virus: Faith - Brodiesque style
Mon, 8 Mar 1999 21:31:20 EST

In a message dated 3/6/99 1:09:47 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< >But ultimately the process is just informal everyday common sense.

No. You a wrong. The seductiveness of "informal everyday common sense" is EXACTLY what rational scrutiny was invented to protect us FROM. Don't you realize that? >>

Okay, let me clarify. Informal everyday common sense is a valid starting place. It has validity, how couldn't it?, but it is not authoritatively final - otherwise we wouldn't need rational criticism. We have to start with justifications, otherwise there is nothing for rational criticism to operate on. Starting with justifications is not faith, because once asserted, we hold them in principle subject to rational criticism.

>>>I have already offered my definition. You could offer some definitions
>of your own that you think I should be considering.

I think we should be considering yours, Jake. Yours is the one being held above and beyond rational scrutiny.<<

Ah see, this is the problem, and I suspect that this would have been a waste of time for both of us. You seem to want to sit back and watch me think not only for myself, but by myself too. You kept talking about whether or not you will be a "sounding board" in this process. For this to be productive, you would have had to be a PARTICIPANT. I would have needed you to provide me with something else to consider, otherwise, as I said before, the conclusion would have been forgone because I would have been essentially talking to myself.

>>>We can call my defintion "Faith J" for Jake since that is the one I
>operate on unless someone offers a clear alternative.

Do you see the irony in the name you gave it, Jake? "Faith J" for Jake. That's pretty funny! For it truly is your faith, Jake; a faith you refuse to challenge, even when asked directly.<<

Actually I said "Faith J" in anticipation that there would be a forthcoming "Faith T" for Tim. I didn't think it was funny at all.

>>Just answer the question, Jake.
Challenge your faith! Here, under the bright light of all our big brains, answer this question:

"How can I rationally scrutinize the statement, "Faith is exempting in principle some representation(s) from rational criticism."<<

I was hoping that you would have been more helpful, otherwise it would be a pointless exercise.

>>But first we'd have to get you to abandon your pre-conceived notions--your
faith--and open up the discussion to what faith _could_actually_be_ if we hadn't already blinded ourselves with our own definitions.<<

Actually, don't worry, the train already left the station without you. Richard Brodie already alluded to a good alternative definition when he cued me in to his idea of "self-fulfilling prophecy". I wouldn't go so far as to say that his is one that I would use, but it is one that I can recognize, if someone is clear enough to articulate it in the way that he and I did in terms of asserting possibilities in goal setting behavior. I would still say that there are some more reasonable ways to assert alternative possibilities, and some more "faithlike" assertions of alternative possibilities, either of which could have the effect of a self-fullfilling prophecy, or goal fulfillment.

My major problem with calling all goal-setting/self-fulfilling prophecy behavior "faith", is that it tends to detract from some very rational thinking that I think can and ideally does go into the process. For this reason, this definition of "faith" is not one that I would actually use myself, but it is one that I can recognize if someone is specific enough to designate it. Unfortunately most folks use the word "faith" in very sloppy haphazard ways that cause me to stick to my definition of "holding a representation in principle exempt from rational criticism".

I think you were right, Tim. This would have been a waste of time for you and I to have hashed this out. If you call for rational criticism of a representation, you need to be prepared to be a participant, and not just an aloof observer who dissects somebody else's thoughts. Think for yourself, but don't think by yourself. Don't be afraid to be more of a participant.

Have a little faith in the process!

Sorry, I just had to say that for grins. I of course meant that in the Brodiesque manner of asserting a possibility optimistically - the possibility that your participation in the process would be beneficial, and that without it the process would not be as fruitful - a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course I personally would hold the assertion of that possibility IN PRINCIPLE subjectable to rational criticism. This would be more in line with what the extropian principles would call "dynamic optimism".

Anyhow, I have gotten myself drawn up in a discussion on the JOM list, that I am going to be watching more closely for a while. I just didn't want you to think that I had forgotten you. BTW, lighten up a bit. You really have me pegged in the dogmatic hypocrite role. You really bristled up a lot at the thought of attempting a sincere discussion with me, like you think me incapable of such a thing. In the time that you spent denouncing me, we could have covered a fair amount of territory. I suggest that you hold that image of me IN PRACTICE subjectable to rational criticism. Of course that is just an optimistic suggestion. Maybe we will do better next time.