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mastermindreader
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So are you saying that bigotry and intolerance are inherited traits? Or are you saying they are the result of both genetic and environmental factors?
stoneunhinged
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First, I appreciate Lobo taking my position and presenting it very well while I was off to sleep here in Goettingen.

RANT ON.

Bob, you are mis-defining the word "nature". Nature doesn't simply mean genetics. Where did you get that from?

John, I never meant to define "innate". Why would you think that's what I meant?

I basically do indeed accept "tabula rasa"; but I think that it has little or nothing to do with my point.

First, let me restate my point. Then I will explain why I think it is important.

My point is that human beings are inclined to form groups.

That was my point. Human beings form groups. They seem to have done so as long as homo sapiens sapiens has existed. Maybe it is genetic. And yes, I have read studies. But no, I'm not going to cite them, because I think you can trust me that I have read enough, studied enough, and am intelligent enough for you to respect my opinion. You don't have to agree with a single word of it, of course. But it's not an uninformed opinion, and I don't feel the need to submit my credentials or studies to convince you that the opinion is not uninformed. Human being form groups.

Human beings form groups.

So if human beings form groups (whether they are "genetically" inclined to do so or no), then they obviously have a sorting mechanism. Yes, it's obvious. Again, I don't have a "study" (tut tut!), but I don't think I need one.

We sort through other human beings constantly, if you think about it. Don't we? We sort for our friends, we sort for our lovers, we sort for allies, we sort for shopping, we sort for dancing, we sort for curling teams, we sort here at the Magic Café.

This is all I meant. I'm surprised that anyone disagrees with it. Shocked, even.

Human beings form groups by sorting.

When I said it was "natural" to sort, I wasn't being precise in the sense that you apparently thought I intended to be. I simply DO NOT KNOW where the urge to sort comes from. Heck, I don't know if it's learned, inherited, or forced into us by some holy or unholy ghost. My point was that it is there. We do it. We sort. We all do it (and John, when you refer to ancient literature, my guess is that I probably have read more ancient literature than anyone else here at the Magic Café; should I cite Herodotus to add to this debate? I could, and you know it.). We probably always will sort. That makes it our "nature" in the sense that I was saying. But maybe it's not "innate" or "inherited" or "natural" in any precise sense. It's just an apparently permanent characteristic of human beings. That's all I meant.

OK, enough of that.

Why is this important? Because I do NOT think that we indoctrinate "hate", as Bob suggested. I think that we indoctrinate who "we" are and who "they" are. We SORT. And I think that in a modern democracy, we ought to do things a little differently. We ought to sort differently. We ought to sort according to democratic principles, rather than religious or racist or homophobic ones.

It's not about gayness, race, religious belief, height weight hair-color nerdiness horniness helplessness dressiness seriousness philosophiness angernesss astronominess or ANYTHING ELSE.

It's about "WE". We the people.

We need to learn who "we the people" are, and act on that.

Bigotry and intolerance exist because we have failed to define who "we" are.

Bob, it's not about whether it's genetic or culturally impregnated into us. It's about the fact. The fact is that the us/them distinction exists, and we need to continually re-define it in order to live comfortably with each other.

John, I don't know if this is "innate", and I don't care.

Lobo, thanks for carrying the baton last night.

Sorry to ALL for the rant.

But I think this gets to the very heart of the matter in this thread.

What kind of "we" do we want to have in America?

I think this is the question, and I think it is friggin important.

Can "hate" be indoctrinated? Absolutely. But this is different, and needs to be understood in different terms. We aren't talking about suicide bombers. We're talking about our next door neighbors. We aren't indoctrinating people to go blow other people up. We are indoctrinating people to think that people who are different than "us" don't belong to the "we". One is obvious. The other is insidious.

I was trying to make that last point.

RANT OFF
NYCTwister
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[quote]On Jul 27, 2014, stoneunhinged wrote:

"Nature doesn't simply mean genetics."

I think that for the purposes of this topic it does. Is a person born gay or not? How you answer that question is how you "sort" yourself into one particular group or another. Any call for statistics sends the conversation on a tangent. Besides, trying to arrive at an absolute fact using incomplete information is kind of pointless.



"I basically do indeed accept "tabula rasa". "

The question is, how far back do you wipe the slate clean? I don't think the earth would mind if we went back to any point before us pesky humans arrived Smile



"My point is that human beings are inclined to form groups.
That was my point. Human beings form groups. They seem to have done so as long as homo sapiens sapiens has existed. Maybe it is genetic.
So if human beings form groups (whether they are "genetically" inclined to do so or no), then they obviously have a sorting mechanism."
"When I said it was "natural" to sort, I wasn't being precise in the sense that you apparently thought I intended to be. I simply DO NOT KNOW where the urge to sort comes from. That makes it our "nature" in the sense that I was saying. But maybe it's not "innate" or "inherited" or "natural" in any precise sense. It's just an apparently permanent characteristic of human beings. That's all I meant."

Obviously, we choose. It's the criteria by which we make those choices that we've been screwing up for a long while.
I think the overriding reason at the base of all our choices is - survival. The first groups of humans probably chose fitness as the main criteria when deciding whether a member of the group was accepted, or not. At that point in time brute strength was more important than intelligence. The weak, old and sick were culled for the greater good. Savage but necessary at the time.
The problem is that even though that's changed and brute strength is almost insignificant, it continues to be the way many make their choices. We now have new forms of brute strength, financial, religious, political etc. but the principle is the same and physical violence is always implied. This is the worst of the "apparently permanent characteristics" you are talking about.
Look at any conflict in the world today. and you will see brute force, in one form or another, is the underlying principle being applied.
This is changing now, slowly but surely. Those who have the courage to say that the initiation of force is never justified to settle a difference of opinion, used to find themselves killed as proof that they were wrong.
Now their voices are being heard, they're growing louder, and they're are being joined by the previously silent, i.e. closet atheists. The "sleepers" are those that went along with being identified as being part of a group that sorted, using difference as their main criteria, but who can no longer stand their own hypocrisy.
It's not just technology that's causing the increase in intensity of todays conflicts, it's the desperation of those with irrational viewpoints as they watch the moral high ground being torn out from under them.
A cornered rat is also desperate and dangerous, but it doesn't possess weapons capable of mass destruction.
As always the "common" man watches, and hopes that he doesn't become collateral damage in someone elses stupid argument.

OK, enough of that.


"I think that in a modern democracy, we ought to do things a little differently. We ought to sort differently."

If we did choose differently then I'd agree. The reality is we don't, so I have to disagree.



"We ought to sort according to democratic principles, rather than religious or racist or homophobic ones."

Agree wholeheartedly.



"It's not about gayness, race, religious belief, height weight hair-color nerdiness horniness helplessness dressiness seriousness philosophiness angernesss astronominess or ANYTHING ELSE."

Wholeheartedly disagree. Since we use those things as reasons to discriminate it IS about those things.



"We need to learn who "we the people" are, and act on that.
Bigotry and intolerance exist because we have failed to define who "we" are."

Since any "we the people" is made up of individuals we ought define what a proper code of conduct is. I think "do unto others" eliminates any viewpoint that uses who has the bigger club to decide right and wrong.
Actually it excludes the masochists, but you have to start somewhere.



"Bob, it's not about whether it's genetic or culturally impregnated into us. It's about the fact. The fact is that the us/them distinction exists, and we need to continually re-define it in order to live comfortably with each other."

If you are culturally taught to hate based on someone elses genetics, then yeah, it is about genetics and culture.



"I don't know if this is "innate", and I don't care."

How can you not care? The debate over whether or not something is a part of who one is, goes to the heart of this matter.



"What kind of "we" do we want to have in America?
I think this is the question, and I think it is friggin important."

I agree. What type of America, and for that matter world, do YOU want? Just curious.



"Can "hate" be indoctrinated? Absolutely. But this is different, and needs to be understood in different terms. We aren't talking about suicide bombers. We're talking about our next door neighbors. We aren't indoctrinating people to go blow other people up. We are indoctrinating people to think that people who are different than "us" don't belong to the "we". One is obvious. The other is insidious."

Both are toxic so what's the real difference? They both lead to violence when the person with the irrational viewpoint reaches the end of their brains ability to use words alone, and just can't say those most evil of words - "I was wrong".

They will commit almost any atrocity rather than admit that.
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
NYCTwister
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BTW, sorry for "sorting" through so much your post.
It was a lot to "sort" through. Smile
If you need fear to enforce your beliefs, then your beliefs are worthless.
mastermindreader
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My point was really simple- there is a difference between a natural us/them dichotomy (which could simply be boys/girls) and the indoctrination of hate and bigotry.
mastermindreader
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Jeff-

You wrote-

Quote:
Why is this important? Because I do NOT think that we indoctrinate "hate", as Bob suggested. I think that we indoctrinate who "we" are and who "they" are. We SORT. And I think that in a modern democracy, we ought to do things a little differently. We ought to sort differently. We ought to sort according to democratic principles, rather than religious or racist or homophobic ones.


We're talking about children. Where do THEY get the information they have about religion or homosexuality? It is learned from adults.
stoneunhinged
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I don't see where we disagree, Bob.

I only objected to the idea that "hate" is unnatural.

It's particularly important that we accept the notion that human beings will discriminate--it's their nature. Ignoring that fact leads to bad legislation and bad food. That's all I really wanted to say. But I get long-winded.
stoneunhinged
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One more thing: I also think that the us/them distinction is endangering American democracy. And yes, I'm serious.
tommy
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America, it's the land of free, or ought to be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gciegyiLYtY
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
mastermindreader
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Quote:
On Jul 27, 2014, stoneunhinged wrote:
One more thing: I also think that the us/them distinction is endangering American democracy. And yes, I'm serious.


Absolutely agree. But I think that extreme division we're seeing isn't natural, and is almost exclusively the result of indoctrination.

I think our seeming difference may come from the way we define "hate." Suspicion and wariness of "others" different from our own group isn't quite the same thing, IMO. I'm not talking about hate as in "I hate spinach." I'm using the word to describe the desire some feel to literally destroy those who we perceive as "different."
tommy
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One can not get love without the magic ingredient relationship. Someone who finds homosexuality repulsive can still be great friends with someone who is gay, so long as there is a relationship between the two. It is what they have in common which makes them friends. The other day I met an old couple, the fellow is 87 and his gal is 86. They have been together forever and have many things in common and love each other to bits. Yet at the same time, they have their differences and they are often insulting each other about them. It seems to me they are not tolerant they are free. Free and easy. Political correctness – just another means of control from the ministry of love. And yes, I'm serious.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
mastermindreader
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Disagreement is not a synonym for hate.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Jeff, you've moved the discussion back to where it needs to be (I was too timid to push the point so forcefully). Merci. The moral question, indeed, is about who gets to sit at the table and break bread together.

(Does Herodotus really talk about race? A PM would be appreciated.)
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On Jul 27, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Quote:
On Jul 27, 2014, stoneunhinged wrote:
One more thing: I also think that the us/them distinction is endangering American democracy. And yes, I'm serious.


Absolutely agree. But I think that extreme division we're seeing isn't natural, and is almost exclusively the result of indoctrination.

I think our seeming difference may come from the way we define "hate." Suspicion and wariness of "others" different from our own group isn't quite the same thing, IMO. I'm not talking about hate as in "I hate spinach." I'm using the word to describe the desire some feel to literally destroy those who we perceive as "different."


I think that we indeed pretty much agree.

But I'm thinking of priorities. "Otherness" precedes the hating of otherness. And this is important because "otherness" will always exist. This thread is about gayness, which isn't particularly "other" at all, in my opinion. So I'd rather attack the idea of otherness rather than hate or gayness.
mastermindreader
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Yes- that would be going after the root of it all.
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On Jul 27, 2014, mastermindreader wrote:
Yes- that would be going after the root of it all.


Thank you. That's what philosophy is supposed to do. (Not that I'm particularly good at it.)

I agree that we continue to indoctrinate "hate". When I was a kid growing up in Taiwan, we hated "Red China". When I got back to the States, I learned we hated the Russians. In high school in Hawaii, I learned that I myself was hated, because I was a haole. When I went to college, I had a roommate who hung a black baby doll from the ceiling for a joke. When I reproached him, he said, "Jeff, it was just a joke; I ain't got nothing against [n-word], they just ain't as good as us." When I came to Germany, I made friends with a few Jewish people, and found myself going to the former place where the synagogue stood here in Goettingen every 9th of November, where we spend 90 minutes remembering what hate can do.

But hate requires an enemy. And that enemy is always someone else. Communist Chinese, Russians, haoles, blacks, Jews.

True enough, hate is a problem.

I don't disagree with that.

But "hate", as such, is a natural instinct. (I hate liver, to give an inconsequential example.)

My problem is that we define the "other" too narrowly.

To our friend Lunatik: whether you agree with homosexuality or not is not important, in my opinion. Gay Americans are fellow Americans. Let them live their lives as citizens of a great and wonderful and fragile democracy. Preach to them, or even hate them. But they aren't really the "other". They are "us".

Sorry for ranting again. Obviously this hits a nerve with me.
mastermindreader
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Jeff- Like I said earlier, "I'm not talking about hate as in 'I hate spinach.' I'm using the word to describe the desire some feel to literally destroy those who we perceive as "different."

And I believe that type of hate is the result of indoctrination.

(I "hate" liver, too, But I don't picket supermarkets that sell it.)
stoneunhinged
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Yes, that type of hate is a result of indoctrination.

If you read my posts carefully, however, you will see that I myself have experienced such hate; so you're preaching to the choir. You and I are just parsing the details.

In case anyone is wondering, I have myself felt myself to be in imminent danger for being different. I'm not gay, but I'm haole.
mastermindreader
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So is every white resident in Hawaii. (To SOME)

But since you don't live there now, you're not currently haole.
stoneunhinged
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Wait a second: I misunderstood your post, Bob. What you're saying is that what I am calling a "natural instinct to hate the other" is not natural. Only an instinct to dislike the other is natural. The desire to eradicate the other is learned. Is that your position?

Gotta say, I don't really care. What can we do? THAT is all I really care about. Where you and I seem to disagree is about political targets, not ends. I think we should target the idea of otherness. But yes, targeting hate would work, too. If that would work, I'd be cool with it.
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