Author Topic: Labels imply products, right...?  (Read 4744 times)

Oysters Rockefeller

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Labels imply products, right...?
« on: March 08, 2012, 09:32:26 pm »
How we label ourselves and others is something I've been thinking about a lot recently. But especially labels where some slant or spin is involved.
For instance, anti-abortion is "pro-life", implying that pro-abortion is "pro-death." Similarly, pro-abortion is "pro-choice", implying the opposite viewpoint is "anti-choice."
Despite belonging in a grey area, I've taken to telling people I'm pro-death.
A lot of these kinds of things have such an obvious slant it's hard to believe people take them seriously. And the weirdest part is that the presence of that slant implies, to me, the willingess to decieve people on some level or another.

There have been studies (sorry, no link) that show peoples opinion on gay marriage changes drastically based on if it is called "gay marriage" or "same sex marriage."

Yeeanywho. Thoughts?
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navkat

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2012, 10:13:01 pm »
Governments and Corporations and cults do this all the time. It is the very heart of propaganda. The military becomes "Ministry of Peace." An unprecedented, sweeping attack on the U.S. Constitution becomes the "USA PATRIOT act." Legislation designed to throw people in prison for how they dress is called the "R.A.V.E (Reducing America's Vulnerability to Ecstasy) Act.

Language, its censure, it's nuances...the myriad connotations of words, synonyms...it is both a tool and a weapon over the cognitive process.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2012, 10:18:07 pm »
Of course labels imply products.  Sometimes it's a can of beans.  Sometimes, it's a car.  Sometimes, it's you.  Just listen to anyone sleepy enough to believe in politics, but listen to what they SAY, not what you've been conditioned to hear.

You get to choose, you see.  "You can be a liberal", or a "conservative".  Neither of those words mean what they used to mean, so you just as easily say "Purple" or "Green", but you have to be one or the other, or the choice will be made for you by the person you're speaking with.

EVERY other label refers back to that dichotomy. 

Progressive = Liberal
Socialist = Liberal
Moderate = Liberal
Pro-choice = Liberal
Atheist = Liberal
Independent = Conservative
Pro-Life = Conservative
Constitutionalist = Conservative, with extra religious nutbaggery.

99% of people cannot discuss politics unless they have first put you in a box, so that they can deliver the ingrained memes that they have accumulated since they chose purple or green.  If you refuse to be catagorized, they cannot form an argument.  I mean, that should be obvious.  They have nothing to argue AGAINST.

And that's when the fun part begins...Because at that point, you can make them argue against themselves.  Hell, they'll do it on their own, if you can keep them from going into a canned recital of what's good & right for everyone.

Equally obviously, this works on both sides equally.  Liberals TEND to be funnier in general when this happens, but when a conservative gets on a roll, it can be pants-shittingly hilarious.

I was a teen-aged shit-poster; as you can see, the condition became chronic.

navkat

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2012, 10:36:45 pm »
And I can't figure out if that's a nature or nurture thing. I mean, we're all guilty of succumbing to black or white thinking from time to time. Even the brightest and most enlightened of us can get stuck in true/false, with/against, ones and zeroes.

Is it because our minds are designed to see half full/half empty instead of 4 oz.? Is this a primate thing? Friend or foe? Or is this a coincidental product of the process itself becoming ingrained and compounded? Or both?

There's a Richard Dawkins quote that "militant atheists" (there's a label for ya!) like to throw at me a lot when we get into the "agnostic" argument: "There's such a thing as being so open-minded, your brains fall out."

What?

What does that even mean? It's meaningless. Just a neat, cute, pat, little thing to say that sounds profoundly clever to those who have already decided that open-mindedness is "fence-sitting." It wraps up their turd of an argument with a giant length of primary-red grosgrain ribbon. There is no such thing as being so open-minded, your brains fall out!

Please help me stop screaming.

Doktor Howl

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2012, 10:38:09 pm »
And I can't figure out if that's a nature or nurture thing. I mean, we're all guilty of succumbing to black or white thinking from time to time. Even the brightest and most enlightened of us can get stuck in true/false, with/against, ones and zeroes.

Is it because our minds are designed to see half full/half empty instead of 4 oz.? Is this a primate thing? Friend or foe? Or is this a coincidental product of the process itself becoming ingrained and compounded? Or both?

There's a Richard Dawkins quote that "militant atheists" (there's a label for ya!) like to throw at me a lot when we get into the "agnostic" argument: "There's such a thing as being so open-minded, your brains fall out."

What?

What does that even mean? It's meaningless. Just a neat, cute, pat, little thing to say that sounds profoundly clever to those who have already decided that open-mindedness is "fence-sitting." It wraps up their turd of an argument with a giant length of primary-red grosgrain ribbon. There is no such thing as being so open-minded, your brains fall out!

Please help me stop screaming.

1.  Pretty sure it's a primate thing.

2.  If you stop screaming, everyone else's voice will count and yours won't.
I was a teen-aged shit-poster; as you can see, the condition became chronic.

navkat

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2012, 10:59:23 pm »
 :lulz: <3

Rumckle

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2012, 11:38:23 pm »
Hmm, I don't think it's always a product thing. I mean in all those examples you gave, yeah it is full of spin, but those are political examples, everything to do with politics involves heaps of spin, and therefore comes off like a product.

But if you have a label that doesn't involve spin, it doesn't have to come back to a product thing. Labels have been used for ages, because humans are designed to see patterns, and then categorise things, ie put labels on things. Also, labels can sometimes be useful shorthand for conversations, so long as you are aware of the underlying subtext that may go along with a label.
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Oysters Rockefeller

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 03:56:13 am »
Yeah, that's a good point. I'm not argueing that labels are inherently bad. I mean, I'm a guy. Calling me a guy has no spin, it's just accurate. So you're right there, for sure.
Actually, I don't know that I'm argueing anything. Argueing about labels on PD is about as close to preaching to the choir as a guy can get.
But the way people use language to manipulate, sometimes without intending to, is incredibly interesting.
It can be done outside of politics, in a way. Say you're friend tells you this 2nd person (let's call him Megaguirus) is cool, but you're friend is an asshole. Even if Megaguirus turns out, predictably, to be an asshole as well...you might be inclined to give him a little leeway.

Also, directed at Dok, I consider myself a liberal leaning independent. Most independents I know do, too. But that could just be a geographical difference, I reckon.
Well, my gynecologist committed suicide...
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Oysters Rockefeller

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 04:03:29 am »
An unprecedented, sweeping attack on the U.S. Constitution becomes the "USA PATRIOT act."

Woah, there. I bought too many tiny American flags to stop supporting crazy shit now.
Well, my gynecologist committed suicide...
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Moar liek Oysters Cockefeller, amirite?!

Elder Iptuous

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 04:58:15 am »
...
But the way people use language to manipulate, sometimes without intending to, is incredibly interesting.
...
as opposed to what, exactly?
is there another use for language?
perhaps you mean deceive?

Oysters Rockefeller

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2012, 05:45:24 am »
I feel like, although there is a bit of wiggle room, manipulation and deception are near synonymous. They both involve a willfull attempt to coerce somebody into a personally advantageous situation through false means.

I mean, I didn't type this up to argue about words.

Ah....wait...that's exactly what I did.

Well, we can say deceive if you like. But I would argue there is a multitidue of uses for language. Description, legitimate persuasion, entertainment, gaining knowledge, etc.


ETA: I said "without intending to" above, and "willfull" afterwards. I hope you can understand my general meaning nonetheless.
Well, my gynecologist committed suicide...
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I'm nothing if not kind of ridiculous and a little hard to take seriously.
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Moar liek Oysters Cockefeller, amirite?!

Roly Poly Oly-Garch

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2012, 11:26:43 am »
Or when asking for advice (read: looking for approval) people ask questions like, "Am I just some evil Nazi bastard for thinking this?" Instead of "Am I overstepping my bounds?" "Are my expectations unreasonable?" or any of a number of questions that may get more to the heart of the matter. If it's just "total bitch" or "not total bitch" they can get the answer they want without really having to examine their actions meaningfully.

...come to think of it "product" as a label is a great example of what you're talking about. It's not "faux cheese," "imitation cheese," "cheese substitute," it's "cheese product." Buy it in a can and you might even get lots of "flavor enhancers" included.

 
Back to the fecal matter in the pool

navkat

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2012, 12:26:16 pm »
Or when asking for advice (read: looking for approval) people ask questions like, "Am I just some evil Nazi bastard for thinking this?" Instead of "Am I overstepping my bounds?" "Are my expectations unreasonable?" or any of a number of questions that may get more to the heart of the matter. If it's just "total bitch" or "not total bitch" they can get the answer they want without really having to examine their actions meaningfully.

...come to think of it "product" as a label is a great example of what you're talking about. It's not "faux cheese," "imitation cheese," "cheese substitute," it's "cheese product." Buy it in a can and you might even get lots of "flavor enhancers" included.

I think those mostly come from a genuine desire to use critical-thinking skills even on ones self. I say things like that. Sometimes it's difficult to get to the "heart" of what you mean because opinions are such internal things, their creation an organic process, wrought with flaws and just the act of opening the closet door and attempting to examine them--allowing others an opportunity to call them crap--is a positive first step. Meaningful self-examination isn't a public process. Letting people debate you and then mulling it over later is.

I tend to assume people aren't ill-willed but rather, somewhat myopic and a little hard-of-hearing due to the constant wail of inner-dialogue. The very act of debating someone implies that you are trying to get them to see your view...not necessarily to change their minds but to get them to make some room at the table for you. Sometimes it's actually difficult to see that the things you are saying are biased and therefore, your argument flawed or unintentionally coercive through omission of the things you simply haven't even considered yet. That's why welcoming dissent is so healthy: you never know what you don't know.

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2012, 02:52:48 pm »
Search is borked, but I recall a BIP thread on compartamentalizing, and why we do it.  I usually start with Korzybski's riff about how "leaf" is actually a meta-generalization that's composed of leaf1, leaf2, leaf3, and so on.  When you're referring to a leaf in general it doesn't actually exist; it's a semantic box that holds many many different things that can be called "leaf".

Ok, that's pretty obvious when you think about it, because if we couldn't meta-generalize, the experiential world would be an infinite amount of individual things that have no relation to each other.  Language couldn't really exist, because every experience would need a different word to describe it.  Btw, this may also be related to Hofstadter's "high-level chunking".

Where I think the problem the OP describes arises when this sort of labelling goes beyond the physical and into the mental and ideological.  Because there's no direct physical experience to connect to, we can make that box as big as we want to -- and sometimes it becomes bigger than we realize.  And due to the "is of identity" problem that RAW and others are always so keen to point out, when we label the idological box, we naturally start wanting to be that box.  This leads to echo chambers, cookie-cutter arguments, and self-deception.

navkat

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Re: Labels imply products, right...?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2012, 02:58:26 pm »
Search is borked, but I recall a BIP thread on compartamentalizing, and why we do it.  I usually start with Korzybski's riff about how "leaf" is actually a meta-generalization that's composed of leaf1, leaf2, leaf3, and so on.  When you're referring to a leaf in general it doesn't actually exist; it's a semantic box that holds many many different things that can be called "leaf".

Ok, that's pretty obvious when you think about it, because if we couldn't meta-generalize, the experiential world would be an infinite amount of individual things that have no relation to each other.  Language couldn't really exist, because every experience would need a different word to describe it.  Btw, this may also be related to Hofstadter's "high-level chunking".

Where I think the problem the OP describes arises when this sort of labelling goes beyond the physical and into the mental and ideological.  Because there's no direct physical experience to connect to, we can make that box as big as we want to -- and sometimes it becomes bigger than we realize.  And due to the "is of identity" problem that RAW and others are always so keen to point out, when we label the idological box, we naturally start wanting to be that box.  This leads to echo chambers, cookie-cutter arguments, and self-deception.

I think I need a mini-LMNO inside my mouf to say what I mean because you're better at saying what I mean than I am.

-navKat
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