May 24, 2007

Painful Interpretations

Posted in psychology, science at 7:59 am by Jerry

I use to think of pain in the sense that my body was giving me a warning about something gone amiss with my actions. Now, I’m confused because I’ve learned enough about pain to know that, sometimes, ridding oneself of physical or emotional damage requires the kind of work that can result in a soreness that tells me this pain is commending my previous actions.

So now that I have TWO interpretations of pain I’m sometimes placed in a state of confusion. When it’s easy to see the direct cause of my pain, I can usually interpret whether the source of my pain is good or bad. But when I’m unaware of the direct cause of my pain, I don’t know the nature of its source. And then, I don’t know how I should respond to this pain.

This isn’t an easy issue to put off. Pain doesn’t like being ignored!

Either these mysterious pains are in need of proper communication skills or I’m in need of improving my listening skills. Both would be beneficial.

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May 19, 2007

Quote of the Day

Posted in culture, politics at 11:29 am by Jerry

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity. – Christopher Morley

Borrowing Morality

Posted in culture, politics, psychology, religion, soup at 9:40 am by Jerry

RIDDLE ME THIS: What does a Revelationist and Relativist have in common?

ANSWER: They both claim to, ultimately, give up their responsibility of making their own moral judgements of others over to someone else.

Which means, ultimately – they can never take credit for being right nor own up to being wrong. And yet, even though someone else is understood as the ultimate judge of others, neither Revelationist nor Relativist can live up to this fundamental principle of theirs…

“They are unfit to judge themselves properly. Only God is a righteous Judge!” says the Revelationist, “And by His Word, we know these people are committing sins against Him.” “But that’s a different culture than the one you’ve grown up in,” says the Relativist, “Their moral structure is just as valid as yours. Telling them they are sinners is wrong!”

Oh, the irony! All this judging of others for making judgements!

The reality is – everyone judges everyone all the time. Just by our curiousity alone we come up with a theory about who people are, the good and the bad about them (though we might not always express these opinions). And just by saying this, I can hear the objections already – “Are you saying we should embrace these judgements of others? What if they’re wrong?”

I’m aware of our fallibility. We cannot always be certain about what others ought to do. But, by just saying certain moral standards are God’s standards or another culture‘s standards doesn’t make them infallible either. I hear more objections – “So what do we do then? Everyone for themselves? If we can’t completely subject ourselves to external authorities, are we to make ourselves the ultimate Authority? What gives us the right to make our own moral judgements of others?”

When I read The War for Children’s Minds by Stephen Law, I came across “Milgram’s Experiment” (pp.43-45). I’ve never heard of the experiment before, but it confirmed for me the need for all to be capable of questioning external authorities and defending disobedience when needed.

A subject who has no ability or expertise to make a decision, especially in a crisis situation, will leave it to the group and its hierarchy.

via Wikipedia’s Milgram Experiment