[FoRK] Rationality and English, Human Evil and Muddled Thinking

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Mon Sep 17 09:50:55 PDT 2007

  Too much is being said for me to judge, one way or the other.

  I've been thinking about how to respond to these posts for too long now.
  So, I'll do something I've never done, and give a fragmented response-
  bits and pieces of the multiple responses, the various things, that I find
  coming up in me, in response.

  So, I'll call this, "N responses," for your edification.

  ----

  We can all clap to the "applause light" of being against "muddled thinking."

  ---

  I've always appreciated (or, at least, *think* that I've
  appreciated) Orwell's "Politics and the English Language"
  as well:

    http://www.k-1.com/Orwell/index.cgi/work/essays/language.html

  On CommunityWiki, we've put a lot of thought into this as well;
  At least, David Cary and I:

    http://communitywiki.org/en/PlainTalk

  ---

  I wonder what the ideas in those two web pages mean
  for Drew Dellinger?

  The pages:
    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/09/human-evil-and-.html
    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/09/rationality-and.html

  ...and Drew Dellinger:
    http://soulforce.com/llmw/excerpts.php

  What do they mean for hip hop practicioners, in general?
  I saw a hip hop artist named Vanessa working things out in
  real time, and while I was watching her, I had the image of someone
  searching the space of emotions and ideas in real time, like going
  into a cave, and extracting nuggets of value, whether it was a
  communication of a genuine emotion or a really good idea.
  Whatever was "good" was repeated and tied together with other
  things, whatever was "bad" was just ignored.  It felt to me like
  a social thinking process.

  En route to getting to something good, a lot of cliches and
  machine-like stuff was encountered, and thrown out.  Orwell
  said that the cliche is like being a machine.  Well, we ARE a bit
  like machines.  And I don't think Orwell doubts that.

  ---

  What is the proper place and role for emotion in rational thinking?

  (Back to:  Rationality is always towards *some purpose,*
   but supplies none of it's own.  David Hume was quite adamant on this-
   Reason is the horse, passion the rightful driver.)

  It can't be "nowhere," since emotion is the motive component of reason.

  ---

  When should people communicate emotion, and how should they do it,
  to prevent muddied thinking?

  Or, are emotions things that *should not* be shared,
  and on what basis does this rest?

  ---

  What does it mean to be fully rational, and a fully, healthy, emotive person,
  at the same time?

  When is it the case that emotion enhances the life of reason,
  rather than muddying it?

  ---

  I think that the "rationalists" are worshiping the *imagery* of rationality:
  * scientific papers
  * mathematics
  * arguments (better if greek symbols are involved)
  * arguments
  * computers & computation
  * names of famous scientists
  ... and they surround themselves with other people who automatically
  revere images of rationality, and they tell each other, "Yes, yes, we are
  rational, ...  Look, here are our symbols."

  But where is the explanation and analysis of what the rational life
actually IS?

  Nick Bostrom, uniquely, as far as I can see, wrote:

Wisdom is distinct from cleverness or mental efficiency. Wisdom is
about getting the big things right. A prerequisite is the ability to
recognize what the big things are, i.e., a sense for proportion, for
what is important. I am often thinking about this: What if I am
overlooking something essential or getting a big thing wrong? Then
whatever progress I'm making is in vain. It is worse than useless to
travel fast and far if one is going in the wrong direction. How can
one reduce the probability of such fundamental error? And of course,
if one spends too much of ones time worrying about such questions, one
never gets anywhere at all. In the ideal world, perhaps one would have
two lives. In the first life, one would figure out what the right
direction is. In the second life, one would set off in that direction
at one's maximum pace. As things stand, one is left to make a
half-hearted compromise between recklessness and paralysis.

  And consider Isaac Asimov, who left MENSA in disgust.
  His heart was with the AHA, American Humanist Association.

  By my memories of the way Eliezer talks, I doubt that he would speak
  with such humility.  I mean, he has the whole, entire, revolutionary **force**
  of "rationality" on his side.  That means that there's one right way
of living,
  and everything else is simply ignorant error.

  Have you ever looked at ye olde Technocracy documents, and laughed?

  ---

  Take care,
    Lion =^_^=



On 9/15/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
>
> Two related, excellent posts for your edification:
>
>    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/09/human-evil-and-.html
>
>    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/09/rationality-and.html
>
> Enjoy!
>
> jb
>
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