Archive for October, 2005

A Sad Day

by Jason Stotts

It’s quite a sad day for me to know that we as a race have retrogressed so far that we are no longer able to shine light upon our own actions and see them for what they are. People have become so pragmatic that they have lost the ability to think in principles, they have lost the ability to put their actions into the contexts of theirs lives and see how they will affect them both now and down the road.

A case in point is the other day a person took a glass from a restaurant and then threw it away. When confronted about this and asked why he had done it, he replied that it was not an issue that it was merely a cup. For him all his mind was capable of grasping was that he had a cup and it was his to use. Why was it his to use? Because he had paid for its use while in the restaurant. Was the cup really his? No, he was only renting it for a small amount of time in a particular location. But he did not seem to grasp something so simple that one should not have to explain it to a child. He did not see that he did not own this cup, that another did, and that his removal of their property from their possession was not merely “taking a cup with you”, but was an act of theft. To make matters worse, he did not understand that the act of throwing the glass away was not merely discarding something that one did not need, as if it were a paper cup that had merely been used and had no other value, no throwing the cup away constituted the destruction of another’s property that one had previously stolen.

This person in effect had the cognitive capacities of a child and a mind so crippled by pragmatic philosophy and out of focus thinking that he could not even understand what he had done.

This makes it a sad day for me, to know that my brethren have sunk so far as to be able to understand their own actions, to know that their minds are crippled and they cannot even understand what it means to think in principles. Perhaps soon we shall have to celebrate another “memorial day”, except now we shall have to grieve for the memory of intelligence and rationality.

A Few Good Men

by Jason Stotts

I was recently was having a conversation with one of my friends, Sandy, and we were talking about whether you should care what others think of you. This got me thinking about whether there is any role for outside evaluation to enter into your conception of yourself or whether your idea of yourself should be purely internal.

The way I see it is like this:

If you care what everyone else thinks of you then you will have to try to pander to the whims of everyone, which will not be possible since people will always hold divergent positions.

To make matters worse, the majority of people are ignorant and do not know how to give an objective evaluation – this leads them to only give a subjective evaluation, which further exacerbates the situation as any action will necessarily please some and displease others.

So, if you try to please everyone then you will end up pleasing no one. Thus to worry about what everyone thinks is a worthless endeavor that will only serve to retard your life.

The conversation then took a different turn with this question: “But doesn’t it seem as if there is some role for outside evaluation and/or validation?” At that point in the conversation we did not come to a definite conclusion, but after thinking about it later I must say that I’ve come to have an opinion on this issue.

While my initial reaction was to say deny such a proposition and say that there is no role for outside evaluation, after much thought I’ve come to reevaluate my hasty position.

It seems to me that evaluation by others is important and necessary as long as these others are able to give objective evaluations. If they can do so, they render us an invaluable service as it is sometimes quite hard to be objective about ourselves. Not that I’m saying that one cannot be objective about oneself – I certainly believe that it’s possible and becomes easier with practice, but there are times when others who know us well can understand us better than we can understand ourselves since they can view us from a different perspective.

Also, to have others who we view as good people, people who we admire and who have qualities we value, give outside objective confirmation to our conceptions of ourselves can be very beneficial and can serve to reaffirm our self-image and strengthen our conviction of our worth as individuals. It cannot give us self-esteem, but it can serve to reaffirm it.

So, there is some role for caring about what other people think as long as they are good people and they can be objective in their evaluation. If they are not or cannot, then their opinions are nothing more than sophistry and illusion and should be committed to the flames.

Merciful Mirth

by Jason Stotts

I must thank Matt Morrell heartily for introducing my to Despair which is perhaps the funniest website that I have seen in a long time. For example look at this:

They have all sorts of amazing posters that will make you think “Wow…” 😉