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cuchulain

political correctness and communication

115 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

48 minutes ago, Key said:

You also have to be mindful that not everyone will draw a line as finely or as broadly as anyone else. 

Personally, I consider ethical lines to exist independently of opinion. So, if I disagree with someone about where the lines is, I believe that one of us is wrong, and that person would be better off correcting their incorrect opinion.

My immediate emotional reaction is almost always to assume the other person is the one who is wrong, but I am usually intellectually honest enough to at least consider the possibility that it is me.

As such, on the ethical side, your words there roughly translate, to me, as "Remember that people are often wrong, and that you are a person." That is always good advice.

When it comes to the definitions of words, on the other hand, opinions are all that matter, and noone's opinion on the matter matters more than another's. So in terms of definitions, your words roughly translate to "Remember that we do not all share the same biases." Also always good advice.

Edited by mererdog

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, mererdog said:

Personally, I consider ethical lines to exist independently of opinion. So, if I disagree with someone about where the lines is, I believe that one of us is wrong, and that person would be better off correcting their incorrect opinion.

My immediate emotional reaction is almost always to assume the other person is the one who is wrong, but I am usually intellectually honest enough to at least consider the possibility that it is me.

As such, on the ethical side, your words there roughly translate, to me, as "Remember that people are often wrong, and that you are a person." That is always good advice.

When it comes to the definitions of words, on the other hand, opinions are all that matter, and noone's opinion on the matter matters more than another's. So in terms of definitions, your words roughly translate to "Remember that we do not all share the same biases." Also always good advice.

 

For the most part, yes.  It gets murky when self definition is involved.  Jews have always resisted definitions of Judaism, imposed by Catholic dictionaries.  Agnostics resist being defined by Christians.  Poly-theists have their own concerns.   As much with Atheists as Monotheists.   Fundamentalist Christians would not find my definition of them at all objective, or accurate, or  nice.  (Yes.  I am aware of my own lack of objectivity.  I have that much objectivity.)   :D 

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

For the most part, yes.  It gets murky when self definition is involved.  

Not really. Trademark concerns asside, noone owns a word. As such, noone has exclusive right to dictate use of a word. The Pope does not get to define "Catholic" for anyone who does not willingly accept his authority on the subject. He doesn't get to define it for the Baptists, the atheists, or even all the Catholics. Likewise, I don't get to define atheism for you, and you don't have final say on who is and is not a Jew.

We each get to adopt the usages that make sense to us. And while we will undoubtedly disagree on some terms, none of us will really be wrong. 

This is central to Freedom of Speech, which is central to Freedom of Religion. You don't have to accept me as a "real minister," any more than I have to accept the Pope as "infallible." We are entitled to our own opinions. This does mean, of course, that our opinions will be welcomed. Freedom is messy stuff and bound to cause more than a little discomfort. Its totally worth it, though.

Edited by mererdog

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4 hours ago, mererdog said:

Not really. Trademark concerns asside, noone owns a word. As such, noone has exclusive right to dictate use of a word. The Pope does not get to define "Catholic" for anyone who does not willingly accept his authority on the subject. He doesn't get to define it for the Baptists, the atheists, or even all the Catholics. Likewise, I don't get to define atheism for you, and you don't have final say on who is and is not a Jew.

We each get to adopt the usages that make sense to us. And while we will undoubtedly disagree on some terms, none of us will really be wrong. 

This is central to Freedom of Speech, which is central to Freedom of Religion. You don't have to accept me as a "real minister," any more than I have to accept the Pope as "infallible." We are entitled to our own opinions. This does mean, of course, that our opinions will be welcomed. Freedom is messy stuff and bound to cause more than a little discomfort. Its totally worth it, though.

 

 

If you insist on being reasonable ---- alright.  Yes.  

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Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

 

 

If you insist on being reasonable ---- alright.  Yes.  

I usually want to be reasonable, and I often fail miserably. I suspect that is at the core of cuchulain's initial question about the apparent hypocrisy in insisting that others be politically correct while failing to be politically correct, one's self.

 

It is easy to take the high road when you have nothing to lose. It is hard to be a pacifist when you are being punched in the gut.

 

The more emotionally involved in an issue we are, the more mental effort it takes to maintain good critical thinking. Strong emotions provoke simplistic thinking, encouraging us to jump to conclusions and embrace stereotypes.

 

When disagreeing about an issue I am passionate about, it is a struggle to refrain from making negative assumptions about the other guy. It is easy to fall into the trap of slapping a negative label on people in order to justify disrespecting them. It can even be fun, and a bonding experience between like-minded people. I believe we are all more than the sum of our bad habits, however, and I don't want to sell someone short. Not so much because I want to be good, as because I hate to leave money on the table.

 

We all have so much potential, and it is such a shame to waste it just because I can't get along with someone...

Edited by mererdog

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Posted (edited)

Accidental double-post.

Edited by mererdog

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28 minutes ago, mererdog said:

I usually want to be reasonable, and I often fail miserably. I suspect that is at the core of cuchulain's initial question about the apparent hypocrisy in insisting that others be politically correct while failing to be politically correct, one's self.

 

It is easy to take the high road when you have nothing to lose. It is hard to be a pacifist when you are being punched in the gut.

 

The more emotionally involved in an issue we are, the more mental effort it takes to maintain good critical thinking. Strong emotions provoke simplistic thinking, encouraging us to jump to conclusions and embrace stereotypes.

 

When disagreeing about an issue I am passionate about, it is a struggle to refrain from making negative assumptions about the other guy. It is easy to fall into the trap of slapping a negative label on people in order to justify disrespecting them. It can even be fun, and a bonding experience between like-minded people. I believe we are all more than the sum of our bad habits, however, and I don't want to sell someone short. Not so much because I want to be good, as because I hate to leave money on the table.

 

We all have so much potential, and it is such a shame to waste it just because I can't get along with someone...

 

To my observation, you have good rational thinking and most of the time -- you do a good job of weighing the evidence.  If I may -- I don't want to offend -- if I may, you don't know when to let go.  You take good ideas too far.

 

I think the perfect example is Agnosticism.  Considering the manner in which information gets to the brain -- nobody has absolute information about anything -- much less the existence of God.  You seem to be afraid to form even tentative conclusions based on available data.  It's not that your thinking is wrong.  Your standards of proof are too high.  You're not practical.  We need tentative conclusions in order to get anything done.  That is Science -- tentative conclusions and all.  Always adjustable when new and more accurate data comes in.  You are an absolutist.  You insist on all data -- including things that have not yet been discovered, much less proved.  This is where we differ.  I am Agnostic based on what I think I know -- now.  I could be mistaken.  Pending better information, this is my position -- now.  Likewise, my Atheism.  If new proof comes my way, I might have to rethink my position.  If I am confronted with solid proof that I am mistaken in these matters; I might have to let my Atheism go.  It has not happened yet.  Until it does, my Atheism will remain.  

 

I think it's the same deal with your pacifism.  Pacifism is a wonderful ideal.  You take it too far.  Sometimes, dangerous people have to be stopped.  Sometimes, it takes deadly force to do so.  If the pacifist can't or won't take action -- the onus falls on people who are less idealistic and more practical.  Despite all the mishaps and tragedies, we do need armed police.  

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Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

If I may -- I don't want to offend --

You may.

 

5 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

You seem to be afraid to form even tentative conclusions based on available data.

That's a misunderstanding on your end. I see where it comes from, though. I am a skeptic. I hold doubt to be an almost sacred thing. I encourage it in myself and in others. I know it can make it seem as if I lack certainty, but that isn't the case.

I am able to be both completely convinced that something is true and also full of doubts about it. Not in terms of waffling, but in terms of being of two minds simultaneously. The heart and mind not being in sync, you dig? I think that certainty is an emotional state, rather than an intellectual position, if that makes sense to you.

As for being practical, my pacifism is based on simple guilt-aversion. It is entirely practical, it just involves unusual prioritization. I know the effect that being violent has on my ability to be happy over the long term, and I plan accordingly. Make sense?

Edited by mererdog

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

You may.

 

That's a misunderstanding on your end. I see where it comes from, though. I am a skeptic. I hold doubt to be an almost sacred thing. I encourage it in myself and in others. I know it can make it seem as if I lack certainty, but that isn't the case.

I am able to be both completely convinced that something is true and also full of doubts about it. Not in terms of waffling, but in terms of being of two minds simultaneously. The heart and mind not being in sync, you dig? I think that certainty is an emotional state, rather than an intellectual position, if that makes sense to you.

As for being practical, my pacifism is based on simple guilt-aversion. It is entirely practical, it just involves unusual prioritization. I know the effect that being violent has on my ability to be happy over the long term, and I plan accordingly. Make sense?

 

 

I suspect I'm reading more caution in some of your responses than you intend.  You are not easy to understand.  Be patient.  I'm starting to get there.  Seriously, you are not an easy read.

 

:huh:     :)

 

 

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I am posting this only to get in on the topic. I need to go back and catch up, but don't have energy right now. Semantics and taxonomy.. what fun.

 

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Posted (edited)

14 hours ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

.Seriously, you are not an easy read.

I know. I rarely stick to Standard English. I am trying to put together a punctuational system that fits modern conversational rhythms. I prefer being oblique to being direct. I use slang that stopped being cool when I was in elementary school. I make bad jokes without warning anyone. I think run on sentences are fun and hyphenation is mosty decorative. I put prepositions where ever they seem useful and I occassionally use ellipses like a four year-old uses finger paint. And my spell chek is turned off.

I enjoy the process, though. Which is the whole point, no? Because when I stop enjoying it, I'll stop doing it.

Edited by mererdog

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5 hours ago, kokigami said:

I am posting this only to get in on the topic. I need to go back and catch up, but don't have energy right now. Semantics and taxonomy.. what fun.

 

 

Feel welcome.  

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On 6/19/2017 at 8:01 AM, mererdog said:

Well, sure. My argument is really a semantic one. I am basically just drawing a line regarding what does and does not qualify as "political correctness". Have you ever considered the concept of a "useful pejorative"? My thinking is that labeling something as politically correct is a way to highlight a fairly thin, but immensely important, ethical line.

 

I am not saying that it is wrong to avoid saying certain things. I am saying that specific motives for that avoidance are harmful. It is good to be compassionate, or even just diplomatic. I consider the term "political correctness to apply exclusively to where we are ostensibly motivated that way, but where the broader social context shows more sinister (for lack of a better word) motives at play.

funny, you seem the only one I quoted for replies.. 
 

I can certainly see this point. I don't agree, because I don't agree with your definition of the term. In that, however, I did some elementary research ( I googled for 5 minutes) and found the term has a much more complex history than I had known. I think a measurable share of the culture wars may have to do with competing definitions of the term PC. I tend to see the term most often as a pejorative against compassion. 
 

 

On 6/21/2017 at 3:37 PM, mererdog said:

Not really. Trademark concerns asside, noone owns a word. As such, noone has exclusive right to dictate use of a word. The Pope does not get to define "Catholic" for anyone who does not willingly accept his authority on the subject. He doesn't get to define it for the Baptists, the atheists, or even all the Catholics. Likewise, I don't get to define atheism for you, and you don't have final say on who is and is not a Jew.

We each get to adopt the usages that make sense to us. And while we will undoubtedly disagree on some terms, none of us will really be wrong. 

This is central to Freedom of Speech, which is central to Freedom of Religion. You don't have to accept me as a "real minister," any more than I have to accept the Pope as "infallible." We are entitled to our own opinions. This does mean, of course, that our opinions will be welcomed. Freedom is messy stuff and bound to cause more than a little discomfort. Its totally worth it, though.

Mostly agreed. Everyone has slightly different definitions of most abstract words, and some can be quite unique. But, failure to achieve some consensus on definitions pretty much hamstrings communications - at least the kind that is intended to achieve understanding. For the kind that is completely self expression, well, why use words at all?
 

On 6/23/2017 at 6:05 AM, mererdog said:

I know. I rarely stick to Standard English. I am trying to put together a punctuational system that fits modern conversational rhythms. I prefer being oblique to being direct. I use slang that stopped being cool when I was in elementary school. I make bad jokes without warning anyone. I think run on sentences are fun and hyphenation is mosty decorative. I put prepositions where ever they seem useful and I occassionally use ellipses like a four year-old uses finger paint. And my spell chek is turned off.

I enjoy the process, though. Which is the whole point, no? Because when I stop enjoying it, I'll stop doing it.

Poetry.. 
I am now wishing I had quoted the original post, but it was long, and long ago, so I will address the original question. 

Quote

But in the spirit of being positive toward each other and trying to honestly educate or share points of view, does it do any rational good to find the worst way to interpret something someone says and focus on that?  That is my question.  

I try to assume human error without specific evidence of malignant intent. However, we all have raw nerves from time to time, and some are perpetually inflamed. I don't think interpreting things in the worst way has a rational good, but I don't think it tends to be a rational process at work. 

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2 hours ago, kokigami said:

I tend to see the term most often as a pejorative against compassion. 

If you look more closely, you may find that the word is almost exclusively used as a pejorative against what is perceived as false compassion. The literal implication of the term is, after all, that the motive is pilitucal rather than compassionate. Looked at from another angle, to say you are politically incorrect is not to say you are mean, but just that you are not fake-nice.

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2 hours ago, kokigami said:

For the kind that is completely self expression, well, why use words at all?

I think in words. You?

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

I think in words. You?

Forgive me for butting in but I think in pictures (sort of short videos) and concepts. I believe that could be why I have difficulty communicating with the written word.

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31 minutes ago, Brother Kaman said:

Forgive me for butting in but I think in pictures (sort of short videos) and concepts. I believe that could be why I have difficulty communicating with the written word.

Are you good with visual arts?

You know when people say to close your eyes and visualize something? I can't do that.

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

Are you good with visual arts?

You know when people say to close your eyes and visualize something? I can't do that.

When I have a project, I have to completely visualize the final out come and then visualize the steps to get there. It isn't always easy but I can usually get it in time.

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Interesting tangent. I'm mostly a conceptual thinker. There is a sort of conceptual "space" involved, and I can often sense where two ideas don't "fit", but I don't "see" it as such. I have to translate when I want words, or pictures or actions. Music is probably my most direct form of output, bu even there, there is some post-processing involved.

 

Back to PC.

 

Firstly I agree that there have been a variety of ideas referenced under the term. Some with quite good intentions, others less so. I hear it most often used as a set of rules for not referring to anything which causes dissent. As such, I am strongly opposed to political correctness.

 

An ex-forces friend of mine told a story about the Falklands war. An officer had overheard the men calling the locals "Bennies", a reference to a special needs (PC) character in a British soap opera. He considered this unacceptable, and issued an order to the effect that the term should not be used. A while later, he became aware that the locals were now called "stills". When the men were pressed for an explanation, they said "well sir, begging your pardon, but they're still Bennies."

 

The point I take from this is that it is the attitude, not the terminology which is the problem. Excessive zeal in the policing of language can be counter-productive, in that it makes it hard to even refer to a topic, let alone get to grips with the underlying problems.

 

I understand the need for courtesy and consideration, and I will try not to be gratuitously offensive. On the other hand, if a subject needs to be talked about and I have to use an occasional "bad" word or phrase to do so, then full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes!

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I remember when those who make the rules decided that crippled people (yes, shame on me for saying crippled) would here after be referred to as handicapped. Then that word seemed to have dark, demeaning connotations so the rule makers decided that handicapable was the new buzz word. That was all well and good, I suppose, but many of these "handicapable" folks still felt as though they were handicapped. Didn't seem like the various state governments had any desire to change their parking placards, either.

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