8/31/2007

Hypocrisy = "Shut Up!"

When a person calls another a hypocrite, even if it is true, he is saying "Shut Up!". It is an attempt to cause such shame that the hypocritical person will cease to oppose your ideas.

It removes from the discussion the rational analysis of the topic at hand. It is a bloodless assassination - it removes your enemy from the discussion, thus weakening the opposition.

To me, ideas stand on their own. Regardless of the hypocrisy, the goodness, or the badness of the person, the idea itself should be analyzed, not the person stating it.

The anti-jew statements made by a drunken Mel Gibson some months ago is an example. If I recall correctly, his statement was that "jews started all the wars in the world." Instead of refuting his unfounded statement, people were simply incensed by his "anti-semitism." Many vowed to never see another Mel Gibson movie.

Now, that is just ridiculous. Mel, and anyone else, is perfectly within his rights to dislike anyone he pleases. Perhaps he should be chastised for making such a derogatory statement about the jews, but the real point is that he is wrong. Nobody stepped up to point out that most of the wars in the world were NOT started by jews. All it would have taken is a credible historian to hold a little news conference and present the facts. That alone should be sufficient.

Delusion vs Faith

The other day I heard an interview with a psychologist discussing delusional thinking. His definition of delusion is believing in something without evidence. This struck me as two things: obvious and brilliant. Obvious, because it is the very definition. Brilliant, at least to me, because I had not considered that simple fact before. Now, to be clear, he did not define it as believing in something that is not true, just believing in something for which you have no evidence. The difference is illustrated by the example that during the middle ages, if you believed the world to be round, you would have been considered delusional. The reason is that nobody else believed it, and there was no evidence to support it.

So, what that simple statement did for me was start me to thinking about faith. Now, faith, like delusional thinking, is a belief in something without evidence, except that usually, there are many other people believing the same unsupported concept. Now, in some societies, the concept is believed by absolutely everyone, so to believe otherwise would be delusional. However, most people live in societies where a diversity of opinions is held.

Empathy vs Sympathy

empathy
Etymology:Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empath*s emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion — more at PATHOS

1 : the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
2 : the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this


sympathy
Etymology:Latin sympathia, from Greek sympatheia, from sympath*s having common feelings, sympathetic, from syn- + pathos feelings, emotion, experience — more at PATHOS

1 a : an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other b : mutual or parallel susceptibility or a condition brought about by it c : unity or harmony in action or effect *every part is in complete sympathy with the scheme as a whole — Edwin Benson*
2 a : inclination to think or feel alike : emotional or intellectual accord *in sympathy with their goals* b : feeling of loyalty : tendency to favor or support *republican sympathies*
3 a : the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another b : the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity *have sympathy for the poor*
4 : the correlation existing between bodies capable of communicating their vibrational energy to one another through some medium
synonyms see ATTRACTION, PITY

Annabel Lee

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The Angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


- by Edgar Allan Poe - 1849