Monday, October 10, 2005

On Philosophy

"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions."
- Albert Einstein

There was a time I wanted to be a philosopher. I wanted to be the next Plato, Niche, or even Bob Dylan. Check the want ads for philosophers and see how many listings you find. Still, I often sit and ponder the human condition and the nature of life itself.

It seems to me that life is merely a string of remembered experiences, perceptions of the world around us that change over time. Intelligent people mold their perceptions to fit the evidence presented them. Unintelligent people ignore the evidence presented if it doesn't fit their perceptions. The problem is that humans find a change in perception uncomfortable. It is far easier for us to dismiss something than to try to understand it.

Case in point: Here in Texas, home of many who hold on to their perceptions with a death grip, there is a movement to amend the Texas Constitution to ban same-sex unions. As the courts in Texas are forced to uphold the Constitution of Texas, this amendment would prevent any recognition of gay marriage. Please note, couples engaging in sodomy could be arrested for it in Texas until late 2003. The question now arises, will people in Texas examine the facts before them and adjust perceptions accordingly or run with their current flawed perceptions.

Christians often cite the Bible for their "God hates gays" ideas. They often say it is the reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They leave out the biblical evidence of murder, beastiality, and organized crime. Why? It doesn't fit their perception. Many also have the idea that gay=pedophile. Ignore the thousands of happy gay couples that adopt and raise happy unabused children. There is a difference between a man wanting a man and a man wanting a young boy. Unless you are too lazy to examine the evidence right before your eyes.

Case #2: Strip club nudity laws. Earlier this year San Antonio passed a humorous ordinance that said exotic dancers had to be licensed and had to wear the permit while performing. This was to make it easier to find the ones violating the nudity ordinances...does anyone else see the problem here? We are saying it is OK for these ladies to go on stage in what barely qualifies as dental floss but if they take that off we need to identify and arrest them...The perception is that we maintain a moral standard if they wear a thong barely larger than a postage stamp with dental floss holding it on. Remove that and it crosses the line...The evidence clearly shows the law to be absurd at best yet it still stands.

I could go on further but I actually have to work. I hope I made us all think about our perceptions a bit though. I know I examined mine for this piece and it revealed just how much I have changed over the years.


Angel said...

First off, I have to say, I'm quite impressed with the level of depth with which your blogger "friends" write. Such intelligence isn't found in many places, online.

Having said that - What's wrong with 1) Gay Marriage/Unions (providing it's adult and concentual), and 2) Public Nudity, so long as it's not in view of minors or religious fanatics who'd be "corrupted" by the sight of nature's finest works of art (the human anatomy).

San Antonio used to have all-nude clubs...the catch was, they weren't allowed to serve alcohol (it was basically BYOB). If they card, at the door, and there are at least four walls surrounding the events that take place in such establishments - who's really going to take offense if one of the girls (or guys, for that matter - depending on the club) decide to remove or relocate their postage-stamp-sized thong?

There's a fine line between Faith and Fanatic - and it's sad when ANYONE (regardless of faith or political views) feels compelled to force/preach their views on those of us who clearly do not share their vision. TO EACH THEIR OWN - Damnit!

- Rev_Sapphire

Angel said...

It looks as though I'm being attacked by spammers...How do I set up word verification?

I found the article about word verification, but was unable to isolate where it was I can set that up for my blog.

I'm learning my way 'round this blog stuffs - be warned, I will have more questions as new situations arrise.

- Rev_Sapphire

JC said...

I love that exotic dancers have to wear their permit! That is so ridiculous. I have honestly never understood why nudity/sexuality is such a taboo for some people. (especially in Texas)

But it is.

Angel, I was getting spammed pretty good for a while, I just keep deleting them. I don't get too many now.

I hate word verification, but I can at least get the ones on blogger right. Over at Yahoo, when they hit me with word verification, I always get it wrong at least once.

Besides, many of my readers are drunk, and even though they rarely post, I'd hate to set another obstacle up for them the one time they have something to say.

Angel said...

JC...Yeah I guess I can delete what few spammer comments I do get. I just hate that tingly feeling of "ooh someone's responded to an entry of mine", only to find it's a computer generated spammer. Ugh. Guess I'll either learn to live with it, or figure out how to set up the word verification.

- Rev_Sapphire

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Angel, I am speaking in support of both gay marriage/unions/whatever, and strippers. I am mocking the insane idea that God hates gays and therefore they shouldn't be allowed to marry and that the tiny thongs strippers wear makes such a "huge" difference in morality. Sorry if I sounded like Fox News. And on behalf of my readers, thanks, we do try to keep the IQ's high around here don't we JC.

Word verification is found under the settings tab. Click Comments, then click Yes for Word Verification. Then click Save Settings and Republish Blog.

Angel said...

Mike, I am fully aware of your support for gay marriages and nudity in adult establishments. I was rhetorically asking "them" what the big deal was. My post was an extention of, not an opposition to your statements.

"And on behalf of my readers, thanks, we do try to keep the IQ's high around here don't we JC?"

Being in the top 2 percentile of the world, I guess I constitute as worthy to read/reply to your all-encompassing posts, then...Huh? Hee-hee!

- Rev_Sapphire

JC said...

wow, three philosophers sitting around talkiing about how smart we are! What an excellent opportunity for windbaggism!!

I am not kidding.

Get comfy...

I have to point out, I like watching strippers. I never go to clubs, not because it's immoral, its just too expensive. When I had HBO, I watched them on tv, and I LOVE the female form, I can look at it all day, actually, I do. Wherever I am, I look at women. I love to look at women. I think most men love to look at women. It's instinctual maybe, I don't know.

Given that, what's wrong with strip clubs? Aren't they just a way for men to satisfy their natural urge to look at women? Why would someone be against having them?

Some people equate strip clubs with prostitution, I've known a few "dancers," they would be sooo mad if I said this in front of them, but stripping is really close to being a prostitute. In some clubs, if you pay for the champagne room, well, lets just say it may cross the line. - This rarely happens in a union shop.

Yes there are union strip clubs. I think they're afl-cio.

Personally, I am for legal prostitution. I don't see how it makes any difference having it illegal. There have always been prostitutes, whether they are legal, or liable to be stoned to death, they are always present.

If they are legal, they can at least be protected from predatory employers, given proper health screening, trained in the proper use of disease-prevention devices and the slave trade could be reduced, since legal prostitutes would report any illegal ones because it would be in their financial interest to do so.
(hows that for markets being allowed to work? I'm also for legal gambling and drugs. I'm what you might call a free-market conservative in this respect.)

But even if you're against legalizing prostitution, you can all but eliminate it in the strip clubs by requiring union shops. Unions are notorious for following the law. Just go ask any union electrician to run high-voltage cable through the ceiling without a conduit...

The other objection I hear a lot, which also applies to prostitutes, is that it is degrading for the women who work as "dancers."

No doubt it is. So is my job, "every meeting with his so-called superior, is a humiliating kick in the crotch..."
Most jobs are degrading, thats why they pay you. Perhaps stripping is more degrading than most, but again- (here's my ultra-liberal streak coming through) In a union shop, the strippers have much more control over their situation, and would likely feel less degraded by their work.

Then there is the stickiest argument, morality.

Perhaps it is just immoral to pay a woman so she'll show you her bits.

When it comes to morality, there are two main camps.

One camp believes it has discovered objective morality, and has a duty to force you to follow it. (there are lots of sub-groups, but they all act pretty much the same, from PETA to the 700 club to Al-Qaeda, they all believe they are entitled to special priveleges, specail exemption from even their own morality, because they alone have a direct line to what is right, and they have to make you fall in line.

The other camp either,
1. Believes it has discovered objective morality, as above, but doesnt care what you do.
2. Doesnt believe there is such a thing as objective morality
3. Believes there may be objective morality, but isn't really clear on what it is, so tries to keep an open mind, using qualifying statements, like, "most of the time," and "in most normal circumstances" before pronouncing their beliefs.

I would have to think that most thinking people fall in to the second camp, one way or another. It's only sensible to let other people do what they want to do, if it offends you, well don't do it, hang around people who don't do it, there you go.

Most of us who are clearly too smart for our own good, we fall in to subgroup 3. This group tends to overthink everything, taking "thou shalt not kill" and saying, well, what if...

These people also will sometimes post ridiculously long comments on people's blogs, just to hear themselves talk, so to speak.

If you've read this far, I congratulate you. Give yourself a cookie.

Angel said...

JC -

Windbaggism...Hee-hee! Amen!

You think, probably a little too much, on the varying views on nudity (in clubs or on the street). I suppose, when a subject comes up, careful thought is required to respond as truthfully as you can...but I never imagined I'd read so much on the subject of flesh (and what people do with theirs). Well done!

- Rev_Sapphire

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Yay, cookie for me...and a hearty amen to JC on the entire comment with one exception. I was almost killed last week by the work of a union electrician. He had a 240 volt line in steel conduit in the ceiling but did not put sealed joints in it. I crawl in to put a new CAT5 run in and bump said conduit, sharp conduit edge cuts 240 line and sparks start flying. Luckily the conduit separated and it shorted to the other side of the conduit or I would have been toast. That and I'm really glad a fire didn't start. What really pisses me off is that short did not throw the breaker.

JC said...

Glad to hear you survived the high-voltage, I assure you though, that union strippers would be much more attentive to your safety.

Poopoocup said...

MJCJ, Angel, and JC - Let's hear it for subgroup 3!

I enjoy reading your blogs and respective posts. I longing wish I could conribuye but the recent labor, delivery, and nursing of my son has drained the wit right out of me. Literally. A shame really, I used to be spectacular. You three would have even invited me to sit at your lunch table in high school. No doubt, there would be tons of room as, I am sure, no one else could rise to the prerequisite level of 'smartypants syndrome' needed for such an invite.

Keep up the fabulous work! Love reading your shit!

Poopoocup said...

longingly, contribute

typing with one hand really makes you look smart!

good ol' one hand!

(get those thoughts out of your heads)

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

welcome to the world o' windbags poopoocup

Angel said...

Correction - Don't you have to voice (er type) your opinions on various topics REGULARLY to be considered a full-fledged Windbag? Some of you (...Mike...) have been severely slacking in that department. Hee-hee!

Yes PooPooCup, welcome to Windbags-R-Us!

- Rev_Sapphire