RE: Grayness (was RE: JP Barlow, Ph.D, Social Engineering)

Michael Butler (
Tue, 24 Sep 1996 16:34:46 PST

I had said:
>The phrase "dealing with that rationally" is one I wouldn't use...
>"dealing with that wisely" might be closer to my goal.
>Categories are very useful. So is the ability to think outside
>the box.

Jeff Dee said:
I prefer not to make blanket
reccomendations of subjective things like 'wisdom', because
I can't know what they mean to the person I'm dealing with.
On the other hand, there are pretty clear rules about what
does and does not constitute rational thought.

I say:
Please re-read my comment. I said "I prefer"--I did not make a
blanket recommendation. As for those "pretty clear rules"--
rational thought is prone to GIGO, tunnel vision, etc., and is a
lossy/lousy way to deal with, e.g., sitting down on a hot stove.

Jeff Dee said:
Why do you think it isn't? Why do you think
the process of rational thought would keep you from adopting
exactly the stance you already hold now?

I say:
Matter made entirely of hydrogen does not exhibit very much richness
or complexity. If you can figure out what the first sentence of this
paragraph is a metaphor for, how did you do it? Did you do it
"rationally"? If you can't figure out the metaphor, I'll explain:
Thinking that is limited to "rational" thought is a stark subset of
the thinking I find interesting.

Many people use the phrase "rational thought" to mean "rearranging
their prejudices" or "thinking critically". The first is occasionally
useful, the latter is more useful than the former, and neither one
encompasses the entire gamut of useful thought.

Jeff Dee said:
This implies that 'if people only understood the 'why' and the deep
structure, everything would be fine. But I understand the 'why' and the
deep structure - and I still think it's a load of crap. The problem is not
that students are having it spoon-fed to them. That's unfortunate, but
it's not the primary reason why it upsets me.

I say:
Great. And is being upset a rational response? :) :) :>
To say "It" is a load of crap is to imply knowledge of what "it" is.
I wonder whether we are talking about the same thing.

You may be right.

MMB, at but not for OCV