среда, июля 26, 2006

equality continued

while it would seem the first of the previously stated states of equality need no great clarification, possibly the second does?
the statement one more time: does equality mean that no one is better than anyone else, and consequently, no one is worse?
how can we clarify this, to what can we compare this situation?
this situation is like two men living abroad in a place that uses a different tongue, and where almost none speak the tongue of these two men. so that it becomes necessary for both of them to learn this new language, which they do. only, one of the men learns more quickly, and the other more slowly, so that finally you say about the first man: look at this man he can speak like a native; in fact, perhaps he is a native, there is no way to tell him apart. and the second man sees this happening, and understands that the ability of the first is really much greater, that the first man truly speaks this language well, so much that even though they both began learning at the same time, he cannot understand what this first man says, he speaks too well in comparison to his own childish mewing. and jealousy eats him about and burns him down. whenever the first man speaks, the second listens, but he cannot understand anything, the speeches are over his ability. but he listens, and when the first man finishes and walks away he approaches the natives that the first man spoke with and asks: how was his language skill? perhaps he made some mistakes? and the natives always answered: no, he spoke fluently, was he really not a native? and so it went on until one day the second man met another man who was very kindly disposed, and who believed that lies were justified if they were made for the sake of someone's good feeling and false sense of worth, and so when the first man walked away and the second approached, this kindly intentioned man answered the second: no, his langauge was very deficient, yours is much better.
and the second man was overjoyed and believed him. in spite of everything he knew as obvious, nonetheless he believed him immediately and completely.

18 комментариев:

Анонимный комментирует...

No, no, no, that's not how equality goes at all. Not at all! Listen, I'll tell you how equality goes, it goes along very much like this: there are two Khazars and they are in the stables - or the pigpens, let's be honest, Khazars know what they like - and they are both arrested! Well, it might not be fair, but it's equal, isn't it? And that soldier, his teeth are bad, but he treats them equally. Not fairly, but equally, and he takes 'em to the Godhead who sits on high and who demands recompense for the atrocities committed in the pigpen - and that's fair. Maybe not just, but fair. And the first Khazar can juggle, but the second one can't, and the Godhead loves juggling - HE JUST LOVES IT. Which is neither just, nor fair, nor equal. It's just one of those things. This Khazar who can't juggle, they cut his head off! Godheads can be like that. They're not just, and they're not fair, and they're not into equality either. These are just silly concepts - Godheads know that what's really important in this life and the next is sorting who can juggle from who can't.

SCPP комментирует...

i hope youve chosen your godhead more carefully than that poor Khazar...
i was with you until the juggling - but then why make a real point when you can choose satire...

Анонимный комментирует...

Too facetious? I beg pardon. I was so underwhelmed by your specious logic that I figured the point of the post was satire. But I can play literally if you prefer. You have committed the fallacy of the excluded middle:

'does equality mean that everyone without exception deserves to be treated with respect of an equal sort, regardless of social standing, race, or, as they say, intelligence and beauty?'

Yes.

'or does equality mean that no one is better than anyone else, and consequently, no one is worse?'

Yes.

These two definitions are not mutually exclusive.

I suspect the question you are grappling with is more clearly articulated thus:

'Is the notion of equality consistently enacted?'

No.

Which means that the notion of equality is not enacted with equal measure.

This is a fundamental (if periodically confusing) aspect of the human condition.

SCPP комментирует...

truth be told im almost grateful for your attention, cyber space can be chilly for those who spend little time here. so foremost i would like to say: thank you!
unfortunately the question was much more honest: what is to be done for the fellow who believes two things equally at the same time? or should i say it thus: for the person who acknowledges the rightness of one thing and believes the thing he does not ackowledge the rightness of? what can be done for this poor fellow? or can i be so crass as to chose a literary example: Gavril from The Idiot? thats the real question, buddy.
on another note: if you left a signature we might be able to read some of your edifying works on linguistics and learn a thing or two.
peace

Анонимный комментирует...

Well. That is a considerably different conception of equality to the one you were discussing in your initial post. Although I am intrigued by this new twist, I'm afraid I have not read The Idiot, so if you would be so good as to explain this reference, or else provide a plausible example of the kind of internal paradox you are speaking of, we can proceed. I'm afraid I found your parable of the men who spoke a different tongue improbable.

A signature? Usually I use 'SCPP', but I thought that would be a little confusing to any third parties who happened along.

Nonetheless, I admit 'anonymous' is a little cold and impersonal for the vast expanses of cyberspace. I promise I'll think up a humourous yet poignant moniker for my next comment.

SCPP комментирует...

buddy! buddy! nice to hear from you at last....how are things?? i wondered at first if it might be you, i thought it was just unaccountable enough to possibly be you, with the affair in the pig pen, but it seemed to me in the end there was too little violence....
gavril is the man who wishes more than anything that he were original. and he goes around understanding that he is not, all the while hoping secretly that in the end he might still really be original. this is the problem with equality. it is clearer in russia, where people who are more equal, better off, more elite, simply do not mix with the plebians, ride the metro, or have problems with the police. i think they do this(not mixing) not because they despise the masses, as they proclaim, but not to spark their rage. it is only back home that the russian saying: the tallest blade of grass gets cut down first - finds its truest expression in life. the lives of the rich and famous and beautiful are torn apart, the very same people being trailed from restaurant to restaurant by paparrazzi, so the common folk can sit there and say: look at her, she doesnt look so good there, eh? she's no better than the rest of us! or even better in art, where every second person you talk to is a closet writer, and now its impossible to tell real art from shit. everyone thinks they are equal, and this stems from a feeling inside that their own self-worth depends not on what they are supposed to be doing, but on someone else not doing anything better. if people stopped trying to be equal, realized that each person is different, and stopped trying to find their self-worth at someone else's expense(which is in other words simply jealousy)and sought what they ought to be doing, they wouldnt have these worries about who's equal, and whats more: i believe the word equal would not even exist! the word equal springs from: the word jealousy. and thats what fueled the man in the admittedly lacking parable about equality.

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

Your excitment is very flattering, mate. It's nice to hear from you to. I'm not at my best right now. In fact, I'm at something of a nadir. But life keeps threatening to get better, so I'm sure it'll happen sooner or later.

The inequality you speak of kinda exists here too, except we call it Tall Poppy Syndrome. Soon as somebody starts getting a bit uppity, they are criticised and lampooned, lambasted and condemned as (God forbid) 'un-Australian'. There is something of a contradiction, however. Almost always, these Tall Poppyies are intellectuals or artists. Often they live abroad. And almost always they have had the temerity to criticise Australian society. In fact, often all they were trying to do was provide some constructive criticism - to realign the path of Australia's national development, which is, after all, what the intelligentsia are for, is it not? On the other hand, we have plenty of world-class sportsmen and women, who mostly live in Florida. They don't criticise Australia. They don't have anything to do with Australia, really, except to parade their Australian-ness back at home in order to be popular. They live in Florida so they don't have to pay tax, like the rest of us do. Politicians love sportsmen and women, because they don't try to tell politicians how to do their jobs.

At times, I love this Tall Poppy Syndrome - it has a very appealing 'fuck you' anti-authoritarianism to it. And as far as I can gather, most Australians (as opposed to most Russians) honestly believe that nobody deserves more respect simply because they can run fast, or think good, or make lots of money. I remember chatting to some students in Moscow. They were discussing famous people they'd met, and one of the questions posed was 'Are these people better than us'. The general consensus was 'yes', and that famous people were closer to God - another rung up the evolutionary ladder, as it were. I was astonished and appalled, but put it down to my own naivety.

Well, I don't have any more to add right now. It's Sunday morning. I'll come back later.

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

So I think much of the time I walk this planet as if I were a god. I'm pretty sure that's what I do - just belt about the joint figuring that everything that was put here purely as a means of making me happy. I suspect that I know that it's not really true. In fact, I'm pretty sure I fluctuate between the conscious attempt to believe I'm a god walking the planet, and the subconscios realisation that reality is nothing more than a series of events connected by nothing more symbolic than causality. It's all just shit, right? Shit which happens, and it's only meaningful or poignant when we invest those feelings into it. So I spose I'm pulling a Gavril much of the time: I'm a god walking the planet; I'm an insignificant nothing among a plethora of absurdities. Thing is, the former helps me to grasp opportunities that I would otherwise let slide if i wallowed in the meaninglessness of my existence, the latter helps me cope with those things which happen which are out of my control. I'm simply adjusting my perception of reality to best suit the reality I'm confronted with. Nothing wrong with that. It's all just a series of parodies and fantasy worlds, right?

SCPP комментирует...

wow..............there arent enough dots to express the pause in my thoughts after reading those two pieces............it is also sunday here and i am preparing to go play frisbee..........as far as i see it there are two main points raised which i would like to answer. for now i will have to limit myself to: youre going home in the back of the divy van. more later,

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

Ahem.

'You're going home in the back of the divVy van!'

(clap, clap, clap clap clap, clap clap clap clap, clap clap).

Two Vs, buddy. Two Vs.

SCPP комментирует...

i would expect from you an approach based more on principle and belief than a half justified self-serving wishy washy one like this. it is a great and common mistake of man to assume our reactions justify otherwise meaningless events. if a tree falls in the forest...only a man giving it the proper emotion can make it actual? to be certain man has the power to join events and make them much greater, but should he chose not to the events still retain their meaningfulness. poor, arrogant mankind...but since you find yourself in limbo between these two worlds there is hope, dont despair, one has not overcome completely, you can still be recovered.

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

Listen mate. I like you and all, but I must say I find your style of polemic to be both illogical and obtuse. It's becoming tiresome. I tried to give you an honest explanation of my perception of my perception of reality. You've dismissed it as 'half-justified', 'self-serving' and 'wishy-washy' without actually explaining why it is any of these things. You then go on to claim that you expect from me an approach 'based on principle and belief'. What the fuck does this mean? Precisely what is this approach, and why should I pursue it? More pertinently, why on earth would you expect me to pursue it?

I vehemently disagree with you that 'events still retain their meanginfulness' regardless of whether that meaning is invested in it by a person. So long as one is prepared to accept that there is no higher being, people are the only arbiters of meaningfulness. I am prepared to accept that there is no higher being, and that I am the arbiter of meaningfulness. If you think this attitude merits lashings of pity, fella, you lash away. In the meantime, I'll devise some of the most fantastic, facetious, delightful, and satirical meanings ever invested into events. You should try it some time - it ain't limbo, it's a veritable menagerie of bullshit and whimsy.

SCPP комментирует...

if you are prepared to accept that there is no higher being what exactly is the purpose of existence? come on, seriously now, what is it? and i beg you not to say pleasure, or that existence is a purpose in itself. please, please, tell me the truth. or perhaps i should ask the question in a more dostoyevsky styled way: why have you not commited suicide? because really, its incredibly clear that this is what youre driving towards(i mean asking the question, not the act itself...).
i quite sympathize with your demand for clarification of this approach, that is fair, especially when someone is as lost at sea as yourself;-)unfortunately i havent the patience to explain it, neither do i think its is the most important point, i think you understand perfectly already that something is amiss, and that, as they say, is quite sufficient.

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

'if you are prepared to accept that there is no higher being what exactly is the purpose of existence?'

Whatever purpose I choose to give it at any given moment.

'come on, seriously now, what is it?'

To be more precise, the overwhelming joy and despair at the knowledge that I am arbiter of my own existence.

'why have you not commited suicide?'

I have not yet found a good reason to do so. The joy and despair of existence are currently worth more to me than the possibility of void.

'unfortunately i havent the patience to explain it, neither do i think its is the most important point'

Clearly. Unfortunately, claiming that you are too impatient and too important to explain an approach which you have been erratically vaunting for the duration of this conversation is unlikely to leave me convinced that your position is more reasonable than mine.

'i think you understand perfectly already that something is amiss, and that, as they say, is quite sufficient'

Compounding your impatience and conceit with arrogance? Let me assure you: I am not being deliberately asinine. I do not understand your position. I am not just playing games. As a requiem to the approach which you once endorsed but now deem unimportant, I will ask again:

Why is an existence in which the individual is the arbiter of meaningfulness 'half-justified', 'wishy-washy', and 'self-serving'? What is this approach based on 'principle and belief' that you speak of?

SCPP комментирует...

"Clearly. Unfortunately, claiming that you are too impatient and too important to explain an approach which you have been erratically vaunting for the duration of this conversation is unlikely to leave me convinced that your position is more reasonable than mine."

i never claimed to be important.

"I have not yet found a good reason to do so. The joy and despair of existence are currently worth more to me than the possibility of void."

this is a very worrying statement. and it is very erratic. one day your mood changes and you commit the act - but the next day you could have swung back! be careful about the next day! moreover i dont believe it at all. neither do i believe you receive any joy from this position. please, i asked you to be honest.

you havent commited suicide because you werent created to, man was created for life - this is why death is still such a cause of fear and sadness: because it was not meant for man. you would think after thousands of years we would have got accustomed to the idea of death so that it was neither frightening nor sad.

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

Worrying or not, it is a logically defensible position. I really am very surprised that you seem unwilling - possibly even unable - to conceive of a mindset which engages with reality from a position of atheism. There are many people in the world who hold such a mindset - I would argue that everybody does at some point, however briefly. Dismissing it as 'dishonest' is akin to dismissing a perfectly natural part of the human condition. I hope you understand that it is not sufficient to claim that I am being 'dishonest', then attempt to justify this by explaining 'why man was created'. I do not believe that there is a reason why man was created. This is one of the fundamental premises of atheism.

I hope you can also understand why I am beginning to suspect you of intellectual dishonesty here. You have made a number of highly contentious claims regarding my personal philosophy. I have asked you to justify those claims. If you cannot, you should retract them.

You have also written a lengthy post and engaged in discussion over the concept of 'equality'. I have tried to give you my understanding of this term, at least within the confines of the subject you wish to discuss. You have stated that you expected me to ascribe to another understanding 'based on principle and belief'. I have asked you to explain this understanding. If you cannot, you should retract the claim that I or anyone else should ascribe to it.

Can you see why I think your arguments are facile? It very much feels to me as if you are refusing to engage with a topic which YOU brought up, but instead are trying to evade explicit discussion through further speculative criticism of my position.

I will ask again:

Why is an existence in which the individual is the arbiter of meaningfulness 'half-justified', 'wishy-washy', and 'self-serving'? What is this approach based on 'principle and belief' that you speak of?

SCPP комментирует...

"I do not believe that there is a reason why man was created. This is one of the fundamental premises of atheism."
it must just be a slip of the tongue that allowed you to concede that man was indeed created while contending at the same time to be atheist, so i wont press the matter.

i disagree with you most vehemently that every man at some time experiences atheism. i would even like to say: i disagree most vehemently that any man has ever experienced atheism.
since i cannot recognize it as a natural part of the human condition i have no other recourse but to dismiss it.

having said that, i take your critisism for not engaging you directly over the matter of equality. i answered you already that i had no patience for the topic. you are only exasperating yourself by not believing in my impatience. i cannot believe in an atheist world view, and you refuse to believe in my impatience. not only that, you refuse to believe in a world view that cannot understand atheism. one of us must give in. i will try to answer at least something, because it has not been my desire to irritate you.
i have already said that an existence where the individual is the'arbiter of meaningfulness' is all of those things which you chose to be offended by (though i assure you i meant no offence - i will even withdraw them and replace them with more politically correct terms like: uncertain, prone to doubt, mentally disabled)is inferior because it is at the mercy of mood. and i think mood is an erratic thing, influenced by weather, and colour combination. i dont think humans are very stable or just creatures. i wouldnt set my watch to the beating of my heart. neither will i do so with my set of principles. and how much more important are principles than my watch??!! this is why i think it is dishonest. i cannot be sure, but i think you must have at some time felt doubt over your choice of beliefs. then you chose to drown out the voice of doubt. the law says dont steal - you can chose to ignore that. but i digress...the approach i would speak of begins by accepting some other standard than our own desire (choice, whim, mood, call it what you like.) and by accepting mans great fallibility and imperfection. if you cant accept this first thing why would i waste my time trying to explain further?
that is why i havent answered you directly. im not trying to be facile or dishonest.
is that an acceptable answer?

Pigpen Khazar комментирует...

Good man. A pedantic and miserly retraction is better than no retraction at all.

Now, let me cast an eye over this last missive while my woman-slave cooks me breakfast...

Hm. Aside from the nights of anguish I spent awake at the prospect that you didn't respect my мировоззрение, I kinda wanted you to understand how I was attempting to reconcile two seemingly contradictory thoughts. Once we finally sifted through the layers of dazzling and distracting parable, it seemed to me that this is what you were driving at. How does Gavril reconcile his desire for uniqueness with his knowledge that he will never be unique? Answer: I don't fucking know. I'd best go read the book and find out. In the meantime, I figured I'd try to give you an indication of how I might be trying to reconcile two seemingly contradictory conceptions of my own. A more simple answer than the one I gave you is: Lies, Fucking Lies. I'm lying to myself about being a god walking this earth. You seem to think I'm lying to myself about believing that the events which take place have no signficance other than that which I invest into them.

Well, that's fine with me. I don't know anybody who doesn't lie to themselves. Even if we don't agree WHY it is happening, at least we both agree that it IS happening.

Now go write a novel about it, and spare me a thought when you're sipping Nobel Prize-funded daiquiris in St. Tropez.