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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #1 

Ever wonder why our Society has become so Polarized?  Here is one idea.

Emanating out of the Subjectivism which dominates our society, is the idea that somehow all opinions are of equal validity. As a result, the following mantras have become popular: "you have your opinion and I have mine" ...... "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" ...... "I am entitled to my opinion". While all of the foregoing statements are self evident, the inference that is being conveyed is that the opinion which is being defended is justified.

A moment's reflection causes one to recognize the absurdity of that position. Assume one holds the opinion "that things fall up and do not fall down." Clearly the agent is entitled to hold that opinion but by boldly declaring that "I am entitled to my opinion" does not in any way validate the proposition that "things fall up". The reality is this: the person who is of the opinion that "things fall up" holds a FALSE opinion while the person who is of the opinion that "things fall down" holds a TRUE opinion. Consequently the suggestion that all opinions are equally valid has no correspondence to the world of experience.

Historically, when two opinions conflicted the observers would attempt to verify which opinion was true by the application of reason and logic. Today, because we are immersed in the idea that all opinions are subjective and hence equal, we decline to actually analyze two conflicting ideas to determine which is more warranted. This failure to apply the mental rigor to determine which idea is justified is one of the prime reasons why our society is so polarized.

Once the proposition that there can be multiple truths which are not capable of verification becomes the accepted norm, then it naturally follows that there is no impetus for a resolution of the conflict between the ideas.  Instead, people gravitate to the group which propagates the ideas they prefer. Since these groups have not cultivated the tools through which conflicting opinions can be analyzed and verified, any possibility of developing a synthesis between groups is precluded.


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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #2 
Following through from theskeptic's reasoning, at one time intelligent and rational individuals when considering an expression of another's position or opinion would attempt to 'separate the kernels from the chaff', a practice which seems to be out of vogue in today's virtual world of tweets and the like. Whether by design or default, the lack of a prior (by the sender) and/or post (by the receiver) objective 'weighing of the facts' results in what has recently been dubbed fake news or alternative facts which besides being fraudulent or just plain wrong are quite frequently nonsensical. In the absence of discretion, if enough people state something enough times it is ignorantly accepted as truth.
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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #3 

Ever wonder why ... our society is so polarized??? Here is another suggestion......

One idea that permeates our modern belief system is the proposition that objective thinking is an impossibility. The advocates of this line of thought maintain that it is not possible to stand outside oneself and view a matter from this neutral position. Therefore, they argue, all our thoughts are simply personal perceptions or conceptions.

The peril which emerges from this school of thought is that all attempts to view a situation in an impartial manner are considered to be a falsetto. Consequently efforts to view situations impartially are marginalized and subjective opinions (even if ill conceived) are legitimized. The end result of that thinking is a polarized society in which like opinions congregate to defeat opposing opinions.

Although our education system has elevated this kind of subjectivism from theory to a matter of fact, it may be time to re-examine the validity of this school of thought.

It seems the idea that objective thinking is impossible cannot be disputed if you accept the definition of "objective thinking" to be some sort of out of body experience. However, that line of argument is, it is suggested, merely a straw man argument. No one who believes in objective thinking suggests that anyone is capable of viewing any topic completely free of personal perspectives or from an exterior vantage point. However, the objectivist maintains that a person can, through mental discipline, temporarily set aside their personal preferences and attempt to see a matter as others may see it. They can submerge their emotional attachments and preferred perspectives and view the matter in a more i m p a r t i a l manner. In order to achieve that mental state they have to employ Cartesian logic and the scientific method to produce a reasoned conclusion.

The foregoing mental exercise often results in a modification of the original perspective of the matter. This objective thinking often negates the absolutism which often accompanies personal opinion and creates a space for the accommodation of alternate views and reduces the polarization.

Unfortunately, the foregoing requires both mental discipline and mental rigor and its a lot more fun to just get on Twitter or Facebook and solve the worlds most complex problems with 140 characters or less. After all, if its really complex ... you can always Tweet twice.

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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #4 

Ever wonder why we have different "perceptions" of the same event ???

How can half the people be saying that the Trump organization colluded with the Russians while the other half are saying they did not collude with the Russians? How can half the people be saying that Obama was spying on Trump at Trump Towers while the other half are saying he didn't spy on Trump? In either case a certain series of events occurred or they did not. Therefore, why does it seem to be beyond the capability of society to determine as to what events actually occurred?

Although there are many possible answers to that question, the primary answer seems to be this: we have conditioned our society to believe that either there is no such thing as Truth or that the Truth is beyond the grasp of human understanding. Given that Truth is considered unobtainable, our society focuses on creating "perceptions" of what occurred and then directing our energies to convincing the rest of society of our perception. Of course, the perception industry has little regard for the empirical facts as they conduct their battles to gain the hearts and minds of the general public. With the pursuit of Truth almost completely marginalized, the politicians and media craft and disseminate their "stories" in a never ending game of one-up-manship.

The war between Trump and the Media since his inauguration provides a classic example of the foregoing. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the rest of the main stream media have been continuously promoting the narrative that Russia colluded with the Trump Team to steal the election from Hillary. On January 20th, the NYTimes headline reads "Wiretapped Data used in Inquiry of Trump Aides." creating the innuendo of Trump/Russian collusion but, of course, actual evidence of collusion was strangely absent. Trump then hit the news by saying that the Obama Administration had "wiretapped" his people at Trump Tower but again he did not provide any actual evidence to support his claim. On March 5th, the NYTimes completely reversed its position with the headline "Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump’s Wiretapping Claim" because the FBI head says no such surveillance occurred.

What is discouraging is not that no actual empirical evidence has been provided by either side. What is even more discouraging is that society is prepared to accept this cavalier attitude towards the Truth by the Media and the White-house. Such an absurdity can only occur in a society which believes that " everyone has their own truths" .... that everything is a matter of personal perception ..... that in essence there is no such thing as Truth.

The nonsensical battle of perceptions between Trump and the Media is the logical outcome in a society which believes that there is no such thing as the objective Truth. Since the excessive subjectivism is now embedded in our public school curriculums, there is no reason to believe the "fake news" will stop any time soon.

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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #5 

Ever wonder why we got to the stage in society where we are talking about trans-gender bathrooms???

The trans-gender bathroom discussion is a conversation which could only occur in a postmodern society. Therefore to answer how we got into the gender-bathroom wars it is necessary to understand the roots of Postmoderism.

It all started with a German Philosopher called Immanuel Kant who said that we only know our perceptions of things .... but we never get to know the actual nature of things in themselves which are existing independently in the world. That is, we have a subjective perception of an object but we can never know that our perception is identical to the thing in itself.

A guy by the name of Friedrich Nietzsche took this one step further and said ... there are no facts only our interpretation of independent events. So Neitzsche said that there is no objective knowledge and concluded everything is a matter of perspective {Perspectivism}

This "hyper-skepticism" in which there is no absolute knowledge is described as "postmodernism" and it has worked its way into our culture and dominates the way people think even if they can't spell the word philosophy.

How does this relate to the trans-gender bathroom wars???

Well, Postmodernism destroys the essence of things. At one time the "essence" of marriage was the one man and one woman enjoying the a bodily union that is unique to them. But in a Postmodern world " marriage" has no "essence" because it is open to interpretation and redefinition and now can include the union of two males or two females. Its all a matter of perspective.

Likewise, for the Postmodernist, human sexuality has no "essence" but is rather a matter of perspective. Hence sexuality is not fixed but is considered fluid and the historical essence of maleness and the essence of femaleness is shattered because in this philosophy there are no absolutes.

All of the foregoing would be considered academic nonsense except that now we have transgendered males demanding the right to be allowed into women’s locker rooms and restrooms, invading the latter’s public spaces, shattering their privacy, and causing them fear.

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Murray Lambert

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hello out there, has everyone left the planet or what?  

As to 'theskeptic' and his, her or whatever gender descriptor applies, regarding 'post modernism' and bathroom habits, I concur as to there no longer being any such thing as the whole or accurate truth. While one's perceptions of things is unavoidable there surely must still be some remaining essence of actual fact(s) but we're all to busy dancing around the periphery to bother centering in on what we can all accept or agree to. On the other hand, this would pretty much eliminate the need for a lot of the media that we are constantly bombarded with which I would argue is a good thing.

In stating; "Hence sexuality is not fixed but is considered fluid...", 'theskeptic' has indeed stated an ACTUAL FACT as those of us in the know are very aware that sexual behaviour or activity of whatever kind most often involves the exchange of such fluids. [wink]


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theskeptic

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Reply with quote  #7 
Ever wonder whether the proposition "all men are created equal" is actually true??

Out of the Enlightenment came a rather novel idea that it is self-evident that "all people are created equal." Thank goodness it's "self-evident" because it cannot be proven as there is no empirical or historical evidence to establish that "all people are created equal." Even the most superficial examination of genetics, social history, and the laws of chance establishes that all people are created uniquely different. The idea that all people are created equal is one of the greatest myths of out time.

However, it seems that our Society will go to great lengths to attempt to create equality. In so doing, it should be recognized that the only way that two hills of different heights can be made equal is by levelling the higher mountain and adding its soil to the lower mountain. Since, of course, equality does not naturally exist and must be the product of social engineering, there is a lot of energy spent levelling the hills. The question which arises is whether or not all this social engineering produces any tangible or durable benefit to society.  

It seems there are many examples where this blind acceptance of equality works to our detriment.

Equality has been embedded in our school curriculum's as they are designed for the "average student". Consequently the gifted child and the intellectually challenged child suffers because everyone has to be treated equally. Excellence in education is sacrificed for mediocrity in homage to our reverence for "equality."

Our progressive income tax system is a massive example of attempting to engineer equality whereby the higher income producers are pushed down in an attempt to produce "equality" while at the same time the concept of "equality before the law" is flagrantly violated by the Income Tax Act. A flat tax or a consumption tax would generate more revenue for the state more efficiently, but in the name of equality we stick to a tax which punishes success.

Of course, equality is so embedded in the body politique that any deference or respect for age, wisdom, or experience has been erased in the mythical belief that there are no valid difference based on experience and ability. Our obsession with the myth of equality has produced groupthink, political correctness, and conformity to the current fads and fashion.

Maybe its time to develop a society which understands everyone is uniquely different and celebrates those differences in a spirit of harmony.

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