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December 22, 2007

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Saltation

i first saw this in peanuts, one of the really early ones that my parents had reprints of.

one of the bigger kids (mate of peppermint patty, can't remember his name. he disappeared over time) was explaining to Charlie Brown his attitude to Santa Claus. it was along the lines of he wasn't going to be Good, since if there WAS a santa claus, he'd be too nice not to give him presents, and if there WASN'T, he hadn't lost anything. "Right?" and leaves
"Wrong," says charlie brown, "but I don't know where."

perfect

Earl Mardle

The flaw with the whole thing is that it assumes rationality and the ability to follow an argument to its logical conclusion.

If they ever existed, those skills have disappeared from public discourse.

Colbert's wind-up of Bush at the press dinner a few years ago was the perfect satire on that. All that matters is what is felt. If you feel that this is or that ought to be true, then it is.

If I feel that my way of life is good, then it must be so and any discussion that questions that is to be ignored, ridiculed or suppressed.

Had an interesting exchange with the MIL over dinner yesterday. I had raised some point of sustainability and she let me have both barrels about how its just too silly to keep going on about it. She had lived for 85 years doing these things and the world was fine so we should just stop.

We had pushed very close to the question of whether her whole way of life is toxic to the planet and it is just too much for her to deal with.

This I think is the big problem that we have to recognise. Even harder than waking up one day to the realisation that there actually is no PURPOSE to our existence, this discussion posts that our existence and the way we have lived it is actually destructive. Going there is cognitively, and emotionally, extremely hard. No, extremely hard is on a good day. On most days it engages existential diarhhea.

It raises the possibility that we have done some very evil stuff and that there is nobody to apologise to and anyway the apology wont make it better or save us from the consequences; we will have to change everything we do and even then it probably wont "save" us. That's a very, very bad place to be.

Take that moral panic and raise it to the power of irrational debate and its pretty well game over.

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