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Yak Wax (
Wed, 13 May 1998 12:45:05 -0700 (PDT)

Pink-eyed Damien Broderick wrote:
> > A Study of Imagination Deficiency in
> > Ten Cases of Skepticism
> Yes - funny, stylish and deft. And
> ouch-making.

It reminded me of that saying people tend to abuse around here, "don't
be so open minded that your brains fall out." You can form words into
pretty sentences, but do they mean anything? Just the same, you can
be funny and make a point but it doesn't make that point valid. Oh!
Shit I'm being too rational (but not so rational <insert pointless,
but oh so clever, remark here>).

> I've been wondering about this paradox
> myself. Despite having been an sf
> writer by profession for, um, 35
> years, I'm clearly `Imagination
> Deficient'. Part of this is what I
> would justify as `Dick-Headedness
> -Intolerant', but part is quite close
> to what Quinne's spoof parametrizes.

And why, pray tell, do you want to be more 'imaginative'? It's easy
to make a funny remark and have people believe it's valid simply
because it makes some clever observations. It's not so easy to say
something that truly is valid.

When someone makes a witty and "biting" remark so clearly aimed in
your direction there are two responses; A) retaliation - making some
other equally witty remark to keep face, or B) defence, agreeing that
you fit snugly into their social rut and then extrapolating to perhaps
why you do it. You managed to fall into the latter.

> Example: I can cautiously consider the
> possibility that certain claims of the
> paranormal are valid without my head
> exploding, but I get very, very angry
> when my sister-in-law blithely reports
> that she and her friends can change
> the traffic lights green when they
> wish to.

I'm not sure I understand this. Do you want to believe your

> It occurred to me that I (a first
> born) have a high probability - on
> Sulloway's acount - of being narrow,
> conservative and opposed to change.
> My brother Mick, 15 years younger and
> the family's `baby', should have
> turned out neophilic and radical - as
> indeed he did, in a relaxed and
> sardonic way (he's a scathing
> authority on nuclear tropes in movies
> and TV).

Well I'm the last of three; I'll let you decide whether I fit neatly
into your model.

> But I sort of muddy the picture, being
> gung-ho for change in some directions
> and quite narrow and hostile to
> innovation in many others.

Again I find you trying to fit yourself into someone else's rut (no,
Damien, don't do it!). Being "gung-ho for change" when you should be
"narrow, conservative, and opposed to change" isn't "sort of muddying
the picture" it's wiping your arse on it.

> (I'm one of those people who find it
> hard to believe anyone except the
> mentally infirm would choose to wear a
> baseball hat backwards - it mimics
> baldness, never a good look, it leaves
> you with the sun in your eyes, not a
> lot of fun, and it's a marker of herd
> mentality.)

Today's youth tend walk with their heads hung low; thus the backs of
their necks are more prone to sunburn.

> I suspect this might have something to
> do with anxiety control. If your
> stress set-points are low, from birth,
> you might arrange your reactions to
> the world in a defensive, suspicious
> way, and if you're intelligent as
> well, you might do this by
> constructing/adopting highly complex,
> organised systems of categorisation,
> evaluation and expression. More
> relaxed people might find it easier to
> break free, to explore `imaginatively'
> without the risk of premature closure.

You could have a point, I'm relaxed to the point of near-death and
IMHO I'm "open-minded" (i.e. I don't suffer from premature closure,
well, maybe once or twice but you know what it's like when you get
excited!). And personally, I wouldn't say that a SF writer with
extensive knowledge of all things psi is prone to premature closure

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