Big Q's - Raison d'etre

  • Raison d'etre....

    To those just dying to know "which side I am on", I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in my day whom I felt best reflected my values and concerns. Or more accurately, the lesser of evils I am presented with. Yeah, go right on ahead and color me jade. But please do not paint me any other colors.

    Friendships with real people are of far greater value to me than whatever masturbatory feel good strokes may be had from being a tool for the "winning side" of various public serpents who only pretend to give a damn about us once every X years. I've lost friends to real tragedies. Losing more over senseless political machinations is infantile. And it is past time for it to end.

    We, the people, need to take back responsibility for intelligent, fact and logic based discussion and debate of a myriad list of issues facing society which we have for far too long now abdicated to various talking heads serving up our preferred flavors of identity politics. The modern web has deteriorated to a little more than inflammatory click bait catering to the lowest denominator. Indeed, we seem to have lost our capacities to engage in little else! Some would like to blame the social networking sites. Yet others point fingers at the plethora of shock jock charlatans masquerading as news media. That would be wrong as we have nobody to blame other than ourselves. Commercial entities care about one thing: Profit! The math is simple: More clicks equals more money and rising stock prices. Everything else is merely strategy and tactics. The "war for eyeballs" has become ruthlessly proficient at serving up our just deserts.

    I hope to provide a space here for civil, reasoned discussion of topical social issues. To which end I up voted posts and topics which I felt could be good candidates for such without regard for "identity politics" of their respective posters. I also made a couple posts and a few comments in efforts to encourage such. Again, taking care to not give the appearance of taking sides. Ironically, efforts at neutrality back fired and peeved folks on both sides of the chasm. Alas, I failed the onsight lead. But I'm tenacious and not done yet.

    One of the crux's presented by this category was it's title. I am not interested in Blue versus Red versus the remaining colors of the rainbow. The circus acts on display in modern political arenas are counter productive to these goals. I have therefore decided to rename this category "Big Questions". Hopefully such helps otherwise intelligent folks to step back from personality politics and focus on issues.

    There has also been interest for a space to discuss philosophy. I have been pondering how best to accommodate this without too much splitting and subdividing. Broadening this category to "Big Questions" hopefully allows us to have our cake and eat it too.

    And... since this space is likely to become a bit heated from time to time, a few things bear repeating:

    1. Quantity does not equate to quality. Drowning "opponents" with barrages of senseless babble, ad hominem attacks, slurs, etc. does not equate to "winning". If anything, it only serves to shine the spotlight on the losers. To phrase in climbing terms, I think most will agree that bypassing all the crux moves cheats the route. Hosers, posers and sprayers are little more than "legends in their own mind". While such may have served up some momentary amusement around the campfire, uhhh... here's the clue bat, it's because we were laughing at you.

    2. Differences in opinion are welcome. Trolling is not. Nor is it an excuse to take the bait. Two wrongs do not make a right. Like a fish unable to resist a tempting lure, it's a lot harder to shake the hook than avoid it in the first place. Yes, it's a challenge, particularly when the bait hits close to that which we may hold dear. But instead of rushing to the lure, maybe take a few steps back first and rethink your reaction.

    3. We are all guilty of bad calls from time to time. Part of the human condition. A wise man once said; "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.". Let's drop the hate, forgive each other. Worth bearing in mind.

    Peace ✌

    Note: This is not an invitation to discuss religion. Although values derived from such are fair game in debate formats such as Lincoln-Douglas religions themselves are a matter of faith and outside the realm of debate.

  • Toby said something that really resonated with me:

    " I've lost friends to real tragedies. Losing more over senseless political machinations is infantile. And it is past time for it to end."

    On one occasion I was stupid enough mention something to do with politics at a small party at Bob Kamp's house. He turned to me and said, quite sternly, which was so out of character:

    "Never talk politics or religion with a friend. Why would you want to spoil a good relationship with crap like that?"

    I've said some damn stupid stuff on line. On one occasion I said something about DMT on the taco which I regretted deeply. More recently I hassled Fritz undeservedly. And forget about the political stuff. I didn't mix it up much there, but when I did I always regretted it.

    Widefetish is a blast in its own way, but inevitably it is home to ridicule and slander. Not bad things in the right place. I'm going to take the birth of this new forum as an opportunity to do my best to behave well. A fresh start in a way...


  • @ksolem Sounds awesome. Life is for growing and learning. If I feel even a little uncomfortable about a post I don't do it until I've thought about it a day or two. Learned that on ... can I even say the word... Supertopo. I feel the campfire is finally growing here. 🙂

  • @ksolem said in Big Q's - Raison d'etre:

    I've said some damn stupid stuff on line.

    Amen, Brother!

    This is a lesson I keep having to learn over and over and over....and my forehead is almost as flat as a 2x4 these days.

  • One of the real victims of the internet is the loss of a relatively universal base of information. "Information" is diffused all over, its origination difficult to determine, and accuracy is very elusive. It's difficult to differentiate between what's right and what "feels right". And you can always find any "proof" you need to corroborate any position.

    It's worrisome because how can you have a productive and analytical discussion when both sides are working off a different set of facts? Both sides vehemently believe their facts are the correct ones. What's most troubling to me is the assault on many of the country's most established news organization.

    Established news organizations, while never perfect, adhere to journalistic practices that ensure that we are getting the best possible information. Yet these establishments are increasingly being described as "fake news", simply because the material is disagreeable to someone.

    While there is indeed plenty of fake news on the internet, I personally trust the established news organizations because conspiracy theories aside, there's not really an incentive for them to not be accurate. It goes against the journalistic principles that led them there.

    Of course, there's a difference between news reporting and editorials; they are two different animals and just because editorial content is left or right leaning does not mean that their news reporting is.

    Without accurate information, the idea of a functioning democratic society seems unlikely.

    I do agree that journalism is the fourth pillar of democracy. And that sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  • My sister said to me once, "I don't understand how we can have such different views of things when we're looking at the same set of facts."

    But we each have our own set of values, and there are plenty of facts from which we can choose to support our point of view.

    The news media have always been a filter, putting forth "All The News That's Fit to Print," as the New York Times so boldly states. This has been the case since Ben Franklin published the Pennsylvania Gazette. It's not necessarily a bad thing so long as there's a balance of opinions.

    I totally agree that the internet has thrown the whole thing out of whack. It's the last place I look for journalism. There are some great print sources out there (The Economist, etc.) People complain because print media is not fast enough to keep up with events.

    I have another point of view about information. When something notable happens, the first info out is of very low quality. As some time goes by the quality of the information improves. This continues to be the case until enough time has gone by that people begin to re-write history. Instant news, aka the web, is almost always wrong, and is fed to the public by sensationalists.

    "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."

  • I don't know if the internet is to blame, or it's aided and abetted but civil respectful discourse seems to be a rare commodity these days.

    What I've learned in my few years on this rock is if you are willing to respectfully engage in conversation with someone you can truly learn and grow. Some of the most interesting conversations I've had have been with friends and acquaintances with completely different viewpoints than my own. The key is we respected each other. On the flip side some of the most boring conversations I've had are with people that seemed to come from a similar viewpoint as myself but they really weren't interested in having a conversation, their interest laid in spouting their viewpoint.

    With that in mind, if one's goal is simply to shout out their views and opinions, start a blog. If you want to engage in a conversation, realize it can be akin to venturing out leading a trad route that's unfamiliar to you. It can be scary, it can challenge you, it can make you question yourself, but it can be tremendously rewarding.

  • Trumps mouth....

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