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    Thread: Which is more true? Which is preferable?

    1. #1
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      Which is more true? Which is preferable?

      Is it better to describe the most accurate version of what you believe or to say things you may not necessarily believe intending to lead people to a wider or more complete understanding?

      Is information neutral, or is it a weapon? Is it justifiable to use information as a weapon, or is it only justifiable to release all information openly?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Depends on context. Are we talking about a government releasing information to its populace (and if so, what kind of government)? Or maybe a convicted murderer releasing information to his accusers? A parent to their children? Or maybe a teenager who was out partying all night answering his mom's question "Where were you last night?"

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      A teacher to a student

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      In general, to tell the truth. Critically thinking people should generally be able to make the best assessments about life and decisions, when they know truth. A teacher who lies to a student might be doing so with good intentions, and maybe even succeed. But, in the long run, it might lead to the student making bad future decisions due to that bad information. So it would be better to tell the truth, and attain whatever the goal was in lying to the student some other way.

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      I'm not saying lie. I'm saying the way you present truth is important. The effect of your words goes deeper than the content of your message. It's about the way to present it and the purpose of its presentation. Assuming people are good critical thinkers is overly optimistic. People tend to assume they are good critical thinkers, especially when they're not. You have to teach in a way that people can understand. Telling them the plain truth doesn't work because it's not the plain truth, the moment you open your mouth you begin to lie.

      We can make this lie as accurate as possible but it doesn't really matter, not to most people. They will not understand your point of view from your words. Sometimes you have to take specific positions that you may not objectively think are true but enable you to reveal truth in a way words could not.

      Irony and other comedy is a good example of what I mean. Comedy is like a way of teaching the truth without directly explaining the truth.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      As a parent, this is actually something that I'm kind of forced to think about often. I think telling the truth is paramount, but I do think that there is a lot to be said for the way that you present it. I think most interactions with people can take a certain level of tact. They don't have to, of course, and you are always free to say whatever you want, however you want, but I think it's important to at least have some sort of awareness of the person that you're speaking with and how well you know that person. Is that person just going to have a completely emotional reaction to your message, if you say it a certain way, or are they actually going to listen attentively and actually retain what you're telling them? The difference between the two often lies in the way that you present yourself. Not in what you're trying to say.

      I might tell my kid exactly what's on my mind, but you can bet that I'll usually go over it in my own mind, first, to think about how I'm going to present it before just blurting it out. If I don't feel that it's the right time to bring up a certain thing, I won't. Odds are, I'll come back to it later on, once I figure it's more relevant, but I think that there is a certain level of danger in being completely, unabashedly and brutally honest, even if that danger is no fault of your own. The simple fact is that many people's ability to actively listen breaks down at sometimes the slightest of triggers. There is nothing inherently wrong (IMHO) about learning how to engage in (or avoid) those triggers, to promote understanding.

      Even in sales, they will teach that 90% of selling isn't what you say. It's how you say it. Of course, persuasion is a skill that can definitely be turned into a weapon, but I believe it has many benign and benevolent uses as well. The thing is, as you sort of alluded to, there really is no clear 'line' between persuasion and manipulation. That part is really left up to the intentions of the speaker.
      Last edited by Oneironaut Zero; 12-23-2011 at 10:26 AM.
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      I don't necessarily look at Weapon as a bad thing. Let me replace that word with Action. We have three Actions: Disposition, Apprehension and Adaptation. People consider knowledge neutral in the way that they perceive it and apprehend it and they don't realize the balance going on. Another way to think of this is like Rock, Paper, Scissors whereas different styles of negotiation are required for different opponents. A strong soldier is defeated by a good leader; a leader is defeated by an assassin; an assassin is ineffective against the common soldier. Strategically speaking, traditional methods fall to logically sound methods which fall to crazy ingenious methods which fall to traditional methods. Faith falls to Logic, Logic falls to Chaos, Chaos falls to Faith.

      In describing Action, it is easier to split them into three positions but actually Logic/Apprehension is the glue that holds disposition and adaptation together and allows them to interact. The Tao is a more accurate description of reality, which I also symbolize with my signature. Two soldiers stand apart, one represents the Wilds while the other represents Civilization. The balance between Tradition and Adaptation enables a person or people to grow and mature without becoming too locked into one mode of behavior or too lost in unsustainable behavior.

      It's easy to see the problem of refusing to accept new ideas or buying into insubstantial ideas but I'm not talking about belief, to me that word is obsolete. I am concerned with the most viable action. If you're going through a schizophrenic episode or took too many psychoactive drugs, you'll understand how belief means nothing, ideas are everywhere and they can all be real. The same sort of logical rules no longer apply, you've breached the atmosphere and you don't know what's solid anymore. You're in the Wilds where only the Strong survive who have good tradition and reliable, long tested methods to guide them. And they use faith to trust these methods because Logic has lost its footing.

      It's the balance between being patient enough to choose a good mate but then pursuing her with unsubstantiated (faithful) confidence.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 12-23-2011 at 09:14 PM.

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      Ok, I'm beginning to understand what the point of this is.

      It can be easy to understand that a child might have some adverse emotional reaction to the way something is stated, or a person under the influence f drugs, but it's hard to understand sometimes that even adults that you consider of sound mind might have the same kind of reaction. I think it's hard for most of us to understand that there are different kinds of people who communicate or even think in different ways, and that when you're dealing with somebody who understands the world in a fundamentally different way than you do it's necessary to translate things into some form that both of you can understand.

      I think often the initial reaction when encountering somebody fundamentally different is irritation and rejection - and of course that's compounded when they have the same reaction because you're fundamentally different than they are and they can't understand you either. I don't know - I hope I'm understanding what you're saying here.

      One example from personal experience - for reasons I'm only beginning to understand, I'm a person who represses emotion, and so in many ways I take refuge in logic. When I encounter a person who is more deeply in touch with emotion, or even who is primarily emotional we might find it difficult to establish common ground on which to communicate effectively.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 12-23-2011 at 08:53 PM.
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      I suppose it's important to mention that people always assume they are much more logical than they actually are and that often we are, in fact, answering from an emotional position. Some of us just bury these emotions and come with a narrative to backwards rationalize our opinion. But bias is often the result of emotion. Remember that image with the blind men and the elephant? That's how all of us are on concepts. Our perspective on a concept is based on our emotional disposition towards it so we only see one side, one piece. People will claim, "Yeah but the piece I'm seeing is the logical aspect and they're all seeing worthless emotional aspects" but that's not true. It's everybody's natural inclination to assume they're seeing the world the way it is and differing angles do not exist. It takes experience to realize how many different ways of looking at things there are and it takes more experience to learn these ideas are not wrong just because they're contradictory to your angle on things. Proper respect for differing points of view is required for good communication, as well as proper realization that your opinion is just that and nothing more, even if you arrived at it using mathematical law.

      Of course, the opinion that everybody but you is wrong is just as valid as any other opinion following this logic. But let me bring it back full circle. If you wish to teach somebody or debate somebody, and you think they're wrong... just go away. All you'll do is harden their shell and increase their stubbornness. You will not improve their lives in any way. But there are multiple ways to approach a situation and so rather than just try to tell people who are wrong "the truth," I think it's better to understand why they believe what they believe, put yourself in that belief and figure out what steps that person would need to go through to go from one conclusion to another.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 12-25-2011 at 06:28 PM.

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      Wow, well if everybody did that we'd have nothing to talk about around here but lucid dreaming...

      I think a person would be willing to adopt that kind of complete understanding and acceptance for their own child or someone they really care about, and maybe occasionally if they're feeling really magnanimous with outsiders, but for the most part, I think we're all only human and even a teacher will respond emotionally in many circumstances. Nobody can be Spock all the time. Especially teachers who deal with roomsfull of disrespectful kids all day long.

      In the final analysis, a teachers job is to teach what's in the syllabus, and they can't allow continual interruptions from the students to hold up the class. To say "everybody is right" weakens the authority the teacher needs to keep order in the classroom.
      Last edited by Darkmatters; 12-25-2011 at 08:48 PM.

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      I understand what you're saying. If someone wants to learn how to fix a car, they need to be taught how to fix a car. Adding their own creative individuality will not effect a car's ability to run.

      But this is a detrimental way to look at other subjects which are not as cut and dry as functional and non-functional. Students can be disruptive and in that case need to be removed or scolded to keep the conversation on track. If I could, I would delete many of the posts on this forum in order to clear threads of useless ridicule and nonconstructive responses. But there's a difference between being disruptive and approaching ideas from your particular angle.

      Honestly if you got the impression that my argument means no one needs to talk about anything but lucid dreaming on here, then you interpreted me the opposite way that I intended. I believe we need to hash out all our ideas but I believe the only constructive way to approach an argument is by entering the shoes of the person making the claim, understanding what it is they're saying and where they are coming from. Doing this, if what you believe to be true is still true, you will be in a position to teach rather than judge.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    12. #12
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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I suppose it's important to mention that people always assume they are much more logical than they actually are and that often we are, in fact, answering from an emotional position. Some of us just bury these emotions and come with a narrative to backwards rationalize our opinion. But bias is often the result of emotion. Remember that image with the blind men and the elephant? That's how all of us are on concepts. Our perspective on a concept is based on our emotional disposition towards it so we only see one side, one piece. People will claim, "Yeah but the piece I'm seeing is the logical aspect and they're all seeing worthless emotional aspects" but that's not true. It's everybody's natural inclination to assume they're seeing the world the way it is and differing angles do not exist. It takes experience to realize how many different ways of looking at things there are and it takes more experience to learn these ideas are not wrong just because they're contradictory to your angle on things. Proper respect for differing points of view is required for good communication, as well as proper realization that your opinion is just that and nothing more, even if you arrived at it using mathematical law.

      Of course, the opinion that everybody but you is wrong is just as valid as any other opinion following this logic. But let me bring it back full circle. If you wish to teach somebody or debate somebody, and you think they're wrong... just go away. All you'll do is harden their shell and increase their stubbornness. You will not improve their lives in any way. But there are multiple ways to approach a situation and so rather than just try to tell people who are wrong "the truth," I think it's better to understand why they believe what they believe, put yourself in that belief and figure out what steps that person would need to go through to go from one conclusion to another.
      It is impossible for there to be degrees of logic. It is either logical or illogical. Nothing in this world is illogical because the illogical cannot be discovered, contemplated or acted upon. You cannot think or believe in something illogical. Illogical only exists as a definition to contrast logic which is everywhere in the world. What you are discussing is subjective (aesthetic) preferences, not rationality or logicism. All action is rational because action is purposeful behavior aimed at a certain end and everything in this world is logical because even if there was illogical things we would be unable to see it, identify it and understand it.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Laughing Man View Post
      It is impossible for there to be degrees of logic. It is either logical or illogical. Nothing in this world is illogical because the illogical cannot be discovered, contemplated or acted upon. You cannot think or believe in something illogical. Illogical only exists as a definition to contrast logic which is everywhere in the world. What you are discussing is subjective (aesthetic) preferences, not rationality or logicism. All action is rational because action is purposeful behavior aimed at a certain end and everything in this world is logical because even if there was illogical things we would be unable to see it, identify it and understand it.
      No one's argument can be defeated without changing their mind. Even if your argument is superior to their's in every way you can imagine, their argument continues to exist in their head and just because you said a bunch of words to them doesn't mean they found you logical.

      Logic works like math. You start with information and find a conclusion. When people enter the student-teacher complex (also known as a debate) they are challenging the other person's conclusion with their own. In this mode, the only possible way to change someone's mind is to start from their conclusion and take all the steps necessary to reach your conclusion. If you cannot start from their conclusion, then you cannot teach and serve no purpose debating.

      It is your ability to teach which gives your logic its value. It doesn't mean jack shit how logically sound your model of the universe is if no one can benefit from it and if you're the only person benefiting, then why debate it in the first place? If you choose to communicate, you are either trying to learn or teach (or both as the two are interconnected) and the act of teaching is impossible if you cannot understand the other point of view.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 12-31-2011 at 04:57 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      I'm not saying lie. I'm saying the way you present truth is important. The effect of your words goes deeper than the content of your message. It's about the way to present it and the purpose of its presentation. Assuming people are good critical thinkers is overly optimistic. People tend to assume they are good critical thinkers, especially when they're not. You have to teach in a way that people can understand. Telling them the plain truth doesn't work because it's not the plain truth, the moment you open your mouth you begin to lie.

      We can make this lie as accurate as possible but it doesn't really matter, not to most people. They will not understand your point of view from your words. Sometimes you have to take specific positions that you may not objectively think are true but enable you to reveal truth in a way words could not.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      Is it better to describe the most accurate version of what you believe or to say things you may not necessarily believe intending to lead people to a wider or more complete understanding?

      Is information neutral, or is it a weapon? Is it justifiable to use information as a weapon, or is it only justifiable to release all information openly?
      This may or may not have been said, but:

      Teacher to student, I would say the teacher would attempt to give the student the bigger picture, just in small increments. A person's belief system based upon personal experience is going to season the information, this is unavoidable, but if stating a point that you don't necessarily agree with but that leads to a similar end as yours that takes a more direct approach than your way, by all means use that. Sometimes working through your views can distort the student's POV and cause them to make assumptions based on that, leading to digression and a retracing of steps.

      That being said, it's fairly easy if one is versed in speech to sidetrack and excerpt facts to put them in your favor. Words are powerful tools in the right(or wrong) hands.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      Is it better to describe the most accurate version of what you believe or to say things you may not necessarily believe intending to lead people to a wider or more complete understanding?
      Generally, if this is for a teacher to student, then I'd describe a good teacher as somebody who is able to manipulate information or procedures in ways it is easier to understand. This sounds obvious, but really, perfect accuracy becomes irrelevant if they cannot understand what you're saying, or if it is much harder than alternatives. It is preferable to teach truths more people can understand quicker, because it is then in fact more true, at their level of interpretation. That is how you lead up to the bigger lessons.

      If you think it is preferable to present information that only makes good sense to yourself, then that is quite self-centered and you'd probably be bombarded with annoying questions, simply because the view you have presented is dry and narrow focused.
      Last edited by really; 02-08-2012 at 03:12 PM.

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      “The truth is not always useful, not always good. It’s like putting your faith in water. Yes, we need the rain, but too much can sweep you away in a flood and drown you. Like all great natural, elemental forces, the truth needs to be channeled, managed, controlled and intelligently, morally allocated.”

      -Iain M Banks

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      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      Generally, if this is for a teacher to student, then I'd describe a good teacher as somebody who is able to manipulate information or procedures in ways it is easier to understand. This sounds obvious, but really, perfect accuracy becomes irrelevant if they cannot understand what you're saying, or if it is much harder than alternatives. It is preferable to teach truths more people can understand quicker, because it is then in fact more true, at their level of interpretation. That is how you lead up to the bigger lessons.

      If you think it is preferable to present information that only makes good sense to yourself, then that is quite self-centered and you'd probably be bombarded with annoying questions, simply because the view you have presented is dry and narrow focused.
      But this is why it's necessary to find the proper way to convey ideas other than explaining them as simplistically as possible because doing so creates the situation you just described, whereit would only make sense to yourself and you would fail to convey truth properly.

      We must bridge the gap between our diverse mental structures in order to communicate properly, and that requires multiple forms of communication. Art is all about conveying concepts which cannot be described simply, such as emotions. The point of art is to make the audience feel something very particular, which they could not feel if the idea were conveyed differently. You cannot simply explain to an audience the dangers of centralized government and the mob mentality, you have to write a book like Animal Farm in order to show them.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      So, question...based on all these thoughts and opinions...would anyone be interested in a debate thread? Pick a subject and debate on it, made even better if you find yourself on the opposite side of an argument than your own opinion. Would anyone be up for this?

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      Quote Originally Posted by melanieb View Post
      So, question...based on all these thoughts and opinions...would anyone be interested in a debate thread? Pick a subject and debate on it, made even better if you find yourself on the opposite side of an argument than your own opinion. Would anyone be up for this?
      Sounds like it might lead to even more trouble than ED already causes

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      What I think we ought to be considering shifting our attitude toward is a more Socratic form of communication. Rather than force two opposing viewpoints against each other for dominance, allow one person to take the most honest position they can while the other person or people merely to ask particular questions which direct this person toward a deeper inspection of their viewpoint.
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