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A Post of Concern

7 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Keeping it brief, over the last few weeks I've been witnessing a trend toward frivolity saturating the boards of TGL and to be honest, in all my time spent here - which has now run into a good number of years - I cannot remember the forum ever being reduced to such a worrying degree of banality.

I cannot be certain but my suspicions are peaked. There are moments when I feel TGL is simply being trolled, other times I get the impression that it's participating in a school-project where our words will be cut and pasted into high-school essays. Other times I just think there are a number of dense and immature and superficial individuals taking the piss.

Now all of this wouldn't be a problem if there were things like arguments being set forth. You know, a set of propositions offering a thesis and that thesis being a position, an issue, so to say, which is then defended.

But all of that has gone out of the window. When regulars like Dave or Michael or David or Heretic or Peter or Maddog, the Saintly Scotty, or the devil myself try to offer sound, informative, kindly arguments, they seem to be treated as, "Thank you for your opinion! Now, fuck off while I come out with my dribble of worrying and hateful cliches and opinions."

What's going on here! TGL was never like this!

The individuals in questions, and we all know who they are, may get a rounding applause for defending a position that I disagree with, they may get a boo for upholding a position I agree with. And what does this demonstrate? Merely, that I do not care about their opinion. What I care about here at TGL is how one reasons for it, and this I care about very much.

I care so much about how one reasons on the boards, that I am going to base their position of the post on how well they reason. This is because critical thinking is about arguments, not about dribbling opinions and clichés. Indeed, having an opinion does not require critical thinking.

Everybody, every fucking loon in the world has an opinion, but few have reasons for their opinions, and fewer still, have good reasons for them. So, like I say, I don’t have any interest in what they believe, but more in the reasons why they believe it and how they got to those reasons.

If one gives no reasons, then one isn’t doing philosophy. So, what I'm trying to say is, hasn't the end of the road arrived?

And why not?

Edited by soleo
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Posted (edited)

Hello soleo.

I've been here for 5 years or something now, and although I haven't been participating or reading current discussion, I have read your post and I browsed over what is causing your concern.

First thing, TGL is not being trolled, and in the 5 years I have been here, I have rarely seen "trolls", and what you are referring to is not trolling. I don't like this word, and often when it is invoked online, I get the same feeling when someone compares something to Hitler. I've seen maybe like 1 or 2 actual "trolls", what we're seeing now, and what you're feeling now is simply what happens when humans interact normally. It's important to stay positive, otherwise the minor bump in the road is going to turn into a mountain, and that's what leads to community degradation and e-drama (or even drama IRL really). If you want to see trolls, go to reddit or a chan board or something, rofl. Believe me, there are no trolls on TGL, and there rarely have been. So with that aside...

When I first came here, I was pretty retarded. In fact if I could go back, I would have not signed up until a few years later lol.

The standards here are incredibly high, and I find this respectable and honorable, which is why I have decided not to shit up the good discussions old-timers have been having here recently. TGL comes off as very elitist to me, but to me that's a good thing. Out of most of the corners of the internet I've seen, this place sets the bar pretty high, and it's difficult to maintain the bar that high, because most people will never engage in the level of critical analysis that I've seen here. Most people, sadly, unfortunately, spend their life having opinions for no damn reason at all! And they cling to it with their life! Why? Is it because people use ideology to identify themselves?

Campanella said something fairly profound (it was to me anyway), emphasis added by me,

More to the point: we are not our ideas. We are not our beliefs. We are individuals first with our own passions and perspectives and should be respected as individuals, rather than dismissed as a member of a group.

This is so important. When I first came here, you guys really offended me. I thought quite a few of the regulars were assholes and thought too highly of themselves. Whenever I started ranting, I was totally ripped to shreds, laughed at in some cases, which hurt me way more than you guys know, and like any insecure kid that is discovering the unbelievably rich and colorful intellectual history of humankind for the first time, it was overwhelming. And, this novel experience and knowledge I was assimilating made me feel like I knew a lot more than I thought I did. I thought I understood myself, this crazy existence, my family, my school etc.

What really disturbed me was encountering existential angst for the first time. Sometimes I posit that the only difference between a child and an adult is existential angst. I can vaguely remember... That feeling of being alive, knowing you can fall off the precipice if you really wanted to, having choices but no definitive way to choose, being introduced to skepticism, learning about the notion of meaning and narrative for the first time, realizing how disturbingly fragile and short life is compared to the apparent grandeur of time and space. A significant portion of the userbase are fully grown adults, with fully grown ideas. And not just being adults, but also having rich experiences and hobbies (everyone here seems really active and possesses healthy IRL relationships), and being solid, critical thinkers at the same time, which by itself sets us apart from many other people. It disturbs me that ignorance is almost upheld as a reputable trait in the society around me, but that's okay, I want to eventually make it part of my life's work to dispel ignorance, I'm just not doing it now because I'm still pretty stupid and young/naive.

Being young, encountering the notion of identity for the first time, I clung to ideology, because when I looked around me in the media I consumed, the conversations on the internet, the things I hear from other people, it appeared to me that ideology is what makes a person. But slowly, it dawned on me (and it's still dawning on me), that people are... well I don't know what people are to be honest, I'm still thinking about it. I guess a complex sum of relationships, events, emotions... Maybe it's more important how a person changes rather than what they are.

Anyway, I clung to ideology, and that made [makes] me defensive, because I identified me as my beliefs. I tolerated people criticizing the ideology I clung to some degree, labeling it skepticism, and brushing off the slight pain it caused me when my current ideas were attacked. I interpreted criticism that was too critical as a personal attack (because as I just said, I tolerated some, believing I was intellectually honest this way).

And truthfully, humans are not just their ideas, they're much more beautiful than that. I used to believe in God, can you believe that? haha, I can't. Now look at me... wtf?! And in some sense, I still feel like the same kid from 7... 8 years ago, lol. I just became more aware of who I am, and learned to work with that, I guess...

If one gives no reasons, then one isn’t doing philosophy. So, what I'm trying to say is, hasn't the end of the road arrived?

I agree, and being the kind of place TGL is, I think we should re-assert this, and remember what we're here for. I hope TGL can continue setting itself apart, and continue to be a place where ideas sometimes get polished into diamonds. Solid, beautiful, rational, its brilliance seems to last infinitely, but only as a guise for its true nature, brittle under the right forces, it will eventually degrade. All ideas deserve some honest scrutiny at some point. You guys underestimate yourselves, this place could be epic, if you wanted.

And I do apologize to all for occasionally being part of the problem, but I like to think I've matured quite a lot recently so I'm trying... Lately I've been doing more receiving rather than giving, more experiencing rather than analyzing, heh. You told me last night in chat the old Michio used to have some things to share, but whatever, I recently realized how mind-bogglingly naive I am, so I'm treading more carefully now.

Edited by Michio
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Posted (edited)

I agree with both of the preceding posts:

Soleo, the air has shifted, not by anybody's fault, but rather by the new posters totally unfamiliar with the expectations here, as opposed to elsewhere. This is pretty much the difference between discussion and debate. In a discussion everyone is entitled to their opinion, and nobody has to discuss justification or evidence or warrant, because we are all "equals" in discussions and all opinions are "equal." This is done out of respect of feelings and pre-existing group identity. Nobody is trolling as far as I can tell.

But in debate, no one's opinion is justified. Nobody is "equally" entitled to their beliefs. The point of debate is to scrutinize ideas, thoughts, concepts, reasoning. This is done out of respect to the ideas themselves, to the Galilean Library community.

Some of us may take offense to the latter mode of discourse, because we may identify ourselves with our ideas or beliefs. This is the problem. Thank you Michio for mentioning that. It's one of my techniques to respect the person, but separate them from the ideas. Heck, one of my best friends is a theologian from Fuller Seminary!

I made a post yesterday about metaphorical theology. Unsurprisingly it remains unmolested :Cry: probably because it is a college-level post that offers no easy target for dispute. That sort of post is somewhat the ideal TGL post. A fodder for criticism. But lately we've fallen far short of that ideal, what with new members regurgitating old dogmas and uncritical beliefs. Naturally they are much easier to dispute and offer more grist for discussion.

This is probably only temporary as we continue to absorb new members and keep the level of discussion civil and bring it up to debate, but without confusing the poster with the ideas.

Got it? Get it? Good. :thumright:

Edited by The Heretic
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Posted

I want to say sorry first to anyone that I've talked to recently that has gotten upset by anything I've said; whatever it may have been. What I've said so far has been my opinion on different matters or merely posted for the point of discussion. I'm don't mean to troll and if that's what I've been doing I will try and stop. I didn't post for the purpose of getting people upset or trying to shut down the site as Scotty is now thinking of doing. If I've offended you or anything please tell me! I want this site to continue on, I love you all. :hug1:

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Posted (edited)

I love you all. :hug1:

OK, deleting, probably in poor taste.

Edited by davidm

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Posted

Good insight Michio, and nice one Heretic. Glad you brought it up Soleo.

I take this down as partly my fault, many emotional sore spots being poked at.

Maybe I will have more of a good quality post in this thread later.

-Scott

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the replies especially the thoughtful posts by Michio and Heretic. Of course, you're both correct in your observations and I apologise if it sounded a little rough.

Speaking of apologising, I would like to apologise to Michio if Soleo or Qualia has ever offended him. I really hope that isn't or has never been the case but of so, Michio, please accept my deepest apologies.

Heretic, I get it and I got it :)

Edited by soleo

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