As It Will Be / {I,you,they}

Dave Long
Fri, 03 May 2002 03:07:51 -0700

> 'Well I can find figures that say my country kicks more ass than you!'

Pardon the faint praise, but at
least figures require more work
than pure flame, and have a bit
more potential for being of use
to someone in the future.  (But
in this case, they do seem like
the last triplet given below)


> "Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that
> you do it." -  Mahatma Gandhi

Is that the Gita, recited while
standing on one leg?


> (C)  Too much focus on the past, and unwillingness to let bygones
> be bygones.  (D)  A fundamental belief in the validity of discrimination along
> any of several dimensions.  (E)  Infectious memes that organize individuals
> into superorganisms endowed with a belief in their own moral superiority ...
> All of these things are problems, and humans can choose to let go of such
> primitive, outdated beliefs or cling to them and suffer the consequences.

I may agree with the last statement,
but I must also point out that it:
arguably shows (C)-behaviour,
plausibly shows (E)-behaviour, and
definitely shows (D)-behaviour.

Have we played {I,you,they} yet on
FoRK?*  It is a word game based on
making triplets of the form:

+ I have rapid time-to-market
+ you rush releases
+ they ship buggy, unusable product
+ I enforce the 1st commandment
+ you root out heresy
+ they disobey the 6th

Now, the trick is to recast that
original statement so that it is
clearly not reminiscent of:

+ my beliefs are superior
+ your beliefs are tolerable
+ their beliefs are primitive and outdated

> Is this 'relativism' that I keep hearing about?  (If not, please educate 
> me on the difference.)

The difference is that Mr. Turpin
has performed the trick, by making
the statement in a context where
he demonstrates that some beliefs
are both primitive (because they
have been around since well before
the dawn of history) and outdated
(because the take-home message of
the 20th century was that we have
gotten far better at killing each
other than we have at not killing
each other).

Backing up our assertions might
only lead to:

+ I make rational arguments
+ your premises are unsound
+ they rationalize their beliefs

but it at least makes it clear
that the argument is advanced
on grounds which are easier to
(in)validate than any implicit
assumptions of superiority.


* is this a rhetorical question,
or is this a rhetorical question?