Dealing with Ignorance

Anthropology, History, Psychology, Sociology and other related areas.

Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 4th, 2015, 1:01 pm 

Maybe a new topic. If it is, sorry, I can split it away if anyone wants. Whenever people come together there is a need for communication. On the internet people from all backgrounds come together and that can be tough on communication and understanding. In real life, would it help matters if whenever someone moved from one community to another, it was required to go through some sort of orientation to at least become familiar with the location (customs, culture, history, environment)?

On forums for example, most people fail to read the rules/guidelines before posting. When you install computer software or sign up to a website, you always have to hit "I agree" to terms. Perhaps it would just become one of those things where people tune it out anyway, but I think in real life it might actually make a difference.

For a real life example, we have a education center here at my college that teaches people about the area. It is very popular, but mostly visited by tourists rather than locals (in my definition of locals I include those that just moved here). I was thinking that whenever someone purchased a home here, they should go to the interactive education center. It's actually quite fun and I volunteer there. Even people that move here and rent...
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 4th, 2015, 2:24 pm 

Athena - think I have gained much from this thread, and something that has popped up a couple of times is social breakdown and isolation. I started volunteering the Boys and Girls Club, and the top leadership is very concerned about rebuilding community ties. They want to have parents and grandparents meeting and supporting each other, as well as working with kids. I witnessed children getting a lot of time with adults who are there to play with them and interact socially, addressing behavior and success issues. I am feeling very positive about the efforts.

Good on you! My friend volunteers at the local (next town, but one: area central) school, helping first graders with reading difficulties. She gets a good deal of pleasure from that interaction, especially as her own grandchildren are in their teens now, and live far away. Though it's a very connected family, physical distance takes its toll. That's one common cause of isolation in the modern world.

Another is the industrial society's routine segregation of people by occupation, gender, income, ethnic origin and age. Who thought it was a good idea to sequester the nine-year-olds from eleven-year-olds, or to get upset if a fifteen-year-old girl consorts with an 'older' boy of seventeen?

Some communities are trying to solve this problem of isolation - especially for the elderly. In a nearby town, they have a day-away program for people with chronic health issues - most of them, obviously, seniors. This allows the care-giver some time for a private or social life, and provides the patient with outside interest and stimulation. It's wonderfully successful on both counts. Since the recreation complex also houses a daycare, part of the outing is spent in a shared activity with little kids.

These initiatives may seem a bit contrived, compared to a vital, overlapping community where everyone has a naturally evolving role, but they're steps in the right direction. You have to start with the situation as you find it and make improvements, rather than just lament what it should be and isn't.

zetreque - For a real life example, we have a education center here at my college that teaches people about the area. It is very popular, but mostly visited by tourists rather than locals (in my definition of locals I include those that just moved here). I was thinking that whenever someone purchased a home here, they should go to the interactive education center. It's actually quite fun and I volunteer there. Even people that move here and rent...

That sounds like another really good idea. People are full of good ideas, and many of them are being put into practice. Maybe it's not all bleak and dark?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 4th, 2015, 10:26 pm 

zetreque » July 4th, 2015, 11:01 am wrote:Maybe a new topic. If it is, sorry, I can split it away if anyone wants. Whenever people come together there is a need for communication. On the internet people from all backgrounds come together and that can be tough on communication and understanding. In real life, would it help matters if whenever someone moved from one community to another, it was required to go through some sort of orientation to at least become familiar with the location (customs, culture, history, environment)?

On forums for example, most people fail to read the rules/guidelines before posting. When you install computer software or sign up to a website, you always have to hit "I agree" to terms. Perhaps it would just become one of those things where people tune it out anyway, but I think in real life it might actually make a difference.

For a real life example, we have a education center here at my college that teaches people about the area. It is very popular, but mostly visited by tourists rather than locals (in my definition of locals I include those that just moved here). I was thinking that whenever someone purchased a home here, they should go to the interactive education center. It's actually quite fun and I volunteer there. Even people that move here and rent...



In the US if you aren't born here, you need to pass a test to be a citizen. That is to say, on a national level there is an agreement with your train of thought.

Some communities have a welcome wagon. That is someone who visits new people and brings the coupons and gifts from businesses hoping to get their business. You might call the chamber of commerce and see if your community has a welcome wagon, and if so, you might be able to connect the chamber of commerce, welcome wagon and the education center at your college? Sometimes everything is in place but not well connected.

There is also a program called the Virtue Program. It was created by a Bahia' and educates people in the shared values of cultures all around the world. I am sort of kicking my butt for starting this thread, instead of going right to the Virtue cards I have. There are a few ways to use the virtue cards. My favorite is to pull a card when I am having a problem. Each card explains a virtue and what actions to take when wanting to use that virtue. I keep forgetting to pull out me cards. But if I had I wouldn't have learned from all either.

People say bad things about religion, but I really think religion began with a burning desire to make things better. I think today many people have a burning desire to make things better, and the virtues program is a major way to make things better. It is education the concepts of virtues and how they work for us, and the program is as universal as we can get. This is the stuff that comes up in all religions, but it doesn't exclude others as religions, unfortunately, do.

Because of you all here, I am doing better in a forum where there are people who a very annoying. I am not saying what I think, but just asking questions. BUT can I say, many people are annoyed by questions.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 4th, 2015, 11:15 pm 

Serpent » July 4th, 2015, 12:24 pm wrote:Good on you! My friend volunteers at the local (next town, but one: area central) school, helping first graders with reading difficulties. She gets a good deal of pleasure from that interaction, especially as her own grandchildren are in their teens now, and live far away. Though it's a very connected family, physical distance takes its toll. That's one common cause of isolation in the modern world.

Another is the industrial society's routine segregation of people by occupation, gender, income, ethnic origin and age. Who thought it was a good idea to sequester the nine-year-olds from eleven-year-olds, or to get upset if a fifteen-year-old girl consorts with an 'older' boy of seventeen?

Some communities are trying to solve this problem of isolation - especially for the elderly. In a nearby town, they have a day-away program for people with chronic health issues - most of them, obviously, seniors. This allows the care-giver some time for a private or social life, and provides the patient with outside interest and stimulation. It's wonderfully successful on both counts. Since the recreation complex also houses a daycare, part of the outing is spent in a shared activity with little kids.

These initiatives may seem a bit contrived, compared to a vital, overlapping community where everyone has a naturally evolving role, but they're steps in the right direction. You have to start with the situation as you find it and make improvements, rather than just lament what it should be and isn't.

zetreque - For a real life example, we have a education center here at my college that teaches people about the area. It is very popular, but mostly visited by tourists rather than locals (in my definition of locals I include those that just moved here). I was thinking that whenever someone purchased a home here, they should go to the interactive education center. It's actually quite fun and I volunteer there. Even people that move here and rent...

That sounds like another really good idea. People are full of good ideas, and many of them are being put into practice. Maybe it's not all bleak and dark?


Wow, this is going well. I have argued with people that there are people who are very caring and nice, and there are people who absolutely do not believe not this. I think I may have given some here a bad impression by saying I prefer to live with older people who share my values. I also frequent the local senior center. Sorry, but I like hanging with older people. This is not the push and shove that can exist in apartments filled with younger people. Especially low income younger people who tend to be hurting and lack social skills. My whole family is low income, so this is not a prejudice statement, but based on experience. Smile, when every day is a challenge because of old age issues, and on the good side we have guaranteed incomes, and don't need to be competitive, being tough has a different meaning than when we are young, and we have a different orientation to our bodies, life and others. This is not to say young people are not caring and nice people too, but unless they belong to a church, where do they find each other and support each other in the notion to we need to work on getting along?

Wait a minute, I suspect people here are more educated than the forums I complain about? Here people are talking about developing good social relationships and having good social skills, and about hope and the possibility that things can be better. The culture of the other forums, just isn't conducive to what is happening here. I have to come here and get this considerate and positive thinking from you all, before I carry it over to other forums.

I would say, a main piece of dealing with ignorance, is having good people to converse with. You all have a positive twist to the problem.

And about seniors having a day out, there is a federally funded program called Senior Companions. Older people are paid a stipend to visit with another older person for 4 hours. This can be in a facility or it can mean picking someone up from his/her home and going places and doing things. I did that for 3 years. took people shopping, to the doctor, out to lunch, whatever they wanted to do, or stay in their home and play a card game. It is about making life better.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 4th, 2015, 11:26 pm 

Athena » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:15 pm wrote: This is not to say young people are not caring and nice people too, but unless they belong to a church, where do they find each other and support each other in the notion to we need to work on getting along?


You might want to really rethink that statement. I have spent most of my life alone (being in an extremely small town, and small neighborhoods) and I am an atheist. Maybe I am uncaring and not nice. It doesn't have to be a church group. It can be just about anything. In fact it shouldn't be a church group because that just reinforces bigotry IMO. It should be activities for people of all beliefs since that is what our community is made out of. There should be more improved ways to support cross connecting in the community, but there are sports (something I am not into but did play 3 years of soccer), gyms (which include rock climbing clubs), bicycle clubs, meetup.com has all sorts of local activity groups now like hiking, book clubs, gardening.


Some communities have a welcome wagon.


Yes, when I bought a condo in another town, I received all sorts of mail coupons, but that was about it. I am pretty sure they don't have anything like that in this town either, but you are right, there may be all items in place but need to improve and connect the dots.

Serpent » Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:24 am wrote:That sounds like another really good idea. People are full of good ideas, and many of them are being put into practice. Maybe it's not all bleak and dark?


I don't know, I can't help but feel doomed and overwhelmed a lot of time by the masses of people out there following without thinking. I try to stay positive. :)
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2015, 3:55 pm 

It's hard not to be pessimistic. Okay, impossible. But there are good moments and nice people to take your mind off it. We had a friend over this afternoon, as we do from time to time, for lunch and movie. Home-grown lettuce, frozen pizza and Midnight in Paris , which is nostalgic, beautiful to look at, has a great score and no shootings or explosions. A perfect day for old folks.

I can understand why Athena prefers her contemporaries for neighbours and parish for a support structure: it works for her: is restful and comforting. On the other hand, how many of those people read Kant and Cicero? So, maybe reaching out to a young student or middle-aged scholar in cyberland provides intellectual stimulation that's missing in her environment. No reason we can't have access to both worlds....

... while they last....
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 5th, 2015, 6:31 pm 

Athena said= This is not to say young people are not caring and nice people too, but unless they belong to a church, where do they find each other and support each other in the notion to we need to work on getting along?


zetreque » July 4th, 2015, 9:26 pm wrote:[quote="[url=http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=283017#p283017]
It should be activities for people of all beliefs since that is what our community is made out of. There should be more improved ways to support cross connecting in the community, but there are sports (something I am not into but did play 3 years of soccer), gyms (which include rock climbing clubs), bicycle clubs, meetup.com has all sorts of local activity groups now like hiking, book clubs, gardening.


That is a good answer but are these organizations as supportive as churches? Personally I am opposed to Christianity and all the religions that are divisive and depend on a mythology that I find unbelievable. I am not sure, but I think you assumed I said something I didn't say? It is a question of where someone who has no church can turn. Not a question of what makes a person caring and nice.

I am recognizing it is very nice to have the sense of belonging churches provide, and the occasional help that churches provide. Especially as I was raising my children, I very much regretted I had nothing like a church to help me raise my children. It was hard times and my children turned against me and everything I taught them, and there was no one to help my children see the right of what they were taught. In the past, their education would have prevented this problem, but education for technology ended education for good moral judgment and good citizenship and left only the church for moral education! This was a terrible, terrible thing and it is why I write so much.

Yes, when I bought a condo in another town, I received all sorts of mail coupons, but that was about it. I am pretty sure they don't have anything like that in this town either, but you are right, there may be all items in place but need to improve and connect the dots.


I think we are at a turning point. It is like we have been on one wild experiment, and now realize something has gone terribly wrong. Just dumping coupons on someone is obviously crass. I am sure the idea comes from our past when we took a dish of food to the new person, and actually expected to begin a relationship with this person. That is not what the new welcome wagon is about, but you seemed to make the point that somehow we need to rediscover the good of the past and bring it into the present, and I think we are realizing that.

I don't know, I can't help but feel doomed and overwhelmed a lot of time by the masses of people out there following without thinking. I try to stay positive. :)
[/quote][/quote]

Remaining positive has become much easier since reading your post and the others who have expressed much concern with moral and considerate behavior. Which comes up at the same time I finally got the importance of the Enlightenment and the history around it, and what this has to do with democracy in the US. Like I have known a lot of this stuff for years, because of studying the history of education, but the Enlightenment piece and Kant's philosophical perspective have set me on fire with hope.

Look, the folks here are educated and interested in science. People who understand science know to ask good questions and to avoid spreading mental garbage. I made an issue out of dealing with ignorance because without a good grasp of science, people say and believe things that are very destructive. I could give the address of a forum that demonstrates what I am talking about, but that might not be the right thing to do? On the other hand, I am so sure Kant is right. If we want a better world we need to educate the people, and knowledge of scientific thinking and good question asking is vital. You all are not preachers for sure, but you can educate people and that will improve our human potential.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 5th, 2015, 6:50 pm 

Serpent » July 5th, 2015, 1:55 pm wrote:It's hard not to be pessimistic. Okay, impossible. But there are good moments and nice people to take your mind off it. We had a friend over this afternoon, as we do from time to time, for lunch and movie. Home-grown lettuce, frozen pizza and Midnight in Paris , which is nostalgic, beautiful to look at, has a great score and no shootings or explosions. A perfect day for old folks.

I can understand why Athena prefers her contemporaries for neighbours and parish for a support structure: it works for her: is restful and comforting. On the other hand, how many of those people read Kant and Cicero? So, maybe reaching out to a young student or middle-aged scholar in cyberland provides intellectual stimulation that's missing in her environment. No reason we can't have access to both worlds....

... while they last....


You are coming close to understanding where I am coming from. What is missing is I so believe in our human potential and that Kant was right, and that things are getting better because of science and the spread of knowledge in general.

What is missing is a better understanding of liberal education and why it is important, and what is wrong with education for technology. We have both wonderful improvements and terrible decay and destruction happening at the same time. Our nation needs psycho analysis because it has become paranoid schizophrenic. What is the saying? We live in the best of times and the worst of times. If we find each other on the internet and work together as the people of the enlightenment did humanity will take another leap forward. We will enter the promised New Age, a time of high tech. and peace, and the end of tyranny.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 5th, 2015, 8:16 pm 

Athena » July 5th, 2015, 5:50 pm wrote:You are coming close to understanding where I am coming from. What is missing is I so believe in our human potential and that Kant was right, and that things are getting better because of science and the spread of knowledge in general.

What is missing is a better understanding of liberal education and why it is important, and what is wrong with education for technology. We have both wonderful improvements and terrible decay and destruction happening at the same time. Our nation needs psycho analysis because it has become paranoid schizophrenic. What is the saying? We live in the best of times and the worst of times. If we find each other on the internet and work together as the people of the enlightenment did humanity will take another leap forward. We will enter the promised New Age, a time of high tech. and peace, and the end of tyranny.


I think I can follow your logic. I have a fair idea of what a community and a liberal education should be. I know people are crazy now and wish we were able to cure ourselves.

Some blowhard on another forum posted a self-congratulatory thread on there being no terrorists attacks in the US yesterday. It hadn't occurred to me to claim a victory when nobody attacked Canada on Wednesday - but then, I hadn't expected any attack.
(I think I'll watch Granite Flats tonight.)


Where we differ is that I think people were always crazy. It doesn't show so much on the small scale; we can devise coping strategies. Much of the folklore and ritual of early peoples is aimed at dealing with 'human nature' - that inherent craziness - and restoring harmony. Once civilization is achieved, the craziness graduates to the more sophisticated psychopathologies - hence organized religion and Greek tragedy (Catharsis on a larger, more general, stage.) There is probably a critical mass of population where the collective madness enters a whole new dimension, so we can externalize and formalize it. We may have recently passed the point where it was cubed and started an independent life of its own.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Paralith on July 6th, 2015, 3:23 am 

Athena » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:52 pm wrote:Disagreements with informed people are completely different from disagreements with ignorant people. For example arguing American culture with people who have no idea what the Enlightenment or Age of Reason was about. I mean someone who knows no more about American culture that what is nightly on TV. What is on TV every night is not my idea of culture! That is a cheap shot at appealing to the lowest animal instincts of young males, so they will see commercials and spend their money.

Because he knows nothing about the Enlightenment, he can not possibly be a judge of a culture resulting from the Enlightenment, but he doesn't know that. He is matched by the young lady, who told me I shouldn't even be posting because I am old. Bet you $50 she not only doesn't understand the value of good manners and is ignorant of the foundation of American culture, but she isn't even 30 years of age. If she were older, she would know better. So I question if any good can come out of arguing with them. What could they possibly teach me about culture? They may know something, but it is not what we are discussing.


Yes, many things are different when discussing a topic with a person who is informed on the background knowledge and a person who isn't, but one thing is not: no one likes being told their viewpoint is invalid. You grew very angry to be told your contributions weren't desired because of your age. Can you be so surprised, then, that they grew angry to be told that their contributions weren't desired because they don't have knowldege of a certain part of history? Not only not desired, but judged as completely worthless and uninteresting to you. Even if there is some factual grounds for such an accusation, no one likes to hear it. Some minds are closed and stay closed no matter what, but no mind will open when so battered.

There are many ways to approach a conversation with someone lacking background knowledge of a topic, but starting from a position of "they cannot possibly have anything of value to offer!" is a non-starting position. If you want them to have respect for your knowledge and to listen to what you say, you have to repay the favor. Again, some people are deeply entrenched in their viewpoints and no amount of kind talk will sway them, but if there is any chance at all for a productive discussion, some mutual respect is required.

And yes, this can be very hard. But this is what I was talking about in my post about learning from exposure and interaction to people who disagree with you, even if the disagreement stems from a lack of knowledge. You learn how to listen to them, and how to speak to them. You learn how to do your best to teach while being respectful. You practice and learn better how to express your own ideas and thoughts to people of different backgrounds than your own. And you learn that sometimes people can surprise you, that yes, maybe someone growing up and living within American culture can in fact say something insightul about it even if they have not studied the Enlightenment. But you will never have the chance to learn any of these things if you shut down the conversation before it even starts.

Like I also said in my post, it's about moderation. To fully engage and try to learn and teach in a very difficult conversation is a time and energy and emotion consuming activity. It is hard and there is only so much of it a person can take at one time. If you choose to avoid or step away from these conversations for those reasons that is understandable and reasonable, but also take responsibility for the fact that it is your own choice that you're making to step away. For your own growth and evolution, sometimes you have to take a deep breath and make the choice to step in.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby BadgerJelly on July 6th, 2015, 3:54 am 

I try and look at what people say as what they know to be true. It is true for them and therefore it is 100% valid.

Everybody is "correct". The key for me is, and appears to be what you are doing here, is to understand why a person thinks they are correct and why you think you are correct and then move on from there.

I often fail in doing this because I am human, perfectly human! :)

I remember you posted about ignorance many months ago. I still prefer to view ignorance as a positive human attribute. Discovering your own ignorance is often a very uplifting experience, although it may be a struggle coming to terms with it at first.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 6th, 2015, 4:03 pm 

Good post Paralith, I wish it could have helped me last night. lol
I appear to be perfectly human too to which I will admit.

What I need and sometimes might work in difficult situations is a mediator. It's funny, I have always usually been the mediator when it came to friends, family and coworkers. Obviously however I need a mediator when it comes to dealing with certain neighbors.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 8th, 2015, 2:28 pm 

Serpent » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:16 pm wrote:
I think I can follow your logic. I have a fair idea of what a community and a liberal education should be. I know people are crazy now and wish we were able to cure ourselves.

Some blowhard on another forum posted a self-congratulatory thread on there being no terrorists attacks in the US yesterday. It hadn't occurred to me to claim a victory when nobody attacked Canada on Wednesday - but then, I hadn't expected any attack.
(I think I'll watch Granite Flats tonight.)


Where we differ is that I think people were always crazy. It doesn't show so much on the small scale; we can devise coping strategies. Much of the folklore and ritual of early peoples is aimed at dealing with 'human nature' - that inherent craziness - and restoring harmony. Once civilization is achieved, the craziness graduates to the more sophisticated psychopathologies - hence organized religion and Greek tragedy (Catharsis on a larger, more general, stage.) There is probably a critical mass of population where the collective madness enters a whole new dimension, so we can externalize and formalize it. We may have recently passed the point where it was cubed and started an independent life of its own.


That is a very interesting perspective! How much would like to explore it?

I know when a culture goes through rapid change, there is chaos. People lose their sense of being to control their lives and a degree of fear with goes with that. We are in for much greater changes, and we are not prepared for this. I have a few books about how technology can be expected to change our lives, but who is reading them? I look around me and everyone seems to expect life to go as usual, and yet they are aware of changes. Oh dear, how should I say this? How can anyone prepare for the unknown?

However, the enlightenment was a time of dramatic change. Somehow people united around the positive side of change. So what can we do with this information, about when civilizations flew apart and when civilizations embraced changed with a positive outcome?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 9th, 2015, 11:18 am 

Athena » July 8th, 2015, 1:28 pm wrote:
I know when a culture goes through rapid change, there is chaos. People lose their sense of being to control their lives and a degree of fear with goes with that.


I believe it goes even deeper. The fear was always present - is always present - both of non-being and of actual dangers. In small groups committed to mutual assistance, and with a single shared world-view, we can make rules and establish routines that give us an illusion of control. Like the compulsive who needs to touch every parking meter, we know and pretend not to know that it's an illusory security - but it works. The same kind of thing happens with gods. Bribing them with sacrifice, coaxing them with prayer, appeasing them with self-denial, entertaining them with candles and festivals... it's all to keep up the illusion of a hot-line to some central control over the great big natural forces that can wipe us away in a minute. (If Krakatoa erupts anyway, it's your fault for killing the red chicken instead of the white one.)

When that fragile psychological structure is challenged at any point (What! Two men get married???) even if it doesn't affect us directly, is perceived as a threat to the whole. The more anxiety external conditions are causing, the tighter we clutch the security blanket. In periods of relative peace and prosperity, we explore, become more tolerant, reach outward, trade with and show curiosity toward other peoples. In periods of hardship, of economic, political or environmental decline - we shut our eyes and fists tightly and chant ever more loudly..... Which, of course, renders communication somewhat fraught.

We are in for much greater changes, and we are not prepared for this.

Given that more than half the people are still in deep denial, no, we're not.
I have a few books about how technology can be expected to change our lives, but who is reading them?

My theory: the same 10,000 who write them. And me. Well, not so much the technical ones as books like The Crash Course by Chris Martenson and John Casti's X-Events.

I look around me and everyone seems to expect life to go as usual, and yet they are aware of changes. Oh dear, how should I say this? How can anyone prepare for the unknown?

Variously. Some young people are doing all kinds of ingenious things - and even some older people. The very rich, of course, are preparing to make more money, even as they furnish elaborate shelters and retreats for themselves. The military strategists have been making computer models and writing up contingency plans for years. Nobody can be prepared for the magnitude of it - for the massive draughts, famine, strife and population displacements. I'll be out of here before the worst.

However, the enlightenment was a time of dramatic change. Somehow people united around the positive side of change.

I think the Enlightenment was one of those opening-out periods: prosperity, curiosity, exploration. Also, the intellectual change happened mostly in the upper and upper-middle class of the most trading nations. International trade was swelling the ranks and coffers of the upper middle class: more of them could afford the time and equipment for scholarship and the arts; they were self-confident and could afford to stretch the limits of their faith outside church, into the very heavens.

Meanwhile, the peasants and illiterate classes remained largely unaware of and unaffected by, the changes in thought. It trickled down to the masses, and changed daily life, and the structure of society, over several centuries, rather than decades: no single generation had to cope with the kind of changes my mother saw in her lifetime. Even so, since most of these were improvements in her condition, and in those of Europeans and North Americans generally, they took it in stride.

So what can we do with this information, about when civilizations flew apart and when civilizations embraced changed with a positive outcome?

I doubt we have the time to do anything. Have you read Jared Diamond's Collapse?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby TheVat on July 9th, 2015, 12:01 pm 

Nobody can be prepared for the magnitude of it - for the massive draughts....


Skoal, mate! Consider me prepared.

There's a lot of meander in this thread, which is fun....for me, the central ignorance problem remains with the general deficiency in science education for hoi polloi and a resultant lack of understanding of the ecological juggernauts bearing down on us. We should be way ahead on the learning curve, compared to Diamond's Mayans or Easter Islanders or (I forget all the examples he used)....but the percent of the population who really understand what a sustainable lifestyle would be, or a reasonable carrying capacity, remains woefully small.

Like the compulsive who needs to touch every parking meter....
A Monk fan, I see. Delightful series.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby BadgerJelly on July 9th, 2015, 12:37 pm 

Speaking about The Enlightenment, could it be said that today we are experiencing the same thing outside of the western world?

Due to ease of travel and better communications I am guessing that across the world there are cultures that are being exposed to all manner of curious things. I live in Vietnam and they certainly have a vast curiosity for everything western. The difference today is the west still exists and can be visited, unlike in Teh Enlightenment
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 9th, 2015, 2:56 pm 

BadgerJelly:

Yes. Do you think curiosity of everything western has a negative or positive impact however? I don't know "The Enlightenment". Does it matter if it is positive or negative to be enlightenment? I would assume it would have to be positive, but negative can lead to learning valuable lessons. As Brain pointed out with the meandering, may I also point out I am a monk fan. :)
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 9th, 2015, 3:33 pm 

Braininvat » July 9th, 2015, 11:01 am wrote:
Nobody can be prepared for the magnitude of it - for the massive draughts....


Skoal, mate! Consider me prepared.

Yabbut, how secure is your off-grid, low-impact, tiny-house lifestyle from the benighted armies?

There's a lot of meander in this thread, which is fun....

Well, it's a big wide subject, ignorance; planet* of room to maneuver.
(*This was the helpful editor bot's attempt at fixing a mistyped 'plenty'. I'll leave it.)
for me, the central ignorance problem remains with the general deficiency in science education for hoi polloi and a resultant lack of understanding of the ecological juggernauts bearing down on us.

Not to mention generously-funded propaganda by the denial machine.
We should be way ahead on the learning curve, compared to Diamond's Mayans or Easter Islanders or (I forget all the examples he used)....but the percent of the population who really understand what a sustainable lifestyle would be, or a reasonable carrying capacity, remains woefully small.

The Maya didn't spend a 4000 times as much on advertising to persuade consumers to buy stuff they don't need than on public broadcasting to inform citizens about things they need to know.

I thought that particular habit of Monk's was a brilliant illustration of compulsive behaviour.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby BadgerJelly on July 10th, 2015, 3:57 am 

zetreque » July 10th, 2015, 2:56 am wrote:BadgerJelly:

Yes. Do you think curiosity of everything western has a negative or positive impact however? I don't know "The Enlightenment". Does it matter if it is positive or negative to be enlightenment? I would assume it would have to be positive, but negative can lead to learning valuable lessons. As Brain pointed out with the meandering, may I also point out I am a monk fan. :)


I guess time will tell. I view some things are negative others would see as positive! :)

At least people here can go and visit the west and see for themselves. In The Enlightenment it is not like people could travel back in time and experience first hand the method of the ancients. I was only referring to the similarity of that period to this. Our views tend to be centralised around our western historical perspective.

I guess most of you have travelled enough around the world over the last few years and caught a glimpse of what we view as ignorance being slowly worn away. I tend to question what has been left behind more than what has been gained ... just my nature I guess.
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Re: dealing with ignorance

Postby Sircoth on July 10th, 2015, 12:10 pm 

Athena » July 1st, 2015, 9:12 pm wrote:
Like my whole life, I had no problem staying out of the men's clubs, and perhaps I should stay out of forums dominated by young people? I live in housing for older people because I love being around people who share my values and life experience, and I don't want to live in apartments with young people who think being rude is okay. I am confused? All the forums seem to want participants, but many are so unpleasant I think something must be wrong with a person who keeps going back. I think I expressed my feelings about this in the wrong place because people here got defensive, and I was thinking of forums in general and what is attractive to me and what is not, not specifically of this forum. I want to be with people who lift me up. Does that sound awful? Life is what we make it and there are people who make it really good and people who make it really awful. I want to be people who make it good and I don't want to impose myself on anyone.

I would imagine that it's not interacting with the young is not easy for the more elderly.

Yet it has to be noted that much of the current malaise is caused in part precisely by the disconnect between generations; you spoke of culture in the opening post here: when the elderly do not speak to the youth how can culture, let alone beneficial culture, be well transmitted from one generation to another?

As regards Kant's optimism in general, well he was (as I recall) enthusiastic about the French Revolution and look how well that turned out when new tyrants took over.
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Re: dealing with ignorance

Postby Athena on July 12th, 2015, 12:49 pm 

Sircoth » July 10th, 2015, 10:10 am wrote:
Athena » July 1st, 2015, 9:12 pm wrote:
Like my whole life, I had no problem staying out of the men's clubs, and perhaps I should stay out of forums dominated by young people? I live in housing for older people because I love being around people who share my values and life experience, and I don't want to live in apartments with young people who think being rude is okay. I am confused? All the forums seem to want participants, but many are so unpleasant I think something must be wrong with a person who keeps going back. I think I expressed my feelings about this in the wrong place because people here got defensive, and I was thinking of forums in general and what is attractive to me and what is not, not specifically of this forum. I want to be with people who lift me up. Does that sound awful? Life is what we make it and there are people who make it really good and people who make it really awful. I want to be people who make it good and I don't want to impose myself on anyone.

I would imagine that it's not interacting with the young is not easy for the more elderly.

Yet it has to be noted that much of the current malaise is caused in part precisely by the disconnect between generations; you spoke of culture in the opening post here: when the elderly do not speak to the youth how can culture, let alone beneficial culture, be well transmitted from one generation to another?

As regards Kant's optimism in general, well he was (as I recall) enthusiastic about the French Revolution and look how well that turned out when new tyrants took over.


There are so many good replies, and I am choosing yours first because YOU HIT ON WHAT I TO TALK ABOUT! THAT IS THE IGNORANCE PROBLEM THE CULTURAL GAP BETWEEN YOUNG AND OLD, THAT HAS CHANGED THE MEANING OUR WORDS AND OUR VALUES AND OUR WHOLE OUTLOOK ON LIFE.

Before the focus on education was technology, it was literature and good citizenship. It is storytelling, songs and dance around the communal fire, and when printing and paper making made cheap books possible it was literature that manifested culture. Culture is not unplanned haphazard anything you think it is. The literature that manifested the culture of the US is now forgotten. The result is complete cultural breakdown, and the meanings of our words are so changed communication is more of a challenge than ever.

As for cross-generational communication, I put my children first, then my grandchildren, and today I engage with my great-grandchildren. In my family, the children are getting the benefit of cross-generational communication. But when my generation dies, so does the memory of what our democracy was, die. The generational clash created by the change in education is very obvious between my daughter and I. I think she is beginning to appreciate why I reject her generations values, but her survival depends on accepting the bureaucratic control of our lives and going along it. She and I have the benefit of mutual interest- several generations of family, so we fight and forgive and fight again, and she is finally beginning to appreciate what I have said about the change in education.

I don't have this relationship with young ladies I do not know who tell me to shut the fuck up, because I am too old. Choke, choke, God, stopped striking people dead for disrespecting their elders. I am kiddling, but also serious. I was sure the power of God stood behind my grandmother, and that God would strike me dead if I displeased her. There was a time when we were taught to respect our elders. Education for technology changed all that. In 1958 the purpose of public education stopped being good citizenship and became education for a technological society with unknown values. What followed was immediate social breakdown, and this was both good and bad. The bureaucratic control or our lives that has replaced family order and liberty, is not my idea of improvement.

There is no question in my mind that racism and segregation was wrong. The economic discrimination of women made the lives of many women and children hell. The importance of women in government is marked by the impressive increase of healthy children and decrease in childhood deaths, when women began holding politic office. On the other hand, a technological society with unknown values and thinking elders should shut the fuck up because they are just old fashion and out of date, also has its problems. We now mistake anarchy for liberty and I fear we aren't as aware of our lost liberty as we should be.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Athena on July 12th, 2015, 1:17 pm 

Serpent » July 9th, 2015, 1:33 pm wrote:
Braininvat » July 9th, 2015, 11:01 am wrote:
Nobody can be prepared for the magnitude of it - for the massive draughts....


Skoal, mate! Consider me prepared.

Yabbut, how secure is your off-grid, low-impact, tiny-house lifestyle from the benighted armies?

There's a lot of meander in this thread, which is fun....

Well, it's a big wide subject, ignorance; planet* of room to maneuver.
(*This was the helpful editor bot's attempt at fixing a mistyped 'plenty'. I'll leave it.)
for me, the central ignorance problem remains with the general deficiency in science education for hoi polloi and a resultant lack of understanding of the ecological juggernauts bearing down on us.

Not to mention generously-funded propaganda by the denial machine.
We should be way ahead on the learning curve, compared to Diamond's Mayans or Easter Islanders or (I forget all the examples he used)....but the percent of the population who really understand what a sustainable lifestyle would be, or a reasonable carrying capacity, remains woefully small.

The Maya didn't spend a 4000 times as much on advertising to persuade consumers to buy stuff they don't need than on public broadcasting to inform citizens about things they need to know.

I thought that particular habit of Monk's was a brilliant illustration of compulsive behaviour.



I AM NOT SURE, BUT I THINK YOU BOTH ARE GETTING CLOSER TO MY CONCERN ABOUT IGNORANCE.
Please, refer to Eisenhower's Farwell Address and warning of the Military Industrial Complex. I am being cautious about speaking of this because people have such an emotional reaction to the "Military, Industrial Complex". This emotionalism is not at helpful.

There are two ways to have social order, culture or authority over the people. Our culture had everything to do with our liberty. We stopped transmitting that in 1958. Now we come to a generation that believes technology has all the answers and all those who came before are old fashioned and outdated and really don't have anything of value to say. What provides social order today?

How independent are you? Do you own your land and have an independent means of paying the taxes on that land? Can you live without public water and sanitation services, and do you have a guarantee your home will not be taken? How much of your own food can you produce? How well can you do without electricity? Okay, and now how much liberty do you have on your jobs? Can you make independent decisions without putting your job at risk, or are the decisions made the bureaucracy that employs you?

Who as read Tocqueville's 1835 book "Democracy in America"? His foresight is absolutely amazing!

With all that said, science is making some very interesting changes possible. We may transition from the Military Industrial Complex to the New Age, a time of high tech., peace and the end of tyranny. I think what happens will depend on our understanding of culture, and that is why I care so much about how to deal with the problem of ignorance. But maybe not. Maybe technology will lead to more freedom than humanity has every known?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 12th, 2015, 2:41 pm 

I wish that were true.

I saw my first bottle of French water in 1976. WTH!?? (We didn't say WTF in those days. But, seriously? Manufacture dedicated bottles, take water from a brook, crate, ship across the Atlantic and sell it to the most water-rich population on Earth, then throw the bottles away? To whom does this make sense?)
I thought, If we can't even get such basic things right, we're doomed.

By the time Reagan confirmed my pessimism by yanking the solar panels off the White House roof, there had been three major oil spills, species were going extinct daily, acid rain was killing whole lakes and forests, the human population was still increasing at close to 2% a year, children could no longer play outside without sun-screen and the consumption of bottled - much of it in plastic - water had become a routine fact of north American life.

And then my borough introduced a limited recycling program.

TLTL - TB
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Watson on July 12th, 2015, 3:39 pm 

There was an accident/negligence at a town water station and many people got very sick and some died. It was national news back then, Walkerton, May 2000, and it contributed to the increase of bottled water and a generally false distrust of tap water.
Ya I could never understand the point french bottled water, other than the "I'm special" but even local bottled water has gone way beyond the occasional convenience. I was at a game the other day and you can't take any food or beverage in to the stadium, and bottled water is $4.00. The do have 4 water fountains/refilling stations, but you'll miss the quarter in that line. It's about the money, screw the environment.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 12th, 2015, 3:45 pm 

Makes me think of back before refrigeration and they actually shipped ice all over the world. Incredible...sorry, meandering again, but imagine how much fuel and energy went into that industry?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 12th, 2015, 4:07 pm 

Watson » July 12th, 2015, 2:39 pm wrote:There was an accident/negligence at a town water station and many people got very sick and some died. It was national news back then, Walkerton, May 2000, and it contributed to the increase of bottled water and a generally false distrust of tap water.

Talk about ignorance!! These two brothers had the town in a patronage headlock. The one in charge of reclamation and purification had no frickin idea, but took the job as a feudal right; the other was mayor. (Sounds like a mini-Toronto, doesn't it?) Provincial government had slashed inspection staff and testing facilities in rural areas to save money. Modern politics in a nutshell.
Thing #1 By this time, bottled water was a staple in NA households.
Thing #2 At least Walkerton tap water doesn't catch fire.

Ya I could never understand the point french bottled water, other than the "I'm special" but even local bottled water has gone way beyond the occasional convenience.

And it's not even clean. It's held to less rigorous standards than most city mains. And some of it comes from Poland or Italy.
Q #1 Do people not know?
Q #2 Why not?
I was at a game the other day and you can't take any food or beverage in to the stadium, and bottled water is $4.00. The do have 4 water fountains/refilling stations, but you'll miss the quarter in that line. It's about the money, screw the environment.

It's also illegal, in a lot of places, to collect rain water or snow on your own property.
A #1 No, they don't.
A #2 Because they hear about Walkerton, which affected about 3000 people, and do not hear about Chernobyl, which affects many millions....
Ignorance is a very, very lucrative commodity, which is why it's so cherished and fostered in public life.
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Eclogite on July 12th, 2015, 11:19 pm 

This is a long thread and I have merely read the first few posts, then dipped in and out of later ones. Consequently, these observations may already have been made, or may be wholly off-topic. Two comments in this post caught my eye:
Athena » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:52 am wrote:Disagreements with informed people are completely different from disagreements with ignorant people. For example arguing American culture with people who have no idea what the Enlightenment or Age of Reason was about. I mean someone who knows no more about American culture that what is nightly on TV. What is on TV every night is not my idea of culture! That is a cheap shot at appealing to the lowest animal instincts of young males, so they will see commercials and spend their money.

Because he knows nothing about the Enlightenment, he can not possibly be a judge of a culture resulting from the Enlightenment, but he doesn't know that. He is matched by the young lady, who told me I shouldn't even be posting because I am old. Bet you $50 she not only doesn't understand the value of good manners and is ignorant of the foundation of American culture, but she isn't even 30 years of age. If she were older, she would know better. So I question if any good can come out of arguing with them. What could they possibly teach me about culture? They may know something, but it is not what we are discussing.


1. You may not like the nightly fare served up on TV, but to deny it is an integral and important part of modern culture is, in my view, to define culture in an elitist, highbrow fashion. Cultures can benefit from diversity and complexity. We need light and shade, not just 4,000 watt sunflowers. Shakespeare put the drunken gatekeeper into Macbeth for a reason.

2. You ask what "they" could teach you about culture. Is that, perhaps, not the wrong question. Should you not be asking what you can teach them?
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby zetreque on July 12th, 2015, 11:33 pm 

Eclogite » Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:19 pm wrote:1. You may not like the nightly fare served up on TV, but to deny it is an integral and important part of modern culture is, in my view, to define culture in an elitist, highbrow fashion. Cultures can benefit from diversity and complexity. We need light and shade, not just 4,000 watt sunflowers. Shakespeare put the drunken gatekeeper into Macbeth for a reason.

2. You ask what "they" could teach you about culture. Is that, perhaps, not the wrong question. Should you not be asking what you can teach them?


I agree. I mentioned "diversity" in a couple of my posts on the first page of this thread but the point is worth making again :)
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Re: Dealing with Ignorance

Postby Serpent on July 13th, 2015, 12:25 am 

Eclogite - You may not like the nightly fare served up on TV, but to deny it is an integral and important part of modern culture is, in my view, to define culture in an elitist, highbrow fashion. Cultures can benefit from diversity and complexity.

That's a useful observation.
I have a friend of my own vintage who has much well-informed, well-considered, interesting and original thinking to share. Unfortunately, he rarely gets any of it across, because he puts people's backs up, practically from the first moment. Because he has a low opinion of popular culture, he doesn't stay in touch with the prevailing mood, sensibility, awareness. He doesn't know how much of what he's talking about is already in circulation; already exists in some form - usually a different form from how he would compose it - in the general consciousness. So he's warning of some danger that's been featured on a half dozen prime time dramas and is already considered passé. [How is that still a thing?] The intended audience gets annoyed, resentful, sometimes hostile, because - whether he means to spell it out or not - he's calling them idiots, and he gets frustrated because they're idiots.

I also have some acquaintances who pride themselves on not having a television. That's okay; you can still be informed if you watch TED and the best new documentaries - only, how would you know they even exist? There is so much out there, nobody can stay current on all fronts. But if you insulate yourself from the popular, you may be missing some of the vital.

(I finally got some quiet time to watch the Snowden interview I bookmarked on You Tube two weeks ago. It's been yanked. Good thing I'd at least caught the John Oliver one.)
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Re: dealing with ignorance

Postby Sircoth on July 13th, 2015, 3:10 pm 

Athena » July 12th, 2015, 11:49 am wrote:
There are so many good replies, and I am choosing yours first because YOU HIT ON WHAT I TO TALK ABOUT! THAT IS THE IGNORANCE PROBLEM THE CULTURAL GAP BETWEEN YOUNG AND OLD, THAT HAS CHANGED THE MEANING OUR WORDS AND OUR VALUES AND OUR WHOLE OUTLOOK ON LIFE.

Before the focus on education was technology, it was literature and good citizenship. It is storytelling, songs and dance around the communal fire, and when printing and paper making made cheap books possible it was literature that manifested culture. Culture is not unplanned haphazard anything you think it is. The literature that manifested the culture of the US is now forgotten. The result is complete cultural breakdown, and the meanings of our words are so changed communication is more of a challenge than ever.. Education for technology changed all that. In 1958 the purpose of public education stopped being good citizenship and became education for a technological society with unknown values. What followed was immediate social breakdown, and this was both good and bad. The bureaucratic control or our lives that has replaced family order and liberty, is not my idea of improvement.

Sadly, we often do get what we (or in this case, the government) wants, which in this case is merely productive citizens to increase national wealth.

As for cross-generational communication, I put my children first, then my grandchildren, and today I engage with my great-grandchildren. In my family, the children are getting the benefit of cross-generational communication. But when my generation dies, so does the memory of what our democracy was, die. The generational clash created by the change in education is very obvious between my daughter and I. I think she is beginning to appreciate why I reject her generations values, but her survival depends on accepting the bureaucratic control of our lives and going along it. She and I have the benefit of mutual interest- several generations of family, so we fight and forgive and fight again, and she is finally beginning to appreciate what I have said about the change in education.

I don't have this relationship with young ladies I do not know who tell me to shut the **** up, because I am too old. Choke, choke, God, stopped striking people dead for disrespecting their elders. I am kiddling, but also serious. I was sure the power of God stood behind my grandmother, and that God would strike me dead if I displeased her. There was a time when we were taught to respect our elders.

It's great to hear that you seek to pass on wisdom to your children and their children, and that they are receptive. As to strangers, and the vastly decreased respect for the elderly in general - well, realistically speaking I don't think things will get any better until a great shock wakes people up.

Which will probably happen sooner rather than later aswe humans tend to commit the same mistakes. The antidote is listening to history, both through formal education and the wisdom of the elderly, but people have closed their ears.
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