Summary of Part 1:
I introduce the objectives of the blog: one to show how the equivocation of reason as aggression, objectivity for ‘perspective’ actually works, two, to relate it to the intellectual disintegration of society, and three how this all relates to the misuse and disregard for rational life and communication.
I introduce Dale Carnegie’s view of social behavior in his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ in that self-aggrandizement is the operative motive is most people’s behavior. He explains how it is futile to argue with people, and better to simply agree with their point of view, or humor them in some way. I use this as a good example of how society works at present, in general.
I introduce the concept of ‘flight and fight ego’ to relate to some of Carnegie’s ideas about how people turn comments around to flee or evade a premise, or to turn the premise of their own disagreement into their own ideas.
Carnegie illustrates how even upon making a point successfully, the other contender or participant, will not be happy with you unless this somehow extols their own abilities in the face of other people, and even themselves.
Both Carnegie and my Dad told me the very same conclusion as a basic life lesson: ‘if people want to be right, and wish to hear only about themselves, let em.’
Until recent years I had followed this advice by letting people speak before I did, politely letting them interrupt so that they can speak on what subject they really want to hear about: them.
My point in bringing up Carnegie is to put a foot in the door of your mind, through examples of how ‘we’ tend to operate on a regular basis, particularly with reference to how we behave with our own egos.
I commonly encounter a discussion involving the topic definitions where definitions are precisely what is overlooked. This has a name in grammar–its called reification: when a(an) (abstract) concept is equivocated to be a concrete entity in that it is treated as such.
I might point out that people seem to be better at defining concepts or words, though they are rarely not making them up on the spot, but people seem even worse, far worse in applying them to reality.
So, for instance, if I were to begin the discussion of objectivity and perspective you’d commonly get a conversation which very quickly led to blatant misunderstanding in that two parallel dialogues would emerge: one, who understood his initial definitions, and the other who didn’t.
Either of them would point out that the disagreement on virtually everything was the result of conflicting definitions, or they wouldn’t. In most cases, this is the latter, or I wouldn’t have much of a subject to write about here.
Let’s say a guy named Gary begins by stating my premise:
‘Objectivity and perspective are equivocated to be the same thing often in society.’
A typical person, let’s call him Sam would tend to respond with something like:
‘That isn’t true.’
Or that ‘it is true’ depending on his opinion on the matter. It doesn’t necessarily make a difference but I will make him disagree in this instance so I will have something to demonstrate.
So he says: ‘that isn’t true,’ without asking what Gary means by either concept.
Gary might respond by saying:
‘But they are different, and they are often confused for each other.’
But this wouldn’t be a very effective way of responding since Sam would then just lash back in disagreement. So, let’s say Gary happens to be a rational and informed fellow. So, being rational, he instead asks Sam:
‘How are you stating that those are not true?’
Sam: ‘What do you mean?’ (Justifying a claim with a reason (!) is automatically foreign to Sam, but at least he’s asking)
Gary: ‘I mean, what reason do you have to say that?’
Sam: ‘Well, a perspective is the same thing isn’t it?’
Gary: ‘No, it’s not, it’s actually quite different.’
Sam: ‘I don’t know I don’t think so.’
-Believe it or not, this tends to be the typical response to any sort of even abstract question. As Carnegie would point out, people begin by being experts, whether or not they are is irrelevant to them. –
Gary: ‘How can you say that if you don’t define them?’
Sam: ‘I have a general definition, just because I can’t spit it out right here and now on the spot, doesn’t really matter, I know what it means.
Gary: ‘How can you be sure you know if you can’t even explain it?’
-At this point, the conversation would turn into ego based mud slinging, but I will go on having skipped that part.-
Gary: ‘Objectivity Is the idea that reality is independent of our minds and existence. Perspective, is the point of view of a single person which has a certain degree of both objectivity and subjectivity in it, and depending on the person, can be more one than the other.’
Sam: ‘I get it, so, how can a person have objectivity or subjectivity in them when they are both abstract ideas?’
Gary: ‘Because abstract ideas do not refer to other abstract things, they refer to things people do, or things in reality, otherwise they are just words.’
Sam: ‘Okay I don’t get that part, but I think its generally the case that people are subjective, I mean, they are people that have a point of view, we can never become objective.’
Gary: ‘Why is that?’
Sam: ‘Because we are not independent of reality, we are all part of the same thing, we come from nature.’
Gary: ‘I think you have not understood what I meant.’
Sam does not understand, and is quickly confused. This is partly to do with factors like impatience and attention span, but I think in typical instance like these, mainly to do with the fact that to people like Sam, explaining certain things, such as the definitions of words, is redundant, since to him, there is no difference between words and reality.
There is, also, more generally, no difference to him in how he regards things, between his own point of view and reality. Hence, anything he has come to understand, IS, in a sense, all there is to understand.
In order to understand how people confuse objectivity for perspective lies in the consistent observation that people do so, in inappropriate ways.
It is inappropriate to marginalize science into a purely non-philosophical realm for example. Virtually all scientific authorities agree with the opposite: that there’s no way philosophy could ever be considered a positive science.
This has to do with two misconceptions: one, to do with the general definition (if there is one) versus the way it would have to be defined if made scientific, and two, to do with the history of all sciences which, at one time or another, were philosophy. All sciences evolved from philosophy. The way philosophy is defined generally is on the basis of the many ways different authorities define it without much consensus.
But the way philosophy would be defined if made into a science, would have to be concentrated on people and the system of beliefs by which people live, which isn’t quite, but linked with psychology.
But rather than seeing the ways in which philosophy could work as a science, which if kept to the range of what systems of thought exist, rather than anything projectional, or normative, the society ousts it to the realm of being a ‘humanity.’
This is the same mentality which will maintain that subjectivity is inescapable and objectivity, unattainable. Complete objectivity, perhaps is impossible, since that would possibly entail omniscience because a completely objective view is nothing less than a whole view, A is A.
This either-or mentality leads to its social manifestation, which is the common mistake of regarding objectivity as a mere perspective. We see this in people who will discuss science until it pertains to ‘such an indefinable element as –the truth-‘ or more typically when people regard science itself as having no bearing on politics such as is the case with stem cell research, or even abortion, both examples where the conservative political machine regards science as merely one person or another’s perspective.