them all is not a single personality. This isn't about personal pain or fear as you imagine with your, "no one is trying to hurt you". Personalities are shallow things. Though they can feel pain and we truly feel their pain, but they can only be actually be damaged in the lack something more.

The things that hold it all together in coherence are value, rationality, narrative, and world view. I will tell you if I think of any more, but that sounds like a powerful list to me. Everybody, even the faithful, egage ALL these elements. When we start compromising on those things, we start compromising who we are. Not all at once, and probably never completely for most people, but why start?

That's what I think about this "Level 3" business. You may play at imagining other world-views that conflict with your own, or a more "rationally impaired" version of yourself, or a human with different values and goals in life. You may have some real acting talent. It may *seem* genuine to you. And all of that is fine and good, and perhaps even healthy. But the moment it does indeed become genuine, you have compromised yourself.

If that's what this about, then I remain happy about sticking to my "level 2" ways, whatever that means. In its best form, this sounds like a heathy extension of theater. I like to look at things in the best light. But the more you folks describe this as a "genuine" thing, and not just a "seems genuine" thing, the less respect I have for it.