Monday, April 1, 2013

Of Berries, Noumena and Laissez-Faire Intellectualism

I like blueberries. I also like truth. Truth, much like berries, comes in a few varieties.
There is verifiable truth. Am i or am i not currently holding a blueberry in the palm of my hand? You could verify that by having me show you my open hand.
There's also logic. Since i'm typing, you can safely determine that i wasn't holding anything in my hand. Logic, thought, allows us to form a clear conceptual framework from observed phenomena which may or may not represent the absolute truth. Regardless of whether or not i actually went through the trouble of typing one-handed just so i could ambush you with an argument-demolishing berry, the correct course of action in the absence of other evidence was to work on the assumption that i was berry-deprived.
That interpretation, the awareness that since there's no reason to assume a hand contains delicious fruit when it's most likely empty, is also truth. It is the truth as best an intelligent mind can discern it with the information at hand. It is mutable, but not inconsequential. We live our lives by that sort of truth whether we want to admit it or not.

Logic also helps us determine the validity of the concepts presented to us. I can understand why blueberries are called such as opposed to let's say, blackberries. Problem: more and more over the past couple of decades i've been coming up against irrationalists who insist that because they like blackberries more, blueberries are just another kind of blackberry.
It doesn't really matter what kind of fruit we're talking about. Political fruit, religious fruit, racial or economic fruit, big world-splattering fruit or tiny entertainment fruit. The mindless apes of the world have hit upon the ultimate argument "that's just your opinion." Atheism is just another kind of religion. Economic deregulation is just another kind of regulation. Outsourcing is just another kind of production. Feminism is just another kind of equality. War is just another kind of peace. Torture's just another kind of not. Wrong is just another kind of right.
I wonder what Douglas Adams might have said if he ever saw the religious taboo mentality expanded to every aspect of society. This is what blind, naive, idealistic tolerance gets you: a world in which any attempt at reason is met with a mealy-mouthed irrational retrenchment, in which every last knuckle-dragging imbecile believes himself entitled to refrain from thinking because all opinions are equal, because he can never get called out on his stupidity. This is the society which has made "just an opinion" its guiding light, in which the poor buy houses and cars they can't afford and education implies a bank loan, because debt is just another kind of property and wage-slavery is just another kind of freedom.

Looking around in random directions, there are very few signs that anyone even sees how sick a pattern it's become. That comic's naively optimistic in itself. If you do ever stand for truth against comfortable mutual reassurance, expect to stand alone. There will be nobody to help you shake the stupid out of the empty heads around you. They will instinctively band together, the half-wits with the no-wits, in defense of their un-analyzed lives, because it's more comfortable to be liked than to side with the ogre calling others out on their thoughtlessness. Certainly i'm not going to stop calling people out on their blind adherence to comfortably popular opinions. Luckily i'm nobody myself.

If you'd like to witness the state of morality, go online. Better yet, go into an online game. See how people behave when they have nothing real to lose or gain. Try to make a rational argument and see if anyone sides with you. Get shouted down for trying to nudge anyone out of their instinctive social behavior patterns. Get told, again and again, that it doesn't matter that others are wrong, it's your fault for telling them they're wrong. Don't rock the boat. Bend over and take it.
Increasingly, the most popular catchphrase in online games is 'lulz u mad bro' - because nothing can be more pathetic than being that lone loser still standing for something, taking a determined stance for an idea while the rest of the world has happily moved on to mindless complacency. Nothing is worse than being better.

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