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Cynic
I'm given to reducing things to personal analogies. It's possible -- even healthy -- consider yourself "OK" and others as "OK". I believe there's a book written to that effect. Conceptually, "no one's better than anyone else" is the same as "I'm OK, you're OK", except that the latter is a more positive way of putting it. Both are very different than "I'm better than everyone else" or "everyone else is better than me".

I suggest that there is a healthy form of patriotism that isn't "we're better than they are", but "we're worthy people, and like all people we have good points and bad points, but we have confidence that we can improve and continue to be worthy people".
 
comfortable
Agreed.

But how many 'patriots' like that really exist?



BTW - I'm OK, You're OK is a very thoughtful book on Transactional Analysis that's really helped me in dealing with people. If you haven't read it, I recommend it. It's not the latest trendy self-help book, but it gave me much to ponder. particularly at the office.
Wink
Edited by comfortable on 11/09/2008 13:52
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
seeker
I think the problem is one of oversimplification. There are too many people take patriotism as simply meaning blind support for the country because they never really think of the ramifications. Certain politicians play on that because they know that a lot of people don't really think about the difference.

We keep running into these notions. You'd never let a good friend go out in public with toilet paper hanging from his pants or some other gross mistake but people are actually aariad to criticise their own country. Similarly you wouldn't want to live in a neighborhood where there were no laws or police but people actually want there to be no laws in the marketplace. People just aren't really thinking through their ideologies these days.
 
comfortable
These days? Wink

The vast majority of people are "tribal" - by which I mean "myself and my group are superior" - by nature.

Look at Palin's "real America" comments and the enthusiasm they generated. Subtext: "You people in this small town are superior to those 'big city liberals'"

It always works.

Hell, it's even the basis for sports-mania. A Phillies fan knows he exists on a higher plane than those other misguided fools. The sports reference is one of the lighter-hearted examples, not often leading to gun-play, but the phenomenon is real and pervasive. "Us vs Them".

Think it through? You expect too much from sheeple. Grin
Edited by comfortable on 11/09/2008 13:58
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
Cynic
I have always considered myself to be one of those kinds of patriots, and I'm sure I'm not alone. I'm not denying that the zealots aren't out there -- obviously they outnumber the more reasonable kind. It's just that there is a reasonable notion of patriotism, even if most people aren't subscribing to it.

As you all know, I don't give a fuck about groups. Individuals are all there are in my way of seeing things. So when I see self-described patriots out there declaring that upwards of 50% of the American population are traitorous and "anti-American", I can't help but wonder what it is they think they're patriotic towards.

There's an important difference between a frank discussion about the state of a nation as compared to other nations and begin "against" any particular nation. It's like being called "anti-Steelers" if you suggest that they aren't going to make the playoffs because of this or that problem. But don't think that doesn't happen. Wink

There must be a line here between reasonable discussion of what is or isn't patriotism and where we start declaring something akin to a "no true patriot" fallacy. Where is that line?
 
comfortable
Agreed. I just think it's an interesting question....

....and 'tribalism' is one of my pet observations about humanity.

You and I, by being on a forum such as this, already don't fit into any main-stream category.

Say it loud, I'm an iconoclast and I'm proud!!

Whoop, whoop.
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
catman
Cynic wrote:I suggest that there is a healthy form of patriotism that isn't "we're better than they are", but "we're worthy people, and like all people we have good points and bad points, but we have confidence that we can improve and continue to be worthy people".

Yes! Comfortable, that is the sort of moderate patriotism that I had in mind. I don't know how many people feel that way, but I doubt that I am the only one.

As for your examples of twisted patriotism: Yes, I feel that it is 'patriotic' to resist the perversion of the democratic ideals of the country by those interested only in their own selfish agendas. Sophie and Hans Scholl of the White Rose Society, who distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets and were executed for it (1943), were surely more patriotic than the Nazis, as the formers' actions supported the ideals of the interwar democratic Germany (Weimar Reoublic). The attempt on Hitler's life which very nearly succeeded on Huly 20, 1944 by von Stauffenberg and others was deeply patriotic IMO. Likewise, I consider the neo-cons to have acted unconstitutionally and against the democratic ideals of the USA, and it is patriotic to oppose them. Fortunately for us and the world, they are largely out of power.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
seeker
comfortable wrote:
These days? Wink

The vast majority of people are "tribal" - by which I mean "myself and my group are superior" - by nature.

Look at Palin's "real America" comments and the enthusiasm they generated. Subtext: "You people in this small town are superior to those 'big city liberals'"

It always works.

Hell, it's even the basis for sports-mania. A Phillies fan knows he exists on a higher plane than those other misguided fools. The sports reference is one of the lighter-hearted examples, not often leading to gun-play, but the phenomenon is real and pervasive. "Us vs Them".

Think it through? You expect too much from sheeple. Grin


Maybe that is a lot to expect but if you never expect great things you never attain them.
 
comfortable
A housefly
on a window pane
may dream of escape
but no matter how hard
the fly wishes and dreams,
no matter how sincere
or how supreme the effort
he will never break the glass.
The task is impossible at the outset.

Unfortunately, the fly
does not possess
the intellect
to choose another route
so he will surely die in the effort.

One would be wise to choose
one's dreams from
the realm of the possible.
The desired result
will then, at least,
be attainable.

- Saint Comfortable the First, 2008
Wink
Edited by comfortable on 11/09/2008 21:22
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
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Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
derF
Now that was subtle.
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
catman
comfortable: Nice work. I'd say the fly's only chance to get out would be for it to receive what would seem to it 'supernatural' help; that is, for someone to open the window. I played that role for a moth a couple of days ago!
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
comfortable
Thanks for the kind words.

It wasn't until the age of 45 or so that I put that parable together - and have used it several times in my own life.

I had to ask myself the question, "Am I that fly?"

The silly fly hasn't the mental wherewithal to turn around and see the wide-open door across the room.

I must stop from time to time and ask if my short-term goal is the 'right' goal', or should I look for another path? Or is my long-term goal even attainable (or worth the cost)?

Nice point about the supernatural help.

I've read everything I can get my hands on by Dawkins - who did a wonderful job laying out the evolutionary basis for human emotions. Then he seems to turn around and contradict himself by getting wound around the axle about religion (even did a BBC television series on it) and tries to wish it away through educating the masses.

As H.L.Mencken observed, the masses find careful thought actually painful, and have no trouble deciding between following comfortable myth or uncomfortable truth. (okay, many others have observed the same - but I just finished reading three hardbound volumes of Mencken's essays and treatises).

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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
catman
St Comfortable the First: I love H.L.Mencken! He was intelligent and funny. I have his book The American Language.

Dawkins' book The Ancestor's Tale is excellent. I am fairly certain you have read it. I have read The God Delusion, of course.. Which do you recommend I tackle next?
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
seeker
Just to play devil's advocate though what about the flies that do get out for whatever reason? Were they wrong to keep trying?

I agree that mindless hope is just a waste of time but sometimes striving for an ideal pushes one to geater accomplishment than they might have logically expected to achieve. The line isn't always clear.
 
comfortable
That's where "what is the goal?" comes into play.

If the fly is "trying to get out" - it may find a way.

If the fly is "trying to break the glass" - it is doomed.

Sorry I wasn't more clear. Trying to break the glass, an impossible project for the fly, is an example of a goal that is better examined beforehand, than attempted.

Every human child is born ultimately selfish, fearful, and needy for a sense of belonging. It must be this way in order for the species to survive.

Some of us eventually learn to overcome this, at least in part; but to posit that it is possible for a majority to give up all that comfort in exchange for enlightened logic, if only one wants it and works at it hard enough is an example of a Sisyphean task at best IMO. Hence The Parable of the Fly and the Windowpane2008, St. Comfortable

(Selfish humans will be born faster than anyone can "train it out of" society.)
Edited by comfortable on 11/10/2008 11:14
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
comfortable
catman wrote:
St Comfortable the First: I love H.L.Mencken! He was intelligent and funny. I have his book The American Language.

Dawkins' book The Ancestor's Tale is excellent. I am fairly certain you have read it. I have read The God Delusion, of course.. Which do you recommend I tackle next?

I prefer The Blind Watchmaker to Unweaving the Rainbow - but it's really apples vs oranges, as they have different motifs.

Watchmaker is a semi-scientific (for laypeople) explanation of how evolution is possible, with probable examples, while Rainbow is an emotion-based appeal to the wonders of the actual universe; as they are greater than the 'wonders' of a bronze-age boogeyman.

( I highly recommend The Selfish Gene as a pre-requisite to getting the most out of any of his other books... I'm sure you started there?)

P.S. - He is very fond of his own The Extended Phenotype, but I found it dry and overdone.
Edited by comfortable on 11/10/2008 11:05
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The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.
.
Men are sheep in credulity, but wolves for conformity.
 
neilmarr
Looking forward to downing tools in a few minutes, Comfortable, hitting the hay and giving your parable some deeper thought before I get to the Land of Nod.

I must admit that Seeker's ant and its rubber tree plant is appealing, but at first thought, your fly is more of a case in point. Maybe, before I sleep, I'll find there ain't an unbirdgeable distance between the two analogies. And there's also Cat's deus ex machina to liven the muse.

There are often times when I'm reminded of why I'm so keen on visiting this forum.

Cheers and thanks. Neil

PS: I'm with you on Extended Phenotype. Taken as a body of work, though, I'm sure you'd agree that Dawkins' contribution (so far) has been quite remarkable. N
 
catman
Cynic: No, actually I read The God Delusion first, then The Ancestor's Tale because it looked so inviting at Barnes & Noble. So I suppose I'll read The Selfish Gene next, then The Blind Watchmaker.

The Ancestor's Tale is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. I learned a lot from that one.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
seeker
comfortable wrote:
That's where "what is the goal?" comes into play.

If the fly is "trying to get out" - it may find a way.

If the fly is "trying to break the glass" - it is doomed.

Sorry I wasn't more clear. Trying to break the glass, an impossible project for the fly, is an example of a goal that is better examined beforehand, than attempted.

Every human child is born ultimately selfish, fearful, and needy for a sense of belonging. It must be this way in order for the species to survive.

Some of us eventually learn to overcome this, at least in part; but to posit that it is possible for a majority to give up all that comfort in exchange for enlightened logic, if only one wants it and works at it hard enough is an example of a Sisyphean task at best IMO. Hence The Parable of the Fly and the Windowpane2008, St. Comfortable

(Selfish humans will be born faster than anyone can "train it out of" society.)


The point is that in trying to get the majority to that standard we at least maximize the numbers we do reach. I agree the majority will always be greedy, selfish etc but I think that its worse when those are the aspects of behavior that are encouraged. Its one thing for people to cheat, its quite another to just decide that since people will cheat we might as well just never address it.
 
Cynic
Cheaters suck. There's a woman in my chem class who is currently carrying the highest percentage in the class and who also has a curious and convenient knack for developing a nasty case of the runs, requiring multiple trips to the bathroom, during exams and at no other time.
 
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