Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Missionary Impossible: our mission, should you choose to join it...

Most people are not interested in discussing their beliefs unless it is only to have those beliefs affirmed. This precludes productive debate, invites stasis and protects less than just, less than benign, beliefs. There are arguments no one ever wins in the sense of all parties coming to a consensus PoV. These are the arguments that betray the weakness of the human mind, the imbalance of reason and emotion. In a healthy person, reason and emotion work together well enough to not cancel out all productive activity. But in our body politic, each is roughly yoked to our causes, pulling unevenly, taking us round and round in circles.

My mom always told me to mind my people and my questions and never bring up topics of sex, religion or politics. My mom and her advice predate blogging, actually, predate computing. That advice will keep your writing clean enough to prevent Decency Posse's from blasting you out of a job with a presidential campaign...and guarantee such tepid writing as to leave you beneath notice by campaigners or indeed anyone with any reading objective other than putting themselves to sleep.

I am still trying to figure out if I am an agnostic. Regarding deities, I personally happen not to have encountered any. About love, also, I have inconsistent data and nagging uncertainty about the extent to which it is a cultural construct. There are many things about which one chould be agnostic. We shall bring these topics up now and then and perhaps readers will help me pare away any folly, assumption or misinformation under which I may labor.

There are huge classic ambivalences where no two people have the same idea or experience of the subject yet think it worth fighting over: God may only be an idea, a being imagined vividly or vaguely in a million variations who takes over for parents we have outgrown or serves as answer to those who think simple questions must have simple answers. But great is the benefit to those in whom this idea shines as a hope that they are in a benign world because it made some sense for them to be here and as a comforting certainty that their place in that world is necessarily a humble one.

There are huge classic ambivalences where few argue there is no problem but because the practical solutions are so threatening to humanity's fondest traits and dreams, even fewer mention the problem let alone propose or act to solve the problems. Overpopulation.

There are huge topics about which noone feels ambivilent: the juxtaposition of views is then most grating.

My alter ego, Greensmile the executioner, likes the quip. He fails but soldiers on with his soliloquies. I would rather be the facilitor/instigator/moderator and will consider the enterprise a failure if I do not by provocation or invitation get many sides cogently speaking here. Debate or at least exposure of the logical or evidentiary underpinnings of opinions contrary not just to my biases or unfamiliar to my experience but to any of the established currents, left, right or center, will be quite appreciated here.

"here"? Where, pray tell is "here"? I want neutral territory and I don't know if its the topics or the style of anonymous discussions as the webs tools happen to support that or something in the nature of people who would even bother to enter the fray...something there may be that balkanizes, creates no-man's-land in the blogosphere or just needs a wall. Well just see if Frost was right.

Why do we say "Lets don't go there!" just when the conversation is starting to get interesting?


Gerry said...

You're just too clever for me, Con.

"In a healthy person, reason and emotion work together well enough to not cancel out all productive activity."

Well, that rules me out of the discussion, Mr Undrum...

", religion or politics."

That's all there is... Anything else is pure obfuscation...

What about countries whose presidents who claim to be in a dialogue with God?

Imagine if such a country had humungous quantities of the most powerful "new killer" weapons (of mass destruction)...

Imagine that...

Nice start to what might well be an interesting blog, GS.. ;-)

etbnc said...

"Why do people say 'don't go there' just when the conversation is starting to get interesting?"

Seems to me that's often because people see the tip of an iceberg and they don't want to deal with the rest of the iceberg.

But we already knew that, I suspect. Asking an occasional rhetorical question to ensure that it's stated aloud, publicly, seems like an aspect of blogging as performance art.

I like to think of the question in terms of when, where, and with whom can we have such conversations effectively and productively? I like conversations best when they lead to learning, and so at the outset I tend to forecast a probability that learning might occur. If the time, place, or audience seem likely to lead to loudness without learning, then I follow our moms' advice.

If you go there, enjoy the journey.


Your mileage may vary. For external use only. Safe when used a directed.

Conan Drum said...

"I like to think of the question in terms of when, where, and with whom can we have such conversations effectively and productively?"

That is my aspiration here. The scary part is how very sensitive such conversations are to the idioms and the discrepant interpretations of emotional tone. I may wind up saying "i tried to put out some landing lights so folks from other parts of the blogosphere would see where to come in for a good talk...but they thought it was a city being burnt to the ground. The tuning of the language will probably take a while.

Conan Drum said...

SSSHH! god is listening and he'll tattle on you to his buddy Bush. I hear god is ok with sarcasm but Bush has trouble with individual words let alone meanings that only show through the spaces between the words.