Author Topic: Under Construction Eternal  (Read 1546 times)

nullified

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Under Construction Eternal
« on: May 01, 2019, 01:49:17 pm »
This has been coming for /months/.

I have been rereading old posts around these parts, mostly as a kind of self reflection on the growth and progress I made over time, and I noticed something.

Everyone on this forum has changed. Not just me.

RWHN famously blew up about the Boston bomberís face being on a magazine cover, and we mocked him for it. Now we point out that the manifestos of white supremacists are probably not worth reading and definitely shouldnít be spread around. In fact, they should be removed from circulation. We donít bring up pixelating out the New Zealand shooterís face when we said before that the bomber kidís face being on magazine covers was important.

Knee jerk reaction kicks in; I had it too. ďThatís not the same thing!Ē And youíre right that, in a sense, it isnít, but how isnít it the same thing?

Some of us, myself included, jump from that reaction to a different knee jerk reaction: it is the same thing, and we were wrong before. Again: right in a sense.

Then some fewer might go further: it is the same thing, but we are wrong NOW. This sort of knee jerk response to knee jerk response loop can go on indefinitely, leading you to some warped conclusions if you let it. But as a man said some time, a conclusion is just where you stopped thinking.

Now, the reason this bothered me was this nagging feeling that I didnít /feel/ like I had changed my mind at all. I am still adamantly for gun rights circa 2008, and adamantly in favor of gun control circa 2017 onward. I still believe the Boston bomberís face and story needed to be out there, while I believe that the current crop of extremist killers deserve nothing more than mention that they are hideous beasts. Most importantly, I hold all of these beliefs /simultaneously/, even though they outwardly seem contradictory.

I donít cringe in the face of contradiction, but I want to consciously make that decision. Here, despite an apparent contradiction, I didnít feel any. They felt universally in line with Who I Am, which has changed, but they felt like they applied equally to both Old Me and New Me. Whatever changes occurred, they werenít enough that I no longer recognized my old moral compass. In point of fact, it seemed like the exact same compass, down to the scuff marks on the glass.

óó

Iíve let this hysteresis loop settle for a couple months, allowed my reaction to the idea that Iím hypocritical over a long period of time to stop bothering me, and started to reread things while chewing the gristly bits of the problem.

The thing that made it click for me was a thing Triple Zero (I miss that Dutch bastard, where is he now?) said in the sticky of this very forum.


Snip

i dunno but it seems to me that discordianism places "freedom" as more important than "happiness".

(freedom and happiness being two important calibrating points in philosophy of ethics)

Snip

I feel that the apparent change in the forum Iíve noticed is just a change in the circumstances around us all.

óó

If freedom and happiness are important calibrating points in ethics, but unrestrained freedom is obvious stupidity (see any decent argument against anarchy, communism or libertarianism) and happiness at the expense of freedom is somewhere in the vicinity of Brave New World, it stands to reason that ďsafetyĒ is a component of happiness.

Much of the PeeDee Drug Wars focused on Safety vs Freedom. But it seems (note, seems) that we have shifted gears.

That is because, as should be evident to anyone who has seen the news even once in the past two years, safety is no longer guaranteed. More to the point, a lack of safety has begun to impinge on the freedoms of a great many people, some of whom have lost such freedoms as sleeping easily at night, keeping their blood on the inside, and homeostasis.

It is difficult to be a free-thinker while you are leaking all over the floor. Or no longer breathing.

Nothing about us changed all that much. The circumstances are different.

ó

Going back to my hysteresis loop of knee jerk reactions to my own knee jerk reactions, I mentioned that the apparently conflicting ideas of ďthe situations are differentĒ, ďthe situations are the same and we were wrong beforeĒ, and ďthe situations are the same and we are wrong nowĒ all have some validity.

Taken on their own, in a vacuum, they arenít very different. Extremist kills some people, and then back and forth (at least internally) about censorship vs making an important point occurs.

But more broadly, the first case was about racism. Public assumption: grizzled old brown man with super-beard. Actual reality: some white kid who looks basically like any other white kid. This was important because the narrative being sold was racist and the reality was not.

And the second case is about racism too. Except here, expectations and reality match up. White supremacist is white, kills people of color. There isnít any value in spreading his trash around. Pixelating his face sends a message to others like him, and does no harm to the public interest because he, I am sure, looks like every other white kid his age.

Letís move a layer deeper. In the case of the Boston bomber, I donít think anyone even had an issue with the actual story itself. It was about how this kid got radicalized. It painted a portrait of how someone who was an ordinary kid got pulled into this darker path. Notably, nothing about his descent had anything to do with the stories of other kids like him, or manifestos. It was a lonely journey that was egged on by traditional values and a desire to belong and be cared about by his family.

In the case of whatshisfuck in New Zealand, or that punk motherfucker in San Diego, we know their story, because itís a story that has been told to us over and over again. Further, we know that they were in fact inspired by other shooters. We knew that before they told us, though the confirmation was nice to have for the particularly thick-headed people. And their stories do have to do with manifestos and copycat acts.

So, to bring this back around: surface level, theyíre the same thing. But treating the Boston bomber the way we treat the bigoted goons we have now would have done the public a disservice, and treating these shitbags the way we did that kid (who did monstrous things, I must make absolutely clear) would be exacerbating a problem thatís already out of our control, because the details of the surrounding circumstances /are/ different.

Moreover, I feel that itís safe to conclude this is one case where we had no need to change our minds to reach the same decisions and value judgements we did. Some of us may have changed our minds anyway. Thatís fine. But I had this feeling that I hadnít actually changed, and I wanted to investigate that. What I found was that What I Thought I Believed was not the same as What I Actually Believed. And that I never actually changed, the world just whirled around me in a dizzying kaleidoscope of bullshit and goose-stepping.

What I Thought I Believed: Freedom, to the hilt.  Let people fuck up. We have laws for those who go too far. Safety is a crutch for people living in the Stone Age.

What I Actually Believed: Freedom, to the hilt, and enough safety that people can live to use it. We have laws for those who go too far, but some problems cannot be solved through application of law alone without making a police state. Safety is a vital component of freedom, but is easy to over-utilize and should be used with caution.

óó

My view is consistent, I just never had to explore this part of it at a point when I had the time to make sense of what I was seeing. Or Iím full of shit and this was an extremely lengthy exercise in rationalization, but I think that if thatís all it was, it was an important one.

Even if it is both true that my viewpoint on this matter has not changed, and that this is a lengthy masturbatory exercise in rationalization, it reminded me of an old truth around these parts, that an upright and bipedal human is Under Construction Eternal.

My viewpoint may not have changed on the issue I was concerned with. But I know myself a fuckload better than I did, and I have an actual response to things that I honestly would have just had to handwave away and ignore the subsequent queasy feeling about before.

I was confident my views now are the Right Thing, or at least in the ballpark. And I was confident my views before WERE the Right Thing but would not be now. But before the insight that prompted this post, I could not have explained how or why to someone, and under pressure I might have given a different answer that turned me into a shithead.

That didnít happen, for which I am grateful, and any shitheadedness on my part is, at the very least, the result of long hard thought rather than blind flailing last minute stupidity. I laid these bricks, they werenít just some rocks and mud I slung together. If nothing else, that is a valuable thing.

óó

I donít actually know who might get anything out of this here, but it seemed worth putting out there. As for why /here/...

It isnít a rant, it doesnít belong in OKM. Itís serious, not quite AT. Itís philosophical rather than political or scientific, so I decided it belonged in TFYS,S. That said, I havenít actually got a clue if thatís the case, so disclaimer: might be the wrong forum, please complain to a mod or use your mod powers to correct any perceived failings.
ďI am that worst of all type of criminal...I cannot bring myself to do what you tell me, because you told me

Doktor Howl

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Re: Under Construction Eternal
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2019, 06:17:25 pm »

Everyone on this forum has changed. Not just me.

Not so!  Observe:

Quote
RWHN famously blew up about the Boston bomberís face being on a magazine cover, and we mocked him for it. Now we point out that the manifestos of white supremacists are probably not worth reading and definitely shouldnít be spread around. In fact, they should be removed from circulation. We donít bring up pixelating out the New Zealand shooterís face when we said before that the bomber kidís face being on magazine covers was important.

False equivalence.  Rolling Stone wrote an article asking how the kid next door turned into a terrorist in less than six months, and used a pic of him when he was normal, because Americans viewed terrorists as Arabians with neckbeards.  That was the entire point of the article, and RWHN fobbed it off as "glamorizing the kid."

Quote
Knee jerk reaction kicks in; I had it too. ďThatís not the same thing!Ē And youíre right that, in a sense, it isnít, but how isnít it the same thing?

See above.

Quote
That is because, as should be evident to anyone who has seen the news even once in the past two years, safety is no longer guaranteed.

Been saying that since the very day this board opened up for business.

This was an interesting rant, but it seems as if the person who has changed is you.  We have always laughed at doom; people thought we were joking.

So congrats.  You're officially an old-timer.
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Cain

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Re: Under Construction Eternal
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2019, 06:26:58 pm »
I don't think most normal people should be allowed to read terrorist manifestos for the reason that far too many people believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Namely, they're idiots, and they don't need more idiotic ideas crowding their heads.

However, articles that go deep into the radicalization process of any terrorist are almost always worthwhile if done in good faith.

nullified

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Re: Under Construction Eternal
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2019, 07:05:29 pm »
It's accurate that I've changed, but I'm pretty sure my beliefs on the matter didn't, they were just unexamined.

I don't think I expected actual goosestepping fascists to appear before 2010, so this sort of thing wasn't something I ever considered. I had no reason to consider the then-counterfactual of "what would have to happen for me to agree with limiting the spread of information, any information, that isn't itself illegal?" Also, I was stupid and thought I knew everything.

Then, 2010 onward has been off-and-on scrabbling for survival and fighting back. I guess you CAN ask yourself why you oppose Nazis having a platform while you're trying to fight them having a platform, but it makes you ineffective and you look like a fucking idiot. Do that shit on your own time.

I've had a month or two of relative peace and quiet to live with for the first time in damn near a decade, and I finally got a chance to actually seriously look at why my worldview is put together the way it is. This post was partially explaining the worldview, but as the titledrop indicates, it was really more about this process.

I noticed something weird. I picked at it like a scab for a couple months, and lo and behold the scab was actually some crud caked on my arm and not actually a scab at all. The whole journey was one of self-understanding, and I learned some stuff from it, like a desperate need to shower, why the hell was there some speck of crud caked on my arm for two months, that's fucking disgusting.

Ahem.

Also, yeah, no one actually changed their minds on this stuff. There was a superficial appearance that they had, however. I felt, deep in my gut, that I had not changed and that the others here had not changed. Despite that, I STILL could not articulate, even to myself, how I was not being hypocritical. And acting on faith is a great way to become a fucking awful person, to do terrible things. I wasn't comfortable just leaving it alone and relying entirely on the monkeys around me as a sanity check, I wanted to understand so I could tell when I was fucking up on my lonesome.

----

Cain:

I knew these things, but I couldn't initially see the ACTUAL difference between "censorship of an important story about a terrorist" and "keeping dangerous stupidity locked away the way you would keep a loaded firearm in a gun safe". I knew these things were not the same intuitively, but I need that "why" or I'm just another blind moron, following the lead of the smarter monkeys around me. Or at least that's how I see it.

Bad metaphor: consider someone who has studiously avoided all music that rocks harder than soft rock for their entire life being introduced to grindcore and black metal simultaneously. How do you tell the difference between what sound like two manic seizures overdubbed with panicked howling? Initially, you go by the swastikas, and later you can tell the actual differences that explain why you never really liked any of the swastika bands anyway, even before you saw the album art.
ďI am that worst of all type of criminal...I cannot bring myself to do what you tell me, because you told me