For generations, we, as a society, have had a habit of simply ignoring or reinterpreting uncomfortable facts in order to make them more palatable. Let’s be willing to question our assumptions when the facts repeatedly give us reason to do so.
If we can improve this effort with something as close to us as our sexuality, perhaps it will be easier to extend such a critical grasp of the facts to controversial political topics…
I haven’t posted for awhile. I’m in India promoting the new book. I’ve received support from the Vivriti Foundation. Part of that went to making a You Tube channel. There are ten videos so far ranging on subjects like sex, feelings and reason, human capacity, what is being progressive and more! Come have a look and subscribe if you like what you see.
We may at times feel terribly uncomfortable with lovers, especially when they do things we don’t expect. But if a lovers actions do not involve violence, coercion, recklessness or deceit then we need not do anything because no problem really exists. We certainly do not have cause to use power against them trying to spare ourselves such feeling. We benefit a great deal by not wasting our precious time trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. We need not believe or… Read More
Let’s look at both monogamy and commitment with fresh eyes and consider five reasons to question both cultural ideas.
Let’s not oversimplify the deceit exemplified by Ashley Madison. Widespread cheating suggests sexual impulses exist beyond monogamy.
Many arguments against freer sexuality provoke fear and even persecution exemplified in slut shaming, honor killings and LGBT harassment.
The discovery of trial and error expands our choices. Discovery also exposes our mistakes.
For example, discovering what sex will not do liberates us from our imagination.
I treat lovers as friends—this word means nothing without freedom.
My friends come and go, make love with whoever they wish and speak their minds. If their pursuits separate us, their happiness is still precious. A friendship doesn’t require our desires to be always in harmony. I live in such friendships whether or not the relationship involves sex. Read More… go to Elephant Journal
I haven’t published on this blog for several months. I’ve been busy editing and publishing the new book The Relevance of Kabir. The book orbits the poetry of the radical 15th century apostate Kabir. His philosophy is viewed from a modern secular point of view which opens up his bold insights to a new audience. This book is now available for free at Smashwords. Please download a copy and leave a review a at Smashwords, Goodreads, Amazon and anywhere else!
To find out more about the book got to http://therelevanceofkabir.com/
Excerpt from The Relevance of Kabir,
“Let us contemplate human aspiration and consider side-by-side, a thrill seeker and someone meditating. In each instance, their methods arrest the day-to-day habits of the mind and cause an out-of-the-ordinary state. The daredevil takes great risks, but the spiritual seeker faces more subtle dangers in the maze of superstitious meaning added to non-typical sensations. The labeling and defining of spiritual experience not only invites spiritual egoism and competition, but, also, creates a struggle to chase better sensations or sustain satisfying experiences. The changing nature of experience renders this effort futile.”
The overwhelming majority of the public that denies either Ebola or Climate Change cannot check the facts. Exciting conspiracy theory’s and reference to real and imagined evils can call into question any fact. This reason for doubt is not proof of falsehood as it is often treated. Example:
“I do not believe Ebola exists because none of my family members has been affected by it,” she says. “When you get sick of cholera, they say it is Ebola. When your body temperature rises, they say it is Ebola. So I honestly don’t believe Ebola exists. There could be a lot of other diseases killing people.”
The argument of this African woman reminds me of a conservative pointing to a cold snap and denying climate change.
The ability to explain what we see in words is not hard. Germ Theory and Evil Spirits both explain a spreading infection but one is more fact based and leads to better predictions and prognosis. Now let us look at an apologist for climate change denial from the popular Brietbart.Com.
“…if the climate establishment took the time to listen to what he had to say – especially on satellite data versus computer models – instead of just dreaming up emotive analogies to explain why he’s wrong maybe it might actually learn something.”
Ironically an article at Brietbart.Com calls attention to the denial of Ebola. I wonder if they are taking the side of the prevailing wisdom that Ebola is real. If so, would they drop that opinion if someone with credentials also denied the dread disease? What would be their standard for evidence?
When considering evidence and reasons we should envision a scale with competing explanations. At any moment in time the thesis that explains the most facts in a consistent way and leads to better predictions will be provisionally superior. Of course, a new fact might tip the scale. The Conservative begging for authority that simply looks at credentials instead of weighing facts, reason and a more accurate power to predict outcomes pits professionals against professionals who can both site facts, but which facts are relevant? At any one point in time one side may have more logical content and evidence on its side and that has nothing to do with credentials or the respect of the masses or anyone’s desires. Once one explaination establishes itself as being more creditable based on content not credentials, that becomes the working hypothesis until better comes along.
I have little reason to doubt the fact that the woman who says nobody in her family died from Ebola is telling the truth. She may even be a very respected in her community. But is the fact about the family weighty enough to believe that Ebola is not real? No! Some people never got smallpox but that is not evidence that the disease does not exist. We may have a cold snap but that is not evidence that the countless metric tons of carbon we pump into the atmosphere every day has no impact on the climate. The fact that we, the general public and politicians cannot confirm the relevant facts ourselves is no argument in favor of a conclusion we prefer. This includes the deniers of Ebola and climate change. Erring on the side of caution while we resolve our doubts seems like a conservative idea to me. After all, it involves conservation and maintaining what is good about what we already have.
We Need Comedians When Reasonable Gets Confused with Radical
Many of us enjoy when the late George Carlin or others rip on the foolish acts of those with power. The reasoning of comedians touches on radical but the fact that they are jesters gives them a pass. When a person of influence exposes the absurdity in public narratives without joking, they will likely be branded a radical. Consider the plight of professors who believe they must muzzle themselves to remain employed.
Our love of amusement shields critical thinking from persecution. Before Jeremy Bentham scrutiny had another name, sedition and its why Jonathan Swift wrote occasionally under a pseudonym even when using great humor. It’s a little odd that our love of the frivolous defends the means of exposing errors and deception.
Our critical thinkers including comedians will cross the line and invite attack, when they do they will need defenders in order to protect our chance to hear what others cannot or will not say.