Sunday, October 23, 2011

What love is this

There is a propensity of late to speak of love in terms of vengeance; as if our concern for the wellbeing of others is best demonstrated by the pain inflicted upon them. The idea of "tough love" displaying unbridled compassion by demeaning and debasing an individual for aberrant behaviors certainly has an appeal for many; as it allows us to vent animosity towards those variations of conduct which frighten and repel under the guise of charity.

What we find repugnant we frame in terms of immortality; thus giving our prejudice the mantel of divine wisdom. If we can not find the energy and responsibility to treat those we oppose with respect and empathy; resorting to degradation and dismissal is not a sign of love, it is merely the convenient contempt that prevents our own self evaluation and analysis.

True love creates an obligation, a duty to others that must not be overshadowed by egotistical selfishness and cowardice. If we can't take it upon our shoulders, best not to use the name.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Post hate

"George Orwell, on how to avoid thinking when you speak:

You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. they will construct your sentences for you -- even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent -- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear...

It does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this, is that it is easy."


Thus, using shopworn phrases serves the dual purpose of both obscuring the truth, and befuddling the speaker. The idea that marriage can only be preserved by not allowing people to use it, that exploiting one's neighbor best embodies the feeling of love, that expressing bigotry remains a matter of individual conscience; these exercises in holding contradictory views simultaneously serve well in producing the form of controlled insanity necessary to propagate hateful fanaticism.

As Orwell would indicate, I think, this kind of mental excrement flows trippingly from the orifices of the purposely thoughtless; not surprising then, to see it spew from wherever cognitive skills are disdained.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

writing wrong

[quote="SarahElizabeth"]How is it that the so-called Religious Right always seem to be wrong?
You name the issue, they always seem to be wrong.
I suppose it is Old Testament stuff. Fire and brimstrone. An eye for an eye. And so forth.[/quote]

Actually, this observation, (although perhaps a tad sweeping), touches upon a problem that I find characteristic of fundamentalist thinking; the need for certainty outweighing the need for describing the complexities of social human behavior. Most of us, I think, understand the limitations in our ability to fully encompass reality in our internal conceptualizations; we realize that trade-offs must be made between how we see the world, and how it objectively exists.

Basically, our consciousness helps us survive through what I understand as modeling; that is, by creating a reproduction of reality within our minds, we can predict probable outcomes of various behaviors in new environments. Thus, when novel situations arise, I can guide my choices by the results of various scenarios already experienced within my internal framework of reality. Nowhere near a perfect system, but a useful and viable process, none the less.

However, this construct must serve the needs of the user, first and foremost. The level of certainty needs control, lest the apprehension of the unknown overwhelm and incapacitate the individual. Ambiguities may produce a level of unease unacceptable in daily living; in such instances, something must be sacrificed if cognitive dissonance is to be kept at a workable level.

I think most of us have experienced the realization that our understanding lacks the kind of clarity we suppose we possess; the distasteful shock of ignorance seems rarely pleasing to my palate. However, for some, this recognition borders on intolerable, and threatens the very foundation of mental stability.

What I sense in the most reactionary fundamentalist belief systems, (and in all honesty, some of my less irresponsible convictions) are the willingness to abandon external evidence that contradicts dearly held assumptions; rather than risk the disintegration of the cognitive construct, the senses are to be ignored.

Unfortunately, this propensity for denial, when taken to extremes, can create fanatics of a most virulent nature. Dehumanization, destruction and extermination can follow; sweeping aside all aspirations of charity in the wave of righteousness. Dead people tell no tales, and offer much less opposition to our assertions; even the "best" of nations and peoples have deeds that they would like hidden.

I'd like to believe that I hold the sword of truth, but I'd best temper that blade with the realization that my sight is too feeble to use it for more that defense.