Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Fri Sep 21 18:59:33 2007
Hall of Mere Errs

A remembered aggravating conversation from years long past: ("them" being someone I just met on the Oval, a meeting place of sorts where I did University)

(and it continued...)

I've had a fair number of those conversations, many of them more frustrating than this because the people on the other side seemed to have only one desire in the conversation - to steer it in a direction so they could be offended, either themselves or on somebody else's behalf. At the time, I didn't consider myself liberal, and dismissed it as being what happens when people become *too* liberal (that dismissal was .. well, read on) - Later, when I philosophically moved into the liberal sphere, I wasn't able to keep doing that. Some of the other people I met who argued like this were truly diabolical in their ability to turn conversations around to criticise people for being racist - on some level I admired their ability to keep fending off dismissals of their tactics and press the attack, even though that was more cleverness with words and other fairly surface-level arguments than necessarily deep philosophical arguments. As I did a fair amount of informal (and a bit of formal) debating in those times, I sometimes would keep the discussion going, but ... in the end, one has to choose between speed and careful thought over matters - a good debator ideally is reasonably good at both, but if one's opponent is going fast enough, one has to either match their speed (and engage in some sophistry) or do one's best to slow them down and deconstruct their arguments (which they typically will then deride as wordplay).

I sometimes daydreamed of making an Eliza-esque program to rapidly generate that style of argument (or alternatively as a machine-agumentation project - suggest to a human operator what to argue).

On some level, I think those conversations really drilled home the importance of deconstruction as a tool for working out differences between people, especially as it fit into my metatheory of value.

I sometimes wonder if (non-philosophical) stoicism, as a foundation for personality, is dead on the vines...

One of my favourite bands, Firewater, is to release a new CD soon - the lead singer, Tod Ashley, just got back from a several-year trip across India, Pakistan, Israel, and several other places in the area recording with random musicians he met there. The mix of sounds is pretty unique - there's a clip of "This Is My Life" on their myspace page that has a nice partly-Bhangra sound to it.