Author Topic: Common Walls  (Read 4602 times)

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2012, 04:35:53 pm »
This whole thread is awesome. 
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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #46 on: February 13, 2012, 04:56:53 pm »
So far, I’ve been talking about how the cells and bars that were given to us, or imposed upon us, or as an accretion of what we have experienced.  But what about when we realize the kind of game we’re playing, and then begin redecorating for ourselves?  And what about when we seek out and build new cell walls with other people?

Obviously, there are some limitations we can’t change.  We’ve gone over that before.  But as far as mental/psychological bricks and bars go, then, to quote the Chao te Ching, “turning one into the other is simple as changing your mind. [please note that changing your mind is not simple.]”  We can make an effort to overcome barriers and fill in gaps, provided we know what we’re looking for.  We can study the many kinds of bias and be mindful to recognize when we’re falling for it, and we can challenge our assumptions for which we never received good evidence.  And as far as I can tell, it makes us better bipeds for it.

Of course, we see the bars of other people’s prisons much more easily than we see our own (“you’re making conclusions without proof, while I simply have faith,” and all that).  And if we’re going to share common walls, we’re going to see things in the people we’re sharing with that seem to us like serious limitations:  A Pro-Gay-Rights Republican; a punker who also likes Chick Corea; a LARPer who likes anchovies on their pizza; an Occupy-er who’s also racist.  And there’s usually a strong impulse to call out barriers we don’t like in other people.  But this can lead to what Roger has pointed out among a lot of good-minded activists – A tendency to focus on the differences rather than the similarities.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we blindly open arms and accept a “means justifies the end” approach when we work with other people.  Considerations must be made if the non-common things in a person’s life case a pall or taint the entire purpose of the collaboration (the example of a racist Occupy person comes to mind).  But at the same time, we need to make a conscious and deliberate effort to establish the point where another person’s un-shared belief hurts the group, and where your belief about their un-shared belief hurts the group.

There seems to be an unspoken and unexamined bit of “truthiness” that says a group must be orthodox and in complete agreement about a subject, or else all is lost.  But this is clearly bullshit.  Just in the same way that your walls can have similar properties as another persons’, you have to also recognize that there will be differences, as well.  If you set the bar too high, you’re going to isolate yourself and your actions to a point where they are not effective.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2012, 04:58:28 pm »
Very nice.

I have a couple of ideas for "advertisements" to be placed in the book.  Is that something we're interested in?
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LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2012, 05:03:27 pm »
I'm open to all ideas.  The more creativity, the better.

Working on a part 3.
LMNO
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The Spider Project.

Buy the Chao te Ching, or be doomed forever.

http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/marburger/index.shtml

"Get offa me, you freaks!  This is not North Korea.  No.  This is America, and I expect to be PAID for that sort of nonsense.  In advance.  No credit...Cash on the barrelhead or GTFO.  I swear to God, there's nothing more annoying than commie perverts who don't understand the intrinsic value of the free market system."

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2012, 05:07:14 pm »
I'm open to all ideas.  The more creativity, the better.

Working on a part 3.

Okay, I'll start lashing them together.

One is an advertisement for The Church, and the other is for Herpaderp (the product that does exactly what it says on the label).
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The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2012, 07:32:04 pm »
Very nice.

I have a couple of ideas for "advertisements" to be placed in the book.  Is that something we're interested in?

I totally think so.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2012, 07:33:59 pm »
Very nice.

I have a couple of ideas for "advertisements" to be placed in the book.  Is that something we're interested in?

I totally think so.

You need to get in on the Herpaderp one, since it was originally your idea.
"What can we do to help you stop screaming?"

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2012, 07:35:51 pm »
Adding this to the mix, as per TGRR:


I shall dig you a grave, that you may find new purpose in life by struggling to climb out.
LMNO
Pope/Wrought Iron Instigator
First Church of Last Exit Before Toll
The Spider Project.

Buy the Chao te Ching, or be doomed forever.

http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/marburger/index.shtml

"Get offa me, you freaks!  This is not North Korea.  No.  This is America, and I expect to be PAID for that sort of nonsense.  In advance.  No credit...Cash on the barrelhead or GTFO.  I swear to God, there's nothing more annoying than commie perverts who don't understand the intrinsic value of the free market system."

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2012, 07:38:31 pm »
So far, I’ve been talking about how the cells and bars that were given to us, or imposed upon us, or as an accretion of what we have experienced.  But what about when we realize the kind of game we’re playing, and then begin redecorating for ourselves?  And what about when we seek out and build new cell walls with other people?

Obviously, there are some limitations we can’t change.  We’ve gone over that before.  But as far as mental/psychological bricks and bars go, then, to quote the Chao te Ching, “turning one into the other is simple as changing your mind. [please note that changing your mind is not simple.]”  We can make an effort to overcome barriers and fill in gaps, provided we know what we’re looking for.  We can study the many kinds of bias and be mindful to recognize when we’re falling for it, and we can challenge our assumptions for which we never received good evidence.  And as far as I can tell, it makes us better bipeds for it.

Of course, we see the bars of other people’s prisons much more easily than we see our own (“you’re making conclusions without proof, while I simply have faith,” and all that).  And if we’re going to share common walls, we’re going to see things in the people we’re sharing with that seem to us like serious limitations:  A Pro-Gay-Rights Republican; a punker who also likes Chick Corea; a LARPer who likes anchovies on their pizza; an Occupy-er who’s also racist.  And there’s usually a strong impulse to call out barriers we don’t like in other people.  But this can lead to what Roger has pointed out among a lot of good-minded activists – A tendency to focus on the differences rather than the similarities.

Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we blindly open arms and accept a “means justifies the end” approach when we work with other people.  Considerations must be made if the non-common things in a person’s life case a pall or taint the entire purpose of the collaboration (the example of a racist Occupy person comes to mind).  But at the same time, we need to make a conscious and deliberate effort to establish the point where another person’s un-shared belief hurts the group, and where your belief about their un-shared belief hurts the group.

There seems to be an unspoken and unexamined bit of “truthiness” that says a group must be orthodox and in complete agreement about a subject, or else all is lost.  But this is clearly bullshit.  Just in the same way that your walls can have similar properties as another persons’, you have to also recognize that there will be differences, as well.  If you set the bar too high, you’re going to isolate yourself and your actions to a point where they are not effective.

Definitely what I had in mind when I mentioned "addressing alienation from an optimistic perspective" was a focus on solutions, and on finding commonalities. The BIP is very much about recognizing our own bars, and taking control of them... I think that "Common Walls" is poised to point out the shared bars that divide us, and to inspire, hopefully, an optimism for moving those bars.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2012, 07:39:53 pm »
Very nice.

I have a couple of ideas for "advertisements" to be placed in the book.  Is that something we're interested in?

I totally think so.

You need to get in on the Herpaderp one, since it was originally your idea.

Good goddamn, it was?  :lol: Oh, the things I forget!
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Cuddlefish

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2012, 11:16:34 pm »
the prison dwells
as far back in time
as livings cells.
and, as cells,
living become our prisons,
themselves.
if our prisons jell
together, then together
we're like cells
as well.

well...

at least so far as I can tell...


EDIT: Fix't for improved punctuation and rhythm.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2012, 07:54:49 am by Cuddlefish »
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The Right Reverend Nigel

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2012, 11:56:27 pm »
Oooo Dimo! I really like that!
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #57 on: February 14, 2012, 10:29:00 am »
We're all the same, just in different ways...

Your prison is the summation of all the things that have happened to you in your life. No one else has lived all of those experiences in the same way that you have. Yet, your prison is similar to Other People's Prisons (You down with OPP?). Every cell has that large cinder block foundation made of materials like "mammal", "land dweller", "earthling", "puberty", "birth", "knowledge of death". These blocks are held together by mortar made of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell... just like every other prison cell in the place.

Of course, that spot worn in the floor where you pace back and forth, that's somewhat unique. Every cell has one, but some are short, some run the length of the cell, some are deeply marked from constant frenetic pacing, while others are light and barely noticeable. Some inmates pace, desperate to escape, some rarely pace, perhaps forgetting that they're in prison.

The material in your wall and bars, well those are less common. Not everyone has that chunk of bricks labeled "raised conservative christian", but you might be surprised how often that one makes an appearance. Some cells don't have the bar made of "liberal politics", but oddly, the ones with the bar made of "conservative politics" appears almost identical in so many ways.

Hell, even that spot where you took a sledgehammer to the wall and built yourself a nice rec room... its not entirely unique. Other inmates have also remodeled their cell. Your remodeling is still distinct though, but are you really proud of being the only one that selected the "Elvis on Velvet" decor?

So what difference does it make? We're all in prison cells, we can never break completely free, we didn't even get a say in the early development of the walls and bars. Why should we care if our cell is entirely unique or full of similarities?

I'll tell you why.

Every belief, every experience, every brick and bar of your BiP has a flaw. It can be broken, busted, rusted, knocked loose and replaced with something slightly less constricting. Not every brick and bar can be broken with the same sledge. Not every guard can be knocked out with the same barstool. Not every tunnel can be dug with the same spoon. However, similar bricks and similar bars can often be broken or removed in similar ways. We are not all the same, but the similarities mean that we can learn from each other. If the guy in the cell next door finds a way to break his "conservative politics" bar, you may be able to learn from that when wriggling your 'liberal politics' bar loose. When someone knocks loose the brick made of 'betrayed love', you might gain some insight on how to dislodge that same brick from your wall.

We are all unique. Uniqueness allows us to put information together in new ways, it allows us to stumble on new ideas and it provides us with an experience that will never be duplicated. Yet, we can say the same about that pig who died for your bacon, that tree that died for your hickory smoke and that kitten you gave half of your breakfast to. Not so special now, is it? Everything that lives and dies is unique and will have a unique set of experiences... whoopie.

We are all similar. Similarities allow us to communicate. Similarities allow us to have compassion, empathy and the similarities allow us to learn from the similar experiences of others. The uniqueness is not so special, however being able to share, analyze and act on the similarities, THAT is some pretty special stuff.


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"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #58 on: February 14, 2012, 12:49:18 pm »
I like it, Rat. The idea of information sharing to help create communal experiences/spaces.

Also, thanks for temporarily buying back in to the BIP metaphor, and not arguing it's "bleakness".
LMNO
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Buy the Chao te Ching, or be doomed forever.

http://www.stonybrook.edu/sb/marburger/index.shtml

"Get offa me, you freaks!  This is not North Korea.  No.  This is America, and I expect to be PAID for that sort of nonsense.  In advance.  No credit...Cash on the barrelhead or GTFO.  I swear to God, there's nothing more annoying than commie perverts who don't understand the intrinsic value of the free market system."

Bebek Sincap Ratatosk

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Re: Common Walls
« Reply #59 on: February 14, 2012, 02:01:58 pm »
I like it, Rat. The idea of information sharing to help create communal experiences/spaces.

Also, thanks for temporarily buying back in to the BIP metaphor, and not arguing it's "bleakness".

I swapped out that brick for a small window ;-)
- I don't see race. I just see cars going around in a circle.

"Back in my day, crazy meant something. Now everyone is crazy" - Charlie Manson