Tuesday, 16 January 2007

"AH DUNNO!" - Tuesday 16th

Well, I do now.

anticant can do no right.

Too bad!


Szwagier said...

Re: "why this arena?"

I've been thinking about the Arena, unsurprisingly. I started writing a comment yesterday for the "back on-side" thread, but it came out too much like a letter to the Editor, which isn't really me, so I ditched it.

You see, I really don't have a problem with you organising your site as you wish. My problem is my participation in it. I am, by nature, a civilised and relatively honest debater; yet limiting myself only to civilised and honest debating is just that - limiting. I prefer, on the whole, to be allowed to be 'red in tooth and claw' when my nature demands it. That, too, is being honest.

My honesty to myself is far important to me than following someone else's rules. Call it selfish - I do - but don't deny it.

My other worry is that which others have mentioned. What are your criteria for deciding what is, and is not, relevant to a point under discussion?

Yellow yesterday mentioned having friends over and not interrupting them while they discuss whatever it is they discuss. I'm afraid that (sorry Mother) I am not as well brought-up as he obviously is. When my friends' topic of conversation bores me, I, sometimes gently and sometimes less so, let them know. If it seems to me that a discussion is too earnest, it is my instinct to lighten it up a bit. Which might be construed as irrelevance. Or might not. I don't know. And therein lies the difficulty.

anticant said...

Szwagier, I think you are posing a false dilemma. All I want in my new arena is consistent and relevant discussion that doesn't stray wildly offbeam or become frivolous. I've repeatedly said I have no intention of censoring ANY point of view - however non-PC - relating to the subject of the thread. No-one is asking you not to be "red in tooth and claw" as long as it's to the point. When I reject a comment I shall say I have done so, and explain why. Please watch what happens there over the next week or two, and perhaps you will change your mind.

The burrow remains open for more casual and personal gossip, anecdotes, reminiscences and jokiness and all my friends/critics are still welcome here. I won't neglect you.

I think you and my other critics are confusing matter with manner. I was staying with some friends in Spain, and they invited a chain-smoker over for the evening. I am allergic to tobacco, so I said "Well, I shall have to take care of myself." My friends became very agitated, and said "We won't have you being rude to this person". I explained that I hadn't said I would be "rude", merely that I would take care of myself, by which I meant going outside for a walk in the fresh air if the atmosphere inside became too blue.

Szwagier said...

Well, I was talking about both. First the manner, then the matter.

When it really comes down to it, though, I'm just awkward about following rules not decided upon by myslef. Always have been and, I hope, always will be. I can talk about principle and whatever but, while I'm in a particularly honest mood, I might as well admit that really it's just hubris.

butwhatif said...

My grandmother in Ireland used to keep her best room aside, as somewhere to entertain guests. At most other times, it was locked up. Very orderly and presentable the room was, at the front of the house.

To the best of my knowledge, she never ever swore in that room. How could she ever have done that, when she was entertaining second cousins, twice removed, dignitaries in the Catholic hierarchy; and whatever would the local neighbours say, having heard her curse while around for tea.

The rest of us, though, got to see her elsewhere about the house. Laughing and joking one minute; making a serious point, the next, one that would have you thinking for days. More often than not, this all went on in one room at the back of the house.

It was always messy, strung out with the things of day to day life. It had in it a disorderly desk. In fact, it all seemed a little lawless and chaotic.

She was really herself in that room, though. And I feel really priveleged that I got to see her there, not out front.

When I think back to her and that house, that's where I like to remember her.

Richard W. Symonds said...

I think you are being a little too over-sensitive towards Anticant. I know I'm a 'new boy' here, and thus viewed with suspicion, but I sense Anticant just wants to dig himself another little "burrow" (and why not?) where we rabbits can rabbit-away on subjects which seriously concern him.

There's no censorship involved - just a request to keep reasonably to the point...and to go off in a tangent if the need arises.

Remember, if you want a real, dangerous example of censorship - look no further than certain MSN Messenger Boards.

Szwagier said...

I don't view new boys with nearly as much suspicion as the 'old boys'.

Who guards the guards?

Richard W. Symonds said...

Ah, szwagier, now that's an interesting question - something which you could throw into the 'Arena' to be devoured, perhaps - food for thought, thought for food.

But beware ! Some of the answers might make you very sick indeed.

szwagier said...

Ah, Richard. I would, but as discussed elswhere here in the Burrow, I can't. Or perhaps anticant would prefer 'won't'.

anticant said...

"Who guards the guards" is an interesting question - usually no-one - but the conclusive [to my mind] argument against censorship is: "Who is fit to be a guard?" I would never admit the superior competence of anyone else to forbid me to read or view whatever I wish. When all the wailing and moaning about "permissiveness" - an absurd concept - was at its height, I wrote a polemic entitled "Permit Me if You Dare!"

anticant said...

Szwagier: As I've repeatedly said, you are more than welcome to post your observations on any arena discussion here, and I will transfer them to the arena thread on your behalf.

Richard W. Symonds said...

Szwagier, your throwaway comment "Who Guards The Guardians" has made me think.

I know we are looking at this question from a political standpoint - but look at it from a personal standpoint...

Who guards the guardian ?

What is it which is behind our moral statements - what 'censor' guides our moral thinking/choices ? Is it conscience ? Is it learned ? Innate ? What is it ?

Somebody bought me a book at Christmas - actually I asked them to buy it (but don't tell anybody) :

"Moral Minds" by Marc Hauser - putting forward the idea that there is a 'moral instinct' (much like Chomsky/Pinkers 'Language Instinct...

Is this moral instinct the 'guardian' of the guardian (ourselves) ?

Any more throwaway comments, szwagier ?!

Szwagier said...

Richard, dear chap, you're a new boy, so I'll let you off this time. :o)

Those who've been around the block with me a few times will tell you precisely what I think of Messrs Chomsky and Pinker. I'm... not their greatest fan.

zola said...

Chomsky did not base his works upon "instinct" it was "inksports".
Play with me me in me own garden would you?

zola said...

Rich boy : You are Ok. Just handle the old Szwagiziman carefully. You must understand he is in a crisis of age. He hates being "middle" you know.

Szwagier said...

Not just age, zola. I've never been middle in my life... :o)

Richard W. Symonds said...

OK Szwagier (blimey, that's difficult to spell - can I just say 'swagger' and be done with it:), how did you learn that language of yours so quickly at such an early age ?

Szwagier said...

Any combination of letters which is recognisably me will do :o)

I really don't have the space here, this not being my site, to answer your question in detail, but very briefly. Both Chomsky and Pinker, in their slightly different ways, want syntax to be genetically inherited. Unfortunately for them, evolutionary neurobiologists tell us it can't be. It changes too much and too fast, by a factor of thousands. I could give you a reading list. ;o)

Richard W. Symonds said...

Oh well, Swagger, if 'evolutionary neurobiologists' tell us it can't be, it can't be, can it ?!!

I don't buy it.

"Why does everyone take for granted that we don't learn to grow arms, but rather, are designed to grow arms"

The same goes with the language, and the moral, instincts - in my view.

Szwagier said...

As I said, that was very briefly.

Chomsky originally came up with his hypothesis to explain language acquisition in children. Later, much later, he and others attempted to explain how his language organ evolved. The explanations won't wash, I'm afraid. It's impossible for it to exist in the way he/they want it to.

Their 'evidence' is selective, their reasoning flawed, their application of scientific methodology, frankly, laughable. I might as well believe God made it possible. :o)

All of this should, of course, be read in huge parentheses saying 'in my opinion'.

Szwagier said...

On a different topic, anticant, I've been paying attention to the Arena. Perhaps in addition to "none of the above" on the ballot paper we could have "not only none of the above, but also give each candidate a week in the stocks for having the unmitigated arrogance to think that she or he could represent me in any wawy that I would find acceptable". I might even be encouraged to vote again.

Was it really Blair who put the voters off? In my case it was the Blasted Margaret.

Szwagier said...

And on a third topic, I've just discovered your Polish namesake, and he's writing about... Google.

Synchronicity's a wonderful thing.