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[P]
Get'em While They're Young

By skyknight in Op-Ed
Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 07:05:44 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Statutory rape, in the common parlance, refers to adults having sex with minors. I, however, wish to speak of a different kind of statutory rape, one that while superficially different is in fact alarmingly similar.


The reasons for the prohibition on what is known as statutory rape are fairly straightforward. Primarily, the laws exist as recognition that children are particularly vulnerable to manipulation by adults, and as such require legal protection to avoid being subjected to psychologically damaging situations. The laws posit a fundamental imbalance between the capacity of adults and children when it comes to matters sexual and accordingly erect an artificial barrier to forfend exploitation.

This is all well and good, but ultimately incomplete in scope. Specifically, it neglects the fact that children are extraordinarily impressionable when it comes to virtually anything in life. They possess a paltry amount of prior knowledge and command only a rudimentary grasp of analytic thought processes, thus rendering them woefully susceptible to suggestion. This fact, however, is not lost on adults. Rather, it is deliberately leveraged by them.

Seemingly the primary objective of adults, when directing their energies toward children, is to impart their sense of values. This process of inculcation is ongoing and pervasive. Whether it's parents carting their children off to a place of worship for religious indoctrination, Republicans and Democrats recruiting the next generation of the party base, the ACLU orchestrating the creation of Gay/Straight Alliance clubs, or the NRA soliciting five page essays on the Second Amendment, the assertion of Patricia Nell Warren rings true: "Whoever captures the kids owns the future."

Do kids really have a thorough enough grasp of the issues to be for Kerry? Is it not troublesome that Jerry Falwell is gleefully asserting that "I am the Pied Piper", whilst proselytizing to hundreds of thousands of children via email lists, using addresses collected en masse from church youth groups? Nay, strap the children down, tape their eyes open, and let the enlightenment begin, for procrastination will lead to missed opportunities. Children ages 5-12 are at their ripest. These are the golden years when it comes to imbuing humans with value systems they are apt to carry for a life time, so stamp them out like so many coins on a press, for they will one day be your currency at the voting booths.

To a large extent, the tendency to inflict one's values on children is indicative of a doctrine of preemption. There exists a palpable fear in the hearts of most that a failure to instill a sense of values at an early age will leave youngsters vulnerable to having their heads polluted by other ideas. Consequently, and lacking any perceived alternatives, people rationally conclude that they should cram children's heads full of their own ideology as soon as possible, lest valuable real estate be consumed with the ideology of others. Thus we see such a clambering to win the hearts and minds of children, or perhaps lacking sufficiently developed minds, just their hearts, with the hope that their hearts will rub off on their minds.

Is there not another way, a way to avoid this insidious arms race of ideas? In fact, there is. It's not easy, and it's not as enticing as creating an ideological mini-you, but in the quest to create an intellectually critical society it is the only way to go. When discoursing with children on matters philosophical, eschew arguing in favor of your dearest beliefs, and instead simply strive to be a conversational sparring partner. Seek to demonstrate by example the finer points of logic and reason. Convey the value of probability and statistics. Elucidate the framework of scientific method. Create not an ideologue but an analyst, not a zealot but a skeptic. Form the child not in the image of yourself, but rather into a fighter who can stand his own ground, who can win his own battles without the support of pre-fabbed chicanery. Don't stunt his growth by feeding him PREs, Politics Ready to Eat.

There are substantial tangible benefits to forging such a citizenry. In an age of pervasive media giants and far reaching governments, there exists an enormous risk for wholesale manipulation of a gullible population. While on the surface it may seem that zealots are of a sclerotic nature, in fact they are highly malleable, like putty in the hands of the powerful. Without the mental tools to filter junk data, the mind of an ideologue can be bent to any purpose in the employ of a skilled firebrand.

If you harbor any hope for the children of tomorrow, be a contrarian. Share your processes, but not your prejudices.

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Get'em While They're Young | 200 comments (170 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
There is no alternative (3.00 / 27) (#2)
by driptray on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 12:55:35 AM EST

There is no way to avoid inculcating your values. It's ludicrous to even try, and it suggests that you are on those people who see your own values not as values, but as something more universal.

Your suggestions to "be a conversational sparring partner", "demonstrate by example the finer points of logic and reason", "convey the value of probability and statistics", and "elucidate the framework of the scientific method" are not value-free. They show that you value the rational, the scientific, and the secular. These are as much values as any political or religious ideology.

As a father I am impressed by the unresolvable tension between inculcating my child with values such as skepticism about authority, whilst undeniably being an authority figure. I guess it's a little like invading a sovereign country and establishing a military dictatorship in order to spread democracy, although in my case I would like to think that I am genuine about my stated aims. My daughter may disagree about how genuine I am, in which case I should applaud her.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating

Indeed. (none / 0) (#116)
by gyan on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 11:16:11 AM EST

 All ideas are memetic vectors, including "objective thinking".

 The justification for inculcating such thinking, is that due to our affinity for empirical resonance, objective thinking is more successful.

********************************

[ Parent ]

There is no justification, but rather a reason, (none / 0) (#120)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 03:57:49 PM EST

and the reason is that non-objective thinking often tends to result in organisms getting eaten and thus not reproducing.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Whatever [n/t]. (none / 0) (#126)
by gyan on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 05:32:43 PM EST



********************************

[ Parent ]
post-modernism (none / 1) (#177)
by Nyarlathotep on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 04:41:08 PM EST

Your making quite the post-modernist statment there.  Of course, your not actually wrong, just utterly irrelevant, as is most post-modernism.

Our goal ought to be to push humanity to evolve faster.. a corollary of which is evolving with a little less bloodshead BTW.  By giving your child skeptisism, you grant her a chance to change paradigms a couple extra times in her life, and give humanity a tiny little bit more.  Sure, we are one life closer to losing forever the historically correct understanding of dante's inferno, just as any given scientific improvment makes us one step closer to losing forever the genetic make up of spem species of south american frog.  But, in either case, lets not kid ourselves with this post-modernist masturbation, we just need to know how to preserve a few interesting things.

One advantage of being objective is that I can recognize that the historically correct interpretation of dante's inferno has likely been written down before, but that there are plenty of south american frogs who have not even been found, and hence whose genes have not been sequences and whose behavior/habitat has not been studied.

Anyway, I'm just a random shmo on the internet.. and you know what they say about arguing on the internet and the special olimpics.  But I can be reasonably confident in recommending that you and your daughter should both read Richard Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" and Peter Singer's "Darwinian Left" (very very short).  These two books are quite formative in current philosophical thought.
Campus Crusade for Cthulhu -- it found me!
[ Parent ]

Yes (none / 0) (#200)
by driptray on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 09:24:08 PM EST

I quite agree that I am making a classical post-modern statement (and how's that for an oxymoron - "classic post-modernism").

But I'm not lost in some valueless soup - I too share the values of scientific skepticism, and hope to pass them on to my child. But science should never attempt to immunise itself from the sort of scrutiny it applies to other values/belief systems. Sure, at this point in time that lack of immunity doesn't actually get you anywhere, except point temptingly to the valueless soup (hence your argument about irrelevancy, and all those criticisms of post-modernism as "value-free").

I guess I just have an unresolved ambivalence about science and a sneaking regard for other ways of thinking. Science as a burden rather than the leading edge of "progress".
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

Ha! this is hilarious! (2.50 / 8) (#3)
by codejack on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 01:16:11 AM EST

Oh, wait, was it meant to be funny?

Just in case; This is a paradoxical argument, i.e. objectivism is a trait that you are suggesting be impressed upon young people, and many people (obviously) disagree with the concept. While I understand your point, and even agree with objectivism in general, that same objectivism forces me to point out that impressing this trait on young people will escalate "this insidious arms race of ideas."

At the same time, this reinforces your point in that dealing with seemingly contradictory information helps to "break the mold" that many children get stuck with, and encourage what you're talking about, which is really what educators (as opposed to teachers) call "critical thinking."


Please read before posting.

Go read an article on memetics, (2.50 / 10) (#4)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 02:10:33 AM EST

hopefully something by Dawkins, and come back when you realize that you're not saying anything new, and furthermore, you're taking an awfully roundabout way of saying it.

Oh, and -1. Did this even have a topic? At first I thought it was about statutory rape. Then I thought it was a rant against religion. Finally I realized you were just stoned.


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I was under the impression... (none / 1) (#13)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:12:48 AM EST

that everyone was tired of my ranting about memetics. Obviously you haven't seen some of my recent comment threads.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Heh. (none / 0) (#34)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 01:27:40 PM EST

You feel ignored? I just now returned to k5 after vanishing for a month or so, and apparently no one noticed.

Chin up, buddy. Give me a chance to catch up on my backlog, and I'm sure I'll find time to be upset by your memetics obsession. :P


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
I noticed *hug* (none / 0) (#155)
by Torka on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 08:00:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
-1, shut up (none / 0) (#105)
by trhurler on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 08:50:37 PM EST

Dawkins is a man possessed of more intellect than common sense, and more education than intellect, and what he says is a whole lot bolder and less plausible than what skyknight has said.

Also, Dawkins has contributed to the single greatest breakdown in the conceptual faculties of otherwise intelligent people in decades. You, for instance, probably actually believe in these "memes" you blabber on about.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
This be the verse (2.61 / 13) (#5)
by Herring on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:20:47 AM EST

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
  They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
  And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
  By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
  And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
  It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
  And don't have any kids yourself.

- Philip Larkin

Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you

+1FP (3.00 / 2) (#9)
by nebbish on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 05:27:30 AM EST

He might have been a Nazi but the miserable bastard sure could write.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

OT:Quote-a-long-a-Larkin (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by GenerationY on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:40:30 AM EST

Groping back to bed after a piss
I part thick curtains, and am startled by
The rapid clouds, the moon's cleanliness.

Four o'clock: wedge-shadowed gardens lie
Under a cavernous, a wind-picked sky.
There's something laughable about this,

The way the moon dashes through clouds that blow
Loosely as cannon-smoke to stand apart
(Stone-coloured light sharpening the roofs below)

High and preposterous and separate -
Lozenge of love! Medallion of art!
O wolves of memory! Immensements! No,

One shivers slightly, looking up there.
The hardness and the brightness and the plain
Far-reaching singleness of that wide stare

Is a reminder of the strength and pain
Of being young; that it can't come again,
But is for others undiminished somewhere.

Everyone writes poems about the moon sooner or later.
Female poets are, indeed, contractually obliged to revisit the topic ad nauseum.
But no-one, no-one writes them quite like like that. Nobody ever wasted money on buying Larkin poetry books. Perhaps the best tribute is that his talents transcended his own rather miserable nature and unacceptable political views to such an extent as to render them utterly irrelevant.

[ Parent ]

Amen to that [nt] (none / 0) (#17)
by nebbish on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:45:06 AM EST


---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Yes... (none / 0) (#15)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:19:12 AM EST

I've often thought that if only we could isolate one generation from their elders we could start with a clean slate instead of having children inherit a vicious and bloody cycle of hopelessness. Obviously that will never happen, though.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
You should explore that idea in a story (2.60 / 5) (#25)
by Adam Rightmann on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:06:47 AM EST

maybe about a bunch of schoolkids on a plane that crashes near an island, with no adults.

I'm sure they'd create an idyllic society.

[ Parent ]

Even better (none / 0) (#26)
by Big Dogs Cock on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:36:32 AM EST

Make a movie about a couple of kids marooned on an island. Have shots of naked, young Brooke Shields swimming and stuff.
People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
[ Parent ]
your metaphysics are wack (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:49:26 AM EST

You Rousseauvian.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Plato said the same in the Republic (none / 0) (#35)
by gumbo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 03:31:57 PM EST

As you well know.

Should we therefore conclude that all metaphysics is wack?

[ Parent ]

no (none / 1) (#38)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:04:46 PM EST

Just Platonic and other crypto-Gnostic metaphysicises.

Seriously, the 'tabula rasa' makes no sense because at some point in history there must have been a 'first generation.'
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

At this point... (none / 1) (#40)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:30:27 PM EST

I'm confused about what you are trying to argue. As far as humans are concerned, there was never anything like a "first generation" as presumably we evolved in an unbroken line from some bacterium or other. Where precisely we became "human" is hopelessly blurred. In any case, what is it that you are trying to say?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
if society makes us evil (none / 0) (#46)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:07:28 PM EST

What makes society evil?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Mu (none / 1) (#51)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:06:53 PM EST

I don't think we have the same concept of "evil". You had better clarify the term before we proceed. In typical discourse, I try very hard to avoid using that word because it is to semantically ambiguous and abused that it is ofter counterproductive to employ it. If I were coerced into proffering a definition, it would probably be "shortsightedly stupid", which I would venture is quite different from your notions of evil.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
look (2.50 / 2) (#59)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:45:06 PM EST

You're saying that a clean state would essentially cure the problem of, if not evil, short-sighted stupidity, which sounds to me like a Rousseauvian argument about man being naturally 'good,' but society making him 'evil,' which is metaphysically naive - how did we get short-sightedly stupid in the first place? How can mankind escape from the societies he creates and must create?
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Heh, good lord... (1.66 / 3) (#64)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:54:29 PM EST

That's what this is concerning? It was largely an offhanded and wistful comment. Mostly what I meant is that a preponderance of our violence, hatred and prejudice is the result of carry over from one generation to the next.

I don't believe that we are inherently good, and I don't believe that we are inherently evil. I think we are inherently rational, and that people who are "evil" or whatever you want to call it act as such because their brain machinery has been polluted with unfortunate algorithms, assignments of utilities, and perceptions of probability distributions.

Really, I take a very neutral, very minimalist view on things. We are the products of our brains, genes, environments, and cultural history. To be "good" or "evil" is wholly dependent on your criteria. If you ask someone whether X is good or evil, you will not necessarily get the same answer. As such, I feel inclined to answer "mu" to most of the questions that you are wont to ask.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
inherently rational? (none / 0) (#72)
by lurker4hire on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 11:13:35 PM EST

Never been in love I guess?

[ Parent ]
Um... (none / 0) (#83)
by skyknight on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 05:48:06 AM EST

You don't think that the desire to spread one's genes is rational? Just because you haven't bothered going to the trouble of analyzing the rational motives behind something, it doesn't mean that said analysis cannot be done. Why do you think people tend to be so damned choosy?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
god, you're disgusting. (none / 0) (#86)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:10:24 AM EST

how low do you have to go before you trade your humanity for dawkins' pseudoscience?


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]
Why should love feel any less good for me... (none / 0) (#87)
by skyknight on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:22:26 AM EST

if I can think about its roots consciously? Can only the willfully non-analytic experience pleasure?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
ugh. (none / 0) (#88)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:26:41 AM EST

you don't know what it's roots are, you fucking idiot.

"feel less good." jesus.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

But I suppose you do? (none / 0) (#89)
by skyknight on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:37:40 AM EST

Would you care to be a little more enlightening and a little less insulting, or am I too beyond hope to be worth the trouble of saving yet still worth the trouble of heckling?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
'what is love? (baby, don't hurt me!)' (3.00 / 3) (#90)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:50:08 AM EST

you are unsalvagable, but i wouldn't care if it were otherwise.

as a matter of fact, i do know the roots of love and i'll happily tell you of them, though you deserve less. the story comes to me through plato, through socrates, and finally from aristophanes. (it has an excellent pedigree!)

here it is:

"In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it; for the original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, having a name corresponding to this double nature, which had once a real existence, but is now lost, and the word "Androgynous" is only preserved as a term of reproach. In the second place, the primeval man was round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely alike; also four ears, two privy members, and the remainder to correspond. He could walk upright as men now do, backwards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also roll over and over at a great pace, turning on his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers going over and over with their legs in the air; this was when he wanted to run fast.

        Now the sexes were three, and such as I have described them; because the sun, moon, and earth are three;-and the man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made up of sun and earth, and they were all round and moved round and round: like their parents. Terrible was their might and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, and they made an attack upon the gods; of them is told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes who, as Homer says, dared to scale heaven, and would have laid hands upon the gods.

        Doubt reigned in the celestial councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship which men offered to them; but, on the other hand, the gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained.

        At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a way. He said: "I have a plan which will humble their pride and improve their manners; men shall continue to exist, but I will cut them in two and then they will be diminished in strength and increased in numbers; this will have the advantage of making them more profitable to us. They shall walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent and will not be quiet, I will split them again and they shall hop about on a single leg."

        He spoke and cut men in two, like a sorb-apple which is halved for pickling, or as you might divide an egg with a hair; and as he cut them one after another, he bade Apollo give the face and the half of the neck a turn in order that the man might contemplate the section of himself: he would thus learn a lesson of humility. Apollo was also bidden to heal their wounds and compose their forms. So he gave a turn to the face and pulled the skin from the sides all over that which in our language is called the belly, like the purses which draw in, and he made one mouth at the centre, which he fastened in a knot (the same which is called the navel); he also moulded the breast and took out most of the wrinkles, much as a shoemaker might smooth leather upon a last; he left a few, however, in the region of the belly and navel, as a memorial of the primeval state.

        After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one, they were on the point of dying from hunger and self-neglect, because they did not like to do anything apart; and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, man or woman as we call them, being the sections of entire men or women, and clung to that. They were being destroyed, when Zeus in pity of them invented a new plan: he turned the parts of generation round to the front, for this had not been always their position and they sowed the seed no longer as hitherto like grasshoppers in the ground, but in one another; and after the transposition the male generated in the female in order that by the mutual embraces of man and woman they might breed, and the race might continue; or if man came to man they might be satisfied, and rest, and go their ways to the business of life: so ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of man.

        Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the indenture of a man, and he is always looking for his other half. Men who are a section of that double nature which was once called Androgynous are lovers of women; adulterers are generally of this breed, and also adulterous women who lust after men: the women who are a section of the woman do not care for men, but have female attachments; the female companions are of this sort. But they who are a section of the male follow the male, and while they are young, being slices of the original man, they hang about men and embrace them, and they are themselves the best of boys and youths, because they have the most manly nature. Some indeed assert that they are shameless, but this is not true; for they do not act thus from any want of shame, but because they are valiant and manly, and have a manly countenance, and they embrace that which is like them. And these when they grow up become our statesmen, and these only, which is a great proof of the truth of what I am saving. When they reach manhood they are loves of youth, and are not naturally inclined to marry or beget children,-if at all, they do so only in obedience to the law; but they are satisfied if they may be allowed to live with one another unwedded; and such a nature is prone to love and ready to return love, always embracing that which is akin to him.

        And when one of them meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, whether he be a lover of youth or a lover of another sort, the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other's sight, as I may say, even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together; yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover's intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment.

        Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side, by side and to say to them, "What do you people want of one another?" they would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: "Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another's company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of two-I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire, and whether you are satisfied to attain this?"-there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love. There was a time, I say, when we were one, but now because of the wickedness of mankind God has dispersed us, as the Arcadians were dispersed into villages by the Lacedaemonians. And if we are not obedient to the gods, there is a danger that we shall be split up again and go about in basso-relievo, like the profile figures having only half a nose which are sculptured on monuments, and that we shall be like tallies.

        Wherefore let us exhort all men to piety, that we may avoid evil, and obtain the good, of which Love is to us the lord and minister; and let no one oppose him-he is the enemy of the gods who oppose him. For if we are friends of the God and at peace with him we shall find our own true loves, which rarely happens in this world at present. I am serious, and therefore I must beg Eryximachus not to make fun or to find any allusion in what I am saying to Pausanias and Agathon, who, as I suspect, are both of the manly nature, and belong to the class which I have been describing.

        But my words have a wider application-they include men and women everywhere; and I believe that if our loves were perfectly accomplished, and each one returning to his primeval nature had his original true love, then our race would be happy. And if this would be best of all, the best in the next degree and under present circumstances must be the nearest approach to such an union; and that will be the attainment of a congenial love. Wherefore, if we would praise him who has given to us the benefit, we must praise the god Love, who is our greatest benefactor, both leading us in this life back to our own nature, and giving us high hopes for the future, for he promises that if we are pious, he will restore us to our original state, and heal us and make us happy and blessed."

i feel this story has a certain plausibility your claims lack.


rmg: comments better than yours.
[ Parent ]

Society is an amoral unthinking machine. (none / 0) (#111)
by Russell Dovey on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 11:05:43 PM EST

Machines are not morally existent; society, no matter how much it impresses evil upon individuals, is not evil itself; like a toaster which burns bread all the time, it is innocent.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Why do I get the feeling (none / 1) (#53)
by gumbo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:52:43 PM EST

there's a large elephant called Original Sin lurking in the corner of your comment?

[ Parent ]
what does Original Sin mean? (3.00 / 2) (#61)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:46:39 PM EST

It means that human beings are not perfectible. You don't have to believe in a specific primeval capacity to acknowledge the reality of the pervasiveness of evil in human behaviour.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
damn my dictation software (none / 0) (#62)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:47:17 PM EST

'Catastrophe' for 'capacity' above.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Perhaps one life (none / 0) (#66)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:18:56 PM EST

as currently measured merely does not offer a fair chance at perfectibility.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
One of these days (none / 1) (#74)
by gumbo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 11:54:41 PM EST

I hope to have the big metaphysical debate with you. Unfortunately it's late in my part of the world and I have to be up early tomorrow. For the time being let me say this.

Many of the arguments I've seen you advance are convincing, but they share a common feature in that they all appeal to an existential rather than a logical necessity. I could question the idea of human imperfection by challenging the concept of perfection, and morality by denying the opposition between good and evil, and agency by abandoning the notion of free will. In all of these cases the counterargument is to observe that this line of reasoning leads to a sort of nihilism, in which one's actions and experiences have no meaning because there is no context in which they can be judged, or even in which one exists to judge them.

Now that's all well and good, but it does not (on its own) provide a reason to believe in those ideas. It simply demonstrates that they are existentially desirable, that we live poorly without them. But a necessary fiction is a fiction nevertheless.

[ Parent ]

marilyn manson and pink floyd sez (1.50 / 10) (#6)
by circletimessquare on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:39:42 AM EST

we don't need no education

we don't need no thought control

hey! teacher! leave them kids alone!


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Thank you for proving them wrong [n/t] (3.00 / 6) (#7)
by Herring on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 05:11:27 AM EST



Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure I wasn't suggesting... (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 07:13:36 AM EST

a lack of education, unless you count logic, statistics, probability and scientific method as not being an education.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
It's not the lack of education Floyd was pushing. (none / 0) (#163)
by IceTitan on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 03:39:41 AM EST

More specifically it was the indoctrination of school children into submission to authority for authority's sake.

Manson's message on the other hand is a little harder to explain. He admits it's a gimick. That you shouldn't follow anything just because someone says so. I think HE would find it quite amusing if I showed up to a concert wearing a baby blue tux or a chicken suit, surrounded by all the gothesque kids.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]

hmm (2.50 / 4) (#10)
by gdanjo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:02:02 AM EST

Share your processes, but not your prejudices.
If a person with prejudice shares their process, does that not mean that the reciever of the process will also obtain a prejudice, which may or may not be different to your own?

In other words, does prejudice define the process? Or does the process inherently favour a prejudice?

Personally, I have no qualms about communicating prejudices that I consider to be beneficial - whether rational (e.g. money), spiritual, or personal. Nature seems to favour prejudice; the trick is to filter out the ones that are ultimately self-defeating.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT

In the final analysis, (none / 0) (#44)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 05:45:24 PM EST

isn't a prejudice for taking action now to prevent our eventual death from natural senescence more rational than a prejudice for acquiring money? After all, "you can't take it with you," but a technical project aimed at achieving biological human immortality would reap perpetual dividends. In the end, this prejudice is the only one that isn't ultimately self-defeating.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
that depends (none / 1) (#50)
by gdanjo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:53:49 PM EST

isn't a prejudice for taking action now to prevent our eventual death from natural senescence more rational than a prejudice for acquiring money?
Are you willing to live like a shmuck for X years so that you can extend your life for X years? That is, are you willing to delay your "happiness" while you're young to increase your happiness while you're old?

If you are, then fine. Just don't expect other people (me included) to take up this offer. Personally, I think 80 odd years is plenty of time; I wouldn't want a day more than I naturally deserve.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

False dichotomy (none / 1) (#55)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:10:58 PM EST

The search for eternal life should prove to be one of the most, if not the most, unifying and personally satisfying and enriching cooperative endeavors in human history. Nothing about it would entail "living like a schmuck" for you or for the other billions of people around the world, especially those who do "live like schmucks" out of no personal choice of their own under the current wildly inhumane system. Is the present state of daily affairs so satisfying that you would not like it altered one little bit? Consider that if all the military budgets of the entire world were diverted to this effort, nearly a trillion dollars a year, it would stand a large chance of success in our lifetimes. Do you think your life would be personally impoverished if the worlds military budgets were directed to the search for eternal life instead? Would you even be able to notice the difference in your everyday life? You don't make fighter jets for a living, do you?

Of course, there is nothing to stop you from killing yourself if you get tired of perpetual healthy life and the endless richness of human existence, but as of right now, you really don't have any other option except death. Just a thought.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

ugh (none / 0) (#58)
by gdanjo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:31:15 PM EST

Do you think your life would be personally impoverished if the worlds military budgets were directed to the search for eternal life instead?
I work in the military, so yes, it would.

Pinko.

Of course, there is nothing to stop you from killing yourself if you get tired of perpetual healthy life and the endless richness of human existence, but as of right now, you really don't have any other option except death.
And if idiots like you get to live forever, then the military option is the only one that will rid the earth of all its dregs.

Death is the only thing that guarantees a somewhat-level playing field for all humans. If we had an option for perpetual life, you and I, my friend, will be the first to go. At that point you'll see a personal buildup of wealth/power that will make Hitler look like a walk in the park.

Shut up already about perpetual life, and die like a man (when it's your time).

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

We kind of have that already. /nt (none / 0) (#60)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:45:52 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
What is your MOS? (none / 1) (#65)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:12:08 PM EST

Is it completely non-transferrable to a post-martial world?

And if idiots like you get to live forever, then the military option is the only one that will rid the earth of all its dregs.

There are no human dregs. Moreover, more energy leaves our sun in one moment than was ever utilized by the entire human species. Energy is the fundamental requisite for reconfiguring matter, and all physical human needs are merely a matter of reconfiguring matter. I think you vastly underestimate the potential of immortal scientists to develop the methods to reconfigure matter to meet human needs while satisfying the constraints of a livable biosphere. And the stars are innumerable.

Death is the only thing that guarantees a somewhat-level playing field for all humans. If we had an option for perpetual life, you and I, my friend, will be the first to go. At that point you'll see a personal buildup of wealth/power that will make Hitler look like a walk in the park.

I think I pointed out as much in another thread. First, even now, the global playing field is about as close to level as Mount Everest. The self-proclaimed enlightened peoples of the world are blissfully content to permit the annual deaths of tens of millions from such a criminal cause as lack of food and medicine, and nearly a third of the world's people exist in nearly absolute material poverty. Immortality in the context of the current vastly inegaltarian system may indeed be calculated to produce just such a catastrophic arms race of personal power as you suggest. That is why the concurrent project of democratizing the global economy and power systems is so crucial, as a precursor to a non-apocalyptic future. Barring human annhilation by other less spectacular means, immortality will come, it is inevitable. Whether its coming is a disaster or a blessing for the human species will depend on our ability to anticipate and prepare for it now.

Shut up already about perpetual life, and die like a man (when it's your time)

It is my conviction that the mass of humanity die very poorly, and needlessly, nowadays. I have no inclination to follow them.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

no phear (none / 0) (#67)
by gdanjo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:46:50 PM EST

First, even now, the global playing field is about as close to level as Mount Everest.
But that's ok. Mount Everest is climbable. In fact, having large metaphorical mountains to climb is something we humans thrive on.

It's when the playing field is not even on planet earth is when we get into trouble. No individual has yet managed to climb the moon.

Barring human annhilation by other less spectacular means, immortality will come, it is inevitable. Whether its coming is a disaster or a blessing for the human species will depend on our ability to anticipate and prepare for it now.
No, a naturally emerging phenomena is always a success in the long run. A forced agenda (which is what you're proposing) almost always fails.

If we eventually get "imoratlity" some time in the distant future, then so be it. If we pump billions of dollars into it to try and get it while we're alive... well, like all formulas that have "good intention" and "fuckloads of money" added together, it'll fall into a heap and crush us all under it's weight.

It is my conviction that the mass of humanity die very poorly, and needlessly, nowadays. I have no inclination to follow them.
The only man that dies poorly is the man that dies in fear. If you fear death, you lose.

And you, my friend, fear death.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

How do you distinguish between... (none / 0) (#68)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:53:01 PM EST

so-called "naturally emerging" and "forced" phenomena? Seriously, what is the distinction?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
rate of change (none / 0) (#77)
by gdanjo on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 12:59:59 AM EST

Nature is a differential beast - evolution is a differential process. A naturally emerging phenomena is one with differential changes over time. A forced phenomena is the dumping of massive amount of resources for one goal, where the aim is to incorporate umpteen individual, differential changes into one big "leap."

That's not to say "forced" phenomena is impossible or somehow inherently "evil" - the moon landing and the nuclear bomb are but two examples. But the outcome of these efforts were concrete; having a project titled "human immortality" allows a wide scope of interpretation, and far-and-wide reaching consequences for which a parallel set of ethical considerations will not have (naturally) emerged - there's just not enough time.

When the nuke was built, it was known that no individual could have one, so the ethical considerations were simple - state vs. state; just an escalation of what we knew about state politics before. The effects of immortality are nowhere near so clear (except perhaps in our understanding of an "aging populace", where we're about to find out what it means to have shitloads of people living longer than ever in their unproductive years ... add viagra to the mix and it's gonna be bloody interesting!).

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

hmm what? (none / 0) (#80)
by Polverone on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 03:10:46 AM EST

I think a big part of any worthwhile project toward biological immortality is that it would extend your years of physical and mental fitness. If it just extends the nursing home years, it's pretty undesirable.

Here's an interesting situation: the desire of governments for calculations and measurements useful in military and intelligence applications forced the rapid development of digital computers. The US government was and still is the largest purchaser of computing machinery in the world. How fast would computer technology have developed without government funded R&D and (perhaps more important) vast government purchasing power? It's a sort of forced phenomenon that did indeed have widespread consequences. It's an interesting precedent.

In developed nations, people are already more likely to die of degenerative disorders or common old-age ailments than of violence or communicable diseases. Why shouldn't research money (if research money is to be spent at all) go toward tackling these end-of-life killers and then the biggie, senescence itself? It's a grand challenge that will spawn countless sub-challenges and provide research fodder for decades. I fear that it may be one of those Really Hard Problems like fusion power or artificial intelligence. Even making the last 30 years of life less plagued with degeneration would be a great advance, though.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

sure (none / 0) (#82)
by gdanjo on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 03:51:10 AM EST

I think a big part of any worthwhile project toward biological immortality is that it would extend your years of physical and mental fitness. If it just extends the nursing home years, it's pretty undesirable.
Yes, but relatively speaking, a person of 500 years will be less able/less physically and mentally fit than a person of 25 years, no matter what the technology turns out to be. If it's possible to increase these attributes with the same technology then why can't we use it on a 25 year old?

Bottom line is that quality of life is NOT a simple projection; whatever can be done to the person of 500 years can be done to the person of 25 years, so relatively speaking, the 500 year old will be at a disadvantage.

Here's an interesting situation: the desire of governments for calculations and measurements useful in military and intelligence applications forced the rapid development of digital computers.
This is what I mean by natural progresion - quality of life / quality of knowledge that emerges naturally out of our unrelated pursuits, without foresight, allowing the morality of these things to emerge at the same time - at a pace where it can actually keep up.

I'm sure that tendency towards immortality will occur naturally - they MUST occur naturally, for every attempt at deterministically creating a future has failed miserably. I don't even need to mention the Nazi's idea of evolution as an example of seeming improvement of the efficiency of a mechanism gone awry.

Why shouldn't research money (if research money is to be spent at all) go toward tackling these end-of-life killers and then the biggie, senescence itself?
It already is - medical research is an implicit projection towards this "goal." The question is: should we be striving for immortality, or should we be striving for a more general improvement of life? I bet we get some of the goals of immortality in the later direction, without the debilitating moral quandry that the former would prematurely force us to face.

In the meantime, the assumption should be that you will die - living with the opposite assumption would, in my opinion, lead to a cancerous ego.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

why not preservation? (none / 0) (#102)
by Polverone on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 05:46:38 PM EST

Yes, but relatively speaking, a person of 500 years will be less able/less physically and mentally fit than a person of 25 years, no matter what the technology turns out to be. If it's possible to increase these attributes with the same technology then why can't we use it on a 25 year old?

I don't imagine any increasing of attributes. What if 25 year olds can be effectively frozen at their peak 25 year old mental/physical fitness for several decades? Simply slowing the aging process could do a lot. I don't imagine that people who have aged naturally will be able to un-age.

Neither do I really think people would be able to extend their lifespans very much without genetic modifications before birth. I think the people who dream of living on as electronic simulations are even further removed from reality, not just because of the computational demands and the fact that intelligence remains a huge mystery but because we don't have a way to build a perfect record of the brain or any other tissue. So even if you can imagine a supercomputer able to simulate a human brain on a physical level, there's no way to put a perfect snapshot of any brain into the system.

I believe that a push to further improve medical care in developed nations will verge toward ending mortality over time, but explicitly making that a goal is perhaps more exciting than saying "we'll try to fight all common diseases and then take a look at age." Or, to think about it another way, if you could keep everyone as healthy as a 25 year old for decades, their robust and healthy bodies would stave off a wide variety of medical problems. Cancer and heart disease are mostly problems for older people. Maybe you could eliminate most instances of those conditions by blocking natural aging.

I fully expect to die. I'm not obsessed with biological immortality. I do think it would be a very exciting grand challenge problem, though, more exciting than the Apollo and Manhattan projects combined (if it actually achieved anything substantial). I can imagine some unpleasant side effects, like nanny states even more obsessed with safety than they are now, or new college graduates finding that the good jobs are already filled by experienced persons born 90 years earlier, but it's such a monumental idea that I can't deny its allure.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Let us say I have a healthy respect for death (none / 0) (#71)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:39:02 PM EST

and a stronger love for life. In my estimation, failing to take advantage of the opportunity to reach immortality is as wise as walking heedlessly into traffic- it is willful self destruction. Yet failing to take the opportunity to reach immortality is more repugnant to me- becuase you not only betray yourself, but the lives of all other people as well. My love for myself and others is incompatible with doing nothing to save them. Do you have a lover or children? Does it give you pleasure to imagine that time when they begin to lose their physical power over their own body, memories, and reason, as they eventually weaken, suffering painfully, when their body slowly begins to surrender to the course of natural aging? Does it seem prudent to you to do nothing, not even reach for the slimmest chance to at least give them the choice to stop this process?

I don't share your naturalistic ideology or your simplified understanding of human affairs. By your logic, people shouldn't even bother with such utopian pursuits as pharmaceutical research, or any of the successful technical battles against human disease. Cure malaria, cancer, or AIDS? Why bother trying? Certainly the government shouldn't get involved. After all, we tried to cure polio, and just look how that debacle turned out. Nowadays everybody knows that all formulas that have "good intention" and "fuckloads of money" added together, eventually fall into a heap and crush us all under their weight.

They also die poorly who surrender the fight for life without even joining the battle. It is kind of strange having this argument, when a successful defense of your point of view means we all assuredly get to die.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

heh (3.00 / 2) (#81)
by gdanjo on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 03:15:28 AM EST

In my estimation, failing to take advantage of the opportunity to reach immortality is as wise as walking heedlessly into traffic- it is willful self destruction.
Bullshit. We are taught to avoid death from childhood. We are NOT taught that we can or should avoid death forever.

Unfortunately, our society also teaches us that youth is magical and growing old is something to fear. I believe otherwise.

Do you have a lover or children? Does it give you pleasure to imagine that time when they begin to lose their physical power over their own body, memories, and reason, as they eventually weaken, suffering painfully, when their body slowly begins to surrender to the course of natural aging?
Get over yourself. Thinking about shit that happens in the world doesn't give me pleasure, but at the same time I do not fear those times. They are what they are, and my "pleasure" at thinking about them has nothing to do with anything. You may as well ask me whether it gives me pleasure to know that there are billions of bacteria in my forehead.

They also die poorly who surrender the fight for life without even joining the battle. It is kind of strange having this argument, when a successful defense of your point of view means we all assuredly get to die.
Here's a fact: you're going to die.

Now, you can deal with this as you wish - you can wish all you want, but this fact will not change. And your writhing around the morality of a natural consequence of existence will not shape the universe into your image - your only choice is that you either "deal with it" and get on with the life that you claim to have a strong love for, or you can waste your life searching for your fountain of youth, and still end up with all your predecessors: 6 feet under.

It seems that you think of me as a nihilist; a fatalist - that we humans should not meddle with nature, or should not improve ourselves because we are somehow undeserving. Nothing could be further from the truth.

You see, I have profound respect for the strategies of nature, for it is nature whose teat I have had the pleasure of suckling - I am NOT here because humans or any other beings engineered me with foresight, or as a result of the morality thereof; I am here because nature evolved me, and I therefore have a profound respect for the strategies employed by her in her undoubtable success. I trust her more than any human alive.

Evolution is not a means to an end - evolution is not here to create humans. It is the end itself; it is the reason we are here to discuss it; it is life itself, and your attempts at short-circuiting this mechanism would ensure our ultimate destruction - just as surely as total world domination by dinosaurs, aleviating the need for them to evolve and improve later generations of life, ensured their destruction.

Let me put it this way: what would have happened if we found the fountain of youth 500 years ago? We'd have pope whathisface declared God on Earth, and a never ending war of ideologies would begin that, like their "carriers", would never die out. There's be no room in the world for you or me. And if we get immortality now, you can bet your left testicle that corporations, the current imaginary pseudo-Gods, would become Corporations, Eternal Gods (and you think corporations are bad now?) - and there'd be no room for future generations who'd have exceeded our relatively simplistic existence.

I really don't understand you; when we had a plausible imaginary God we became better, more efficeint killers than any time prior in history. Just imagine what would happen to our ego's if we had real Gods.

The world is lager than just the space occupied between your precious arse and your swelled head; ultimate survival is not measured of your survival, but that of your childred, their children, and so on (hopefully) ad infinitum.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Indeed. (none / 0) (#94)
by guidoreichstadter on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 01:15:54 PM EST

Bullshit. We are taught to avoid death from childhood. We are NOT taught that we can or should avoid death forever.

I'm really unconcerned with what you were taught as a child, though it seems you can't manage to grow beyond it. In my estimation, both killing yourself and allowing yourself to die unnecessarily are equally stupid. A thousand years ago, I would have agreed with you that accepting the natural course of life stoically would be a proper way to die. That is because a thousand years ago there was nothing that could be done about it, not because the process of growing old and dying was inherently good. Today it is no longer true that nothing can be done about it, yet you persist in believing that decrepitude is not only something to accept stoically, but is a positive state of being compared to the vigor of a healthy human body! Even if you don't believe that health can last forever, can't you at least admit that it is better to be able to walk faster, think better, recall more clearly, breathe more easily, sense more fully? These are the qualities that will be preserved, restored, and extended by the project of biological immortality.

thinking about shit that happens in the world doesn't give me pleasure, but at the same time I do not fear those times. They are what they are, and my "pleasure" at thinking about them has nothing to do with anything

It would be better for you and those you love if you did have a little more fear. The discomfort you feel at considering the suffering of your loved ones is good- if it motivates you to act to prevent their suffering. You cannot escape the fact of your freedom- by doing nothing you are still making a choice. The wrong choice, though. You can act to save them.

Here's a fact: you're going to die.

Now, you can deal with this as you wish - you can wish all you want, but this fact will not change. And your writhing around the morality of a natural consequence of existence will not shape the universe into your image - your only choice is that you either "deal with it" and get on with the life that you claim to have a strong love for, or you can waste your life searching for your fountain of youth, and still end up with all your predecessors: 6 feet under.

Spit in one hand, wish in the other, and then look to see which hand has more in it. Merely "wishing to live forever" is useless, as is merely "not fearing death." The fact seems to evade you that you can act to change your destiny. Wishing will not shape the universe, but the aggregate application of the world's technical and economic forces does change it, every single moment. What drives human activity? Human emotions, motivations, beliefs- these are the precursors to human action. Alter these precursors, and human action changes, as the professional application of political and economic manipulation attests. I am not suggesting a lone quixotic quest for the fountain of youth. I am suggesting a massive rearrangement of human priorities that produces large scale cooperative action across human societies.

You see, I have profound respect for the strategies of nature, for it is nature whose teat I have had the pleasure of suckling - I am NOT here because humans or any other beings engineered me with foresight, or as a result of the morality thereof; I am here because nature evolved me, and I therefore have a profound respect for the strategies employed by her in her undoubtable success. I trust her more than any human alive.

Evolution is not a means to an end - evolution is not here to create humans. It is the end itself; it is the reason we are here to discuss it; it is life itself, and your attempts at short-circuiting this mechanism would ensure our ultimate destruction - just as surely as total world domination by dinosaurs, aleviating the need for them to evolve and improve later generations of life, ensured their destruction.

Evolution gave you a mind, use it. There is no strategy or principle underlying nature other than brute force analog calculation- massively parallel random mutation and selection. All of this became functionally obsolete several hundred thousand years ago with the development of more efficient reality simulators- human minds and societies, the ascendancy of human cultural evolution. Evolution springs from the human head from now on- in direction with the goals that we humans articulate. Biological evloution will only regain its place as the driving force towards physical complexity if human agency somehow vanishes from the face of the planet. Biological evolution is not an end in itself, it is an end in your own mind alone. I can only imagine what contorted train of development led you to the conclusion that evolution itself is the transcendant end of the universe, including your own life. Why not dedicate your life to a stone? It will give you nearly as much gratification as the process of random biological evolution. You are talking nonsense, now, anyway- you don't live your everyday life as if the preservation of biological evolution was your driving goal- no one does, with the possible exception of handful of "deep ecology" ideological extremists. And none of them work in the military ;>

Let me put it this way: what would have happened if we found the fountain of youth 500 years ago? We'd have pope whathisface declared God on Earth, and a never ending war of ideologies would begin that, like their "carriers", would never die out. There's be no room in the world for you or me. And if we get immortality now, you can bet your left testicle that corporations, the current imaginary pseudo-Gods, would become Corporations, Eternal Gods (and you think corporations are bad now?) - and there'd be no room for future generations who'd have exceeded our relatively simplistic existence.

The reality of hyperconcentrated wealth and power in the corporate-state nexus poses an immediate danger to human freedom and survival today, and deserves to be superceded on that ground alone. Indeed, the trajectory of global human cultural development is based largely in the power of those forces to monopolize the process of human cultural transmission. The vast power wielded by the corporate state rests on the conditioned inability of atomized individuals to concieve of and implement cooperative solutions to the physical and ideological dependencies that the corporate state ministers to and encourages. I am encouraging a practice of engagement with the world, grounded in a recognition of the validity of your authentic human needs and desires- your ability to affirm the value and potential of your human life, and your basic human need to seek the development of yourself in the context of human society. If we can learn to cooperatively direct human development towards the goal of immortality, we will find how manage human evolution towards infinitely more humane and rewarding ends than it currently drives towards. A democratized global economy may prove to be requisite to the project of human immortality- it will certainly promise to be indispensible if peaceful human existence is to advance past biological immortality. In contrast to the passivity that accepts the inevitability of death and the unjust state of human affairs, I am suggesting a line of action to reform the world according to your dreams and desires, in the belief that you will find a much richer and secure existence in a world of your equals than in the current rarefied extremes of social inequality.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

you are an idiot (none / 1) (#112)
by gdanjo on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 02:24:50 AM EST

Evolution gave you a mind, use it. There is no strategy or principle underlying nature other than brute force analog calculation- massively parallel random mutation and selection. All of this became functionally obsolete several hundred thousand years ago with the development of more efficient reality simulators- human minds and societies, the ascendancy of human cultural evolution.
If you think humans as they exist now is the pinnacle of achievment in the universe, you truly are an idiot. And an arrogant one at that.

Evolution springs from the human head from now on- in direction with the goals that we humans articulate.
Keep telling yourself that. My money is still on you ending up on evolution's scrapheap.

Biological evloution will only regain its place as the driving force towards physical complexity if human agency somehow vanishes from the face of the planet.
You just don't get it, do you? Where in my post do I specifically refer to biological evolution? I'm talking about the evolution of everything, including the things that we humans value most: non-physical things like ideas and artistry. Biological immortality will mean death to the evolution of ideas.

I can only imagine what contorted train of development led you to the conclusion that evolution itself is the transcendant end of the universe, including your own life.
How about a healthy dose of respect and humbleness? I mean, evolution has done more for the universe than, say, you and your stupid ideas have. You're welcome to prove me wrong though - I look forward to hearing what you have to offer, other than a desire to keep on doing ... whatever it is you do, forever.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Of course, you are right. I am an idiot. (none / 0) (#117)
by guidoreichstadter on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 03:16:55 PM EST

Could you please reprise (simply and straightforwardly) for this idiot why you think this is true:

Biological immortality will mean death to the evolution of ideas.

thanks?


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

Well, he might have been shooting for this: (none / 0) (#141)
by Hiro Antagonist on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 03:13:47 AM EST

I think that it might be (and this is just me) the tendency for people to drift toward the lowest common denominator. It is kinda picked up on really early in The Republic :
"By Zeus, I shall tell you just how it looks to me, Socrates," he said. <snip> "Now then, when they meet, most of the members of our group lament, longing for the pleasures of youth and reminiscing about sex, about drinking bouts and feasts and all that goes with things of that sort; The take it hard as though they were deprived of something very important and had then lived well but are now not even alive.


[ Parent ]
it's simple (none / 0) (#151)
by gdanjo on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 05:02:19 PM EST

As people get older, they tend not to change their mind. As an example, even Einstein refused to acknowledge quantum mechanics as a viable theory, believing the universe to be fundamentally deterministic - even though few would doubt his minds vigour even in his older years; some even believing his greatest as-yet unrealised theory was proposed at this later time (dark matter).

The greatest advancements in human thought required that the prior status quo died out - or, at least, to weaken phisically and get replaced by fresh, new minds. Biological immortality would attack this mechanism on both fronts: the body that keeps the mind and it's ideas going would never weaken (think what this would have done to religious ideology), and there would be less fresh minds being born to challenge and replace the old (the population problem is much more difficult to solve).

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

That's it? (none / 0) (#154)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 07:09:55 PM EST

While you do point to a general phenomenon in regards to mental plasticity that has some physiological roots, I think you overstate the case, which is also heavily influenced by social factors. With regards to Einstein, his acceptance of quantum mechanics was wider than you seem to think, his objections mainly dealt with interpetations and empirical results that were not clarified until after his death. If he had lived to see the resolution of the EPR paradox with Bells inequalities, I'm sure he would have accepted it- or come up with a better theory. Certain spectacular exceptions aside, generally, physicists' most significant work comes out of their more mature years- they get better with experience, and this is true of many fields.

You are also ignoring the potential application of technology to restructure the functioning of the human mind- research is already beginning to show the potential of technology to ameliorate hippocampal disfunction that is assciated with memory deficiency. You also have to consider that the brain function also declines for some of the same biological reasons as body function- the brain ages in some of the same general ways that the body does, and it is this aging processes that we seek to adress with the project of biological immortality.

As for the population problem, it is smaller than you think. The current human population is unsustainable with Stone Age technology, due primarily to energy requirements and food requirements that are directly linked to these energy requirements. Populations of hundreds of billions or even trillions of humans, inconceiveable with todays technology, could live harmoniously with the natural environment, supported by advanced technology. Additionally, in hundreds or thousands of years, Mars and Venus could be terraformed, the outer planets could be dismantled and rebuilt to encase the sun, other stars could be colonized and people might stop living in bodies all together. Greatly extended lifespan should be expected to accelerate the development of technology, especially as the time needed for human students to learn "the basics" of their fields drops to a smaller percentage of the useful lifespan- now it is quite high.

In general, my pointy is that extended human lifespan and biological immortality would lead to more mentally productive people and larger human populations- all increasing the magnitude and rate of advance of human culture.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

it's a big "it" (none / 0) (#157)
by gdanjo on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 10:24:57 PM EST

With regards to Einstein, his acceptance of quantum mechanics was wider than you seem to think, his objections mainly dealt with interpetations and empirical results that were not clarified until after his death.
No, Einstein had a philosophical disagreement with quantum mechanics - that of determinism. He continued, in vein, with his own line of research while young minds around him were revolutionising the field using his own ideas as a basis.

But it's not the progression of physics that I'm concerned with - that was just a throw-away example. More important is political and religious thought, which cannot survive without constant refreshing of ideas through death -rethinking, readapting, revolutionising generally happens only once in a person's lifetime.

You are also ignoring the potential application of technology to restructure the functioning of the human mind- research is already beginning to show the potential of technology to ameliorate hippocampal disfunction that is assciated with memory deficiency. You also have to consider that the brain function also declines for some of the same biological reasons as body function- the brain ages in some of the same general ways that the body does, and it is this aging processes that we seek to adress with the project of biological immortality.
And yet even a fully functioning biological mind is able to have such disfunctional thoughts as literal evangelism, bloated egoism, profitism, and all the other ills of todays society. All these disfunctional thought processes will be given immortality along with their biological hosts.

Here's a thought: nothing in this world is permanent - not even fields of thought far removed from the ravages on nature's battleground, like specific ideologies. Nature just does not favour permanence - nature favours change. Do you reckon there's a reason for this?

Populations of hundreds of billions or even trillions of humans, inconceiveable with todays technology, could live harmoniously with the natural environment, supported by advanced technology.
Of course! We could build an Earth Creation Machine and just pump out a few more earth-like planets around our sun, and we'd be fine. And when we run out of room, we could create a Sun or two and populate it with living planets. No worries mate, technology to the rescue!

If this is indeed our path, then so be it. I see no reason whatsoever for a mass imobilisation to make it happen quicker than is naturally good for the complete ecosystem that surrounds it - real or imaginary.

And I don't feel an ethical need to make it happen just because you or anyone else falsly believes that death is a negative force in the universe. Death is not "suffering" - unless you fear it.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

not for me. (none / 0) (#158)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 11:47:39 PM EST

No, Einstein had a philosophical disagreement with quantum mechanics - that of determinism.
You apparently don't understand the implications of the EPR paradox, which bears directly on the issue of determinism and causality, and which was not satisfactorily resolved until a decade after einstein's death. Philosophical disagreement over the meaning and implications of quantum mechanics, especially determinism, is universal among physicists today- what is not doubted by any reasonable scientist, and what einstein did not doubt, was the experimentally verified predictive power of quantum mechanics.

In general, i think that "rethinking, readapting and revolutionising" are more a matter of individual habits of thought and are highly socially and culturally conditioned, not limited by human brain physiology. I know people who have had to re-invent themselves many times over their lifetime- and I myself try to keep that habit of thought continually.

And yet even a fully functioning biological mind is able to have such disfunctional thoughts as literal evangelism, bloated egoism, profitism, and all the other ills of todays society. All these disfunctional thought processes will be given immortality along with their biological hosts.

What you identify as disfunctions I see as growing pains. People need a rich environment and the time to reassess what they have learned. A human mind, once it starts up, oscillates wildly in its approach to equilibrium. Minds change- people change. Give them all more time- another century or two, and see what conclusion about the world they come to. Remember, before this internet thing, information transfer was excruciatingly slow. That's why the boonies were always more parochial than the cities. How do you expect people's minds to grow without information about the world to work on?

Of course! We could build an Earth Creation Machine and just pump out a few more earth-like planets around our sun, and we'd be fine. And when we run out of room, we could create a Sun or two and populate it with living planets. No worries mate, technology to the rescue!

If this is indeed our path, then so be it. I see no reason whatsoever for a mass imobilisation to make it happen quicker than is naturally good for the complete ecosystem that surrounds it - real or imaginary.

Don't be flippant- I am serious. Why do you think it would be hard to support a trillion humans on this planet without damaging the ecosphere, if that were a priority? Immortal beings would take a long term view of their home. As it is, living for today and the future be damned is likely to pose a serious threat to human existence in this century, maybe your lifetime.

And I don't feel an ethical need to make it happen just because you or anyone else falsly believes that death is a negative force in the universe. Death is not "suffering" - unless you fear it.

Death is the end of existence. I love existence and find it progressively more wonderful each day. You have failed to convince me why I should look forward to its end.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

convince? (none / 0) (#181)
by gdanjo on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 08:20:09 PM EST

What you identify as disfunctions I see as growing pains.
Is cancer a biological growing pain? Some dysfunctional thought processes are extremely powerful, self-assertive, self-propagating, and extremely successful in specific enviromnents - extremely successful in the short term, but ultimately "crash" due to their immense success. What I'm saying is that biological immortality would give these ideologies far more power than they deserve, since there would no longer exist any mechanism to periodically "purge" all ideologies and start again.

Cars need their oil changed, we need our blood regenerated, ideologies need their hosts cleansed over generations.

Don't be flippant- I am serious. Why do you think it would be hard to support a trillion humans on this planet without damaging the ecosphere, if that were a priority?
Now who's being flippant? - "if we really, REALLY wanted to, we could support trillions of humans." "If we really, REALLY wanted to, we could live on mars." How is this any different to making sun's and planets?

You see flippancy in my statements, but fail to see it in your own.

Immortal beings would take a long term view of their home.
We already have a mechanism for this - they're called children. How do you think the green movement came into being? We don't need immortality to value the future - in fact, I would argue that immortality would make one value themselves above everything else.

Our ego would become our master.

You have failed to convince me why I should look forward to its end.
Then you have failed to understand any fucking thing I've said.

There's a difference between "I like exsitence and wish to avoid death" and "I like existence and wish to banish death."

And I'm not trying to convince you of anything - it's you who have failed to convince me why we should immobilise the world's resources to let me live forever.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

consider. (none / 0) (#184)
by guidoreichstadter on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 01:30:09 PM EST

Is cancer a biological growing pain? Some dysfunctional thought processes are extremely powerful, self-assertive, self-propagating, and extremely successful in specific enviromnents - extremely successful in the short term, but ultimately "crash" due to their immense success. What I'm saying is that biological immortality would give these ideologies far more power than they deserve, since there would no longer exist any mechanism to periodically "purge" all ideologies and start again.

Cars need their oil changed, we need our blood regenerated, ideologies need their hosts cleansed over generations.

This is quite a mystical explanation. Death doesn't "periodically purges all ideologies and start again." Some cultural processes are able to run widely for a longer (or shorter) time before they begin to generate negative feedback, and it is this feedback, not finite human lifespan, that is responsible for cultural change. Try to explain some historical processes with your theory. Nazism didn't die out because of finite human lifespan. The soviet system didn't collapse becasue of finite human lifespan. Overconsumption of fossil fuels won't stop because of finite human lifespan. None of these processes stopped because of finite human lifespan, nor would infinite lifespan have allowed them to continue forever. These processes stopped or will stop becuase of the negative feedback they generated- worldwide hostility and invasion, disfunctional and unsustainable economic and social policy, or devastating climate change. Death doesn't "cleanse" cultures, ideologies lose mindshare more often by people changing their minds, not by their "hosts" dying out. And people who live longer, who experience more, who live to see the effects of a process, who remember it are able to form a more effective model of reality. The problem with death is that it resets a large part of the cultural memory. In the words of Richard Feynman, "you only live one life, and you make all your mistakes, and learn what not to do, and that's the end of you." Longer life would provide more time to understand and learn from yours and others mistakes, to study others and your own history.

Now who's being flippant? - "if we really, REALLY wanted to, we could support trillions of humans." "If we really, REALLY wanted to, we could live on mars." How is this any different to making sun's and planets?

You see flippancy in my statements, but fail to see it in your own.

You should have followed the preceeding arguments. The entire human population of six billion or so takes up an amount of physical surface area equal to a few square miles on a side. The human metabolic demand is absolutely insignificant compared to the energy from sunlight that falls on the earth each second. It is the wasteful and inefficient means of support that people employ that causes the huge bulk of environmental damage. It is technically possible today to solve every environmental problem, however, it is not culturally possible. With marginally advanced technology, it will be possible to find the source of most of humanity's energy and resources outside of the ecosphere. This is a matter of changing people's minds, not letting them die and having new ones come into place that will somehow be magically endowed with a better culture.

We already have a mechanism for this - they're called children. How do you think the green movement came into being? We don't need immortality to value the future - in fact, I would argue that immortality would make one value themselves above everything else.

Our ego would become our master.

The problem is that many people concerned with their children's future today by and large aren't aware and don't have solutions or the power, due to the undemocratic nature of the political and economic systems, to implement them. This situation obtains to different degrees across societies, and I'm not saying that solutions don't exist. It really is a matter of putting people who are concerned about the future in the driver's seat of their own lives.

I guess, in general, I'm saying that the major problems of cultural change that you point out can be solved, and that death isn't a desirable or even effective method for solving them. Instead, the solutions lie in deepening widespread cultural understanding and democratizing the political and economic systems to create a culture where responsibility is empowered to direct human evolution. In the context of such a world, eternal life would not be something to fear.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

Tiny problem... (none / 0) (#150)
by cdguru on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 04:35:57 PM EST

There would be a tiny problem with your idea. Let's say that 99% of the world's military was disbanded and all the money went towards such research as you describe. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Unfortunately, the remaining 1% would be kept by some place like North Korea, and their god-on-earth, divinly inspired leadership would then be guiding us all.

OK, maybe not North Korea. Maybe Iran's religious leaders decide this would be a wonderful time to spread the joy of Islam by force. Maybe some neo-nazi skinheads decide to pool their resources and take over Europe.

It doesn't really matter. Humanity in general is far less inspired with the ideals of leaving peacefully together than you seem to be. Until the "power" gene is forcefully bred out of the human species, we're going to want and need a strong military. Everywhere. It is a check-and-balance kind of thing.

[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#156)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 08:05:52 PM EST

I'm not recommending that as a unilateral strategy. I'm talking a about a global de-escalation based on an openly articulated and negotiated set of new priorities. Militaries (certainly not the world's biggest one!) aren't there just (or even primarily) for "self-defense." They are there to play a very vital role in maintaining the competition for power, which is based not on some inevitable human genetic predisposition than on culturally developed goals and conceptions and the imperatives of consciously chosen economic policies.

In very broad terms, the international security situation is a result largely of what the coordinating classes of the world's societies see to be their best self-interest, and not a direct result of genetic factors. Change the popular and elite conceptions of self interest (which is what this whole deal with biological immortality is about) and they will change the plan of action.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

Teach kids how to think, not what to think (3.00 / 20) (#11)
by Anonymous Howards End on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:18:32 AM EST

I think that's really all that you're taking a lot of words to say.  But what do I know, I had the merits of brevity beaten into me.
--
CodeWright, you are one cowardly hypocritical motherfucker.
If there is one thing that I am not, it is... (2.25 / 4) (#19)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:20:04 AM EST

terse. Nor am I laconic or concise. I eschew not verbosity, preferring to worship in the temples of sesquipedalia and prolixity. I am the extra calories in your doughnut, the bloatware on your computer, the third blade on your Mach3 razor. Fear me, for I AM SKYKNIGHT1.

1: for the blind in the crowd, that includes two k's, not one



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
IOW (none / 1) (#20)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:26:13 AM EST

You talk too much. :P
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
I'm glad the irony is not lost on you. /nt (none / 0) (#21)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:32:41 AM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
and stop coddling them (none / 0) (#194)
by naught on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 10:35:49 AM EST

we keep pushing back the age of accountability.  i say, move it up.  if kids have to deal with the consequences of their actions sooner, they'll develop their thinking skills sooner.

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

I agree. (none / 0) (#195)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 10:38:36 AM EST

I am of the mind that if only we were to require kids to make their own way earlier, at least in part, they would harbor a much greater appreciation for knowledge. As it is, kids are burned out on learning by the fifth grade. It's no fun having information crammed down your throat without any conception as to why it might be useful.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Not saying I'm a pedophile (1.50 / 10) (#22)
by psychologist on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:42:36 AM EST

But sleeping with girls below 15 is more enjoyable than sleeping with those above.

lol what (1.00 / 9) (#23)
by Dr Gonzo on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:05:33 AM EST


"I felt the warmth spread across my lap as her bladder let loose." - MichaelCrawford
[ Parent ]

Honestly... (none / 0) (#124)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 04:16:41 PM EST

I can't even imagine sleeping with a girl that young. The thought of it is definitely revolting. Even with voiced consent, it would most definitely feel like rape.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
This is a very serious subject (1.00 / 11) (#24)
by Big Dogs Cock on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:06:24 AM EST

And a very shit article.

People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
NAMBLA for life, esse (1.16 / 6) (#28)
by Dr Funkenstein on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 10:54:20 AM EST



Wait, isn't this the job of parents? (2.00 / 2) (#30)
by skim123 on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 11:57:24 AM EST

I thought parents were supposed to provide their kids with exposure to their values and ideologies with encouragement to their progeny to form their own views from the core of views espoused by their parent. Or has this changed and no one told me?

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


Not According to the UN (2.25 / 8) (#31)
by thelizman on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 12:32:19 PM EST

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (especially articles 13, 14) circumvent the rights of the parents to determine and influence the factors which go into a childs development. It also places the responsibility for ensuring these rights in the hands of the government. Parents are nothing more than fridge and a roof nowadays. Which is why the US didn't ratify the damn thing.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Incidentally... (2.33 / 3) (#32)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 12:45:52 PM EST

I'm not of the mind that there should, or even could, be any legal restrictions on what parents choose to impart as values to their children. It is neither practical nor reasonable for the government to be meddling as such. I am, however, quite willing to remonstrate with people about what they do, even though they have the last word when it comes to the decision. As such, I consider the US telling the UN to piss off, at least in this regard, wholly reasonable. Actually, I'm really not hot for the UN at all, but this seems particularly inane. I suppose, though, that I could be somewhat biased as the result of being a US citizen, and as such the things to which children of my country are subjected are, on the whole, somewhat less gruesome than what the children of the world suffer.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
FYI, I have a policy against rating comments... (none / 0) (#37)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 03:49:14 PM EST

in my own stories or diaries, but I am breaking that policy for this particular comment simply because it has been unjustly zeroed.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
the problem with that convention (none / 0) (#56)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 08:19:43 PM EST

is that it didn't go far enough. I think we all can agree that a child's most valuable and fundamental right is the right to biological immortality. It is disgusting to see how both parents and governments, two of the agents most empowered to protect a child's well-being, ignore and deride this right, especially considering that action must be taken now to ensure the world's children access to biological immortality, and that if the responsibility is left to the children to do so, it may very well prove to be to late for them.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (none / 0) (#118)
by QuickFox on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 03:31:15 PM EST

The UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (especially articles 13, 14) circumvent the rights of the parents to determine and influence the factors which go into a childs development.

Are you serious? Do you really interpret it that way?

Article 13

1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.

2. The exercise of this right may be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; or

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

2. States Parties shall respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.

3. Freedom to manifest one's religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals, or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

Actually no. (none / 0) (#36)
by A synx on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 03:37:13 PM EST

Well yes and no.  The point you raised is something the Christian church established back back around the time of Constantine and Augustine.  Hopefully we as parents don't cling to those state imposed and psychologically harmful standards.

Parents are "supposed" to answer their kid's questions as fairly as we can manage, and not try to deceive the child with claims we can't validate.  This is exactly the topic of the article,  that parents do not "encourage their progeny to form their own views," rather they attempt to prevent the kids from forming views contrary to what the parents have been indocrinated in.  Nowhere was it claimed that parents should isolate their kids from values and ideologies.

I might add "from the core of the views espoused by their parent" is a bit of a cop out.  These "core ideals" often have little room for flexibility, and are indistinguishable from forcing a child to believe in something.  If the child is on a 1:1 correspondence with God, "Rose-is-Rose" style, then the parents hardly have the right to punish the kid for praying, "core ideals" or not.  And if the child is friends with a black, muslim, gay boy, the parents do not have the right to lie to the child about how evil their friend is, "core ideals" or not.  And "core ideals" or not, no child should be coerced to go to any church service, even if they want to waste the Sunday playing video games.  Perhaps a community or outdoor activity would be justified for coercion, but going to sit in a room while a man in robes looks down on you and preaches why you should believe in his god for half a day, (oh and also who to vote for) is clear brainwashing tactics.  Parents should be denied the right to cruelly isolate their child in an ideology this way, without leaving room for an alternative viewpoint.

"I would tell you that people who believe in other gods are not evil and should be treated with respect, more than shunned and killed, but I'm afraid that's against my core ideals so I will lie instead about the evils of those Infidel American invaders!  Kill them and you go to paradise."
"Okay mama, strap on the suicide bombs."

[ Parent ]

I disagree (2.33 / 3) (#48)
by skim123 on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:32:56 PM EST

no child should be coerced to go to any church service, even if they want to waste the Sunday playing video games

I disagree for a couple of reasons:

  • Children are egocentric by their nature. If given the absolute free choice (i.e., not worrying about upsetting mommy or daddy), no child would choose to go to Church. None. Not one. They'd also choose to have ice cream for dinner, to stay up until 3:00 AM every night, not have to bathe, and to get to watch TV all day.

    Part of the job of a parent is to act as the responsible adult and make the decisions an egocentric child would not, and to enforce those decisions. And one task for a parent is to ensure that their child have a sound moral upbringing. A child might want to take Johnny's toys by force and play with them themselves, but it's a parent's duty to not let their child do that and to explain why that is wrong.

  • I think parents have a right to expose their children to their religious beliefs. I agree with you that they shouldn't shoe-horn their child into their religious dogma, but I have no problem with a parent who makes their kid go to church every Sunday and attend sunday school and so on. Of course I don't approve of the parent who uses religion as an excuse for bigomy or prejudice, but I think this is more of the exception than the rule.
Good parents will do both what you and I propose - they'll offer a moral framework (which might include mandatory church visits), but also encourage their child to explore their own spirituality and urge them to critically analyze issues. But these latter things are not necessarily appropriate for children of all ages. For teens, sure, such actions should be stressed, but a six year old needs more leading. Exposure to ideals and concepts outside of the parent's own is good, but exposure is an age-appropriate activity.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Children love to please (none / 0) (#73)
by driptray on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 11:41:23 PM EST

Children are egocentric by their nature. If given the absolute free choice (i.e., not worrying about upsetting mommy or daddy), no child would choose to go to Church. None. Not one. They'd also choose to have ice cream for dinner, to stay up until 3:00 AM every night, not have to bathe, and to get to watch TV all day.

On the contrary, children are often eager to please their parents, and most other people as well. They often choose healthy food in preference to icecream, and willingly go to sleep when they're tired. They enjoy showers and baths, and are as happy to read books and play with toys or friends as they are to watch TV.

This describes my child, and many of my friend's children. I'm not saying that they don't have their egocentric moments, and times when they do all the bad stuff you mentioned, but your general characterisation of children's nature is quite wrong.
--
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
[ Parent ]

You missed one part (none / 0) (#101)
by skim123 on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 05:40:31 PM EST

Notice that I said: "If given the absolute free choice (i.e., not worrying about upsetting mommy or daddy), no child would choose to go to Church."

... as happy to read books and play with toys or friends as they are to watch TV.

But are they going to be as happy to go sit in a stuffy building and listen to some guy ramble on?

They often choose healthy food in preference to icecream

If your children exhibit this behavior, I am impressed. I would bet dollars to donuts that if you took an average kid, pulled him into a room and said, "Do you want celery or pop tarts?" they'd choose the latter. Of course, I'm assuming you're not standing over them glowering at them when they reach for the pop tart.

Anywho, this whole topic is deviating from the thrust of my initial post, which was to say that it's important for the parent to be involved in shaping their children's ideals. And that sans the parental influence, kids will raise holy hell. Again, I don't think you disagree with this because you imply that your children behave in order to please you and other adults. But imagine if your input was removed altogether...

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Mmmmm ... children (2.50 / 2) (#33)
by Mr.Surly on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 01:07:26 PM EST

"Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all."

You, sir, are dangerous (none / 1) (#39)
by Ptyx on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:06:11 PM EST

Teaching children to think! The nerve!

Have you thought of all the poor politicians, lobbyists, lawyers, psychics, popes, consultants, salesmen, publicists, and other marketroids and gurus whose survival depends of a constant stream of brainwashed citizens?

-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran

Yes, I have... (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:31:37 PM EST

I was thinking something along the lines of "haw haw!", though my dreams will never come to fruition.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Even Worse ... (none / 0) (#78)
by Peahippo on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 01:58:04 AM EST

... to think about the consequences of actually teaching American children what their Constitutionally-recognized rights (and corresponding responsibilities) are. Just think of all those people coming out of high school saying "hey, I'm 18 and can legally buy a rifle in my state, so I think I'll go buy one and become the backbone of the American militia". Yeesh! More gun owners. Hell, it'll be the Wild West ... er, which we predict every time some state passes a concealed carry law, and it never happens ... but never mind that, having an armed and responsible American populace is never in the best interests of those who ... er, don't want them armed. Well, I'm sure there's a good reason in there somewhere.

And then there's this voting thing. Both political parties have worked long and hard (often together, if not at least synchronously) to drop voter participation down to about 40%. If anything, the laws should be changed to return voting privileges to White, land-owning males who are at least 25 years old.

Yeah! It's time to make some changes!! The U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act was just the start of a glorious new future!!! IS ANYONE WITH ME!?!?!?!? (I mean, is anyone with me, other than the Clintons, the Bushes, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc.)


[ Parent ]
Armed and responsible? (none / 0) (#92)
by Ptyx on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 12:27:23 PM EST

"but never mind that, having an armed and responsible American populace is never in the best interests of those who ... er, don't want them armed."

Naa, they just want you not responsible. They don't care much about the armed part - except that once you're unresponsible, it can be pretty dangerous.

It's not like you could do anything against their henchmen anyway.
-- "On voudrais parfois être cannibale, moins pour le plaisir de dévorer tel ou tel que pour celui de le vomir... " Cioran
[ Parent ]

Reminds me... (none / 1) (#145)
by Shajenko on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 10:59:59 AM EST

I know someone who suggested that, among other things, people should push to get a state referendum, stating that schools are required to teach a "critical thinking" class to all students. I'd love to see the political ads attacking that proposition.

[ Parent ]
Indeed. (2.28 / 7) (#49)
by guidoreichstadter on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 06:46:19 PM EST

Perhaps one of the most self-serving and harmful beliefs that we impart to children is the acceptance of their physical death as a natural and proper part of life. We, who lack the courage and presence of mind and responsibility to turn the unimaginable power of our species to the goal of achieving biological human immortality, we who are content to live out a few short, ignorant circles around the sun and then vanish into dust, we are also happy to sentence our progeny to this ignoble fate.

We have forfeited control over our own material destinies, choosing instead to insert ourselves like cogs into the machine for the chance to gain some small, short-lived material comfort. We are too occupied with our petty diversions to be seduced by the clear young voices beckoning us from a world of unbounded potentiality, and so with our limited rationality, pared down to a shrunken relic by the practice of repeated self-obstruction and self-abnegation, we consign them to the malignant tutelage of others as ignorant and dead-ended as ourselves, that their minds may be forced into a crude resemblance of our own and the impossible light of eternal joy be extinguished within them.

All ideologies are suicidal so far as they distract you from taking action to avoid your rapidly approaching death. Your religions, your politics, your economic misconceptions are all so much garbage that burdens you on your march to demise. All of your leaders, parents, politicians, lawmakers, priests, teachers, your bosses, your employers, your managers, are blindly leading you into the gaping mouth of oblivion. You have the means at your disposal to take control of your destinies- a mind, hands, a mouth, a thousand thousand thousand fellow beings across the surface of the globe, the knowldege of the centuries, an economic machine built with all of your hands that awaits democratization, a crude conception of democratic politics. Why don't you use them? Why are you content with the prestige of your small lives, content to force tens of millions of the poorest to drop off the face of the earth each year, devouring the seas and the skies and the earth, erasing the hard-won millenial progress of life itself in your mindless greed and your pitiful strife, when the light and joy of unending bliss awaits your grasp?


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.

What the hell are you talking about [nt] (none / 0) (#138)
by maniac1860 on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 08:49:01 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Damn, it was so clear to me. (none / 0) (#146)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 12:52:20 PM EST

What part you don't understand?


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Try this. (none / 0) (#162)
by IceTitan on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 03:28:09 AM EST

Ask him why a 2 year old runs around saying 'mine'.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]
They learn young, (none / 0) (#174)
by guidoreichstadter on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 02:47:39 PM EST

huh.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Immortallity (none / 0) (#197)
by maniac1860 on Sat Jan 29, 2005 at 01:20:38 PM EST

It seems your claiming it's achievable (though maybe I'm just horribly missing a metaphor). Why? How can we make it happen?

[ Parent ]
Oh goody (none / 0) (#79)
by ksandstr on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 02:17:43 AM EST

Another conversation piece from the anti-ideology brigade. So tell me, why does this sound very much like the parents who would teach their children about the dangers of eeeevul satanic cults after sunday church and after-dinner prayer?


I'm going to go with... (none / 0) (#84)
by skyknight on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 06:02:58 AM EST

"because you are obtuse." My viewpoint is ideology neutral. I will gladly tear into anyone espousing anything in an intellectually lazy fashion. If you cannot defend your position artfully with logic, reason, probability and statistics, I will just as soon tell you off if you are a libertarian agnostic as if you were communist Jehovah's witness.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
lets take it to the nth degree (none / 0) (#109)
by kangman on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:42:05 PM EST

you say your viewpoint is ideology neutral but i don't believe that is possible in the sense that no ideology is also an ideology. Debate and the ability to analyze and criticize is great and all but that can also lead to constant conflict. Constant debate can be debilitating rather than strengthening. There is only so much a person or a society or a country can do... things have to move forward. Science is constantly changing and todays laws can be tomorrow's garbage. You write as if being a contrarian will lead to perfection or rather it will lead to progress but I do not believe that is assured because people are people. we have reason but we can be quite unreasonable at times. I do agree with you but your tone seems too assured. Your use of the phrase "I will gladly tear..." shows me of your strong convictions to your ideals, to intelligent debate, to rigorous scholarship, etc. But it also seems you are the one imposing your thoughts onto others. Isn't paradox a natural thing though? your juxtapositioning of two different idealogies was funny but to have two different things doesn't necessarily cancel each other out. It might even be mutually inclusive. I'll just say it in broad terms. If there is nothing to oppose a thing does the thing exist? Then all the other cliches that come out, light and dark, good and evil etc. Taking your article in a pure logical sense, you say to teach the young how to think critcally, self sufficiently when they are young and malleable. You say this in opposition to others who would impose their own idealogies onto the kids but isn't that what you are doing as well? Imposing your idealogy onto the young. Also, if I may, how are we to achieve such a lofty goal when we as a nation rank so far behind in education to the rest of the world?

[ Parent ]
If you recall reading my article... (none / 0) (#113)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 07:32:10 AM EST

it was about how adults should deal with children, not how adults should interact with one another. Did you miss that point?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Why? More like how. (none / 0) (#107)
by vhold on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 09:03:08 PM EST

First you have to tell us how it sounds very much like parents warning their children about the dangers of evil satanic cults.

[ Parent ]
Oh, I dunno. (none / 0) (#85)
by Icehouseman on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 09:45:34 AM EST

Well, I don't think that children listen all the time to what is being told to them. As soon as they get old enough most of them seem to start thinking for themselves. When I was a kid, I was dragged to Church every Sunday and forced to go to government schools. The things I learned from all this: the government sucks and god probably doesn't exist. I have no plan on telling my kids what to think about politics/religion/culture. They will be people and they will have to decide for themselves.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
+1, Funny. (none / 0) (#96)
by the ghost of rmg on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 02:26:05 PM EST

the reasons for statutory rape legistlation could not be psychological because they predate the establishment of psychology as a science. rather, the laws enforce western taboos. another clue that the laws' rationale is not psychological comes from the fact that individuals marrying or just getting down at ages as young as fourteen, both historically and in other cultures, do not suffer any damage under normal circumstances. instead, it is the necessarily pathelogical nature such laws create that leads to secrecy, deception, abuse, and finally emotional damage.

of course, such a glaring error could be easily excused if it were not the analogical grounding for the rest of the article. on the other hand, i did find it funny in more or less the same way i find comments marked "Insightful" on slashdot funny, so i gave it a +1.


rmg: comments better than yours.

According to this (none / 0) (#108)
by guidoreichstadter on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 09:07:50 PM EST

site,

In Queensland, Australia, the age of consent for hetero sex excluding anal penetration is 16. You have to wait till 18 for legal homo or hetero anal, tho.

In New Mexico, US, the general age of consent is 17, but consensual homosexual activity is not criminalized between partners over 13 years of age if one partner is no more than four years older than the other.

In Madegascar, the age of consent was recently raised to 21 for homosexual acts in an effort to curb sex tourism.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

yep (none / 0) (#97)
by CAIMLAS on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 02:37:03 PM EST

This is what I plan on doing with my son (who is currently 1 year old). Instead of indoctrinating him with my philosophy first, I'll try and indictrinate him with logic and reasoning, and then introduce him to my theology. This way he won't be splashed with a theoretical bucket of cold water when he's confronted with something which contradicts his established world view at 18, when he finally moves out and becomes an 'adult'.

After all, 200 years ago (and likely more recent than that as well) our founding fathers (such as Franklin and Jefferson) were intelligent, questioning, and educated adults around the age of 15 (by modern intellectual and maturity standards). Nowadays, people don't reach their maturity and ability to reflect until, well, 50 or so, if ever, in some circumstances, but probably on average around 25 or 30.

What about the upbringing of such great men led to this hightened rate of mental maturity can we acertain, so as to try and replicate it with our own offspring? I think it's critical thought and the powers of observation. Not enough attention are paid to these things now - just memorize, memorize, memorize.
--

Socialism and communism better explained by a psychologist than a political theorist.

If I had to venture a guess... (none / 0) (#122)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 04:11:28 PM EST

it would be because they lacked public education and mass media. Instead of being strapped down and having "knowledge" force fed to them by a tube jammed down their throat, people had no choice but to figure things out on their own. They read books, observed things, had jobs, and pursued things that interested them. Today's kids are basically mass produced, as far as their education is concerned.

We need to destroy the television and destroy public schools. Let kids have jobs and realize that life is tough without an education. Let kids go to the library and read about the things that excite them. Parents need to stop being so indulgent, and instead let their kids be a little bit hungry for the goods of the world so that they will gain an appreciation for the work ethic that is required to obtain material wealth and intellectual satisfaction. People are remarkably capable, adaptable, and disciplined when they have to be. Many, though, are remarkably fat, lazy and stupid when given the opportunity.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
"We need to destroy television and... (none / 0) (#130)
by guidoreichstadter on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 06:28:01 PM EST

destroy public schools."

I think the power of television as an indoctrination/passivation instrument is weakening with the rise of decentralized communication technology- real time video over the internet would basically be the death knell, i think. I would go so far as to advocate subsidized home broadband access as a public good on the grounds of facilitating children's ability to access information and pov's required to develop an independent(?) reality concept of their own.

I have met and talked with young working parents who have founded collaborative homeschools for the purpose of attempting the kind of educational project you indicate in your story, organized roughly on a "freeskooling" model, with emphasis on adult-facilitated student-directed education, and they've advocated the utility of educational vouchers. I think that de-institutionalizing the public schools, while it's not guaranteed to lead to enlightened education, would have profound, especially economic, consequences. I would add that I also think we need to destroy the present corporate ownership and management model.

What do you think about these issues?


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

I think that... (none / 0) (#134)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 06:51:47 PM EST

government will never allow it because the system of public schooling furthers its own ends. I also think that television has a stronger grasp on most people than you appreciate, and more generally the mass media, including newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. The major news sources are owned by an alarmingly small number of people, and I don't think that most people appreciate this. I recognize that corporations can be problematic, but I am suspicious of statist solutions as well.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
some questions (none / 0) (#137)
by guidoreichstadter on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 08:19:44 PM EST

Explain your understanding of television's (and mass media's) grasp more fully. I found television and print media to be functionally worthless years ago for informative or entertainment purposes, abandoned them, and never looked back, so I probably am completely out of touch with (blissfully unaware of?) whatever occupies the minds of a representative segment of Americans today. I am vaguely aware of the concentration of mass media on a handful of large corporations, which I don't find surprising. I have assumed that as distribution was technologically decentralized, they would progressively lose influence, but maybe this is not accurate.

Re: corporations, not to peg you in a hole or anything, but I've wondered if there is a cultural consensus among self-described libertarians regarding the reflection of that idea system in the forms of work organization that they envision? Have you ever heard of them banding together for economic purposes? Forming libertarian-oriented corporations? What strikes me as somewhat incongruent, and is probably based on my simple ignorance of libertarians, none of whom I am aware of having met in person, is the apparent contradiction to me of the emphasis on personal autonomy viz the generally authoritarian nature of the predominant corporate form. As far as I understand it, property rights supposedly form the basis of a shared value system from which everything else builds as "fair play" among libertarians? Ie, libertarians would grin and bear it wrt to work conditions if they were not willing to form their own company from the ground up? If libertarians built and managed a corporation together with their own capital, would they be expected to behave outwardly towards the public and internally towards their employees and each other in the same manner that is universally observed in the real world among corporate management- ie, maximising shareholder profit and managerial power by any means available? I imagine they would claim not attempt to influence the political process to gain certain kinds of subsidies or protection; would they be expected to leverage the economic environment to extract the maximum utility from their workers, or are their norms against that? Would they be expected to abstain from working with an employer based on the conflict between the employer's actions and their libertarian values? What do libertarians tend to do for a living anyway?

Maybe you could shed some light on the subject- just curious. I don't mean to treat you as the libertarian FAQ. Actually, I'm really more interested in your views on the subject, so if it is wildly innacurate to assume that yours match the "libertarian ethic" in this respect, let me know.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]

Answers... (none / 0) (#188)
by skyknight on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 09:17:55 PM EST

I think you vastly underestimate the effect of television, radio and print media on most people. That you have transcended this form of "information" is no reason to believe that other have done the same. In fact, these forms of media are the primary data feeds for most people.

Decentralization of reporting is a Good Thing, but only up to a point. If it becomes too fragmented, then the result is a sea of millions of incoherent voices, from which no useful inferences can be drawn by the typical person. The ideal situation lies somewhere in the middle. We need enough fragmentation to guarantee that a small number of people cannot run the whole show, and enough centralization that it is not an incomprehensible sea of noise.

There does not exist a solid consensus on the role and rights of corporations in society among libertarians. Some take a total anarcho-capitalist view, in that as long as property rights are respected, corporations can do no wrong. Others do not share this view. I, myself, fall into the latter camp. I am suspicious of any large organization, whether it be a government, a corporation, or a religion. I also think that the sentiment that corporations can do no wrong is a lot of ignorant tripe, the kind of stuff that you'll hear Young Republicans with rich parents spouting. For there to be decency in interactions, there needs to exist some kind of parity between employer and employee.

As an example, I think that it is a good idea to have legislation in place that guards against predatory dumping. As a libertarian, I appreciate choice, and as such I chafe at the idea of a company deliberately selling goods at below the cost of manufacturing them for the purpose of killing a smaller competitor that lacks cash reserves so that they can later gouge consumers once they have a monopoly in place.

That being said, I am very suspicious of legislation that shackles corporations, too. Corporations don't owe us a living, and much legislation seems to posit that we do. I think this is, in the long run, a damaging mentality because it discourages people from starting businesses. This ultimately results in a reduction of choice, and thus reduced value to the comsumer.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I completely agree (none / 1) (#133)
by black orchidness on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 06:51:12 PM EST

My mother raised me by saying "I will not have a child who gets bored! If you need something to do, go entertain yourself! Read a book, that tv bothers me!"

Of course she wasn't shrill all the time, but that "boredom" lecture paid off. Any time I didn't have something to do (housework, school work, or playing) I would ask her to get me a book and she would. I finished all of Mercedes Lackey and most of Andre Norton before I was 12. Of course it's sci-fi which isn't exactly educational, but it set the pattern for always having a book in my hand.

Now I ask my friends in college what they have been reading lately and I get this blank look. "reading? whut's that? Oh, I hate reading when it's not required." And they all wonder why they have to study harder and longer than I do.

Practice makes perfect.

[ Parent ]

True and important (none / 0) (#139)
by QuickFox on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 09:15:30 PM EST

This matches my experience. Reading really is important.

It always annoyed me that some teachers and librarians despised science fiction, simply because the storytelling is often less skillful than in many other genres. What stupidity! To me science fiction was very inspiring. What tragic folly, to try to stifle that inspiration.

Everyone should find out what they enjoy most reading, and then read that a lot. This way you get a head start.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi
[ Parent ]

I can't remember being bored... (none / 0) (#171)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:41:37 AM EST

since I was about eleven years old. I think about that time I must have discovered books in effect. I, like you, am appalled by the willingness of others to neglect to read things on a regular basis. It seems that most of my technology career oriented friends have sadly fallen into this habit. They cannot name a single book that they have read in the past three years. In this way they are permanently stunting their intellectual development.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
The School system? (none / 0) (#168)
by thejeff on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:07:22 AM EST

Or is it because you're looking at a small sample of over-achievers?

Were most people 200 years ago "intelligent, questioning, and educated adults around the age of 15"? Or just the few who, like Franklin and Jefferson, wound up famous as political thinkers?

There may be real differences in maturity, but comparing the exceptional few of the past with modern averages isn't the way to find them.

[ Parent ]

Friends.. Teachers.. Actors.. (none / 0) (#106)
by vhold on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 08:54:53 PM EST

I know more people that got their primary political beliefs from influential friends then I know that got them from their parents.

Yes, and hence from my piece: (none / 0) (#121)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 04:03:37 PM EST

While on the surface it may seem that zealots are of a sclerotic nature, in fact they are highly malleable, like putty in the hands of the powerful. Without the mental tools to filter junk data, the mind of an ideologue can be bent to any purpose in the employ of a skilled firebrand.

People who have grown up being brainwashed lack the tools of analysis required to vaccinate themselves against other foolish ideologies, and thus mindless ideologues of one bent often become mindless ideologues of another bent. The sensationalist propaganda of communism can woo someone who has been previously wooed by the sensationalist propaganda of unfettered capitalism, simply by exploiting the fact that the individual cannot think for himself. There are many people whose political beliefs will basically be attuned to whatever the last book was that they read, or the last influential person with whom they spoke.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
And on the other hand... (none / 0) (#140)
by vhold on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 10:00:02 PM EST

I would just as easily claim that people who've grown up in ideologically sterile environments are more susceptible to the influences of those who would force those upon them, because they don't have the normal maturing immunity that comes from learning to question the biases you've grown up with.

[ Parent ]
Come on now, your ideology is just that (3.00 / 2) (#114)
by boxed on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 08:03:51 AM EST

I had such an upbringing (at least from my fathers side), as can be readily seen in how all my adult brothers including me have diverted from the superficial ideological standpoints of our parents. But religious faith, relation to alcohol and political association is not really the ideology of my father, it is science.

Get em while they're young and cram their heads with science is your solution. Well, while I strongly agree with this because my head is crammed with science, I have the critical eye to be able to see that this is indeed an imprint akin to a brainwash. One that I myself is subject to.

Your article only tries to argue one mental statuatory rape over another. The arms race of ideas has an end yes, and that is science because science takes every good idea and claims it for itself. Does that mean the scientific method is not an imprint against the "will" of the child? No.

Your post lost me... (none / 0) (#115)
by HolyCoitus on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 08:57:50 AM EST

Science is rational and provable knowledge. The definition of science includes flushing the toilet as a child and seeing your pee pee goes bye bye. Saying that is brain washing a child is rather weird to me. It's alright for a child to be a dreamer, but having an understanding of reality is important too.
------
That's Scary.
[ Parent ]
I'm sorry, but you're nuts. (none / 0) (#119)
by skyknight on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 03:56:03 PM EST

Science isn't any particular body of knowledge. It's just a methodology that refuses to incorporate knowledge into its view of the universe without being provided demonstration and verification. I'm not proposing that you need to cram a child's head full of physics to make a thinker of him. I'm proposing, rather, that he ought to be provided with the methodology for verifying things on his own, a methodology that he can use to run fact checking independent of other people's assertions. Components of physics can very well be shown up as false, and his knowledge of it will end up useless if he cannot continue to update his world view critically.

What is the alternative to this? There is only one, and that involves taking things on faith without asking questions. This is a servile, pathetic mentality that allows authoritarians to hold sway over the meek. If you think that telling a child to think for himself and giving him the tools to do so is forcing something on him, then you are insane. Providing a child with such tools is the ultimate in empowerment.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
I agree, but not (none / 0) (#142)
by boxed on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 05:40:47 AM EST

I for one think science is the only reasonable thing to teach children, exactly for the reasons you have given. But at a very fundamental level one has to accept the scientific method as an axiom. It has worked extremely well (in fact, perfectly) for as long as it has existed, but it IS still unprovable by the very fact that it's an axiom.

Also I believe that science does not hold the key to basic things like happiness. Mostly it can take care of phobias and clinical depression, but creating a sense of satisfaction and security in reality it cannot provide. Thus I think teaching science to your children in combination with a faith that doesn't reject science is the most compassionate thing to do.

[ Parent ]

I disagree. (none / 0) (#143)
by skyknight on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 09:17:58 AM EST

I think that the validity of the tenets of science are provable. In particular, they are provable through an inductive bootstrapping process. The very fact that scientific method works so well is proof of itself. You just need to reflect somewhat more on what it means to prove something. Some things can be proved inviolably, e.g. the Pythagorean Theorem. Other things have to be proved probabilistically, i.e. you can never attain 100% certainty, but only approach that certainty asymptotically. If you are flipping a coin, and flip it even a million times, you can only speak of your certainty that the coin is "fair" couched in terms of probability. With science, it is the same way.

The scientific method was basically discovered scientifically, if you can wrap your head around such an odd assertion. We came to it by trying various things, getting it wrong, trying other things, iterating until we got it right. Today there exists such a gargantuan body of knowledge acquired by scientific method that the probability of scientific method being wrong is so cosmically improbable as to be pointless even to mention. We have proved its validity.

I think that science holds the key to an alarming number of things. All of our thoughts, feeling, emotions, whatever... These are the result of chemical and electrical impulses in our head, and as such are accessible by science. It may be a very long time before we can figure such things out, as the brain is monstrously complicated thing that is the end product of billions of years of evolution, but that doesn't mean that we'll never be able to reverse engineer it. It will just take while. We are already making encouraging, or perhaps terrifying, inroads. The possibilities for good are immense, but for evil there is even more. The idea of governments or corporations being able to scan or manipulate our brains directly makes a polygraph look like child's play.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Fact. (3.00 / 2) (#125)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 04:42:21 PM EST

if you want to raise a skeptic/atheist/anarchist be a total asshole when it comes to parenting. Eventually they'll discover 60's punk, floyd, and Noam Chomsky and you'll have yourself a little mini-you (that hates you as much as you hate your own parents). If you want a well-adjusted, reasonable, and otherwise boring and selfish kid, treat them well and teach them the value of hard work and money.

oh come on (none / 0) (#131)
by livus on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 06:31:22 PM EST

of all the skeptic/atheist/anarchist assholes you know, I bet the majority of them have middle class parents who are either conservative or centre-liberal, own nice family homes, and are lawyers, doctors, and so on.

Furthermore, I bet the skeptic/atheist/anarchist assholes are not above skulking home to either mummy or else daddy and his new wife, for a semi- homecooked meal and a cash top up.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

true (none / 1) (#136)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 07:59:13 PM EST

but those are just dumb kids being fashionable, you know, Hot Topic punks. The kind Im thinking of have parents that beat them and piss all over their psyche on a daily basis.
The parents of the skeptic/atheist/anarchist kids your're talking about just don't get involved save handing out the weekly allowance.

[ Parent ]
no (none / 1) (#169)
by Cackmobile on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:31:06 AM EST

they are usually the ones who find god....or go postal.

[ Parent ]
I didnt realise there was any other kind... (none / 0) (#189)
by livus on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 02:13:46 AM EST

I thought the people whose parents beat them tended to be drawn towards organisations. They seem to either go for highly organised crime/gangs, parlour prostitution, or church groups.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
Whereas you, sir... (none / 0) (#192)
by skyknight on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 08:52:25 AM EST

are pissing on the straw man.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Nah. (none / 0) (#144)
by ILikeCheese on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 10:52:00 AM EST

I'm a skeptic/atheist (not anarchist, though), and I was raised by real liberal middle-class parents. Not only that, but I have a great relationship with them (always have) and love them to death.

[ Parent ]
hmm. (none / 1) (#153)
by Cloud Cuckoo on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 07:01:45 PM EST

the anarchy is a critical ingredient. As far as I can tell your're a functional member of society. The skepticism is superflous. You investment banker you.

[ Parent ]
you ever read (none / 1) (#127)
by wampswillion on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 05:47:36 PM EST

salinger "franny and zooey?" in it zooey is explaining to franny about their older brother seymour's extreme worry that his younger siblings not be indoctrinated into a specific religion. but more than that, his concern that they could never be truly spiritual in any religious ideology until they understood and had a gut level grasp of all religions. in effect, he didn't think they could fully make a rational decision about christianity unless they understood buddism and islam and all the others. but a question has always come to mind for me. - you have to start with something with kids AND also, kids very rarely learn the particular values of something through just ONE experience with something. to build true understanding you have to have repetition and establish traditions. but if you tried to do what seymore wanted for his siblings, most likely you would produce in the end a very disjointed individual with no real spiritual attachment to anything. and so i do not see it as being inappropriate or wrong for parents to start their children OFF in the religion that they have chosen for themselves as the right one for them. i think the problem comes in when we THINK we OWN our children's minds and that they must always believe the same way that we do. i raised my children as presbyterians. i took them to sunday school where they learned to share cookies and to be thankful that there are cookies and other good stuff in the world. they also learned about being kind and generous and tolerant to other people. but i also always encouraged them to read whatever they wanted, think whatever they wanted and do whatever they wanted. and they have turned out to be good people with good values instilled. but know what? they are not presbyterians now. and i am glad. i'd rather have them be good people than good presbyterians. and right now i am an atheist. but hmm. i'm thinking pink floyd here. "we don't need no education. we don't need no mind control."

P70 (none / 0) (#161)
by IceTitan on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 03:15:43 AM EST

no real spiritual attachment to anything
aka 'healthy detachment'

I doubt this is what you meant but it is a point in Buddhism.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]

As for myself, (none / 0) (#172)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:46:08 AM EST

I was raised as a Christian and regularly dragged to an Episcopalian church. I survived, but I don't think it really did me any good. My Sunday mornings were wasted on what I ultimately ascertained to be baseless chicanery. I guess I turned out OK, but in retrospect I'm kind of angry that I had that time forcefully wasted when I could have instead spent several hours reading a good book. In any case, I think that the culmination of my intellectual and philosophical development is rock solid at this point with respect to morality because it is not built on a house of cards.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
So what would you say you base your morality on, (none / 0) (#173)
by Sesquipundalian on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 12:58:33 PM EST

if not a house of cards?


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
I bank on my reputation. (none / 0) (#175)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 02:57:51 PM EST

I am exceedingly honest, trustworthy and reliable because I deem it to be in my best interest.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Teach by Example (none / 0) (#135)
by rdmiller3 on Sat Jan 22, 2005 at 07:19:03 PM EST

The oldest of my four is only 13 and already it's obvious that what you intend to teach doesn't get across nearly so well as the way you live.

Be an example for your kids to follow.

That is very true. (none / 0) (#147)
by guidoreichstadter on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 01:01:16 PM EST

How you live your life shows what you really believe in and what you really value- what is really important to you.


you are human:
no masters,
no slaves.
[ Parent ]
Brainwashing (none / 1) (#148)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 02:31:58 PM EST

That's like my favorite word now days isn't it. Great story, best on k5 in my memory. Not really entertaining. It's a point that needes made by somone who is not me.

"When discoursing with children on matters philosophical, eschew arguing in favor of your dearest beliefs, and instead simply strive to be a conversational sparring partner. Seek to demonstrate by example the finer points of logic and reason. Convey the value of probability and statistics. Elucidate the framework of scientific method. Create not an ideologue but an analyst, not a zealot but a skeptic."

The problem is, most people are litteraly morons and lack the anylitical skills you speak of themselves. There thoughts and actions were given to them, they didn't create them themselves. Thus it is impossible for most people to teach there children in this way because they don't want to.

I was able to make my own decisions as a kid. Better than most, not as well as now. I think it's because I grew up in several differant life styles. Poor, veary poor, middle class, higher middle class, and I got to meat a couple rich people, hear their veiws. This is because my mother, grandmother, aunt and uncle, and my father are all veary veary differant people, one fellon, one alcoholic republican, uh, and a mid class fellon fluxuating from getting a new mustang to pawning kids shit frequantly, and democrat with min wage job living on ssi. Also, a gold digger grandma whom I didn't see to often. I think experiancing many differant life styles, differant states, about 20 differant schools, onlong with my ability to trust any other human  destroyed(a quelety trate since you can't trust anyone), and experiances real problems that are on a whole nother level from getting a bad grade has all led me to enlightenment. Or insanity, but it's probably the same thin. I was just thinking the way to save the childrens minds is to do horrible things to them and take them all away from there parents, having them live with several differant families threwout there childhood. I wouldn't advocate this though. After thinking for a few seconds, this really wouldn't be the ebst way to solve the problem even if it wasn't wrong. The problem could quit simpley be solved by putting kids in school later, having school last less hours, but most importantly, the problem could be solved by putting less importnace on school.

School is were peopls ability to think anylitcaly, logicaly, and to form opinions of their own, is destroyed. The problems is not the parents other than parents subjecting their children to a lifetime of striving for good grades. School quit intentionaly destroyes peopls ability to think for themselves, any ideas you come up with on your own are wrong, any facts you have difering from theirs, even though almost all of the information presented in school are lies or altered facts, or most of the important facts are left out, then you are wrong and have no chance at being succesful, that's what they tell you.The lies slow down in high school, were still, alot of it is lies, and even in colledge they teach some false information, because they don't think people are inteligant enough to take in all the truths. Not speaking from experiance, just shit that I've read picking apart points in the educational system and from learning shit, then learning what i would have learned had i gone to colledge, not in its vastness of course, but a little here and there, I assume it's acctualy alot worse than I could Imagine, grammer school is alot worse than i will ever read about it being.

There is an inteligant nearly optimal way of teaching children in school. Im not talking about the information itself, but the method of teaching, there is a way to teach without making people suicidal without turning them into zombies. And the US government know how to do it. Because I was tought in this way. It was at an alternative school. Im not sure if they have this program in other states. Basicaly they just gave kids packets witch contained all the work needed to get their credits for each subject, the kids did it, if they needed help they could ask the teacher, which almost never happend. This is kids who were getting straight fs and shit, now doing their work. Getting credits. This was a half day class were you could complete a years worth work in 3 months. This is the optimal way of education to me, because even in kids who fail, only like 10% fail this class, mostly it's just because they got expelled or went to jail. This, then hse, then colledge. If people were taught this way from 3rd grade on, imgaine how educated our society would be. Theoreticaly, you could be a doctor by 18 learning at this pace, at this eficiancy.  

"When an opponent declares, "I will not come over to your side," I calmly say, "Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."
- Adolph Hitler
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

I can see school did you a great deal of damage (none / 0) (#149)
by cdguru on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 04:18:14 PM EST

As it seems to have destroyed your ability to think anylitcaly, logicaly and to spell. Your alternative schooling seems to have failed you. You might be pretty inteligant and seem to have missed out on going to colledge. So much for your experiance with education.

As someone with some experience, I will counter by saying that there are clearly two classes of people in the education system today. Somewhere around 25 percent just doesn't belong there and no matter what we try to do for them, they will never be able to grasp higher math, read at a college level or understand much science. But, our educational system insists that we have to force these children through the system and bring the entire class down to that level so as not to alienate these children. This discourages everyone else and is extremely non-productive. Worse, we have reformed the economics of the US now such that low-skill workers really have no place - there are no more low-skill factory jobs and few things in the service sector which can be done by someone with limited skills. Using a computer is required for almost every job in the US today. Many require at least some understanding of alegbra and geometry.

In some ways the "inefficiency" you point to in the educational system is created by an attitude. Your protests of a lack of "intellectual freedom" in the classroom is unfortunately part of the same kind of movement which has led to dragging the children with limited skills and abilities into classes where they don't belong. The idea of a free-form education where differences of opinion can be expressed openly and all "facts" are just opinions is in this same vein. Unfortunately, there is a difference between an opinion and a fact. This is something that a lot of people would like to sweep under the rug and forget about. It is something that both Christian fundamentalists and the liberal Left can agree on - facts are such a bother, it would be much nicer if we could just ignore them.

Today we have textbooks that spend a great deal of time discussing the pristine natural wonder of how the American Indians lived and how this was cut off by the ruthless and genocidal invasion of Europeans. Sadly, they don't get into how the American Indians transformed the land into what the Europeans found when they arrived and how the Indians lived. That would be so terribly non-PC. And trying to tell a parent that their child isn't going to be a Nobel prize winning scientist is something that teachers are taught they must never do - all children are supposed to have the potential. Whether this "potential" can be realized or not is left up to others - if that potential isn't realized, it must be someone's fault.

[ Parent ]

Damn it... (none / 0) (#152)
by ShiftyStoner on Sun Jan 23, 2005 at 05:57:06 PM EST

I mispell out of angst damn you. I did not, will not allow myself to learn the rules of this nonsencicle arbitrary system. I knew damn it, I knew I shouldn't bring up a proper means of education using myself as an example, forgot. Here's the thing. I went to jail, because I stoped going to school. I acctualy finished some of these packates, this was 7th grade, suoped to be in 8th. This was literaly the only work I had done in school since 5th grade. That's something, all these kids, wearing bracelets, acctualy did their work. This knowledge is taken in. Just as well as if it's draged out over a semester.

It's the same tests, it's the same essays, assignments you'd nomrmaly do. You still have to pass. The differance is, you don't end up spending all day blocking out the teacher, only to go home and look up all the answers on the internet and plagurise essays. In this program, there was no homework, no parents doing work for their kids, if the parents even remeber any of the useless garbage themselves. Everyone didn't wan't to die. It was a good deal, everyone knew it. Half day. What really made it work was the teacher. Wasn't all athoritarian and shit. If you did your work, you could say what you want, get up to drink, bathroom. Competition can be a real motivator, but it can also make you give up, here respect was enough motivation.

I'm far more educated than you can judge from my spelling. I just don't have a nice peice of paper and a tassle to prove how much money i spent on getting educated, wasted, and having anal sex with frat buddies. While siting in the third year of science class, something I have interest in, and they are talking about the fucking earth being filled with magma AGAIN, it's like, burn there motherfucker. Or math, do I really need to spend a few years on fucking algebra, I mean really, oooh their using bigger numbers this year, and more letters. I think I've got the fucking concept of algebra you whiney underpaid hypocritical fuck. Okay, the mayans and incans, little bit overdone. Seen anough starved jews, heard enough about the mistreated niggers, heard anough about the slaughet of the natives. It's needs known. At some point, it's just propaganda. How about the greatest civilization ever, china, any russian history, wait COMUNISIM, maybe try explaing how much better the niggers are doing over in africa.

How can I give a shit about what a science teacher is spouting when they dont even know what the fuck E=mc2 means, even though they have it hanging on there wall, and I asked.

Okay, why should certain students be alloud to hold others back? The teacher doesn't play as big a part as you'd like to believe and their egos would like them to. They shouldn't. Give out the work and wait for questions, nothing more is needed, at least not for subjects like math ss science etc. If certain kids fail, they would have failed anyways or been extremly miserable. Teachers should stop acting like they care, well many are pretty transparent, they just want control.

Facts, there is a time for opinion and a time for facts. The differance needs to be known damn well. The facts they are teaching need to be the true facts. Not the facts of 40 years ago. Not a propaganda + historical-ignorance with a dash of today = fact cocktail. What if the student says, hey this is bullshit, here is why. The teachers reasponce shouldn't be I have the athority so i'm right, besides I just get all the answers from this book cause I paid for all my As in colledge and know dick.

False Hope IS NOT AT ALL neccesary. In fact, it's a horrible stupid thing. You have an entire generation thinking they are going to be bigger than brintney and eminem. Wonder why, hey erica, what kind of movie star do you want to be when you grow up? Whos you're favorite actor, singer? Whos you're favorite athlete. Boy, you can all be pro athletes and rock stars and movie stars, and if not, well look at bill gates. Nah, chances are, you're not going to be a fucking doctor or a lawer or a architect or be designing the latest hybrid sports car either. The odds arent in your favor. Some of the dumbest assholes you'll ever meat get these jobs, but will you. Odds arn't in all these kiddies favor. All these lies and delusions of grandour are just going to create whiney lazy fatasses expecting handouts trying to get an easy buck anyway way they can, wether it being forging your name, sueing your ass, or blowing your tax dollars on their new plasma screan while their living in a house you are also paying for. And a bunch of gold diging wana be diva bitches alergic to the word prenup.

I want them to get into the detail, I don't want them to teach biased shit. Talk about the natives canabalism and tribal wars. Talk about how they lived, good and bad. Tell us about how niggers are selling their woman for cows. Let's talk about all the wonderful work the US is doing for all the nations of the world right now. The shit Americas done in the past, it's all horrible. But what about whats going on right now, well you better make sure all the kids no this fuckn arib hates santa, and coughgodcough. Stead of showing starved jews, how about iraqi kids with their limbs blown off. Be glad you're in america cause that aint you, not proud you little shits.

Look, a ninth grade education never did a fucking thing for anyone. And you didn't learn shit you didn't know from 7th. Give work they do work, 10 years down the rode it's the same as if you tried to regurgitate it for them.        
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

Hey kid, want some non-bullshit advice? (none / 0) (#160)
by IceTitan on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 03:10:21 AM EST

I'm not going to tell you a bunch of shit intended to make you feel bad or make myself seem superior.
First off, let it go. That much anger will kill you. No one is out to get you. Nobody actually gives a shit about anything or anyone but themselves. You don't have to prove anything to anyone. There is no divine truth. There is nothing to figure out. There is no conspiracy. There are consequences to every action. Either learn to deal with them or get away with it. Radio, TV and the internet suck. Read a damned book. Challenge all authority, including your own. Enjoy beer.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
[ Parent ]
my anger (none / 0) (#166)
by ShiftyStoner on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 09:14:29 AM EST

kill me, no I am not the one who should fear my anger, now letting things go, that could be dangerouse to me. This is jackass advice. It's stupid and half of it's false. people are out to get me, you don't know what the fuck you are talking about, you are not me, i am not you. Nearly everyone gives a shit about something other than themselves, nearly everyone just has themself at the top or have a nonsencicle way of showing they give a shit. No, I don't have to prove anything to anyone, which is why i don't feel the need to strive for perfect spelling and grammer. Although, people can make it pretty compeling, like, prove you didn't nearly kill this guy or you're getting your life taken away. Sure, some truth is all right, i smoked weed, quit a divine truth to me, there is also an absolute truth, wether anyone will ever figure it out or not is the question.

There are countless things to figure out. There has been countless conspiracies threwout history.

There are consequences to every action. The only sentance in your comment that wasn't bullshit until you said. Either learn to deal with them or get away with it. It's pretty simple, every action does have consequences, wether you "get away with it" or not.

No, you suck for using them.

I will not read a book. I wont chalenge athority, ill ignore it. Beer is a discusting waste of time. Wiskey, vodka, any hard liqour, and whine are the way to go. Beer will make you fat on top of everything else, unlike whine, which tastes great, it tastes like shit, with less potensy, liqour, about equaly as gross as beer but without all that god damed fome, fuck carbinated drinks. Carbinated drinks are for poor people and dumbasses. Weed is far superior, to your brainroting fatoning weakoning murdering drink Of The DEVIL.

Now, I'll give you some advice, never call me kid, and start spouting off some drunken rambling jiberish to me in person. I formed my own morals, you aren't smart enough to form a cult, you should know basicaly everyone will not change what they believe, despite facts, or how much evidance. I'm not like this, but you have to give me more than just your dumbass morals, you would have to sell them, and you can't.  
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

"I'm far more educated..." (none / 0) (#187)
by mcgrew on Wed Jan 26, 2005 at 06:37:04 PM EST

"I'm far more educated than you can judge from my spelling"

Very, very little chance of THAT, son. If you stopped going to school in the 8th grade, the only other way to gain knowlege is to READ. Nobody who has read a lot will spell so horribly as you.

The most ignorant people are those who think they know. You can't learn what you think you already know.

I'm afraid you're life will consist of minimum wage jobs, petty larceny, drug dealing, and most likely prison.

"It's needs known."

WTF did that non-parsing sentence mean? Jesus H Christ, man, those rules you fear so much are there for a very good reason. Dumbass.

"The facts they are teaching need to be the true facts. Not the facts of 40 years ago."

Facts are facts. A properly spoken truth will always be true. The fact is, you are one of the most incredibly ignorant souls I've ever run across.

"And a bunch of gold diging wana be diva bitches alergic to the word prenup. "

WTF is a "prenup?" It's not in The dictionary.

No entry found for prenup.
Did you mean pen up?

Suggestions:
pen up
prep
prepupa
pinup
preop
runup
pruno
pre-op
Prunus
preamp
rein up
preen
prep.
preppy
pre-IPO
PRN
PRP
PrP
RNP
prim up
prn
prune
prepn.
Pyrena
paren.
pin up
pin-up
pyrene
run up
run-up
prang up
prop
press-up
prop up
prin.
pron.
per anum
prop-
prop.
ring up
p.r.n.
spring up

If you're going to make a word up, define the damned thing.

"you better make sure all the kids no[sic] this fuckn[sic] arib[sic] hates santa, and coughgodcough."

The Arans worship the same God that Christians worship, and they're right about Santa. There, now, you're a tiny bit less ignorant. I hope your tiny little head doesn't explode.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Well shithead... (none / 0) (#190)
by ShiftyStoner on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 02:58:43 AM EST

I spend hours reading here alone. I do read alot, just not so much books from beggining to end.

You certainly think you know more than I think I know, because I don't think it's possible for me to truely KNOW anything is even real, aside from myself.

Your 3rd comment is simpley false, allready been proven wrong.

It means people need to know the edication system is fucked and people are trying to turn the children into robots. I fear nothing, i simpley dont obey the rules because I don't want to be a robot. Yes all those rules are there for a veary "good" reason. To turn easily manipulated impresionable children into people who think just like you, and all the other millions of people who think just like you. Dumbass.

Facts, are not any differant from fiction. The only differance is people believe facts. A fact isn't a fact unless people believe it is. It's a fact that god is real, it's a fact that people can't reach the speed of light, it's a fact that I am incapable of spelling properly. Facts change. People can't even see a measurable fraction of realety, even as a whole. What with our extremly limited sences and limited feild of existance. So we don't really have the right to think we know anything as 100% fact.

It doesn't matter if they are right about santa, it doesn't matter if they believe in the same god. What matters is is school attempts to make these people disliked, if you're not christian you will be disliked. School wants it that way, school makes it well known who is not christian.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

Guess what... (none / 0) (#191)
by ShiftyStoner on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 03:11:53 AM EST

 I read a couple of your diaries. And I learned something, not how to spell but about you. I learned that you are a whiney pathetic brainwashed bitch, with a sad life that you should end.

Good Times.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

English bashing 101 (none / 1) (#196)
by dfenwick on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 11:11:56 AM EST

I'm afraid you're life will consist of minimum wage jobs, petty larceny, drug dealing, and most likely prison.

Not to defend felony-boy or anything, but it's "your" not "you're". Unless of course you meant to say "I'm afraid you are life will consist of...", in which case I wouldn't be bashing his use of the English language.

[ Parent ]

congratulations (none / 0) (#198)
by mattw on Mon Jan 31, 2005 at 01:41:58 PM EST

I'd like to award you a gold star for being the first person in this entire thread to manage an entire post without misspelling a word or generally mangling something.


[Scrapbooking Supplies]
[ Parent ]
He could have done better. /nt (none / 0) (#199)
by skyknight on Tue Feb 01, 2005 at 05:31:18 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
why should i care? (none / 1) (#159)
by gzt on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 12:44:29 AM EST

they'll die. i don't want an intellectually critical society and i see no reason for there to be one [and i doubt this would produce one, anyway].

ps you'll die.

We're all going to die. Nothing is permanent. (none / 0) (#164)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 06:25:11 AM EST

Why, in your mind, is permanence a prerequisite for value? Are you truly convinced that everything temporary is without value? Myself, I don't share you belief in life eternal, and as such by your metrics I shouldn't deem anything worthwhile, but I do. You should care because an ignorant society is a dangerous society, susceptible to fanaticism, violence and chicanery.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
nah (none / 0) (#167)
by gzt on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 09:43:08 AM EST

it's not that everything transitory is of no value, but rather that these little conversations you're trying to foster seem irrelevant. you're asserting something has value, i don't see any reason to value it. you need to begin by saying why i should care.

i believe the contrary, by the way. increased education has only led to more and more sophisticated ways of killing more and more people.

[ Parent ]

The issue here... (none / 0) (#170)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 11:39:10 AM EST

is that people become dangerous when their knowledge base is lopsided. The manifestations of such an "education", if you can call it that, can be just as bad or worse than what you get from plain vanilla ignorance. Someone who has had a great deal of engineering training, yet has not thought about philosophical matters, can indeed be quite dangerous. This is a perfect example of someone getting their head crammed full of facts without developing a critical mindset.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
see, there you go again. (none / 0) (#176)
by gzt on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 04:35:55 PM EST

as if i care about danger. yes, i suppose if danger were something that ought to be avoided, yes, all right, i'd avoid it. but, hell, i'll die and so will you, i'm not going to base my method of conversation on the hope of escaping a horrible death.

[ Parent ]
This discourse is getting increasingly bizarre. (none / 0) (#178)
by skyknight on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 05:50:56 PM EST

I don't even really know how to argue with you because you're not making a whole lot of sense.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
sure he is (none / 0) (#179)
by Battle Troll on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 06:04:23 PM EST

He's criticizing your hidden assumptions, stuff like 'society ought to be preserved,' or 'preserving my life is a paramount value.'
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Well, then tell me what you think of... (none / 0) (#186)
by skyknight on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:43:25 PM EST

this.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
i'm not arguing. (none / 0) (#180)
by gzt on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 06:21:04 PM EST

you're promoting your position, apparently, because people who aren't skeptics are dangerous to society. really, i support something quite close to the conclusion of the article if not the final reasoning, but that's neither here nor there. i'm trying to figure out what i'm supposed to value and why. you're taking these things for granted.

[ Parent ]
Well, that's a tough question. (none / 0) (#185)
by skyknight on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 05:42:17 PM EST

I think that the answer is that "value", like time, is relative. There is no intrinsic value to anything. Rather, value is only defined in the context of an objective. I feel the same way about "meaning" and "purpose". While most people claim to be driven by some higher purpose, and to believe that there is some kind of meaning to life, I take the stance that these things, too, are relative quantities, sensical* only in the context of other things.

So... Perhaps I would argue that the value of having skeptical people is that their analytic nature provides us with philosophical inertia. That inertia can prevent society from going off the rails, or at least retard the process. It is, for example, a lot harder to form a dictatorship through gradual erosion of liberty if people react with suspicion and resistance every time the government tries to pull a fast one.

Is that a better answer, or am I only furthering our disconnect?

*: apparently "sensical" isn't a word, but I think it's a perfectly good antonym for "nonsensical" :-)



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
And in other news... (none / 1) (#165)
by jolly st nick on Mon Jan 24, 2005 at 08:38:14 AM EST

If you harbor any hope for the children of tomorrow, be a contrarian.

And in other news, skyknight exhorts leopards to have kittens that will develop spots.

How about this one then? (none / 0) (#182)
by IceTitan on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 02:19:40 AM EST

Life's a lie and death's a joke.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Or as Eric Idle put it (none / 0) (#183)
by largo on Tue Jan 25, 2005 at 12:01:16 PM EST

life's a laugh and deaths a joke.
Its true.
You'll see its all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
And just remember that the last laugh is on you.

All together now.......

[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 1) (#193)
by weirdling on Thu Jan 27, 2005 at 10:28:27 AM EST

Sure, my parents taught me to think in certain areas, but I always thought anyway.  I have two boys.  One thinks incessantly about random unrelated stuff, your classic scatter-brain type, and the other is focused all the time.  I'm forever trying to get the one to concentrate on what he's doing and the other to think outside the box, but it basically doesn't happen.  With the one, I'm aiming for reliable enough to keep himself dressed and fed and the other it'd be nice to avoid having a straight reactionary, but I doubt either will be solid in logic.

Problem is that personality and character develops largely independantly of what parents do.  Values can be instilled to a certain extent, but the infant already has values.  I guess before people start wandering around spouting advice on raising children, they should figger out the whole nature/nurture aregument.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.

Get'em While They're Young | 200 comments (170 topical, 30 editorial, 0 hidden)
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