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Passions in Poetry

On Crash and Burn's post

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Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 03-09-2001 01:16 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'll try to keep this short (Yeah right) but really I just want to show why I think this is incoherent:


There are people in this world we dare call mad,
yet the truth of this confusing reality
is that these are the only ones who are sane.


--Who are you talking about? Apparently this 'we' doesn't include you because you are actually calling the mad sane. But what does it mean to be mad or sane? You don't tell me or show me how it's more helpful to see the world as you pose it. There's nothing particularly confusing about reversing terms but I see no evidence or proof to substantiate such a claim, to make it interesting or insightful. I'm stuck either agreeing or disagreeing to an assertion. I disagree and think we should keep these distinctions intact. I argue that the distinction should be kept because one wonders, if the mad are indeed sane, why can't they figure out that their madness can be overcome, altered, adjusted so that they won't be persecuted? One has to ask is the speaker of this statement sane or mad?

They see the world with truthfull eyes
for they cannot lie to themselves

--Again, how do you know this? In the other post, you argue that you, I, we can't know what really goes on in their head but you, here, assert that you do. I'm getting confused.

their reality is limited in their own view.

--I don't understand this. Please tell me about someone who does not have a limited reality view.

This is why they'll never lie,
never holding back on their urges.

--I've already talked about your assertions but you seem to be assuming that the 'mad' have a coherent identity, that they know what they are doing, but a useful definition of madness might be the lack of coherence at all. It is not that they never hold back their urges but that they don't have a choice in holding or not holding back. This has nothing to do with truth or lies (which are defined by intention. If one sees that one does not have intention, then the truth value disappears. If a madman tells me he is Napoleon, it only makes sense to call him a liar if I think he can know the truth and is purposely deceiving me.). It has everything to do with control, with controlling ourselves.

They can hurt others in their reality
and we, who call ourselves healthy of the mind,
the "right" people that should inhabit this world,
decide to encarcelate those we call mad,
on the charge that THEY are hurting others.

--Why is this a bad reason? I think it's a pretty good one. By 'encarcelate', do you mean incarcerate? If you accept my definition of madness, you'll see that I think you're confusing madness with different realities or world views. I think many people hold different world views but I wouldn't define that as madness (only different cultures). Madness means that a person can maintain no coherent identity or world view, this is not a difference in views, it is the difference between a view and no view.


Still I believe we must analize ourselves first,

-- I agree.


because by our singular use of words
we are able to hurt and destroy
more than one called mad, ever would.

-- I doubt this statement is accurate unless you're arguing that we make mistakes with individuals as individuals. I have no doubt of that but this should be pursued on a case by case basis. If you disagree with the current system for the mentally ill, I also think that would be an interesting topic (I don't know much about that) but I don't see how your original assertions can conclude with this statement. Perhaps you mean technology or some such thing? If that is the case, the sane can hurt more than the insane but they can also help more as well.

And the next post:


well ok Brad I'll take your discussion on I wont be online much longer though but I'll answer your questions.....I am no saying all society is wrong so take heed in your generalization, and if you ask me why is a madman misunderstood all I can tell you is that these we do call mad are unplugged and mostly unaffected by this world we live in yet they still exist and are able to affect parts of society in ways we'll not always understand, since we cannot look and experience directly what this so called individual, comprehesion of his reasons to be violent or quiet or even pshycotic are yet beyond our comprehension. After taking the individual through therapy or other such mindless activities we, society, might get to comprehend just a little of what his intetions or purposes really were. So because society does not understand they classify them as mad also beleived to be beyond comprehension. Now about the being mad or genious this is more or less what I've already explained, you could think of anything but you, having a world around you, will be affected be what surrounds you in your deciscions yet if unplugged from the world with only one stream of thinking you will be able to realize much more because you are unaffected by what surrounds you. We make distinctions because we cannot understand, and we cannot understand we fear, society is not ready for something different because of the attachment to a so called nice and pleasant world of theirs were everything is good and right, because this subject integrates deep into society I wished to post this here I hoped I answered your questions. Oh and as for the spelling English is not my first language and I think you are smart enough to interpret correctly whant I'm trying to say so deal with it.


--I think it's clear that this doesn't really address the issues in the first post and contradicts it at times. The fundamental mistake is the assumption that the insane are coherent, that they have intentions. One might argue that sanity is the ability to deal with the differences that you seem to want saved, protected (you can reject, ignore, accept, adapt, adjust to the multiplicities around you). The insane do not have these options.

--Unless you're asserting some kind of mysticism to the insane, I don't really see what you're arguing. This used to be done but that would be a different issue, wouldn't it?

Brad

[This message has been edited by Brad (edited 03-09-2001).]
Craig
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1 posted 03-09-2001 03:20 PM       View Profile for Craig   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Craig


Interpretation is a strange creature indeed, here’s another.

There are people in this world we dare call mad,
yet the truth of this confusing reality
is that these are the only ones who are sane.

This reminded me of another statement, I think it starts (aptly perhaps) with the words ‘In the beginning….

I know this may seem a little strange but there are similarities that can be drawn, the main one is the validity of knowledge afforded the speaker. The second statement is accepted because the book it comes from is regarded by many to be ‘The Truth’, the first, if viewed as an utterance from the mouth of one who knows at least deserves further investigation.

I think the pivotal point in this opening is the readers ability to assign to the speaker an all encompassing knowledge, an omnipotence that allows the speaker to state beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is the truth. Does this sound like a strange and radical idea? It isn’t, anyone who has ever read a book of fiction accepts that the speaker of the words written has this exact same power.

John stared at the apple, reminded at once of the orchard he’d left behind…

Two thousand miles away Jane walked through the trees that filled his thoughts.

How does the speaker know what John is thinking? How can he know what Jane is doing, he can’t be in the same place at the same time, can he? Well yes he can, the reader allows him that ability, he/she suspends disbelief in the search of understanding and knowledge.

Given that we’re prone to this suspension of belief at times I thought it would be interesting to re-visit the original statement, this time affording the speaker a little of omnipotence.

There are people in this world we dare call mad,
yet the truth of this confusing reality
is that these are the only ones who are sane.

Our speaker now has knowledge of the confusing reality that a majority of the populace (the sane) believe that the world they inhabit is ‘The Reality’, however our speaker knows that this isn’t true. He/she also knows that the supposed sane will never know this, so he/she is telling us.

It’s an interesting possibility, the concept that our reality is all false isn’t new, though the twist that reality can only be comprehended through insanity gives me at least food for thought.

My sincere apologies go to the author of the original statement, this interpretation is probably further from the original intention than John is from Jane, I just wanted to show that things can mean different things to different people depending on individual interpretation.


Thanks for the chance to read and reply.


[This message has been edited by Craig (edited 03-09-2001).]
Brad
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2 posted 03-09-2001 07:29 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Craig,
This is a valid point and one that must be considered if we see this work as a poem or a fiction or a religious treatise. I don't see how it's possible, however, if we are to regard it as a philosophical statement. It looks like a poem, it acts like a poem, but the author in question stated that it was a piece of prose. It is a piece of prose posted in the philosophy forum, one that can be interpreted in a way that any reader wants. I choose to take the author at his word and assume that he knows what he's doing, I see no evidence that I should read this as a fiction (Local Rebel started a fictional piece on evil here once but it was clear from the start what he was doing.). In the above, I asked if he was suggesting a mystical aspect to those we label insane which is where your interpretation leads (one would also have to point out that the speaker, sane or insane, also contains this mysticism). No doubt I would read this quite differently if it were posted somewhere else (Ron makes a point about this in the other thread) but I fail to see, without clarification, the reasoning behind declaring this a religious or a fictional piece.

True, these genres are arbitrary and they change over time but they are useful for communication -- they are necessary for communication. If the author now declares that this was a poem, a fiction, or if it was divinely inspired, then he should have let me move the piece.

I'm not saying a poem can't contain philosophical material or a philosophical piece, poetic writing, but I am saying we should, as best we can, try to keep the two separate. Isn't that why we have different forums for different things?

This is not a new idea by the way. It is, in fact, a very, very old idea (think at least Ancient Greece) and has been practiced in many cultures (many cultures also use halucinogens to create the same effect). I still don't believe it, I still don't like it if only for the fact that I've never met or heard anyone who is mentally ill want to stay that way -- schizophrenics don't see themselves as truth tellers, do they? One wonders if it's even logical to use the terms 'see themselves' when it comes to schizophrenics? If Kris were here, what would she say about all this -- she knows a lot more about this than I do.

I'll see if I can start that interpretation thread today.

Brad

PS The irony is that we have three or four interesting threads directly coming out of this. I honestly believe though that that is not what the author had in mind.
Craig
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3 posted 03-09-2001 10:08 PM       View Profile for Craig   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Craig


Brad

I see your point about the separation of philosophical thought and fiction/mysticism and religious material. I’m sure it wouldn’t be that big a surprise to learn that when I first read it I thought, as you did, that it had perhaps been posted in the wrong forum in error. I was even more surprised that the author pronounced it a prose work, I had it tagged as a poem. In fact I still regard it as a poem.

Classification, like interpretation, is I feel a matter of personal choice, sometimes those classifications cover a wide spectrum. Ask any group whether the Bible is fiction, philosophy, mysticism or a religious treatise and some bright spark is going to end up saying it’s something else. As you point out some works, including poetry bridge the gap between philosophy and the other forms. Do I think this is one of them? If I answered truthfully I’d have to say no, but as you also pointed out and as mentioned in the original thread most of what we write, say and do can under the right circumstances act as a catalyst for discussion. This being the philosophy forum and the author declining your offer to move it left me with no option other than to ignore it or to try and distil some angle worth contemplating.

I suppose, being truthful again, my replies were a rather beleaguered attempt to salvage a meaningful discussion from a thread that seemed to be heading in a distinctly un-philosophical direction.


Thanks again for the chance to read and reply, I’ll keep an eye out for your ‘interpretation’ thread.
Crash&Burn
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4 posted 03-09-2001 11:34 PM       View Profile for Crash&Burn   Email Crash&Burn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Crash&Burn

Well I'm glad to see that this discussion has gone on in more calmed terms. I know things got a bit outa hand but I'm happy to see so much that can be found in my single piece when I just wrote it out of wonder in some class. Thanx.



I see the darkness coming all is bleak...
Stephanos
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5 posted 03-12-2001 12:46 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Sometimes what we derive from a piece of writing can be described as "generality" rather than "dogma". I think what "crash and burn" wrote is more along these lines.

Brad was right to say that this is less of a philosophical piece than something else. It seems to me to be a mere expression of feelings about "labels", or maybe more precisely a rashness in "labeling". . . filing people into categories such as mad vs. sane. I hear Brad already saying that such labels are necessary pragmatically (and I agree). But who hasn't felt a bit disturbed about trends to view everything from a cold and clinical angle (which can lose sight of the personal)? I'm not so sure why, but I got a sense from crash and burn's post that it was a quickness and callousness in the diagnosing of the mentally ill by the 'experts' which isn't liked. (though whether that is mostly true, sometimes true, or never true is a valid question and more apt for discussion in this forum because it is more defined.)

So yeah, maybe it would be more at home in "feelings" or somewhere else. But on the other hand, a piece like this can lead to valid philosophical discourse. Sometimes the general can lead to a myriad of specifics. And the nebulous can be clarified through discussion.

I do agree with Brad on may points however. And I know what he likes in the sense of clarity. It is a bit frustrating sometimes in a forum like this when a thread with 30 or more posts is requisite to just cut away the dead weight and get to some defined questions. How infamous are we all for going around our big toe to get to our scalp! But with all respect, I hope you are a bit more patient Brad with your efforts to correct (in the original post anyway.. you were generally friendly in this one). I think doing so will be more conducive to attracting people to this forum... and yes I understand you do want a certain discipline of thought to be aired here rather than a free-for-all. I agree.

But step back, look for general feelings, intimations, impressions that people may be trying to express and draw out some good philosophies by your reactions. You're so cut and dry with your demands. But don't get me wrong. I LIKE you for that. I enjoy good debate.

And to all ... this is great forum for stretching brain cells. Detach yourselves from the comments as much as you can. Recognize that philosophy is a realm which takes any (and I do mean ANY) offered idea without favoritism to the testing ground. It will be poked and prodded from every angle to test soundness, validity, importance... and what's worse, nobody completely agrees on which stick is the right one to prod with, or where to poke. So come in with thick skin. (wow that was poetic!)

Some scathing replies to your posts are like going through an initiation phase. Brad is right to say that this is not a place to be petted for your ideas. Are you determined enough to accept the challenge of expressing your ideas in a philosophical way that requires organization of thought and words? It takes practice. But it's worth it if you want to become a better polemicist. (and expresser of thought). So Welcome here! Take off the sopping raincoats of drenched feelings before you come in. That stuff is better elsewhere (not saying it's not good). But Brad, do try to provide a hospitable foyer where they can disrobe these, then sit down with a stiff black cup of coffee ready for a more "cut and dry" discussion among thinkers. . . After all, if I may use the metaphor, it's raining very hard outside. Put up with a little rain on the foyer floor. We are emotional beings. And when the coffee's so strong, a little bit of water helps anyway!


I didn't really address the topic much huh? What was it about again?


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 03-12-2001).]
Brad
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6 posted 03-12-2001 05:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I'll try to be more patient but you have to realize how much some of those statements bothered and still bother me. It wasn't just C and B's post that made my jaw drop (it didn't particularly bother me because I thought it was posted incorrectly), it was a number of different posts that show a fundamental contradiction to what was actually said. A number of statements claim the authority to understand texts without the need to be rigorous, claim the right to truth, claim the right to understand human nature, claim the right to label others and themselves but don't allow the same right to others. Above all, they employ the rhetoric of freedom and open-mindedness in order to isolate and distance ideas, questions that they don't understand and/or disagree with.

This is what I would call American ideology.

It's a brilliant ideology if you think about it. It allows everybody to think what they want and say what they want without repercussion, it also allows everyone to sound like Voltaire. However, as soon as one questions these ideas, they are attacked, not for the ideas (that wouldn't bother me), but for not understanding, for literally not following the expectation that we shouldn't disagree, ask for clarification, or do exactly what they've done in reverse.

That is, you either get it or you don't, you either agree or be quiet -- I have something to say and I don't care what you think.

Of course, if one responds in that way, or if one responds in the way that many did in the other thread, it shows me that you do care what I think but you don't like what I think. Well, I care what other people think, I want to know what other people think, and I want people to think about what they think seriously.

Honestly, I think I was harsher in this thread than in the other (this was a mistake perhaps, instead of arguing that this is the wrong forum, I should have spent more time in showing why I think this is the wrong forum) -- I was reacting more than acting. Yet, throughout the other thread I consistently asked, encouraged people to deal with the issue seriously. Again, C and B was the only one to attempt this but I think he contradicted himself. I asked questions that were not answered, I clarified my own assertions (conveniently neglected when I am accused of being 'hostile', 'cruel', and of calling someone a liar ).

I guess the problems began when I told C and B to correct his typos. I understand that many feel this is a 'rude' thing to do but I don't. Everybody makes typos, everybody makes mistakes and I see nothing wrong with pointing it out or pointing out grammar mistakes -- hell, sometimes I leave typos in just to see if somebody will point them out (and sometimes I just make mistakes ).

While I feel that I can defend everything I said there (I've now discussed the teen comment, the interpretive comment, and the American comment), I guess the abrasive atmosphere was created by my tone but this tone was to a large extent exaggerated by my detractors by avoiding the statements I actually made. Nevertheless, I accept a certain amount of responsibility here and will try to keep my jaw from dropping as much as it did the other day .

I'll try to play the game better.

One final comment: the consequences of American ideology are profound in my opinion. It inhibits thought by masking it behind 'rights' and common sense, it de-emphasizes language and words to a point where anybody can say anything about anything in anyway they choose and then claim it is something else or hide behind a kind of mystical understanding. I believe this hurts us. I believe language is important because it is one of our major tools in communication (not the only one) but the only one that we use here. Since I don't believe in ESP, it's the only one that counts if you want to say something, if you want to communicate at all; as a result, it should be taken seriously, not hidden behind generalities like "I know what you mean".

Words matter.

Brad
Stephanos
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7 posted 03-13-2001 02:09 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

I don't want to argue this. . . but it's just a thought.

Not everyone is as skilled in the rigors of language as you may be. Your responses might be better aimed at helping them hone in and define what they are trying to say... Much as parents do with children (of any culture BTW) who cannot quite articulate what they are thinking. (Not saying that C&B or any of the other posters in this thread are child-like, this was just an analogy).

Am I asking you to lower your standards? Not at all. I'm just saying that if you feel that an "idealogy" is the primary factor behind what irritates you in someone's post, be sure that it really is before you say so. I'm not saying you are not right. But it seems to me that we should rather try to bring out the differences of ideology, or thought, or belief in the context of discussion (rather than by stating the not yet obvious- which can come across as insulting regardless of who's thoughts are best) so that it may be apparant to all apart from saying so. By just saying "Here is XXXX ideology in operation" really doesn't convince me that it is so. I have to see it in the discourse.

Your accusation about not being clear about language I agree with. But your rash labeling of this phenomenon as "American ideology" I do not. This is a mere blanket statement which is too broad in my opinion to have much meaning. If I were to accept your definition of "American Ideology" as accurate, I would be accepting a conclusion which was arrived at through the same type of ideology you have condemned. You stated that things have to be approached on an individual basis, yet you've lumped masses into one box with a label. More than anything, what you are speaking against sounds more like a lack of discipline in thought, or immaturity in thought (which in history has reared it's ugly head in sundry cultures), than any "national" ideology. You could argue that more Americans mentally fit that description, and you might be right, but you would have to present your reasons. From the history of America, we can gather that the values and of the forefathers (primarily from one culture) differed greatly than that of modern America which is now quite a melting pot of different ideologies. And in my opinion America has had many thinkers in it's short history who were neither lazy bodily nor with language, who have contributed much good to the world. I am American and am proud of our heritage, though not proud of many things which we have done, or even what we have become.

Do I think America is perfect? HA. Not near it. That could be a whole post, or a whole book. I'm just saying you made the very kind of generalization you seem to speak so vehemently against.

I might be wrong but that's the way it seems.

You might have very valid and specific points to discuss about your ideas of "American ideology", but they weren't adequately expressed here. Maybe it would be better for me to ask you about those than to attack your statement. I might even come to agree with you, or at least think in a different way.

I'm making a point. You did the same thing you accused some of doing, however they (some even being teen-agers) are not as skilled as you at expressing ideas. I'm with you on not being easy and liberal with conditionless validation. They (and we all) need to grow up and not think lazily. And I do think your comments help to that end mostly. Just don't scare potential friends away. That's all.

(Don't worry. You couldn't scare me away if you tried!)


respectfully,

your friend Stephen.


[This message has been edited by Stephanos (edited 03-13-2001).]
jbouder
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8 posted 03-13-2001 12:47 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Stephen:

I'm going to have to side with Brad on his identification of the American ideology. I think if you took the time to seriously observe such things as the dominant media, pop-culture, prevailing attitudes, and public opinion, you will find shallowness in most places.

Rhetoric is a powerful tool in shaping opinion. The wording of a question in a poll can easily sway the results as much as 30%. It doesn't matter what the subject is ... religion, abortion, gay-rights, madness vs. genius or whatever. Failing to identify the true issues and failing to argue a case based on the merits using rhetorical indignation to silence an opponant is nothing less than destructive. This, I think, is quickly becoming the American Ideology. "Don't confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind." I prefer to questions my presuppositions and ditch them if they fail to hold up against sound argumentation. If Brad finds a hole in my argument, I want him to point it out. If I find one of the very many ( ) holes in his argument, he knows I will point them out to him. (I'm not finished with you, Brad, on your "Why should I?" approach to religion).

I'll try to get back when I have more time.

Jim

Stephanos
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9 posted 03-13-2001 04:05 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

You (and Brad) may have valid points about "American Ideology". I am not denying this. I just felt that Brad's quickness to charge Crash and Burn with a false ideology was self-validated when he and others did not respond favorably to what Brad said. But what tone something is said is as important (or often more important) than content. A harsh response often yields a harsh reply. This is human nature. Many of the replies which came back in refusal to tackle the "issues" may have been mere retaliations to percieved insults (whether intended or not). This gives of course the opportunity for Brad to say "see I told you so- they have nothing valid to say". And then of course they come back with more of the same. A pointless cycle, until someone back tracks. Which I do think Brad has began to do this.

My whole point was that if someone isn't thinking the issues through, help them see that without slapping them around. Yeah, it's okay to slap a little, but if you slap so much that they begin to say "I'm never visiting this forum again" then maybe you have slapped too hard. This is just the way I percieved the whole thing. There was definite hostility and rudeness on both sides (If I am to take the language seriously). After all it's the first time these have even been in here. Geeze cut them a little slack....(I just said a little).

I still think the whole concept of American Ideology is too general to apply to all Americans. Not everyone believes things because of propaganda and groundless rhetoric. A danger I see is that anything which claims to be "truth" or to be "right" might be easily called another instance of American Ideology just because it hasn't been argued from every conceivable angle.

You have some valid points about the affect of the media and pop-culture on the shallowness (generally speaking) of opinion in America. I don't disagree.
jbouder
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10 posted 03-13-2001 05:06 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

This is where I think we differ in opinion. What others may have interpreted as being "harsh", I interpreted as "direct". Why? I am only guessing here, but I think it may have something to do with age and experience. The American brand of Humanism is rightly called a false ideology and I do not think that a direct tone is necessarily an inappropriate tone to take.

Learning your world-view is flawed is painful and being told your world-view is flawed is not much fun if you haven't given much thought to the validity of your world view. Readjusting the way you look at the world is hard work. Making sure you do not repeat mistakes takes diligence. There is much to be said for patience and a neutral tone ... but don't you think there are times when a direct tone, even if it is perceived by some as being harsh, is the most appropriate tone to use in correcting an error? When is correction "slapping around" and when is is merciful?

If only I could get Brad to pick up some of Luther's works, maybe I could get him to correct some of his [Brad's, not Luther's] errors [caught that one in the proof-read ... whew). All in the spirit of directness, you understand.

Gotta go.

Jim

P.S. The "American Ideology" is pervasive. "Liberty" and "liberties" are not synonymous. I think you'd be amazed (and dismayed) at how many people do not understand this. But I think that may be for another thread.


Jim

"If I rest, I rust." - Martin Luther




[This message has been edited by jbouder (edited 03-13-2001).]
Stephanos
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11 posted 03-13-2001 11:35 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Jim,

Yes a direct tone is needful at times. Maybe I'm just not convinced that this was one of those times. But maybe that's because I am not familiar with exactly what you mean by "American humanism", and so cannot recognize it so easily. If you would and you have time, please describe some of it's tenets to me with a little detail... I am curious. How does it differ from humanism in general (which I believe to be a flawed world view according to my limited understanding of it- since it is man centered rather than God centered)? I am willing to hear what you have to say.

Although I'm still a little skeptical that a persons "ideology" can (or should) be identified within a few paragraphs of rather nebulous statements and then condemned with one sweep of the keyboard...all before actually determining what the person really believes or why.

Understand I am not saying you are wrong about American ideology.


Stephen.

Brad
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12 posted 03-14-2001 12:20 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Stephen,
When I say American ideology, I simply mean the terms, concepts, phrases that are used by the media and people without thought. This'll take a number of different forms but I think we can usefully call this American (perhaps Liberal or even Western ideology are better terms but not all Western countries apply the same rhetoric in the same way and Liberal is too often confused with liberals in the United States).

It's not always a bad thing, not every time is a time for a philosophy discussion, sometimes it is important to gloss over more complex issues for social reasons. All countries have some type of rhetoric that does this so I'm not singling out the US as special in that sense.

What interests me here, however, is that Americans seem particularly blind to these rhetorical manuevers (other citizens must confront American ideology so they see their own manuvers as a contrast to that; this doesn't make them any less powerful). I don't have time right now but I'll try to get more specific later.

You make an excellent point though. In predicting that something like what happened would happen, I may have inadvertantly helped to perpetuate it. I do need (as do we all) to be careful of that.

Jim,
Luther, Luther, Luther -- I'll try to get to some of his works later. Can't believe we're agreeing on this one.

Brad
jbouder
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Brad:

Why so surprised? There are times when directness is appropriate and I trust your judgement.

Whenever you get around to Luther, I'd recommend "Luther's Commentary on Galatians", "Bondage of the Will" and "A Treatise on Christian Freedom" in that order. I honestly think understanding Luther will complement your understanding of the German philosophers of the 18th and 19th centuries.

I hope to have a little time later.

Jim
 
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