Author Topic: Against TFYS  (Read 2291 times)

Golden Applesauce

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2012, 01:34:43 am »
When most people say TFYS, they really mean Think Like Me.

I don't.  I want stupid people to think their stupid thoughts for themselves, too.  I like the idea of people running around using their brains with no instruction or even adult supervision.

yeah, the OP runs into an immediate problem when it seems to assume that TFYS is an attempt to make the world a better place. :lulz:

I'm with Roger. I just want everyone to bring their own brand of crazy and/or stupid to the table.

I'm not disagreeing with you, it's just that your position falls outside the scope of this argument. When you say TFYS you mean it, and don't go complaining afterwards about what other people do with their brains. This is more reserved for the people who want everybody else to be egalitarian and stop giving them shit about their lifestyle choices, but say TFYS instead and get confused when their audience turns around and votes Republican.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! is not the same thing as Let Me Think for Myself!.
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #16 on: November 06, 2012, 01:35:00 am »
However, I have to say that your plan to stop encouraging people to think for themselves causes me the same feeling of uneasiness that your first interpretation of my previous post caused you.

It makes me uneasy too. One of my personal rules is that whenever I come up with something that feels like it might be off the deep end - like this one - I should do less individual inquiry and go find some smart people to point out where I've gone wrong.

It occurs to me that self-selecting for my dumbest ideas to post on PD does not help my reputation.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #17 on: November 06, 2012, 01:37:29 am »
It's telling that we teach our children "no biting", "no stealing", and "no lying" before we teach them critical thought. There's an element of selfish paternalism there; it's easier for teachers to preside over well-behaved children than it is to wrangle smart alecks.

It's also to keep the little bastards from turning into sociopaths.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2012, 01:46:05 am »
However, I have to say that your plan to stop encouraging people to think for themselves causes me the same feeling of uneasiness that your first interpretation of my previous post caused you.

It makes me uneasy too. One of my personal rules is that whenever I come up with something that feels like it might be off the deep end - like this one - I should do less individual inquiry and go find some smart people to point out where I've gone wrong.

It occurs to me that self-selecting for my dumbest ideas to post on PD does not help my reputation.

Oh, I dunno.  Posting about what great guys the KKK are was fucking inspired.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2012, 01:48:16 am »
When most people say TFYS, they really mean Think Like Me.

I don't.  I want stupid people to think their stupid thoughts for themselves, too.  I like the idea of people running around using their brains with no instruction or even adult supervision.

yeah, the OP runs into an immediate problem when it seems to assume that TFYS is an attempt to make the world a better place. :lulz:

I'm with Roger. I just want everyone to bring their own brand of crazy and/or stupid to the table.

I'm not disagreeing with you, it's just that your position falls outside the scope of this argument. When you say TFYS you mean it, and don't go complaining afterwards about what other people do with their brains. This is more reserved for the people who want everybody else to be egalitarian and stop giving them shit about their lifestyle choices, but say TFYS instead and get confused when their audience turns around and votes Republican.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! is not the same thing as Let Me Think for Myself!.

No, how is that confusing?  The world is full of stupid people.  Some of MY ideas may appear stupid to some people.  I'm not going to stop thinking for myself because they don't like what I think, nor am I going to ask someone dumb enough to vote republican to stop thinking.  This ain't Jonestown, do whatever the fuck you please. 

Doesn't mean I'm not going to make fun of you for it.  Hypothetically speaking.
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Golden Applesauce

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #20 on: November 06, 2012, 02:23:58 am »
Oh, I dunno.  Posting about what great guys the KKK are was fucking inspired.

Case in point - maintaining a united front against slavery and the KKK is more important than countenancing an attempt to drive a critical discussion about how a Southerner might feel slighted and victimized post Civil War without depriving him of his agency as a human being, even if you have to distort the other guy's position and reach for peer-pressure shame tactics to do it. A pro-TFYS-in-every-circumstance radical would have been willing to suspend the racism taboo for the sake a discussion because he values human inquiry over anything and everything else, including the pragmatic utility of making very sure that nobody could possibly walk away from a forum thread with the impression that the very real horrors of the white supremacy movement were any less than they were.

Sorry, that came out more sarcastic than I meant it.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2012, 02:24:51 am »
Oh, I dunno.  Posting about what great guys the KKK are was fucking inspired.

Case in point - maintaining a united front against slavery and the KKK is more important than countenancing an attempt to drive a critical discussion about how a Southerner might feel slighted and victimized post Civil War without depriving him of his agency as a human being, even if you have to distort the other guy's position and reach for peer-pressure shame tactics to do it. A pro-TFYS-in-every-circumstance radical would have been willing to suspend the racism taboo for the sake a discussion because he values human inquiry over anything and everything else, including the pragmatic utility of making very sure that nobody could possibly walk away from a forum thread with the impression that the very real horrors of the white supremacy movement were any less than they were.

Racial what?

I just think they're dumbfucks.  I still get to laugh at dumbfucks.
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Sexy St. Nigel

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2012, 08:01:59 am »
GA, I am getting the impression that your real point is buried deep within an obfuscating semantical argument about a relatively irrelevant PD catchphrase. Want to pony up and make your actual point in plain words?
“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: Against TFYS
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2012, 12:25:18 pm »
I agree with Nigel, TFY,S imo is a different point I think. Rational, logical thought may or may not jive with thinking for yourself.
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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2012, 01:30:15 pm »
GA, I am getting the impression that your real point is buried deep within an obfuscating semantical argument about a relatively irrelevant PD catchphrase. Want to pony up and make your actual point in plain words?

Coming out of Humanist (I think?) ideals is a very high value on the freedom of thought/opinion and exercising it. Telling someone what to think ranges from disrespectful to the worst kind of tyranny; instead of teaching people what to think, a true education teaches people how to think better (by which they usually mean rational/critical/logical thought, although Rat is correct in pointing out that there are other important modes of thought.)

The tension there is that those same people usually have lots of other ideals that they think would be nice if adopted more widely. But they can't just tell people to stop being racist or creationist or whatever, because that would be telling people what to think. So there's an equivalence made between promoting those other ideals and helping people think for themselves. Assertion #1 is that this is a false equivalence; teaching people to think "better" and respecting their freedom to draw their own conclusions is not the same as, and often in opposition to, whatever other idea or value you have. So TFYS, while important, cannot be the only component of driving whatever social change you want. (And nobody is entirely satisfied with the status quo.)

If getting everyone to think for themselves is insufficient, then something else is required. Assertion #2 is that there is value in the tools of thought-control, which range from social pressure and ridicule to indoctrination and outright propaganda, in preventing people from seriously considering certain positions on certain topics. This is the social level of thought. Participating in social thought on the receiving end means knowing when to mistrust your own ideas and seek outside guidance (which may even be a component of TFYS), but participating on the transmitting side means knowing when to assert the "right" opinion and ensuring that people understand that they aren't allowed to keep thinking in that direction, which is absolutely in conflict with TFYS.
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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2012, 03:32:32 pm »
Indoctrinating someone with the 'right' idea is as much of a trap, I think, as failing to think for yourself. We are all cosmic Schmucks (the S bit of TFYS), as Schmucks we often end up believing that we now what is right/best/most important... those are, however, assumptions based on some mix of knowledge, ignorance and subjective experience.

Encouraging people to think for themselves should be, IMO, independent of any attempt to teach them your personal beliefs of right, wrong, good or bad.

Mixing the two seems like a trap on both sides. The convincer is falling into a trap of believing they are right and should pass on the true knowledge... while the other schmuck is getting told what to believe within the trapping of being taught to think freely.
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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2012, 04:57:52 pm »
GA, I am getting the impression that your real point is buried deep within an obfuscating semantical argument about a relatively irrelevant PD catchphrase. Want to pony up and make your actual point in plain words?

Coming out of Humanist (I think?) ideals is a very high value on the freedom of thought/opinion and exercising it. Telling someone what to think ranges from disrespectful to the worst kind of tyranny; instead of teaching people what to think, a true education teaches people how to think better (by which they usually mean rational/critical/logical thought, although Rat is correct in pointing out that there are other important modes of thought.)

The tension there is that those same people usually have lots of other ideals that they think would be nice if adopted more widely. But they can't just tell people to stop being racist or creationist or whatever, because that would be telling people what to think. So there's an equivalence made between promoting those other ideals and helping people think for themselves. Assertion #1 is that this is a false equivalence; teaching people to think "better" and respecting their freedom to draw their own conclusions is not the same as, and often in opposition to, whatever other idea or value you have. So TFYS, while important, cannot be the only component of driving whatever social change you want. (And nobody is entirely satisfied with the status quo.)

If getting everyone to think for themselves is insufficient, then something else is required. Assertion #2 is that there is value in the tools of thought-control, which range from social pressure and ridicule to indoctrination and outright propaganda, in preventing people from seriously considering certain positions on certain topics. This is the social level of thought. Participating in social thought on the receiving end means knowing when to mistrust your own ideas and seek outside guidance (which may even be a component of TFYS), but participating on the transmitting side means knowing when to assert the "right" opinion and ensuring that people understand that they aren't allowed to keep thinking in that direction, which is absolutely in conflict with TFYS.

So... just trying to tease the plainspeak out of the tap-dancing here... the problem you have is when people tell others to think for themselves instead of just flat telling them they think they're wrong?

“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

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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #27 on: November 07, 2012, 01:19:14 pm »
Having an introspective temperment, it shouldn't be surprising that I take the TFYS to be a personal, internal struggle.

In Thinking Fast and Slow (which I finally finished, and I believe Can and I agreed to offer up a critique of it at some point), it was shown in a series of experiments that when faced with a difficult question that would require effort and energy (physical energy -- the brain sucks up a lot of resources when it's focusing hard on a problem), a natural tendency for people is to substitute an easier question in its place without conciously realizing they're doing it.

So, my interpretation of TFYS is the struggle to actually think about the matter at hand, and not resort to substitutions, fallacies, heuristics or biases to answer the question for me.
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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2012, 12:50:47 pm »
I still have my notes on Slow and Fast Thinking.  Though it should be noted most of my notes were taken for the purposes of finding how to more easily manipulate others perceptions than necessarily just improving my own.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2012, 12:52:43 pm by Cain »
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Re: Against TFYS
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2012, 01:04:54 pm »
My impression of GA's argument is this;

Thinking for yourself is not to be held up on a pedistal of intellectual awesomeness. It's problematic that (in my opinion in the same way as 'just be yourself' isn't on its own always good advice) TFYS is such a commonly bandied about phrase/idea because it implkies that doing so is enough to make all the smart thinkings and good choices happen. The phrase TFYS doesn't in itself imply the importance of other thinking skills that we need.

People say THINK FOR YOURSELF with the implication that independent thought = good thought, and that's problematic.
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