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Leland Stone
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Quote:
On 2004-09-13 23:49, Clifford the Red wrote:
So by rejecting Fascism I am impeding your "right" to enslave me. That is utterly ridiculous reasoning. You can do better than that.


Hiya, Clifford:

Unfortunately for your argument, claiming something to be doesn't make it so. What you have called "utterly ridiculous reasoning" was in fact a well-reasoned demonstration that your own position is self-refuting (or more correctly, "self-stultifying"). That is, your argument defeats itself.

As in my previous post, the question isn't whether there are standards, the question really is, "Who gets to make the standards, and why should we follow them?"

The response you've provided was self-contradictory and thus self-defeating. On the one hand, you wrote,
Quote:
...the "standards" are undefinable by anything other than a arbitrary decision which no one is qualified to make.
But later in the same post you established just such an arbitrary (and absolute) standard by writing,
Quote:
"Society's obligation extends to our behavior in society, not solitary behavior, nor thought."
According to your own statement, you're not competent to establish the very thing you're attempting to establish. Your argument defeats itself, makes a weak, non sequitur appeal to pragmatism, and fails to answer my original question.

Quote:
Let's avoid another Dark Ages, shall we?


Oooh, not sure I can agree there, either. Were I and my SCA compatriots to have our way, the Dark Ages would descend again like Baptists on a bucket of Ambrosia salad!

In seriousness, though, if I understand your comment about avoiding the Dark Ages, it means you're suggesting that we ought to avoid the totalitarianism so often associated with the European Middle Ages. As I've pointed out in these posts, however, what you're attempting to do is to replace one system (or "set of standards for personal and societal behaviour") with another, yet without answering the prior question: "Why should there be any system at all, and who gets to decide what that system is?"

Sincerely,
Leland Edward Stone
Clifford the Red
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It comes to understanding the difference between a standard and a philosophy. You want to set standards of decency in the books we can read, and I am stating a philosophy on an individual's responsibility to society that has evolved over the past, oh, 10,000 years - meaning Society has determined that. I never gave my beliefs, standards or defined, what those responsibilities are. So your comments were specious.

And your question was not what you stated. It was "whether there is or should be an objective standard dividing acceptable literature from objectionable sorts". You made the original judgments of Charles' "objectionable" material and then you suggested imposing a fascist standard. Then you invited attacks on your statement.

Your memory must be slipping. Your substituted question simply parallels my first post on this issue. Thank you for seeing it my way. Smile

And to toss the ball back in your court, you never outlined how you have arrived at your justification that imposing standards of decency supersedes an individual's freedom.

(And just so you know, I love having rousing discussions like this! Sometimes it scares the natives, but it's all in good intellectual fun to me. If I read you right, you are the same. Keep up the good work! Those were some good barbs!)
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Clifford:

Thanks for being a good sport.

Quote:
On 2004-09-14 18:01, Clifford the Red wrote:
It comes to understanding the difference between a standard and a philosophy. You want to set standards of decency in the books we can read, and I am stating a philosophy on an individual's responsibility to society that has evolved over the past, oh, 10,000 years - meaning Society has determined that.


First, that was your 'weak appeal to pragmatism' that I pointed out. Pragmatism is a logical fallacy of the 'argumentum ad populi sort --establishing 'what is right' on the basis of 'what a given group of people decide.'

If your 10,000 years of social evolution have resulted in a tolerant, multi-cultural, peace-loving 21st Century Utopia, great. Unfortunately, such evolution is just as likely to produce a mid-20th Century Aryan Nation with dreams of global supremacy and the ruthlessness and power needed to achieve that dream. Scratch pragmatism.

My second point was that you claim individuals are incapable of establishing society-wide standards (like censorship), then appeal to society to establish such standards. Collectives of incompetent individuals are no more capable of establishing societal standards than are individuals, thus your contradiction.

Quote:


And your question was not what you stated. It was "whether there is or should be an objective standard dividing acceptable literature from objectionable sorts". You made the original judgments of Charles' "objectionable" material and then you suggested imposing a fascist standard. Then you invited attacks on your statement.

Your memory must be slipping. Your substituted question simply parallels my first post on this issue. Thank you for seeing it my way. Smile


Actually, it's exactly the same question, posed in a more formal way. The original question was indeed whether there was an objective standard dividing acceptable from non-acceptable literature; substitute any other term for "literature" and the same question applies for any moral question facing society: War, marriage, reproductive rights, civil rights, etc. If you wish to restrict the question solely to literature, we can do so -- after all, you've correctly pointed out that was the genesis of the discussion. However, the principles involved necessarily apply in a much broader context.

As for 'seeing it your way,' I'm not sure that I do at all.

Quote:
And to toss the ball back in your court, you never outlined how you have arrived at your justification that imposing standards of decency supersedes an individual's freedom.


I plainly stated that my leanings towards banning certain books was subjective, and did not appeal to any objective, authoritative source for my opinion. There, you and I seem to agree -- in that we have both expressed opinions.

The question remains whether there is some more stable footing than preference on which to base one's philosophy, whether deciding questions of individual literary preferences or societal behaviour.

And so, to bounce the ball back into your court, why do you believe that individuals should be free to choose their own literature? (Uh, uh, no fair claiming it's legal -- that's another ad populi fallacy and it's subject to change based on one's culture. The question here relates to the underlying rationale on which such legality is based?)
Quote:

(And just so you know, I love having rousing discussions like this! Sometimes it scares the natives, but it's all in good intellectual fun to me. If I read you right, you are the same. Keep up the good work! Those were some good barbs!)


Ditto, and rightly read. Don't know about 'scaring' the natives, but somebody's bound to (quite reasonably) bounce the discussion soon as being 'off-topic.'

Leland
chmara
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Getting back on topic --- I recently added three high content volumes and reviewed it in another group (find it below.) No decent bizarrist should be without these by Shane.

Take a deep look at Brother Shane's works in collection through his three volumes Strange Magic One, Two, and Three.

These brightly colored well-printed and (metal) spring bound volumes at
$25 each plus postage are deceptively slim at about 100 pages each. As deceptively slim as a well-made piece of peanut brittle or oak bark candy that is -- they are all chock full of nuts and sweet calories of
energy. And if weighed as nutrition -- should cost far much more by the pound than candy.

Shane has a facility for clearly explaining the goal of each of these routines. Plotting and giving script ... and even more importantly, clearly explaining each and every move in each routine. Most of these
works use common if slightly altered magic items in a way that puzzles "regular" magicians out of recognizing the gimmick, and brings a layman's audience's attention to the IDEA, not the trick. His use of
the one ahead principle (with a twist) to predict the end of the world. A strong audience grabber.

If there is any doubt to provenance, Shane references his take off points and and origin stops for each part of a routine. I must say that either he has a wonderful memory for detail - or has one heck of a
cross reference system for tricks and moves that must be enviable.

The wry sense of humor (almost like pinching a pretty girl's bum -- because she expects it) in Return of Casanova (more or less) to his beautifully politically incorrect (almost shaggy dog). Paying the Bill---(a religious whoopee cushion?) comes across in the magic... with just enough disrespect to keep audiences aware something different is
happening -- almost unsure whether it is OK to laugh out out-loud the guffaw they feel inside.

And the cognitive dissonance Shane introduces as an angel saves a fair
headed child from drowning -- with a simple "coin" trick as the focus.

It is simply breathtaking.

The content is a distillation of some of the finest work I have run across in my 50 years in and out of magic. The problem -- choosing which not to work on. (Well -- anything with playing cards is
eliminated for me -- a long personal distaste.) That said -- there is
plenty here without playing cards for those who feel that cards were invented by some malevolent deity.

Check them out on Café Press.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Clifford the Red
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Leland, philosophically I believe in liberty, not slavery. That is why I believe literature and thus thought should be left to the individual. If, as you rightly state, neither individual nor society can be trusted in creating standards, then there should be none. Now back to the topic (being that it was mine in the first place I don't feel so bad about sidetrips. Smile

CH, you are so right about Shane's books. He is a great writer and really delivers some great bizarre effects and philosophy. I have all three and am enjoying them thoroughly.
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Hexagon
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A book I'd recommend reading is 'The Teachings of Don Juan - A Yacqui Way of Knowledge' by Carlos Castaneda. This is an interesting book. Check it out.
chmara
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Reviewing the "askew" portions of this thread, I'd say that as a skeptic who makes his living by appealing to the fears and delights of mature audiences (kids won't see common profanity in my shows -- just uncommon sense about the grisly portions of life -- and death). Call it cognitive dissonance if you will.

But Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc., have a wonderful book by Schermer, The Science of Good and Evil.

The book can also help you evaluate morality in books and acts without religioous/totalitarian/Limbaughism overtones or bible thumping undercurrents.
Gregg (C. H. Mara) Chmara

Commercial Operations, LLC

Tucson, AZ



C. H. Mara Illusion & Psychic Entertainments
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Gregg:

Despite the title of Schermer's book, 'scientifically' evaluating the morality of a book or act is a category error.

Using science, it is possible to determine the categories of 'what' and 'how.' But morality is an 'ought,' a category of question for which science is completely unable to provide an answer.

How 'ought' the well-fed rich man respond to his starving neighbour? How 'ought' the strong adult respond to the victimization of a weak child? How 'ought' a school or a public bus allocate its resources to 'minority' individuals requiring their respective services? There is no scientific calculus to solve for such equations.

Schermer's 'scientific analysis' of morality is no doubt a good deal more detailed than the opinion of the average Bible-thumper. However, it is neither more authoritative nor less subjective, and Schermer cannot answer a foundational question: Who gets to set standards, and why should anyone follow them?

Sincerely,

Leland Edward Stone
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