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This goes against my better judgement...(15 posts)

This goes against my better judgement...Ahimsa
Oct 23, 2001 5:22 PM
...but considering the fervor with which the "us versus them" debate is pursued by many here, it seemed I might perhaps offer a unique perspective based on my beleifs.

Hope this is not more flame fodder as that is my reason for feeling apprehensive about speaking up, but...oh well. Life is short, and I do not intend to respond to flames anyway, so if it gives you satisfaction then by all means seek it.

Here goes:

We might all take a moment to draw a breath and consider that the main reason we are all here is the common ground of cycling. We have much more important things in common than the politics of modern (yet still savage and unenlightened) man and his warring world. We have a unity that makes us brothers and sisters and by all rights should lead us to the simple realization that we should make progress from this one commonality as opposed to remaining (even wading back into) bitter arguments based on circumstances none of us really have control over.

Some things I beleive to be fact:

1) Human beings are basically greedy. This means that they may bring harm to others either intentionally or unwittingly in the pursuit of "things" to posess for themselves and those they care for.

2)Human beings are generally ignorant of anything beyond their sphere of influence, control, understanding, or capacity to care about. This means that hurt inflicted or harm caused is relative to the perspective of the antagonist, and easily justified with enough "facts". The percieved victim can be defined in any situation as both parties and as such reversed to include the antagonist as well.

3) Human beings are fearful. We seek to categorize the world and/or tame it so that it is easier to make sense of. This applies to both big things like nations or nature, and small things like coworkers or households. We seek to be masters of some small niche at least so as to gain a foothold in an otherwise chaotic environment.

4)Any human is only capable of understanding that which aligns with his perspective. You can argue till you are blue in the face, but they CANNOT see it your way and vice versa without the empathetical perspective. In laymans terms, the old saying of "You cannot judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes" rings true.

5)Anyone who seeks to provoke and to lay blame, or to vent frustration with fellow human ignorance speaks volumes of his/her own limited mind. We tend to criticize highly the same things that can be recognized in ourselves. Hypocrisy is so painfully common. We just lack the ability to look in from the outside. Instead of trying to "educate the idiots", instead perhaps we might use that energy to correct our own faults. Those who know bitterly their own shortcomings rarely criticize others for theirs. And to be frank, nobody has persuaded others to their cause by being a d!ckhead.

6)To dispute these truths only reinforces them as fact. Read them carefully again before you dismiss them with your issue in mind. You will likely find that the problem you find is something you have brought to the table yourself and therefore, a product of your perspective.

In closing (sorry this is so long and preachy...I know it is...) lets remember that a people is never defined by a nation or government alone. There is no homogenized mindset based upon geography or religion or skin color. Until we see ourselves as humans first, there will be no world peace. Until you find it within yourself to grasp this, you will also have only measured solace.

I am so imperfect it is pathetic, but I refuse to ignore it, or let it make me a judge of other flawed creatures.


Perhaps since the first imperative is..Tom C
Oct 23, 2001 6:06 PM
to demonize the enemy in order to more effectively destroy him we need to be attacked by aliens in order to unite in the common cause of human defense. Really, I'm serious or maybe I'm tiring of the subject. Mutating into a completely different species might help too. The present species has been this way as long as it has been on the planet.
Well, if you are serious...Ahimsa
Oct 23, 2001 6:23 PM
Bear in mind that the "common enemy" theory as proposed by Star Trek sci fi utopians and their ilk does nothing to cure the problems inherent in the species. Eventually we would find need to understand THAT enemy only to run into the same barrier we have now. It is a logical conclusion assuming we neither destroy nor be destroyed.

As for the human historic nature, history is a poor and biased excuse for continued species stagnation. Perhaps evolution (mutation as you put it) is sort of what we need, a mental evolution toward a new understanding of what it takes to all coexist amicably. This is not impossible. In fact, it is necessary. This too has been proposed in pop culture (See the film "Powder")

I still think that some basic changes can be made through personal willpower by any individual, and that if enough people are able to gain this perspective of the human condition, we might eventually escape this cycle through simple logic and understanding. Without which we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes until we finally are extinguished.

Well, if you are serious...Tom C
Oct 23, 2001 6:54 PM
Idealism is always admirable, always necessary. Whether much will change has not yet been determined. History is the only way to measure the mistakes, poor excuse that it is to you for our current condition, it remains the source of the lesson that must be learned or as you say the same mistakes will be repeated.
Oct 23, 2001 7:07 PM
My argument is not against history itself or it's potential to educate, but rather it's flexible nature based upon the perspective of the viewer. We all know that history is "written by the winners". How can we trust that we are going to improve by following a guide book that is based upon the doctrine and rhetoric of conquerors?

I cannot trust history alone to enlighten or educate the mind. History's role in education is the same as math or language. It can generate exposure to new thoughts. Those thoughts must still be cultured in a mind that is fertile and pliable or else the lesson is lost to everyday bombardment and lifes "noise".

It is foolish to say that to know what a man looks like is to know what a man is. So it is foolish to assume that simply knowing what was will help you achieve a better future. In fact, it has been argued that history's only purpose is to continue the life struggle of kings. Immortality through continued influence.

History...Tom C
Oct 23, 2001 7:51 PM
You realize that you're revealing a populist view in your view of history. My own discipline in school was something altogether different but my wife took a degree in British History. I don't mention it to claim some authority either primarily or second-handedly. The purpose is that in my conversations with her, I've learned that History as regarded by historians is regarded as a puzzle, the well documented "facts" of the kings and winners being the largest pieces of that puzzle but in and of themselves incomplete as a depiction without the smaller detailed pieces. Acquiring those pieces often being fruitless and painstaking labor in itself is the ongoing work. As the puzzle's picture is slowly revealed certain things can be inferred and indeed many times assumed conditions or events are often later proven with hard evidence after a "fact" is realized much like the astronomer's star that should be there. I believe that as events become distanced to our contemporary political considerations of them they inevitably take on a more objective flavor. There are still those who consider the Nazi atrocities as made up with arguments of fabricated film footage etc. but views like that push the envelope of reason. History's purpose is not and never was to show what a man merely looks like but what he smelled like and why, what he ate, what he thought and not only what he is but who he is. My argument is that in not having even mastered this much the trend is, IMHO that human beings are no closer to the enlightenment that you speak of today than they were yesterday.
Modernity as a ti frame with new geometry128
Oct 24, 2001 5:21 AM
I am optimistic, and speculate that there is a trend toward a sort of renaissance of humanism, of practical v. materialist priorities. Then of course I watch a half naked teenage girl pimp consumer goods and I'm a born again nihilist. I think it's helpful to distinguish between the social contruction of nation states and individuals, and that history effects these two differently. One gets on the bike and rides, the other consdiders the bike, and how best to advance it's position...oh, brain beginning to melt, not...enough...power.

Suffice it to say, that as we consider the current state of affairs, and history in general; Once we begin to define another, we fool ourselves into believing we are separate from that which we define.

Well, anyway, big topic for the space....
re: This goes against my better judgement...cycleguy
Oct 23, 2001 8:25 PM
How sad you must be. Your view of those around you, those who you will love, hate, live and die with are only ruled by. Greed, ignorance, fear, lacking in any understanding or a desire to even look for it, spiteful. And last, but not least, when you do find someone who might offer a hope for something else you use all of your above reasons to justify your beliefs.
Greg - can we please have a "Cr@p amateur philiosphy" board?nmMax RPM
Oct 24, 2001 5:26 AM
You kidding? We're get paid for this. Didn't you get your check?128
Oct 24, 2001 5:29 AM
No :-( Oh Ok, that's all right then. nmMax RPM
Oct 24, 2001 7:24 AM
There are only two human motivationsLurker
Oct 24, 2001 11:46 AM
Love and Fear. Which one is driving your actions or your nation's actions is the only way to the real answer.
Not quite so....Starliner
Oct 24, 2001 12:36 PM
The most basic motivation is personal survival. Once that's taken care of, a motivation to be reproductive follows. Just ask any bohemian.
which of your list, Max, motivated you to write that?128
Oct 25, 2001 5:01 AM
Not to mention you missed the obvious one, self-preservation as noted by Starliner, and somehow hunger and sex didn't make the list. I'm beginning to wonder about you young chap.
Guess again - nothing to do with me. nmMax RPM.
Oct 25, 2001 5:10 AM