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Old 09-15-2006, 06:59 PM   #31
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Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe


"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

- Barry Goldwater
I wish we could resurrect Barry. He was way ahead of his time. We certainly could use him now.
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Old 09-15-2006, 07:11 PM   #32
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Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
... to believe that the truth does not belong in the middle?


Here are two very different men who appear to agree on something.


"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict."

- Martin Luther King, Jr.


"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

- Barry Goldwater
Well, you have to keep in mind that both of these quotes are knee-deep in the modernist era. Orson Welles also has an interesting quote around this mindset:

"I have a great love and respect for religion, great love and respect for atheism. What I hate is agnosticism, people who do not choose."-- Orson Welles

While postmodernism--and what you'd probably call "indecisiveness"--arrived around 1968, it has been my personal belief that it has been in decline since 9/11, with a return to modernism.

But here's the catch: with the return to modernism, expect a return to fanaticism and conflict. Modernism ushered in a whole bunch of rather wacky and generally incompatible belief systems, such as communism, fascism, eugenics, Ayn Rand, and Keynesian capitalism.

While decisiveness has its place, it also can quickly give in to a steadfast stubbornness and refusal to adapt and/or compromise. Much of the success of America has been centered around the ability to compromise, but with today's polarized world, "compromise" is a bad word. That tends to tell me that we're heading for a world of trouble in the coming decades, and we're about to repeat all the mistakes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At the very least, "decisiveness," in itself, isn't a bad thing. However, I believe that it should always be tempered with a good dose of "inherent uncertainty." It has served the scientific community well for centuries, as it is one of the few institutions that is able to be decisive and quickly adapt to change when real-world evidence and research proves pre-existing theory wrong. The world could learn an awful lot from the scientific process.

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Old 09-15-2006, 08:38 PM   #33
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Old 09-15-2006, 08:42 PM   #34
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Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by melon



But here's the catch: with the return to modernism, expect a return to fanaticism and conflict. Modernism ushered in a whole bunch of rather wacky and generally incompatible belief systems, such as communism, fascism, eugenics, Ayn Rand, and Keynesian capitalism.

While decisiveness has its place, it also can quickly give in to a steadfast stubbornness and refusal to adapt and/or compromise. Much of the success of America has been centered around the ability to compromise, but with today's polarized world, "compromise" is a bad word. That tends to tell me that we're heading for a world of trouble in the coming decades, and we're about to repeat all the mistakes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:17 PM   #35
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Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by melon




But here's the catch: with the return to modernism, expect a return to fanaticism and conflict.

Is it possible that something "new" can emerge that doesn't fit into modernistic or post-modernistic schools of thinking?

Also, we are not likely to ever be able to do away with fanaticism and conflict - there will always be humans willing to volunteer for the job. It has been around since the dawn of civilization.
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Old 09-15-2006, 09:39 PM   #36
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Re: Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Is it possible that something "new" can emerge that doesn't fit into modernistic or post-modernistic schools of thinking?
No. Not with how historicist our society is.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, everything, so far, is progressing exactly according to how postmodernist theorists predicted upon the death of postmodernism: a short-term resumption of modernism, followed by a return to 19th century romanticism and realism. I see absolutely nothing, so far, to contradict this prediction.

Modernism, could, theoretically, last longer than predicted, assuming that we still had imagination. However, there's a question of "diminishing returns" in terms of technological progression. I find the rather sluggish pace of progress, along with rather disappointing performance lately, to be quite telling of this. We may just be hitting a point where our imaginations are moving faster than science can keep up.

In terms of romanticism and realism, I have started to see it on the horizon. American conservatives have done a great job of applying revisionist definitions to otherwise concrete concepts of equality, freedom, and ideology. When you can "successfully" argue that Hitler was really a leftist, we're in trouble. This isn't limited solely to American conservatives, though. Former Iranian President Khatami essentially argued that reason shouldn't offend religious beliefs, which is contrary to the spirit of reason in itself; and now we have Pope Benedict XVI digging up psychobabble from the 15th century.

To repeal postmodernism and modernism is to react against all the progress of the last 150 years, and I feel that there are many elements of today's society that have romanticized the past so much that they are willing to try and recreate that fictional past that's in their head. American conservatives want to go back to a cross between "Leave It to Beaver" and "Little House on the Prairie" in the days before minority rights, while Al-Qaeda wants to recreate the Caliphate that existed over 1000 years ago. These may be very different aims for very different people, but the philosophical basis is quite the same.

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Also, we are not likely to ever be able to do away with fanaticism and conflict - there will always be humans willing to volunteer for the job. It has been around since the dawn of civilization.
No, we will never get rid of it completely, but we can marginalize it. We can't marginalize fanaticism through unilateral intimidation and grandiose language taken out of the Middle Ages.

This is where I mentioned the importance of decisiveness tempered with inherent uncertainty. No, we are never ever going to get groups like Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah to go down without a fight, but with enough diplomatic discipline, hard work, and time, we could do the work to develop enough global support to end popular support and marginalize the extremists, while still enacting military action where necessary. Unfortunately, for all the hard talk and military action, Bush has done absolutely nothing to develop a global consensus beyond Western nations, and his rather intense unpopularity around the world is likely to ensure that it will not change while he is still our president.

But that's for another discussion.

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Old 09-15-2006, 09:56 PM   #37
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I think there's something to that ... modernism and post-modernism are fundamentally different from all the mindsets that came before simply because they are aware how they are different from the mindsets that came before. It would require a case of total cultural amnesia to create something new.
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Old 09-16-2006, 01:50 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Tonic
I think there's something to that ... modernism and post-modernism are fundamentally different from all the mindsets that came before simply because they are aware how they are different from the mindsets that came before. It would require a case of total cultural amnesia to create something new.
Well, it won't be until the next phase is well underway until a proper label is developed. Just like the musical genre "shoegazing" - all it takes is one catchphrase to take hold.

I think instant communication and access to tons of information has already created a unique mindset.

(BTW - I love "shoegazing" rock...MBV's Loveless is still the second best album of all time after Achtung)
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Old 09-16-2006, 07:09 AM   #39
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Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by AEON


I wish we could resurrect Barry. He was way ahead of his time. We certainly could use him now.
Well, I don't know about that. . . .

But in general, I'm on the same page with you. I believe absolute truth exists, and I think deep down we ALL believe it. Murder, rape, racism. No one is going to argue that these things might be okay. And one an organization or a person actively supports those things (i.e. Ted Bundy, Adolph Hitler, the KKK) we would be remiss not to stand up and call it and them wrong.

However, Bonovox point is a good one. Determining when murder, rape, and racism OCCUR is where things get gray. And that's where I have concerns. . .it's the knowing the Truth, that requires humility and a healthy dose of "I could be wrong but I believe. . ."
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Old 09-16-2006, 08:42 AM   #40
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Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by AEON


I wish we could resurrect Barry. He was way ahead of his time. We certainly could use him now.

Well indeed.

"After his retirement, in 1987, Goldwater described the conservative Arizona Governor Evan Mecham as "hardheaded" and called on him to resign, and two years later stated the Republican Party had been taken over by a "bunch of kooks." In a 1994 interview with the Washington Post the retired Senator said, "When you say 'radical right' today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye." He said about Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass." [3]

In the 1990s he became more controversial because of statements that aggravated many social conservatives. He endorsed Democrat Karan English in an Arizona congressional race, urged Republicans to lay off Clinton over the Whitewater scandal, and criticized the military's ban on homosexuals: "Everyone knows that gays have served honorably in the military since at least the time of Julius Caesar." He also said, "You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight." In 1996 he told Bob Dole, who mounted his presidential campaign with luke-warm support from hard-line conservatives, "We're the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?""

Source: Wikipedia.
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Old 09-16-2006, 10:52 AM   #41
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
Well, it won't be until the next phase is well underway until a proper label is developed. Just like the musical genre "shoegazing" - all it takes is one catchphrase to take hold.

I think instant communication and access to tons of information has already created a unique mindset.
Well, but that's the thing. The internet is seen as the epitome of postmodernism, with its heavy decentralization and complete lack of "absolute truth." After all, Wikipedia is considered by its critics to be "truth by consensus," sending the idea of "objectivity" out the door. On the other hand, it has a level of detail on certain pop culture subjects that no encyclopedia would ever touch, so I certainly see its value.

MTV might have driven the second phase of postmodern theory (the first, I believe, was driven by the Vietnam War), but the internet drove its third phase until 9/11 came crashing everything down and the internet seemed much less "revolutionary" as before. After all, war and MTV still exist, but they don't drive philosophy as they used to.

However, you are correct that philosophical trends are often identified after they are well underway. Unfortunately, I don't particularly see anything "new," culturally, to drive another philosophical movement. We're kind of in a technological lull, where we're seeing nothing but rehashes of pre-existing technology. Nanotechnology and semi-related quantum computing are probably the only truly revolutionary technologies on our horizon, but their full potential are still decades away.

In the meantime, I do believe that we're just going to retread 20th century territory, at least when it comes to philosophy. But some philosophers would also go as far as to say that we're still retreading 19th century conflicts, in some ways. They cite America's rather consistent generational cycles of religiosity and secularism.

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(BTW - I love "shoegazing" rock...MBV's Loveless is still the second best album of all time after Achtung)
Shoegazing is, at least, one thing we have in common here!

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Old 09-16-2006, 02:42 PM   #42
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Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by AussieU2fanman


Does that mean what I think it means? That's the stupidest thing I've heard today, especially coming from such a prolific activist.
What I've learnt from histories great moral conflicts is that there are always two sides with niether demonstrating moral superiority over the other - hence taking sides to one which should by definition be 'good' is impossible and sitting on the fence (neutral) is the only place to be. (except with Germany, they're always bad )
When you don't take sides, you are symbolically naked and contributing nothing to society. On the other hand, blind loyalty is symbolically blindness. What I find so wonderful about a democracy is when someone can make sense out of why they took the side they took in the first place, with a willingness to accept the truth that they don't have a moral monopoly.
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Old 09-16-2006, 02:44 PM   #43
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Re: Re: Re: Is it naive...

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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic


Well, since he's an activist, why would he ever advocate fence-sitting?
Excellent point!
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Old 09-16-2006, 02:46 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


I'm just trying to show that there never is an absolute.
Does that make sense?
No - because this is an absolute statement.
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Old 09-16-2006, 02:49 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i think it's a huge mistake to boil down geopolitics, loaded with the weight of history, into simple right vs. wrong categories.

the world won't fit into your box, no matter how sheltered from reality you try to keep yourself.
Interesting point. However, it leads to question - is it all about power and never about principle?
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