a thread for mundane ironists

This is the place to shave off that long white beard and stop being philosophical; a forum for members to just talk like normal human beings.

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:23 pm

Jan Mieszkowski

You can't know the...
Kant: thing-in-itself
Hegel: self in and for itself
Schelling: other as self
Nietzsche: pain I feel reading your stuff


Imagine him reading our stuff. Though, sure, mostly yours.

Philosophy is a war with...
Hume: good sense
Kant: common sense
Wittgenstein: nonsense
Husserl: the sixth sense
Bataille: dollars and cents


Which one is the pragmatist?

A philosopher must be tireless in the fight against...
Plato: sophistry
Kant: dogmatism
Nietzsche: philosophy
Camus: a tobacco tax


Which one is the pragmatist?

I can't be the first person to have thought of this, but has anyone told Trump that Pyongyang is desperately in need of a new luxury hotel?

Not to mention luxury bomb shelters.

Philosophies:
Ancient: Why do we exist?
Medieval: Why do we exist?
Enlightenment: Why do we exist?
Modern: Our existence is an embarrassment.


And, no, not just in Trumpworld.

Thinkers covered in seminar:
1) Marx
2) Benjamin
3) Adorno
4) Kristeva
What you'll actually discuss:
1) Trump
2) Trump
3) Trump
4) Trump


And, no, not just Ivanka.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:23 pm

Jasmine Warga

I’m not asking you to live for me. Even though that would be nice because I’m in love with you. And yeah, yeah, you can tell me I’m misusing that word, but I don’t care. That’s how I feel. But this isn’t even about me, or how I feel about you. I want you to live for you because I know there’s so much more waiting for you. There’s so much more for you to discover and experience. And you deserve it, you might not think you do, but you do. I’m here to tell you that you deserve it. And I know I sound cheesy as hell. Believe me, six weeks ago, I would’ve slapped myself for saying shit like this, but knowing you... Knowing you has helped me see things differently. See myself differently. And all I want is for you to see yourself the way that I do.


Two things I'm sure about:
1] I've never said this to anyone
2] No one has ever said this to me


I bet if you cut open my stomach, the black slug of depression would slide out.

Either that or my brain.

I spend a lot of time wondering what dying feels like. What dying sounds like. If I’ll burst like those notes, let out my last cries of pain, and then go silent forever. Or maybe I’ll turn into a shadowy static that’s barely there, if you just listen hard enough.

Anyone here know for sure?

I think he's looking for comfort, but I don't have any to give.

Or: He thinks I'm looking for comfort, but he doesn't have any to give. Or, sure, she.

Everything used to seem so final, inevitable, predestined. But now I'm starting to believe that life may have more surprises in store than I ever realized. Maybe it's all relative, not just light and time like Einstein theorized, but everything. Like life can seem awful and unfixable until the universe shifts a little and the observation point is altered, and then suddenly, everything seems more bearable.

Tell me this isn't profoundly embedded in genes and memes.

What people never understand is that depression isn't about the outside; it's about the inside.

Not counting all the times when it's the other way around. Or all the times when it's an inextricable tangle of both.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:41 pm

Malcolm Gladwell

We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.


And in the either/or world no less.

Research suggests that what we think of as free will is largely an illusion: much of the time, we are simply operating on automatic pilot, and the way we think and act – and how well we think and act on the spur of the moment – are a lot more susceptible to outside influences than we realize.

Okay, is it more or less largely an illusion?

There is a simple way to package information that, under the right circumstances, can make it irresistible. All you have to do is find it.

Though, no, not here.

It wasn't an excuse. It was a fact. He'd had to make his way alone, and no one—not rock stars, not professional athletes, not software billionaires, and not even geniuses — ever makes it alone.

True, but I may well have come closest.

Basketball is an intricate, high-speed game filled with split-second, spontaneous decisions. But that spontaneity is possible only when everyone first engages in hours of highly repetitive and structured practice--perfecting their shooting, dribbling, and passing and running plays over and over again--and agrees to play a carefully defined role on the court...spontaneity isn't random.

What's that make baseball then?

For almost a generation, psychologists around the world have been engaged in a spirited debate over a question that most of us would consider to have been settled years ago. The question is this: is there such a thing as innate talent? The obvious answer is yes. Not every hockey player born in January ends up playing at the professional level. Only some do – the innately talented ones. Achievement is talent plus preparation. The problem with this view is that the closer psychologists look at the careers of the gifted, the smaller the role innate talent seems to play and the bigger role preparation seems to play.

In other words, we still don't really know for sure. Well, not counting what you claim to believe is true "in your head".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:16 pm

Existential Comics

To be honest, the older I get the more I'm warming up to the idea of a God who planted dinosaur bones to trick people into believing in dinosaurs.


Oblivion [the abyss] will do that to some.

I hate that phrase "time will tell", because you can just as easily say, "in the fullness of time all shall be revealed."

So, does he have a point?

Existential definitions:
Dread: grasping of death.
Anxiety: dizziness of freedom.
Despair: hopelessness of life.
Crisis: you're out of beer.


Let's go to the dictionary.

The opposite of a philosopher is a sophophobic: when you fear or hate learning new things. Like, for example, pretty much everyone on Earth.

And [I'll wager] everyone else. For example, in the universe.

Things that are certain:
1. Death.
2. Taxes.
3. The conclusion of the dialectical materialist process bringing a worldwide communist Utopia.


No, really, it used to be like that.

How to become an interesting author:
1. Become an interesting person.
2. Learn how to fucking write.
3. The end.


Or sure [here] an interesting poster.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:22 pm

Arthur Koestler

...and there was only one revolutionary virtue which he had not learned, the virtue of self-deception.


About, among other things, the nature of the self itself.

But who will be proved right? It will only be known later. Meanwhile he is bound to act on credit and sell his soul to the devil, in the hope of history's absolution.

That's how it works alright. And going back centuries now.

We brought you truth, and in our mouth it sounded a lie. We brought you freedom, and it looks in our hands like a whip.

That's how it works alright. And going back centuries now.

Aberrations of the human mind are to a large extent due to the obsessional pursuit of some part-truth, treated as if it were a whole truth.

And [nowadays] almost any part will do.

Cigarettes to be fetched for me from the canteen, said Rubashov.
Have you got prison vouchers?
My money was taken from me on my arrival, said Rubashov.
Then you must wait until it has been changed for vouchers.
How long will that take in this model establishment of yours? asked Rubashov.
You can write a letter of complaint,' said the old man.
You know quite well that I have neither paper nor pencil, said Rubashov.
To buy writing materials you have to have vouchers, said the warder.


Just one more catch-22 in a world where hundreds of them must exist by now.

Perhaps he did not know himself -- like all these intellectual cynics.

He means, among others, me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:53 pm

Roland Barthes

It is not true that the more you love, the better you understand; all that the action of love obtains from me is merely this wisdom: that the other is not to be known; his opacity is not the screen around a secret, but. instead, a kind of evidence in which the game of reality and appearance' is done away with. I am then seized with that exaltation of loving someone unknown, someone who will remain so forever: a mystic impulse: I know what I do not know.


Postmodern love in other words. On the other hand, love may well just mean "never having to say you're sorry".

Usually the amateur is defined as an immature state of the artist: someone who cannot — or will not — achieve the mastery of a profession. But in the field of photographic practice, it is the amateur, on the contrary, who is the assumption of the professional: for it is he who stands closer to the noeme of Photography.

This: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noema
I know: Let's ask Satyr.


What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence. In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself: She is going to die: I shudder over a catastrophe which has already occurred. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.

It is all rather ineffable.

Everyone is “extremely nice”—and yet I feel entirely alone.

Of course more often than not they are paid to be.

Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire.

That or rage. And not just here. Though mostly here.

Don’t bleach language, savour it instead. Stroke it gently or even groom it, but don’t “purify” it.

Let's cite actual examples of this.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:20 pm

Evelyn Waugh

What an immature, self-destructive, antiquated mischief is man! How obscure and gross his prancing and chattering on his little stage of evolution! How loathsome and beyond words boring all the thoughts and self-approval of his biological by-product! this half-formed, ill-conditioned body! this erratic, maladjusted mechanism of his soul: on one side the harmonious instincts and balanced responses of the animal, on the other the inflexible purpose of the engine, and between them man, equally alien from the being of Nature and the doing of the machine, the vile becoming!


Though, no doubt, like me, you're heard worse.

The trouble with modern education is you never know how ignorant people are.

I think we've got a pretty good idea...

Conversation should be like juggling; up go the balls and plates, up and over, in and out, good solid objects that glitter in the footlights and fall with a bang if you miss them.

That probably explains the cacaphony here then.

I can think of no entertainment that fills me with greater detestation than a display of competitive athletics, none - except possibly folk dancing.

Not counting soccer of course.

The anguished suspense of watching the lips you hunger for, framing the words, the death sentence, of sheer triteness!

Most men however would still fuck her.

Miss Runcible wore trousers and Miles touched up his eye-lashes in the dining-room of the hotel where they stopped for luncheon. So they were asked to leave.

Not so much today though.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:51 pm

Mary Roach

The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back. The brain has shut down. The flesh begins to soften. Nothing much new happens, and nothing is expected of you.


Never been on one but that doesn't make this any less true.

It is astounding to me, and achingly sad, that with eighty thousand people on the waiting list for donated hearts and livers and kidneys, with sixteen a day dying there on that list, that more then half of the people in the position H's family was in will say no, will choose to burn those organs or let them rot. We abide the surgeon's scalpel to save our own lives, our loved ones' lives, but not to save a stranger's life.

Let's file this one [maybe] under "human nature".

Life contains these things: leakage and wickage and discharge, pus and snot and slime and gleet. We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.

But, as I often remind you, only from the cradle to the grave.

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.

I know that I do. Or, rather, I used to.

Death. It doesn't have to be boring.

Most will settle for less terrifying.

Here is the secret to surviving one of these airplane crashes: Be male. In a 1970 Civil Aeromedical institute study of three crashes involving emergency evacuations, the most prominent factor influencing survival was gender (followed closely by proximity to exit). Adult males were by far the most likely to get out alive. Why? Presumably because they pushed everyone else out of the way.

And that's not a good thing, right?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:17 pm

Sad Socrates

I have so many ideas it hurts.


And that's only counting the good ones.

Don't worry about it. Life's not that important.

I know: Too bad it doesn't work that way.

Sleep is my reason for living.

And, with any luck, I may be sleeping now.

I do my best thinking when ignoring people.

Doesn't everyone?

I don't want to make more money, I just want to die faster.

Well, maybe a little more money.

I spy something impossible.

Let me know if you spy it too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:15 pm

Jeanette Winterson

When I was born I became the visible corner of a folded map. The map has more than one route. More than one destination. The map that is the unfolding self is not exactly leading anywhere. The arrow that says YOU ARE HERE is your first coordinate. There is a lot that you can't change when you are a kid. But you can pack for the journey . . .


Of course today we have GPS.

We heal up through being loved, and through loving others. We don't heal by forming a secret society of one -- by assessing about the only other 'one' we might admit, and being doomed to disappointment.

We being not me for some of us.

The healing power of art is not a rhetorical fantasy. Fighting to keep language, language became my sanity and my strength. It still is, and I know of no pain that art cannot assuage. For some, music, for some, pictures, for me, primarily, poetry, whether found in poems or in prose, cuts through noise and hurt, opens the wound to clean it, and then gradually teaches it to heal itself. Wounds need to be taught to heal themselves.

The art of philosophy? You tell me.

I know from my own experience that suicide is not what it seems. Too easy to try to piece together the fragmented life. The spirit torn in bits so that the body follows.

Twice so far. Though clearly bungled.

How many of us want any of us to see us as we really are?

How many of us believe in that at all?

When Jordan was a baby he sat on top of me much as a fly rests on a hill of dung. And I nourished him as a hill of dung nourishes a fly, and when he had eaten his fill he left me.

Let's try to imagine Jordan now.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:19 pm

Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.


Let's just say I came close.

I have no enemies. But my friends don't like me.

Well, if I had any friends, mine wouldn't either.

Poetry is nobody’s business except the poet’s, and everybody else can fuck off.

Let's make this true for philosophy as well.

Morning, noon & bloody night,
Seven sodding days a week,
I slave at filthy WORK, that might
Be done by any book-drunk freak.
This goes on until I kick the bucket.
FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT


On the other hand, he's a poet, he knows it and he hopes he don't blow it.

So many things I had thought forgotten
Return to my mind with stranger pain:
Like letters that arrive addressed to someone
Who left the house so many years ago.


I'll have to take his word for it.

I feel the only thing you can do about life is to preserve it, by art if you're an artist, by children if you're not.

Or, sure, just pull the fucking plug.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:30 pm

Neil Gaiman

I think hell is something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go.


Tell that to Satan! You know, when you get there.

There was a tale he had read once, long ago, as a small boy: the story of a traveler who had slipped down a cliff, with man-eating tigers above him and a lethal fall below him, who managed to stop his fall halfway down the side of the cliff, holding on for dear life. There was a clump of strawberries beside him, and certain death above him and below. What should he do? went the question.
And the reply was, Eat the strawberries.
The story had never made sense to him as a boy. It did now.


So, does it make sense to you?

Lucifer protests he was never to blame for inducing anyone to sin, and that he’s never had an interest in owning souls: 'They die, and they come here – having transgressed against what they believed to be right – and expect us to fulfill their desire for pain and retribution. I don’t make them come here… I need no souls. And how can anyone own a soul? No, they belong to themselves. They just hate to have to face up to it.'

Must be the other Lucifer then.

In every way that counted, I was dead. Inside somewhere maybe I was screaming and weeping and howling like an animal, but that was another person deep inside, another person who had no access to the lips and face and mouth and head, so on the surface I just shrugged and smile and kept moving. If I could have physically passed away, just let it all go, like that, without doing anything, stepped out of life as easily as walking through a door I would have done. But I was going to sleep at night and waking in the morning, disappointed to be there and resigned to existence.

For some of us this is more or less normal. But not you, right?

We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves.

Does this explain it more or less than muddles the things we do?

You're brave. You are the bravest person I know, and you are my friend. I don't care if you are imaginary.

On the other hand, it probably does matter for all the rest of us.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:37 pm

tiny nietzsche

I can see clearly now the drugs wore off.


That can't be good.

cancelling the rest of my life due to "unforseen circumstances"

Not always though. If you get my drift.

baby's first slippery slope

Anyone here still remember their own?

postmodernism is in the eye of the beholder

He means the mind of course.

I love my curvy abyss

Most I suspect are straight down.

monday is trying to murder you

Bring it on!
Right, Mr. Uberman?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:19 pm

Jonathan Safran Foer

I did not need to know if he could love me. I needed to know if he could need me.


Let's take a stab at distinguishing the two.

Sometimes I wonder if she knows, I wonder in my Nothingest moments if she's testing me, if she types nonsense all day long, or types nothing at all, just to see what I'll do in response, she wants to know if I love her, that's all anyone wants from anyone else, not love itself but the knowledge that love is there, like new batteries in the flashlight in the emergency kit in the hall closet.

Let's take a stab at distinguishing the two.

I pull the skull off my head. Even though it's made of papier-mache it's really hard. I smash it against Jimmy Snyder's head, and I smash it again. He falls to the ground, because he is unconscious, and I can't believe how strong I actually am. I smash his head again with all my force and blood starts to come out of his nose and ears. But I still don't feel any sympathy for him. I want him to bleed, because he deserves it. And nothing else makes any sense. Dad doesn't make sense.Mom doesn't make sense. The Audience doesn't make sense. The folding chairs and fog machine don't make sense. Shakespeare doesn't make sense. The stars that I know are on the other side of the gym ceiling don't make sense. The only thing that makes any sense right then is my smashing Jimmy Snyder's face. His blood. I knock a bunch of his teeth into his mouth, and I think they go down his throat. There is blood everywhere, covering everything. I keep smashing the skull against his skull, which is also Ron's skull (for letting Mom get on with life) and Mom's skull (for getting on with life) and Dad's skull (for dying) and Grandma's skull (for embarrassing me so much) and Dr. Fein's skull (for asking if any good could come out of Dad's death) and the skulls of everyone else I know. The Audience is applauding, all of them, because I am making so much sense. They are giving me a standing ovation as I hit him again and again.

Hell, it might have happened to anyone.

I ran rather than walked, anxious to lose my way. All I wanted was to be unsure.

You can never be too unsure of some things, can you?

The distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn't the world, it wasn't the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don't know, but it's so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I've thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.

Of course, you all know what I've managed to think myself into.

Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use, and the regular exercise of choosing kindness over cruelty would change us.

True, but first you have find someone who deserve it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:01 pm

Terry Pratchett

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Elves are bad.


Yes, but are they more or less all of these things than, for example, unicorns?

Do you think it's possible for an entire nation to be insane?

Well, it might be hard to trump America these days.

Sometimes glass glitters more than diamonds because it has more to prove.

You know, if you believe in that sort of thing.

The three rules of the Librarians of Time and Space are: 1) Silence; 2) Books must be returned no later than the last date shown; and 3) Do not interfere with the nature of causality.

On the other hand, how many librarians are there still around?

Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours - he was incredibly good at it.

We got one of them around here. Or sort of like one of them: http://www.normals.com/

If you don't turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else's story.

Trust me: Mine is all my own.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:36 pm

Alan Sokal

But why did I do it? I confess that I'm an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. And I'm a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them.


This is what he did: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

We have seen in this book numerous ambiguous texts that can be interpreted in two different ways: as an assertion that is true but relatively banal, or as one that is radical but manifestly false. And we cannot help thinking that, in many cases, these ambiguities are deliberate. Indeed, they offer a great advantage in intellectual battles: the radical interpretation can serve to attract relatively inexperienced listeners or readers; and if the absurdity of this version is exposed, the author can always defend himself by claiming to have been misunderstood, and retreat to the innocuous interpretation.

Sometimes though ambiguity is really all there is.

The relativists’ stance is extremely condescending: it treats a complex society as a monolith, obscures the conflicts within it, and takes its most obscurantist factions as spokespeople for the whole.

Not unlike, for the example, the objectivists' stance.

A mode of thought does not become 'critical' simply by attributing that label to itself, but by virtue of its content.

On the other hand, which side doesn't insist that it is always their content?

Each religion makes scores of purportedly factual assertions about everything from the creation of the universe to the afterlife. But on what grounds can believers presume to know that these assertions are true? The reasons they give are various, but the ultimate justification for most religious people’s beliefs is a simple one: we believe what we believe because our holy scriptures say so. But how, then, do we know that our holy scriptures are factually accurate? Because the scriptures themselves say so. Theologians specialize in weaving elaborate webs of verbiage to avoid saying anything quite so bluntly, but this gem of circular reasoning really is the epistemological bottom line on which all 'faith' is grounded. In the words of Pope John Paul II: 'By the authority of his absolute transcendence, God who makes himself known is also the source of the credibility of what he reveals.' It goes without saying that this begs the question of whether the texts at issue really were authored or inspired by God, and on what grounds one knows this. 'Faith' is not in fact a rejection of reason, but simply a lazy acceptance of bad reasons. 'Faith' is the pseudo-justification that some people trot out when they want to make claims without the necessary evidence.

But of course we never apply these lax standards of evidence to the claims made in the other fellow’s holy scriptures: when it comes to religions other than one’s own, religious people are as rational as everyone else. Only our own religion, whatever it may be, seems to merit some special dispensation from the general standards of evidence.

And here, it seems to me, is the crux of the conflict between religion and science. Not the religious rejection of specific scientific theories (be it heliocentrism in the 17th century or evolutionary biology today); over time most religions do find some way to make peace with well-established science. Rather, the scientific worldview and the religious worldview come into conflict over a far more fundamental question: namely, what constitutes evidence.

Science relies on publicly reproducible sense experience (that is, experiments and observations) combined with rational reflection on those empirical observations. Religious people acknowledge the validity of that method, but then claim to be in the possession of additional methods for obtaining reliable knowledge of factual matters — methods that go beyond the mere assessment of empirical evidence — such as intuition, revelation, or the reliance on sacred texts. But the trouble is this: What good reason do we have to believe that such methods work, in the sense of steering us systematically (even if not invariably) towards true beliefs rather than towards false ones? At least in the domains where we have been able to test these methods — astronomy, geology and history, for instance — they have not proven terribly reliable. Why should we expect them to work any better when we apply them to problems that are even more difficult, such as the fundamental nature of the universe?

Last but not least, these non-empirical methods suffer from an insuperable logical problem: What should we do when different people’s intuitions or revelations conflict? How can we know which of the many purportedly sacred texts — whose assertions frequently contradict one another — are in fact sacred?


So, what do you think, is this the final word on religion?

Thus, by science I mean, first of all, a worldview giving primacy to reason and observation and a methodology aimed at acquiring accurate knowledge of the natural and social world. This methodology is characterized, above all else, by the critical spirit: namely, the commitment to the incessant testing of assertions through observations and/or experiments — the more stringent the tests, the better — and to revising or discarding those theories that fail the test. One corollary of the critical spirit is fallibilism: namely, the understanding that all our empirical knowledge is tentative, incomplete and open to revision in the light of new evidence or cogent new arguments (though, of course, the most well-established aspects of scientific knowledge are unlikely to be discarded entirely)

Well, going back to the Big Bang anyway. Unless, of course, there were others before it. And not only in our universe, but in all the other ones too.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:27 pm

George Bernard Shaw

There is always danger for those who are afraid.


In other words, rationally or irrationally.

The longer I live, the more I realize that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time!

Or [for the rest of us] something like that.

To be in hell is to drift; to be in heaven is to steer.

Not counting all the times it's the other way around.

I knew if I waited around long enough something like this would happen.

And, given enough time, again and again and again.

The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not.

Actually, there is no way to avoid being miserable. You know, for long.

The plain working truth is that it is not only good for people to be shocked occasionally, but absolutely necessary to the progress of society that they should be shocked pretty often.

And now we live in Trumpworld. Where the shocks become routine.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 19, 2017 7:03 pm

Joseph Heller

To Yossarian, the idea of pennants as prizes was absurd. No money went with them, no class privileges. Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else.


Of course back then they didn't have product endorsements.

Men, he began his address to the officers, measuring his pauses carefully. You're American officers. The officers of no other army in the world can make that statement. Think about it.

Well, they don't call it military intelligence for nothing.

Whatever his elders told him to do, he did. They told him to look before he leaped, and he always looked before he leaped. They told him never to put off until the next day what he could do the day before, and he never did. He was told to honor his father and his mother, and he honored his father and his mother. He was told that he should not kill, and he did not kill, until he got into the Army. Then he was told to kill, and he killed. He turned the other cheek on every occasion and always did unto others exactly as he would have had others do unto him. When he gave to charity, his left hand never knew what his right hand was doing. He never once took the name of the Lord his God in vain, committed adultery or coveted his neighbor's ass. In fact, he loved his neighbor and never even bore false witness against him. Major Major's elders disliked him because he was such a flagrant nonconformist.

Where might Don Trump's crowd fit in here?

Clevinger had a mind, and Lieutenant Scheisskoph had noticed that people with minds tended to get pretty smart at times.

Just out of curiosity, anyone here ever notice that about me?

When I grow up I want to be a little boy.

I'll be one until the day I day. In other words, for better or for worse.

When people disagreed with him he urged them to be objective.

Don't expect this to work however.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:14 pm

so sad today

there should be an option besides life and death


Of course that goes without saying.

unfortunately i'm very self-aware

If you know what she means. Or, rather, if you know what I mean.

i never know what the hell anyone is talking about

Some folks are just lucky that way.

can you fill the existential hole with dick? a memoir

Volume III one suspects.

look, i hate myself as much as the next guy

Maybe she is and maybe she isn't being ironic. Does anyone here actually know?

relationship goals: leave me alone

And then some for me.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: a thread for mundane ironists

Postby iambiguous » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:22 pm

Zoë Heller

It seems to me that my lack of faith is not, as I once thought, a triumph of the rational mind, but rather a failure of the imagination - an inability to tolerate mystery.


Like, for example, what happens after we die?

I don't write books for people to be friends with the characters. If you want to find friends, go to a cocktail party.

Or, sure, go here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=179879

The conclusion of Dowell's narrative offers not a resolution, so much as a plangent confirmation of complexities. While Ford would certainly have agreed with Dowell that it is a novelist's business to make a reader 'see things clearly', his interest in clarity had little to do with simplicity. There is no 'getting to the bottom of things', no triumphant answers to the epistemological muddle offered in this beautiful, bleak story - only a finer appreciation of that confusion. We may remove the scales from our eyes, Ford suggests, but only the better to appreciate the glass through which we see darkly.

That's sort of my narrative too.

Music...had a well-known tendency to induce such faux-sublime moments: artificial intimations of transcendent truths, grandiose hunches about the nature of the universe. It was all nonsense.

As if that makes a difference. In the moment for example.

One pretends that manners are the formalisation of basic kindness and consideration, but a great deal of the time they're simply aesthetics dressed up as moral principles, aren't they?

Let's file this one under, "games people play".

This is madness. You're making it into something it's not. It's all in your mind.
Sheba was about to protest, and then she laughed. Isn't that the worst place it could be?


No, not always.
Right, Mr. Objectivist?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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