Saturday, July 16, 2016

Part of a larger discussion regarding Black Lives Matter and related matters...

The issues of prejudice are deep in this country and really could use some attention. That said, I take the words of Richard Feynman to heart: "I would rather have questions that can not be answered than answers that can not be questioned".

The point being, BLM can simultaneously be right about prejudice in America and wrong about how to frame the situation. And here is the place I put a stake in the ground and will not be swayed, Ideas are not sacred, Question Everything! If the argument is, these things can be tough to hear when you feel like you or your community is under attack- that's fair. However, the Black Lives Matter movement is comprised of adults who have entered the public marketplace of ideas. In that marketplace there are certain basic rules. Participants encouraged to disagree, but the accepted method is to proffer a different, and presumably superior idea and offer argument to bolster the idea. There is no currency in shouting down people with questions and challenges or claiming to be offended by such questioning.

I would like to offer the following for consideration: failing to hold participants in the marketplace of ideas to these standards is not an expression of warm-fuzzy-compassion. To be clear, love and compassion may well be the best thing we humans do. Period. I unreservedly value my feelings. Feelings provide the motive force behind everything. However, things only make sense in a context. Our use of compassion as a motivator in problem solving is arguably one of our highest achievements. I would likewise argue, using compassion when reason, questioning, and critical thinking is called for, simply dilutes the marketplace of ideas. I, like many others, am awed by our ability to lens the world through these different perspectives and I would not willingly surrender any of it. One might even imagine the human ability to sort through and make ever better use of these facilities may be a way to describe wisdom.

For those who might want to learn more about feelings and why we have them. This book also touches on consciousness: Why We Feel

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