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A few odd and ends... - Sally's Journal
April 11th, 2005
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A few odd and ends...
A few things left over from this last post that I wanted to tie up and get cleared up before moving on.



***

Doing Things for Love

My long wibble in the comments about doing things for love caused a couple of comments that made me think people had completely misunderstood it. And at dinner with Carys she said "Oh, you're on about carrots and sticks". Which I then thought I was. Until I finished writing this post and actually found the point.

So I'm going to try saying what I tried to say again, just in case there were other people at the back not following.

If people are left on their own, they will do what they want to do. They will do this basically on a stick and carrot basis. Stick (A) : finding a bin to put this rubbish in will be so much effort, so I won't do it. Carrot (B): having that video game would be nice, so I'll steal it. If we want to change this behavior, we can use meta-sticks, or meta-carrots. Meta-stick (A1) : I will be fined by that park keeper for dropping litter. Meta carrot (A2) This park would be much nicer if all the litter was in bins. Meta-stick (B1) : If I get caught I will go to gaol. Meta-carrot (B2) (this is tricky) the world would be nicer if people didn't steal my stuff, so I'd better not steal other peoples. Or one day I might be a shop keeper, and I wouldn't want people to steal my stuff. Or stealing this CD might mean Oasis have less money, and stave...

My point was that meta-sticks are fairly easy to impliment, if you have someone who notices the litter being dropped, or the CD being stolen. Meta-carrots are much harder - very often they require a sense of empathy, as well as a more subtle understanding of consequences*. But those meta-carrots are self-policing, in that the conscience is there doing the work. This is the point that I was trying to make when I went on about doing things for love. If you can persuade people to care about the park, the shop keeper, Oasis, etc then they will go out of their way to do things that makes their life subtly less good to improve the life of the things they love. And their life will be improved by it by seeing the good stuff happen to the things they care about. Positive feedback loop. And much much easier to maintain once the ideas are there.

Doh! I'm so stupid! This isn't about sticks and carrots at all. There's another subtle difference... the empathic carrot-stick and the non-empathic carrot-stick. So a non-empathic-stick is "if I do this I'll go to gaol". A non-empathic carrot is "If I do this the government will send me to barbados". But an empathic-stick, a stick of love, is "If I buy these cheep jeans hundreds of indians will be cruelly treated" and an empathic carrot is "if I pay my taxes the government will be able to help sick people".

And *that* was what I ment about doing stuff for love. Doing things because you care about other people, not just about yourself. And this is the only thing that works, or at least the thing that lasts best and longest.

Of course, I have no clue how to make people care about stuff. I have no idea how you give people empathy, how you make them enjoy the fact that the park is a nice place, how you make them upset when the shop keeper is upset. I would have thought a lot of mine came through books, and in an age where everyone can watch TV there should be more of it, and not less. But this doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe a bit of it is that horrid futile feeling of being unable to make a difference "The park is covered in litter already, it doesn't matter if I drop this". "Everyone steals, it won't make any difference to the shop keeper and it will make my life better". Don't know.

(It's easy to see how the confusion arose though. Because non-empathic carrots beat non-empathic sticks hands down as a motivator on one very obvious level. People will hide what they have done if there is a non-empathic stick waiting for them. You don't go to the park keeper and say "hi, I dropped litter, can I pay you this fine". And so you are engaged in a war to impliment your stick. However, you *would* go to the park keeper and say "Look, I put my litter in the bin, can I have my free lollipop?" The carrot impliments itself.)

Sorry if all this is obvious...


* I can quite easilly imagine a meta-carrot that wasn't based on empathy and caring for others. "If you pay all your taxes on time the government will send you to Barbados" is a material meta-carrot that could replace the meta-stick of "If you don't pay your taxes we'll send you to gaol".

***



Politics

I found the following statement in a friends LJ this week:

*I* would never judge a person by their politics (if I take against someone, it's always for personal reasons), and I'd defend to the death their right to say whatever they want, etc..

I think I disagree very strongly with that. I don't really care much about what people are like as people. Well, I mean, I might not go round to their house for dinner, but if someone wants to talk too loudly, smell, wear brown, go on and on about very boring things, then *shrug* I'm sure they can find other people who want to do the same things, and I wouldn't hold it against them, or want to punish them for it, up to the point where they start hurting other people. However, if someone wants to take away civil liberties, improve and free higher education, aid the third world, take away free healthcare... that seems *worth* judging them over.

Is this wrong?

***




Belief

Interesting comments:

But seriously, doesn't that mean you have problems believing in anything religious? I guess I've always thought that you can't ever *know* anything that's important (like whether God exists, or you're doing the right thing, or your take on morality is right, or whatever), but it's important that you believe one thing or another because otherwise the uncertainty is too much to cope with. Or something like that. Maybe beliefs are about giving you comfort. Or something. *wanders off into thought*

It depends what morals are and if we ought to follow the truth wherever it leads. Some would argue that ignorance is bliss, and what if the lie makes us happier? What is our goal in life?

Maybe they're right, and if I could lie to myself, I could be happy. But it would have to happen on a subconcious level. I physically can't "just believe" in stuff. At least, not stuff I've thought about. And once I've thought about it, it's always there. It's not belief to say "I believe that life after death is like this..." when your mind is providing a running commentry of "actually, I don't have a clue". And it's even sillier to say it when you're listening to yourself saying "although of course that *can't* be true because that's contradictory to this other true thing".

Belief, to me, means "thinking that a thing is true". And I can't fool myself into thinking a thing is true, even by not thinking about it. My default world view is skeptical/apathetic, so if someone says to me "foos are bar" I think "I don't know, but I'll take it on trust until such a time as it becomes important". If someone else says to me "foos are not bar" I file it away in the same place with a little flag saying "some confusion here. Foos might be bar. If you ever meet a foo think about this". If 99 people said to me "foos are bar", then I'd think "foos are probably bar". But the more I think about something, especially when I'm given lots of very conflicting and intelligent opinions on it, the far more unlikely I am to be able to say in good conscience "foos are bar". I'll be able to give you lots of reasons why foos are bar, lots of reasons why foos arn't bar, but no good hard faith.

Conversely, if I see people argue about the fooness of bar, and the person who said they weren't *changes their mind* as a result of the arguement, I will start to believe much more that foos are bar, because for a statement to be able to change someones mind it must have quite a great inertia of truth.

I can't in good conscience act as though that that is true was not true. This just feels so stupid to me. I can act to change the truth-that-is-not-good closer to the good, but I must first acknowledge the truth.

Like the guys with the coins in the parable. You can't just sit there with your one coin all your life and then give it back, and say "that was a nice life, I looked after it". You have to have tried to do something with it. And to even stand a chance of changing anything for the better you have to understand it (and it's dubious that you can do so even then :-) ) And to do that you have to think about things and work out what the truth is. So any moral system that ignores truths (which is different to trying to change them) is a very dangerous, possibly harmful, thing.

But I don't think I physically could. There's no point saying "Act like this is true and it will make you happy", because the very act of ignoring truth would make me unhappy. There is no comfort in pretence unless it's a far better pretense than any I could conciously choose.

***



Obediance

It seems quite trendy to be against obedience nowadays. To be honest, I'm all for obedience. There are many times where I think one half of a relationship (parent/child, state/citizen) is more experienced and wiser than the other. I think this obedience comes with a huge weight of responsibility on the state / parent *not* to abuse the obedience they are due and demand more than is needed for the safety of the person in their care. And I think when they clearly overstep this line they probably forfeit any right to obedience. But in general it's not a bad idea.

I mean, take driving. If everyone was allowed to whimmishly decide which side of the road to drive on it would be chaos and everyone would crash, or go much slower. And there is obviously no "right or wrong" side of the road. But by submitting to authority and all driving on the same side of the road the whole thing works.

Sometimes people have to all obey the same rules just to make things work, and someone has to lay down those rules. I mean, we could have refurendums on everything, but at some point the refurendum would have been before you were born, and you would have to submit to the authority of the refurendum you didn't have a say in. And I honestly believe that what the majority of the public would vote for is not always the best idea...

Hmm, I seem to have gotten rid of democracy. Such a shame there's nothing better to replace it with

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Comments
 
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From:lifes_a_dream
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC)
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Wow...I'm ashamed to say I had to skim most ofthis, it makes my brain hurt!!! I now have sticks and carrots whirling round my head, but I'm not sure exactly what they signify...hehe :)
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From:atreic
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:45 pm (UTC)
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Sorry - self indulgent LJ seemed better than work today! :-)
From:yrieithydd
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
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It seems quite trendy to be against obedience nowadays. To be honest, I'm all for obedience.

Agreed. I've been having similar thoughts for a while!

Abuse of authority got obedience a bad name and we haven't recovered.
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From:atreic
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:46 pm (UTC)
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:-)

See, it wasn't all about carrots and sticks!
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:50 pm (UTC)
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Re: friends with differing politics. I don't know, it's something else I haven't been able to settle in my own mind.

1. Some people believe in causes so heinious I couldn't be friends with them.
2. Some people differ entirely in methods. A votes labour, because e thinks foo will make life for people in britain best. B votes Tory because e thinks bar will. Despite disagreeing they can hopefully be friends, and attempt to convince each other civilly.
3. Everyone does foo which I think is wrong. I'm not happy about it, but I decide being friends with foo-ers is preferable to cutting myself off from society or indulging in counter-productive violent action.
4. A and B have extremely different views but are somehow friends anyway. I don't know. OT1H I don't like being friends with someone who thinks, eg. gay people will go to hell, but OTOH, dissociating myself won't change him at all, and he doesn't *act* on that belief except persuasively, so in some ways we all get on better if we let views slide and cooperate...
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From:atreic
Date:April 11th, 2005 04:01 pm (UTC)
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You will note that all I said was that a persons politics was a far better reason for judging them than personal stuff. I'm not very good at judging *anyone*

1 is obvious. 2 is subtle. Obviously if they both want good schools, and differ in thinking which party will be best for schools then trivially they should just be friends. But if they have a fundamentally different idea of what is best for britain then we get to the case of 4. 3 is worrying - if everyone disagrees with me I get very paranoid I'm wrong, and often am.

In the case of 4, I don't think anyone is perfect. Everyone believes in some things that to other people are awful (it's just a lot of the time we don't know about it) I think liking people for their good points and mixing people up as much as possible are both very good things, and so you should keep friends that you have a 4-type disagreement with. If nothing else I think you have a 4-type disagreement with everyone if you could find it (although some worse than others). I think you have a bit of a duty to argue with him when the disagreeable topic comes up, but not to bring the topic up - once everyones positions are known shouting at each other is never a way to make progress anyway. Learning through living... ;-)
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Re: belief. I think it may be possible to brainwash yourself, though thinking about it too much tends to be counterproductive. If you act as if foo, and think about things as if foo, and hang around people who believe foo, it is possible to go some way towards it, and then you're quite open to finding evidence that foo. But as you say, knowing that you're planning that kiind of stops it.

And as you also say, believing something not true is very scary, at least to me. What if I believed something harmful, how would I know?
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From:the_alchemist
Date:April 11th, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
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Hmm, I seem to have gotten rid of democracy. Such a shame there's nothing better to replace it with

Nonsense. You've got rid of direct democracy, which the world got rid of centuries ago. Representative democracy, whereby we choose people who are more intelligent and educated than average to make decisions for us, is still democracy. I agree about obedience.

With regard to belief - if you're talking about religion, I find 'hope' a more useful concept than 'belief'.

Politics - I'm not sure what 'judging' a person is (unless you're the person who sits at the front of a courtroom in a funny wig). I form opinions about people based on their opinions as well as other stuff (which includes their actions, their tastes, their talents, their personal hygiene etc.) Do you mean that if someone holds an objectionable opinion then you will try to make them change their mind, whereas if someone is boring or smelly you will make no attempt to change them? I guess I'm the same, but I don't want to 'punish' anyone for their opinions no matter what they are.
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From:atreic
Date:April 11th, 2005 04:03 pm (UTC)
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If someone is boring or smelly I might mention it politely in case they didn't know about it, but would be quite happy ignoring them for the rest of my life and letting them live happilly with boring smelly people. But if they have an objectionable political belief I have an overwhelming urge to lecture them and show them that they're wrong, and if they think like that they are evil and society will end. I don't usually *do* this though... ;-)
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From:wildeabandon
Date:April 11th, 2005 04:25 pm (UTC)
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Of course, I have no clue how to make people care about stuff. I have no idea how you give people empathy.
Speaking as someone who has very little natural empathy, I'm not sure how possible it is. You can improve their awareness that other people have feelings similar to theirs*, but I don't think you can make them care. With someone like me the only thing that works is what is basically a transference of a non-empathic stick/carrot, which runs roughly; I'm happier when people like me; people like me better if I appear to be a good person; appearing to be a good person is easiest if I actually am a good person; therefore striving to be good makes me happy.

*although possibly in many cases it is a lack of complete awareness of this that causes the lack of caring.

Re: the politics bit; I think there is a sense in judging people on the consequences their behaviour has. The examples of personal behaviours you mentioned seem more about social skills**, whereas I would first thing of things like lying, being deliberately insulting, or playing manipulative head-games, all of which would make me dislike someone strongly. I wouldn't be particularly bothered by people believing things which I object to, unless they were acting to bring them about.

**of course, I do make judgements as to whether or not I want to socialise with people based on their social skills, but it has little bearing on whether I think they're a Good Person(tm) or not.

Belief:
I don't think that acting as though you believe something that you think is false is ever going to be helpful. On the other hand, acting as though you believe something that you don't "think to be true", but "think is more likely to be true than false" certainly can be. Whether it is in any particular case depends on things like where between 0.5 and 1 the probability lies, how much damage it would do to act on an incorrect assumption in either direction, whether it is possible to act as though you neither believed or disbelieved.
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From:atreic
Date:April 11th, 2005 04:40 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I agree with all of the top paragraph (but you're not allowed to tell anyone about that, if they see through me I'll be undone!). So I suppose the true question is how to persuade people their life will be better if people actually like them. (Of course, it is probably quite easy to find a social circle where people like you if you're not a "good" person, so I'm not sure how well this works on general people)

I find people believing things I object to very annoying, mainly because it makes me doubt my own beliefs that they are wrong. But you're right that there can be great evils on a personal level as well as on a political level. I'm just not sure why we should give people immunity from thinking terrible things with "oh, that's politics, we should let them think what they like"...

As far as belief goes, I agree with you completely, I'm not sure how people who don't work like that live their lives at all. The problem with important things is that acting on an incorrect thing, even if you thought it was more true than false at the time, can have such huge consequences it paralises me into inaction. I'm working on it...
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From:lacuna
Date:April 11th, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
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I judge people by their politics, because mine are so important to me and I really believe that people's politics, if strongly held, inform and reflect how they live their lives and respond to other people. If a person believes (for instance and I know these are a bit extreme) that all services should be privatised and paid for on demand by those who can afford it, that it's not the duty of a wealthy country to give aid to poorer nations, that all asylum seekers are a blight on the country...well, their worldview is completely different from mine. It doesn't mean I necessarily wouldn't get on with them, but I wouldn't exactly be that well-disposed to them.
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From:rochvelleth
Date:April 11th, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
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I sense this needs some comment from me :) Though I'm flattered I'm being quoted! Anyway...

I think I disagree very strongly with that. I don't really care much about what people are like as people. Well, I mean, I might not go round to their house for dinner, but if someone wants to talk too loudly, smell, wear brown, go on and on about very boring things, then *shrug* I'm sure they can find other people who want to do the same things, and I wouldn't hold it against them, or want to punish them for it, up to the point where they start hurting other people. However, if someone wants to take away civil liberties, improve and free higher education, aid the third world, take away free healthcare... that seems *worth* judging them over.

OK, just to clarify exactly what I meant when I said it's not OK to judge someone's politics, etc.: Firstly, I think what you believe politically is a) culturally/environmentally conditioned, and b) merely an opinion (therefore inherently not wrong even if it could be misinformed, and also not harmful). It's a different thing to implement a policy (which could make me think of you as bad for doing it, though on the whole I wouldn't consider I had a right to interfere). But basically having political opinions is something everyone is entitled to, and something opinion-based, and therefore I feel it's wrong to take against someone for that.

Taking against someone for personality (etc.) reasons is something I could defend to some degree (based on e.g. me not liking some person I don't know because they're off-hand or rude or whatever), but I should say that I don't tend to take against people I actually *know* for such reasons (I'm the disconcertingly congenial type, or at least that's what I'm accused of). But I definitely don't condone prejudice or discrimination, and I passionately uphold (in an ideological kind of way) the rights of the individual and cultural group.

Test case: If I were to go back in time and meet Hitler, I might well take against him for no good reason (like that he's rude to me because I suddenly appear at the Berchtesgarten in the TARDIS). He might then tell me his politics ("I think it's good to kill off non-proper-German cultural groups), and I might disagree strongly (which of course I would), and we might have a good old argument. Then he might say that he's implementing the policy, and I might think "This isn't on!" and feel like doing something about it. But the main reason for hating him would be that he a) does have all those people killed, and b) is clearly a really horrible person because he thinks it's good to kill people for no other reason than their ethnicity or religion. Bastard. But I think it'd be completely out of the question to say to him, "No, you're wrong. X is how you should run your country"; rather I should say, "Look, firstly isn't there a moral/ethical problem in killing people for no good reason? Have you thought about all the problems that pursuing this policy will cause? Do you *have* any humanity?"

Um, did that make sense?
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From:pavanne
Date:April 11th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Is there that much of a moral difference between thinking something should be done and doing it?

In an ideal democracy there clearly is, you vote for something you think should be done and if few share your opinion you accept that it won't be done and probably wasn't the best idea in the first place. However does anybody really do that?
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From:pavanne
Date:April 11th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
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Judging people by what they believe is right seems to me fair. The problem is that if you hang around exclusively with people who agree with you on politics, important issues etc, you're probably going to form a clique which gets more and more extreme and has less and less influence on the rest of the world, because everyone else dismisses you as sandal-wearing hippies (for example). So if you actually want to change the way other people think, it probably helps to be friends with people who aren't like you and not push your agenda on them, so they can't dismiss people with your beliefs as unintelligent evangelical liberals, etc.

(Unfortunately people who have very strong opinions diametrically opposed to mine generally annoy me so much I want to strangle them, and probably vice versa, but I'm sure the principle is sound...)

There's also a sliding scale of morality on things like the cheap jeans issue and vegetarianism; you can be pro-Fair Trade and anti-battery farming in principle, but if Gap has a really great sale or the restaurant your friends go to doesn't have a non-egg vegetarian option, it can be quite easy to think "it's only once". Knowing one hasn't always totally followed one's own principles makes it hard to judge others whose position on the relative morality scale is different to yours.

I find it quite difficult to accept when people very close to me (notably boyfriends) just refuse to think of the ethical considerations of their actions. I'm currently wondering just how important this is.




From:ex_robhu
Date:April 11th, 2005 06:29 pm (UTC)
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It's nice to know my comment made you think (although no props to me!)...

I would like to think that we believe something when we have good reason to think its true, but the more I talk to Christians the more I think the world in reality has quite the opposite meaning. I have come to this conclusion because as soon as you start bringing in evidence, facts, and reason they say 'ah well it's not about that, its about belief' so it seems to me that they are very different things, even more than that in fact - they appear to be opposites.

When you deconstruct it all and get to the heart of it I think that belief is volitionally going the opposite way to where reason leads you, or perhaps just going in a direction without any good logically based reason. It is in many ways akin to stupidity (I realise that is going to offend a lot of people, but I am trying to be as honest as possible about what I have found).

In some ways I think those of us who want to understand, reason, and think through things (as I do as a Compsci and you do as a Mathmo) have been played the unfortunate hand in life. I do not think (at this stage) that we will ever find the answers and so will live our lives in uncertainty with all these religious people telling us we are wrong... It would be happier I think to live in ignorance.
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From:robert_jones
Date:April 12th, 2005 10:33 am (UTC)
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The 1st Vatican Council taught that the Christian faith is entirely accessible to reason: if some one had perfect reason, they would immediately become a Christian. (Although, it must be said, we generally understand this with a wider meaning of "reason" than has been popular since the Enlightenment.)

I think it was C S Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters who pointed out that it was ludicrous to base an argument for believing something on any grounds other than that it was true. Even if you're trying to convince some one of something which actually is true, if you're using a pragmatic or utilitarian argument then you are likely to be ultimately harmful, because you are denying your interlocuter's full humanity. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is still misguided. I find it intuitively obvious, more obvious than anything else, than we should be Socrates unhappy, although these days I would justify it by saying that to live in ignorance and shadow is to deny the divine image with us, God being perfect truth.
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From:naath
Date:April 11th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
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Obediance...

Yes, there are points on which obeying makes sesnse and not doing so does not (the cars were good) BUT people MUST be encouraged to think about and question what 'authority' does - people taught unquestioning obedience will still 'just be doing their jobs' when they are slaughtering innocent Jews/Comunists/bad-communists/Kurds/Muslims/Catholics/Protestants/Americans...

If you advocate too strong a blind obedience then obedience will become blind and those in power will do whatever they like.

On the other hand if the rule of law has no force then the person with the largest stick will just tell everyone what to do... so we need to obey the law, but we also need to question it.

Saying 'this is illegal and THEREFORE is bad' is a pile of doggy-do, allthough it might be illegal because it is bad, be coincidentaly illegal and bad or neutral in general but bad in terms of 'eveyone needs to do the same or there will be BAD' - too many people say crap like 'oh, canabis is illegal it must be teh Ebal' without knowing the first thing about the stuff. I even once saw someone claim that 'abortion must be good - it's legal', and whatever you think about abortion you can't possibly think that that is a sensible statement!

People brought up to 'obey' without being taught to question will aditionally make their own lives hell because they are an obvious target for abusers.

So yes - we need to all drive on the same side of the road, but no, we shouldn't just take everything that anyone says (be that Blair or your mother) as obviously true and defineately to be obeyed. Parents aren't omnipotent, they spout at least as much garbage as most people and are no more likely to be informed important issues than anyone else is.

I would like to encourage people to GROW A BRAIN and then USE IT to think about just what it is that they are being told to do and why and whether they think that that is a Good Thing and act (and vote) accordingly. People are not sheep, you got a brain - use it.
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From:mair_aw
Date:April 11th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
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Of course, I have no clue how to make people care about stuff.

I was thinking something like that about Christianity recently. Many of the sane and nice people I know believe in it all, and I've been brought up on mixed Christian literature, and I couldn't say that they're all deluded, and consquently I believe that there is a God/Jesus whatever out there. But... why don't I act like there is? Give /my/ life to Jesus, whatever? Well, because, in some sense, I simply don't *feel* it enough. I can just not think about it and get on with my life and everything's fine. Until someone "makes" me really care...
[User Picture]
From:lockymclean
Date:April 11th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)

Love

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And *that* was what I ment about doing stuff for love. Doing things because you care about other people, not just about yourself. And this is the only thing that works, or at least the thing that lasts best and longest.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Cor 13:13

On the subject of making people love, I liked the way it was put in Bruce Almighty, when Bruce says to God, "How do you make someone love you without affecting free will?" And God replies, "Welcome to my world. When you figure that one out, let me know."
[User Picture]
From:lockymclean
Date:April 11th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)

Politics

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A person's politics may well say a lot about them if their views are held for a reason or are held vocally/strongly enough. If you know well what a person thinks and find that it gets in the way of your friendship then there's not a lot you can do - you are going to struggle to be friends. If you disagree with them but it doesn't come up in everyday situations then there shouldn't be a problem. What I find objectionable is when people make a value judgment of someone based purely on the way they vote, e.g. "Locky is a Tory" -> "Locky agrees with everything the Tory Party says" -> "Everything the Tory Party says is racist" -> "Locky is a racist". Even a non-mathmo can see the flaws in the logic there ;-)
[User Picture]
From:lockymclean
Date:April 11th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)

Belief

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Religion is for me a matter of faith, call it blind faith if you want, in that there are certain things I know to be true and they are promised to be true by the same people who make other statements. E.g. "Jesus is the Son of God" is said by the same people who say, "I have been miraculously healed at church" and I know they are telling the truth in the latter case and so have faith in the former statement. But I agree that you can't consciously deceive yourself in order to be happy.

I dunno, maybe as a mathematician you are used to being more rigourous?
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