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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090324 02:50 
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zharth wrote:
Kashi wrote:
or (and this is a true freedom) initiate the process to strike said tax from the books by putting it to a vote

"True" freedom. I like that. By putting the decision into the hands of other people. That's true freedom, alright.


What? I was making the statement that Doug likes to use "freedom" a lot pertaining to what he can and cannot do. I also made the statement that a lot of people in this country don't know what our real freedoms are, that is, the ones this country was founded on. The right to vote is one of those. Hence: "true". Someone could make up a "fake" freedom by saying that fat people have the right to paint their dick blue and walk around naked hitting people with it. I mean, Doug said no one else's opinion matters right? So if it's my opinion that I find said dick slapping to be repulsive, I can't do anything because I don't have the "right" to tell the dick-slappers to stop; they can do what they want.

I hope that clarified what I meant by "true freedom".

PS - If you don't accept the democratic vote as a solution to issues, then what is your proposed solution? A dictatorship? Is that not also putting the decision into the hands of other people? Isn't just about any situation sans anarchy putting the decision into the hands of other people?

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090324 07:20 
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As usual, you certainly have a way with providing colorful examples...

Kashi wrote:
If you don't accept the democratic vote as a solution to issues, then what is your proposed solution? A dictatorship? Is that not also putting the decision into the hands of other people? Isn't just about any situation sans anarchy putting the decision into the hands of other people?

I think you may have just answered your own question. Seriously, though, I'm not here to propose solutions, I'm only here to point out existing faults. :lol: Democracy is not perfection. I'm not committed to the idea that it's not the best we've currently got, but even if it is, I still don't think it's good enough.

As for your usage of the term "true", it may be a matter of semantics, but to me "true" freedoms are the ideals (the ones we *should* have), of which our "actual" freedoms (the ones we *do* have, according to law/society) are only an approximation.

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090324 19:33 
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Well, colorful examples tend to have impact and stick in one's mind, so they work. :lol:

I suppose we could leave the confusion up to semantics.

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090324 20:19 
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I'm cool with the tax. Just tax WoW players instead of cigarette smokers. It's not like the fascist populous cares about either group. ;) I just don't think it's fair. Why should htey have to pay more for whateveryone else is getting for less, it's kind of like the fat/black/feminists you talked about. As far as forcing people to be thin, I guess I just read you wrong. As for second hand smoke, I do know people who only smoke cigarettes in their homes. They're like 50 year old women at work...

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090325 11:54 
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zharth wrote:
Seriously, though, I'm not here to propose solutions, I'm only here to point out existing faults. :lol:

I know I said this, but I was thinking about the subject a little bit more today.

Philosophically speaking, in a dictatorship, only one person has power, and thus the country meets the ideal of only one person. In a democracy, the majority has power, so the country conforms to the ideal of the majority - however, with multiple people in power, one person's ideal must be reconciled with the others, and what results is a compromise between the majority's individual ideals. So, for most people, the country is mostly ideal, and this is indeed better than having a country that is perfectly ideal, but for only one person. The problem with democracy, is with the minority that doesn't fit under the title of "most people". They end up at the whim of the majority, and thus, from their perspective, democracy becomes very much like a dictatorship, where the dictator is merely a massive body of people instead of a single person - but their ideals, like the dictator's, are still very much contrary to the minority's own.

Philosophically speaking, in an anarchy, everyone has power, and ideally, the "country" would meet the ideals of each of its individual members. Of course, this isn't the case, because not all people have equal abilities, and without a governing body, certain people are free to exert power over others. In which case the purity of "anarchy" has been lost. It becomes more of a strong-archy.

The ideal, then, would not be a system with no rule, but a system where every individual person's desires and ideals were treated equally. A city-state where each member was their own king, with their interests protected by law. This is, however, impossible. In a world with more than one person, there will be conflict. Ideals will clash, and between two people of equal authority, there will be no legal solution, and thus anarchy will rear its head, and the stronger will overpower the weaker (I'm sure you've heard of "war"). This will not do.

Obviously, we can't cling completely to our ideals: we have to make a compromise. But is there a better compromise than majority rule? The flaw behind majority rule is that quantity takes importance over quality. Not to say that the minority is more important than the majority - but that any one member of the minority has as much right to an ideal existence (or the closest compromise) as any one member of the majority. But when the majority rules by number, they can exert their power over the minority. One person's serious grievance may be a lot of people's mild discomfort, but the people have the advantage of number, and in a majority rule, the person in the minority gets trampled on.

Personally, I believe that the only principle that warrants the limiting of any man's absolute freedom is that of harm. And I would word it in the form of the Wiccan Rede: an it harm none, do what ye will. The inherent complication is the assessment and the weighing of this "harm". The ideal is for all to act in such a manner as to prevent the least amount of harm possible. But it is impossible to cause no harm. Thus the weighing of harm becomes paramount. Essentially, this is the process of restoring "quality" to the majority rule's quantity-based justice system. Unfortunately, this system is impossible in practice because we have no way of universally defining "harm", nor of being able to successfully impart the full weight of one man's harm into the conceptual faculty of another man. In other words, you can never truly know just how much this action harms me, from my perspective, as I can never truly know how it harms you, from yours. This is, essentially, the problem of 'what it is like to be a bat'.

So there you have it. I still haven't proposed any solutions, but I think I've managed to at least expound a bit on the existing faults. :3eyes:

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090325 15:18 
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Your description was definitely an interesting read. At least there's somewhat of a realist lurking deep inside Zep's mind. :lol:

But, we already have enough people in this world that expound on the existing faults with no ideas (actually, expound is too dignified for them, they're just complainers). It made me orz when you wrote a pretty detailed, rational post and then still didn't have any suggestions. You pitched ideas for a "in-an-ideal-world" scenario but these are just thought experiments. If someone is absolutely not accepting with the current state, yet has no realistic solutions, it's really bothersome to hear complaints. And hey, I've been guilty of it at times as well, just ask Panda when he's tried to encourage me to find a job. I think the difference is that I know I'm complaining pointlessly; others don't, or ignore the fact that they are.

Edit: I wanted to add something. You spoke of minorities quite a bit and expressed your dissatisfaction with how they're treated. Could I ask you to explain that more? How are you in any way a minority? Are you a "minority" because of how you think? Are you a minority because you're a guy that likes his solitude? Because of censorship (on which you made a thread)? You can't possibly be a minority because of a single issue, because technically we're all minorities (everyone has at least one or two issues they're very passionate about).

You, Doug, and others speak a hell of a lot about minorities, oppression, etc... Sometimes I think the words are used as a front to say something else. Like: I'm tired of being alone I wish more people would find my type dreamy and awesome, so I want to change the world so my type is the standard for others. Or: I want a high-paying job but don't want the corporate culture that may come with it (should I choose a corporate-like job), so I want to change the world so that my lifestyle is the standard to which everything else is measured. Or: I wish this world was more like an anime or fairy tale where I can be this hero and everyone will love me and I'll get pussy left and right.

Those last lines probably came off harshly; I know the paragraph opened with the question initially directed at you and Doug but didn't mean any personal attacks. I'm sort of lumping together the types of people I encounter on things like WoW, SL, 4chan, etc... and you can't argue that there are plenty of em out there. Anyway, do you understand what I'm trying to ask?

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090325 22:40 
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Kashi wrote:
Sometimes I think the words are used as a front to say something else. Like: I'm tired of being alone I wish more people would find my type dreamy and awesome, so I want to change the world so my type is the standard for others. Or: I want a high-paying job but don't want the corporate culture that may come with it (should I choose a corporate-like job), so I want to change the world so that my lifestyle is the standard to which everything else is measured.


Seconded. It seems like in the modern era, they're all buzzwords for "I don't like the way things are and I wish they were my way". I mean, yeah, it's understandable, but you really have to work with what you have.


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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090325 23:32 
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Kashi wrote:
You spoke of minorities quite a bit and expressed your dissatisfaction with how they're treated. Could I ask you to explain that more? How are you in any way a minority? Are you a "minority" because of how you think? Are you a minority because you're a guy that likes his solitude? Because of censorship (on which you made a thread)? You can't possibly be a minority because of a single issue, because technically we're all minorities (everyone has at least one or two issues they're very passionate about).

You, Doug, and others speak a hell of a lot about minorities, oppression, etc... Sometimes I think the words are used as a front to say something else. Like: I'm tired of being alone I wish more people would find my type dreamy and awesome, so I want to change the world so my type is the standard for others. Or: I want a high-paying job but don't want the corporate culture that may come with it (should I choose a corporate-like job), so I want to change the world so that my lifestyle is the standard to which everything else is measured. Or: I wish this world was more like an anime or fairy tale where I can be this hero and everyone will love me and I'll get pussy left and right.

These comments are not off-base. In fact, that's exactly how I feel. I agree that everybody is a minority to some extent, or in some aspect. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, "society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members." Because it's a majority system we live under, it's not perfect for any single person, and there will be parts, for every man, that he doesn't like.

But look. There's a "norm" that's created from the average of all people, and each individual person has a quantifiable (in theory if not practice) discrepancy from that norm. Some of us are closer to the norm than others. This society is one possibility. The things that are expected of people, the way we're expected to live, what we're expected to value and desire - there is some leniency, yes, but in general, it is expected of people largely to conform to the system that's in place.

When I look at the system and how I'm expected to live, I am unceasingly confronted with customs that seem so bizarre and alien to me, that, quite honestly and quite seriously, I've often times come to question whether I'm really human. I just can't relate to these people and the way they live. It doesn't feel right to me. I feel like I was born on the wrong planet or something.

What makes me different? First of all, I've got problems. Everybody's got problems. But most people can still function in society as they deal with their problems. Do you see me functioning in society? An alcoholic can still hold a job and raise a family - and even if he does lose them, he can build them up again. A person that can't keep his life together can still relate to other people. He can make friends, he can talk to people, they can help him out. I have none of this. I can't relate to people, I don't understand how to communicate with people. I'm not "getting by". I'm hiding in a dark little hole, exerting all my effort to avoid interaction with other humans. I shouldn't even be here. I shouldn't be alive. I'm an anomaly. I've been living on this planet for a quarter of a century - over a quarter of the average modern human lifespan, and you know what? I still don't feel like this place is home.

From there, I guess it goes more into specifics. But when I feel so out of place in this world, how can you blame me if I fantasize about living in a different world? :grey:

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090326 01:51 
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Well your post certainly helps explain things, so thanks for writing it out. You draw a good analogy with society and normalcy. The only thing I would question in the first three paragraph is whether you truly believe that these customs are really that bizarre. If you could tell me a few examples I could try and tackle them to see if they exist in your life and you might just not notice. Is one of those customs a family? You have that. Your dad's a really great guy, really chill, generous, and friendly. I know your dad loves ya. You have two brothers, and I don't know how you get along with Kev, but you and Doug seem to do just fine. You have friends, I mean, you're friends with myself and Panda. I'm sure you have online friends as well; probably just need to meet em! Give me a few examples of what you find it hard to wrap your mind around and between Panda and I, maybe we convince you that you already live it or could easily come around to at least understanding it.

God, this sounds like an intervention lol.

Anyway, addressing the last paragraph, I would beg to differ on a number of things, but I would wholeheartedly agree with you off the start that everyone has problems. Everyone. And not all of them can function. If, when I was working, I went into work angry every day and snapped at my co-workers, eventually I would have just alienated myself from the group. Ditto for being consistently angry at anyone else I'd meet. That's a really easy way to not function. Alcoholics generally lose their job and family, and regaining even their sense of dignity is arduous. He/she probably can't get the old family back, depending on the damage done, and their conscience and emotions are probably ragged from realization as to what they've thrown away. If I can't keep my life together, maybe I can relate, but it doesn't do much but validate my misery, so I never get out of it. Making friends and talking to people is hard if you're like that. If I feel like I can't keep my life together, I'm going to have no sense of worth. If I don't have any sense of worth or purpose, when I talk to people I'll just be a drag, and making friends will be near impossible.

As for you functioning in society, no, I do not see you functioning in it, but I 110% believe it's willingly self-imposed, kind of like how I've been a mopey bastard this past half year. But let's look at differences. Even though I usually stay cooped up in the apartment to save costs and because I have nothing to do, I crave the opportunity to get out when my buddies call me up to do something. Once that call comes I'm gone, baby. I make an effort to get out. Panda has made his effort with kendo. When I'm tired of waiting for a call or making calls, I'll hop out on my bike and go for a ride. I'll just take the truck and go for a short drive. Anything. I'm thinking of finding a softball league this summer to join, or maybe I'll kick my ass in gear and go to the gym again. I will agree it's extremely tough to find the drive to do things on one's own, but man you have to do it.

And I really do think you have it. I think you can relate to people because you're sitting here typing a post rationalizing your very situation! You are picking apart your social situation and analyzing the pieces, but just in a very negative light. I don't see how you can claim to not understand people when you're able to make claims that (at the least) I either feel or can sympathize with. You do understand how to communicate with people. You're literate and well-read. How can you possibly say you can't communicate? So what if you don't talk much? Who cares? Of course you're not going to talk or act like a frat guy, but I know you're smart enough to understand that no one expects you to talk like that.

I think you beat yourself up even more than I do which is pretty amazing considering that I really beat myself up.

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 Post subject: Re: HIV in DC, other things...
PostPosted: 090326 03:18 
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Kashi wrote:
I'm sure you have online friends as well; probably just need to meet em!

This is a good example. Everyone has "web buddies", right? People they get to know at various sites, and chat with here and there? Maybe they eventually meet up in person, or maybe not, but it's still someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of, et cetera, right? Well, not me. I visit forums. I visit blogs. I do very little in the way of contribution - being the lurker/watcher type. I don't get to know people, I don't really converse with people. The only people I've communicated with online, beyond the small handful of real world friends/acquaintances I know, are people who have sent me mail on OKCupid (a failure of a site) - and those were just brief, unfulfilling exchanges that didn't last.

Things I don't relate to:

Cell phones - I hate telephones in general. I detest talking on the phone. Everytime you want to arrange a meetup with somebody, you have to contact them on the phone. Even in this day of email/IM convenience, it's still always the phone the people default to. Can I not function in this world without having to use a telephone? The only good thing about cell phones is teen "sexting", but that's a completely different issue...

Bar hopping - I don't understand what's so appealing about drinking at bars. People get together with their friends and hang out at bars on the weekends, meet skanky chicks and shit like that. It has zero appeal to me. I don't even like drinking alcohol. Ask me to attend a social function, and people might respect my decision not to drink, but it's like roping me off - if I'm not there to drink, why the hell am I there anyway? Besides, I prefer not to interact with drunk people.

There's a lot of vague things in society that bug me, that has to do with morals and values and whatnot. One of those is this hypocritical, deceptive mask we're all expected to put on. We have to have a "professional" image separate from our "personal" image, and in some cases, if the two are even linked, it could be disastrous. I just want to be me, and I want my personal image to be my professional image. People are so concerned with dressing up snazzy, too - I'm more concerned with being comfortable. Why can't I just go to work naked?

Society is diurnal. I can't go shopping, I can't go to stores, because the 24-hour options are incredibly limited. When I talk to people about my schedule, they *expect* that it's no more than slightly deviant to the typical 8-11 block. They can't seem to fathom why me attending a function at 10am is impossible - because they are never asked to attend functions at 2am. Christmas is a nightmare for me, because it's a daylong festivity *centered* around the morning. I can't attend funerals when loved relatives pass away, because I have no intention of sitting there disrespectfully nodding off, when the entire experience is nothing but misery. If the relative loved me, wouldn't they prefer I spent the day in bed, comfortably, remembering them lovingly, rather than thinking of their funeral as "a hindrance"? You can't just tell me to stop being nocturnal, because then you're forcing me to live in a way that I don't understand. I like being nocturnal because it has advantages - the shadows are comfortable, I don't feel like I'm being judged as much, when there are less people around to judge me. Going out in daylight is painful for me. Why should you expect me to live like everyone else?

A year or so ago I attended a druid ritual on top of a hill on the sunrise of the summer solstice. I was really excited about it, because I was just getting into paganism, and that was my first real ritual. I learned about the open-to-the-public (yet still small) gathering via a website I stumbled upon, looking for pagan rituals in the neighborhood. But you know what, the ritual was kind of disappointing. It was just a bunch of old hippies performing Christian services outside at dawn, instead of in a church, with the names of the angels changed to nature deities. I couldn't really relate to those people. I was there, I was part of the ritual, I was part of the group, but I was still very much alone, with intents and purposes very different from the people who were there. They were all so...normal...

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