Re: Provocation error - Thank You, Gene.

Ian (
Thu, 20 May 1999 22:32:04 +0100

>Time/attention is one of the scarcest resources we have. Mental
>fragility has little to do with tolerancy to redundant egocentrical 

     Thank You, Gene, for writing this reply in my stead.  I've had a couple of very hectic days, and I didn't consider it worth wasting time on answering this type of argument, but if I had, I would have written something along the same line.  This kind of Emperor's New Clothes argument is not terribly impressive:

"Hey teach, what you're telling us about Marxism makes no sense."
"Well, that is because you have a confused mind, as a result of capitalism. When you achieve a clear mind you will understand Marxism"
"Oh, I see, that makes a lot of sense. -- NOT!!!"
(Social Psychology class at my college)
"I'm sorry (says one of the female students in my class), but I don't really see that the Evil Patriarchy is oppressing me as a woman, the way we are taught."
"That is because you need to have your consciousness raised. Once your consciousness has been raised, you will realize that you are a victim of the Evil Patriarchy."
"Thank you. I will try to raise my consciousness."
(This is from a course in contemporary feminist philosophy at my college, and the student's reply was, to her credit, more like "Gaaahhh!" It's funny, in my days, raising your consciousness was something you used drugs to accomplish, and then you were supposed to drop out. Today you are supposed to raise your consciousness in order to be able to understand what the heck your college course really is about. Times do change.)
"Excuse me (says I), but I have no wish to waste time on reading bad poetry and leftist mumbo-jumbo which I've heard a thousand times before. If I wanted to read bad poetry I'd subscribe to straight away. Hence, I filter out postings from those who fill their messages with the aforementioned."
"That is because you are suffering from mental fragility."
"Oh, I see. Thank you for pointing this out. I'll immediately go to onelist and subscribe to every mailing list which concerns itself with something in which I am NOT interested, like marxism@onelist and hocuspocus@onelist, just to try to prove that I am not suffering from mental fragility."
On the other hand, I think I'll pass. Although it saddens me to have to do so, I already have to unsubscribe from some lists to which I am currently subscribed. In every list to which I am subscribed there are messages I delete unread, since they discuss things which do not interest me. I have always done this, and I never had any idea that this was a symptom of mental fragility. Despite my reducing the mail load in this fashion, time does not suffice to read what remains. I will remain subscribed to the most interesting lists, but I reserve the right not to have to read every single posting to these lists. If this is considered a sign of mental fragility, then so be it. (This topic, for instance, has little to do with extropy, and I expect that many subscribers to this list by now delete every message with "Provocation error" in the subject line, since they would rather read messages which are about things more related to extropy. I can't blame them. I'd probably do the same if I weren't involved in this thread.) Ian