RANGER AGAINST WAR: Truth or Consequences <

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Truth or Consequences


Perhaps all fields are battlefields,
those we remember

and those that are forgotten

--Reality Demands
,
Wislawa Szimborska


~I did a bad thing...

~It's o.k., you get three!

--The Invention of Lying (2009)


Everybody Lies

(or, Truth begins in lies)

--Dr. Greg House,
House

Thou shalt not bear false witness (lie)

--Ninth Commandment

_________________


Ranger finally consented to discuss a piece he had written 16 Jun 11 on the matter of truth. The wheels move slowly but inexorably. I hope to get some conversation going here from our readers, both military and non, on a foundational concept -- the Truth.

First, I will post Ranger's original thoughts, then will fill out the ideas per a recent discussion. Philosophy 101 by RAW -- your one-stop metaphysical shopping center.
(This entire piece is important to a future one which will draw on the ideas presented):

"Ranger often is forced to have discussions with our editor Lisa, usually as a result of being water-boarded and forcefully led into discussions of Truth. Since Ranger exists in moral ambiguity, his most common reply to most questions is, "Can't it be both!", which he considers a good-faith effort in a grey world.

"Last night a vision came to me: 'Truth is irrelevant to our lives. Whether we exist in truth or lies it matters not if the truth is as destructive as a lie. The truth of our lives are often based upon lies, be they personal, societal, political or religious.'

"I'll stick with my standby and say, "Can't it be both?"

For me (Lisa), terms must be defined -- what is an absolute, and when or why is deviation from the absolute justified or imperative.

First we pitted "Truth" vs. "Fact" (T vs. F, from here out). T is not equivalent to a fact, as it depends upon which facts one sees or uses. Other related but not equivalent terms are, "Good", "Bad", "Right" and "Wrong". Notions of "good" or "bad" are imposed upon our perception of the facts, therefore altering our T.

While the opposite of the Truth is a lie, perhaps Ranger's Catholic background allows him gradations of non-truth, or as he put it, "unprovable constructs". Some intentional non-truths may even be considered to be in the realm of sin, but even there we have venal vs. mortal sins, and the former need not even be Confessed. So many ways to slice things when one steps away from absolutes!


Ranger contends that T is subjective and constructed, either by society or by ourselves (who are influenced by our society.) Therefore, T. differs from fact (though they may be coincident). Truth is based upon facts, either arrived at via corruption or denial of the facts (
cognitive dissonance) or in accordance with them; however, not all facts are evident, and this is a limiting factor on achieving T.

Therefore, no absolute truth is possible, Ranger maintains, as all of the facts of any situation will never be revealed. (This implies conversely, if one could see all the facts, one could arrive at T.)

Further, Ranger feels the lie is justified when the T. is inconvenient or uncomfortable. He feels lies were developed to protect the group or individual as societies developed -- they were a
survival modification. He noted that skin readings belie the liar on polygraph tests, which seems to indicate that lying is not a comfortable or natural state for humans, and many body gestures reveal dissimulation. For him, lying is a sometimes necessary discomfort.

In a word, Ranger is a
Situational Ethicist.

We agree that facts and truth do not have an absolute direction or quality: Truths or facts can be good or bad, and the individual makes that determination. Further, a T (be it based upon facts or incorrectly arrived at because based upon corrupt data) will lead to another fact (regardless of the
goodness or badness of it's origin.) This subjective nature of digesting facts (=data) suggests an infinite regression would be necessary to arrive at the ground of any T.

Lisa suggested that Ranger's way is to view the Truth as a strategic quantity, where one weighs the pros and cons of its revelation. This seems a difficult and fraught task. It suggests a mental computation like a flow chart, in which one must anticipate the result of one's choices in order to achieve a desired outcome.


Lisa sees
situational ethics as an oxymoron, and hews to a more Manichaean view. This renders her more rigid and therefore, more vulnerable. She is an idealist, in a fallen world. The argument for truth lies in its simplicity and the opportunity for growth. It doesn't matter whether the T (as I know it) is good or bad; it is imperative that I tell it, for that gives my interlocutor the best possible data, and the opportunity to act in accordance with his or her beliefs and values.

Truth-telling is like the game of Telephone -- even with the best efforts, something will get lost in the telling, or the hearing. But the effort to understand and to express is a noble one, if one is to achieve the best possible actionable information. However, If one begins with a faulty construction (due to misrepresentation, subterfuge or poor communication), any future decisions will be misshapen offspring.


The problem with using the human mind to function in a mathematical, flow chart model is that there are outcomes that may be unforeseen -- Mr. Rumsfeld's koan-like "unknown unknowns". Therefore, how can one decide upon obfuscation as the best path, when one cannot foresee the manifold responses to that (un)truth?

To me, this possibility of the chance for correction due to unknown future paths is an argument for telling the truth as one knows it (regardless of its limitations due to not having every single fact required to create an unassailable truth.) I challenge Ranger's contention that a lie is as good as the truth if the outcome will be bad simply because the quality of the outcome matters.

Ranger uses the teleological argument to justify a lie in the case of a bad outcome with the T. It seems to me that choice is made from a limited perspective, as it considers only the immediate cause and effect. Just as he argues for never knowing all of the facts, so one cannot know all possible outcomes. The fractal model helps show why the trunk of the tree must be sound, the trunk being basic precepts like a dedication to revealing and understanding facts and definition of terms.

If you say a "bad" T. with contrition and desire for correction, you may possibly enjoy a good ultimate outcome; you can attempt to alter what may seem a poor outcome. However, if you tell a lie, you damn the project to the waste bin at the point of dissimulation. It can never be good if good equates with "real, "honest", "growing" and all the qualities that bespeak of life and health. The lie kills the ebb and flow of life; it is a controlling action which stops honest reciprocity.

Like the early programmers said, GIGO -- Garbage in, garbage out.


What do you think about the Truth?

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49 Comments:

Anonymous Deryle said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEDbkx99soE&feature=related

"May The Lights in the Land of Plenty
Shine on the Truth One Day"

Land of Plenty
Leonard Cohen


Don't really have the courage
To stand where I must stand
Don’t really have the temperament
To lend a helping hand
Don't really know who sent me
To raise my voice and say:
May the lights in the land of plenty
Shine on the truth some day.

I don't know why I come here,
Knowing as I do,
What you really think of me,
What I really think of you.

For the millions in a prison,
That wealth has set apart ¨c
For the christ who has not risen,
From the caverns of the heart ¨c
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/leonard_cohen/the_land_of_plenty.html ]
For the innermost decision,
That we cannot but obey -
For what's left of our religion,
I lift my voice and pray:
May the lights in the land of plenty
Shine on the truth some day.

I know I said I'd meet you,
I'd meet you at the store,
But I can't buy it, baby.
I can't buy it anymore.

And I don't really know who sent me,
To raise my voice and say:
May the lights in the land of plenty
Shine on the truth some day.

I don't know why I come here,
Knowing as I do,
What you really think of me,
What I really think of you.
For the innermost decision
That we cannot but obey
For what's left of our religion
I lift my voice and pray:
May the lights in the land of plenty
Shine on the truth some day.


There it is...or close to it.

Deryle

Friday, February 10, 2012 at 5:59:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim and Lisa,

"For me (Lisa), terms must be defined"

Damn straight, girl! What this world needs most is to settle down to a long bout of concept clarification. I'd start with nailing down (carpenter metaphor) the difference between a statement of fact and an assertion of belief. Truth (capital T) always sits on the fact side of the fence, but truth (little t) isn't as choosy.

Dave

Friday, February 10, 2012 at 6:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Deryle,

Game on.


U.C.,

I'm with you: "Belief" is yet another term needing clarification.

Truth w/ a "T" resides with facts, IMO. In my discussion, Ranger took the scientific side, using quarks as an example of the fact that we can never know every nuance (=fact). Be that as it may, fine decisions may be made using honesty, reason and bulky facts.

I know what I need to know by raising up above the immediate situation just a bit and connecting the dots.

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar (and it's not necessary to know about its quarks, leptons and bosons ...)

Friday, February 10, 2012 at 7:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

As Nietzsche wrote, convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies.

In that light Ranger, when you say "Can't it be both?", is it possibly lack of conviction that places you on the fence?

__________

"...nailing down (carpenter metaphor) the difference between a statement of fact and an assertion of belief."

I am reminded of an episode from my childhood. I had an argument with my mum about God and the bible. She as a staunch Christian wasn't impressed with my attitude towards her religion.

My grandpa pulled me aside, sat me down on his knees and told me that disagreeing with religious people is always bound to lead to arguments. When I asked him, "well grandpa, what do you believe", he said: "I believe a pound of meat of makes a good soup."

I immediately understood what he meant - Believe the truth you have experienced first hand yourself, everything else is hearsay and ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

I have carried this little nugget of wisdom with me ever since.

Friday, February 10, 2012 at 9:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Thank you for sharing your granddad's solid wisdom -- such a wonderful lesson for all of us.

Per conviction, Yeats' vision of doomsday comes to mind:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are full of passionate intensity.

Of course, in a solid world, that would be reversed. It must take a great disillusionment with the world to give up on one's convictions.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 12:41:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
i always say-philosophy never cooked any potatos.
by my writing you know i'm not on a fence, but it can often be both ways.
one must simply select the least worse of the options and this passes for truth.
because we say it's true does not make it so. your mum's religion as an example.
jim

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 8:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Dave,
the PWOT was based on beliefs rather than truth or facts.
jim

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 9:32:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Blackhawk said...

During the Ashikaga shogunate period (1336–1573) a Japanese feudal military dicatorship 'set form poetry' called RENGA became accepted as 'politically correct' or perceived 'Truth'. Court poets sitting around trying to 'out poetry' each other. An example would be:

"THE ROBE OF HAZE IS WET AT IT'S HEM"

Soon a formless poetic rebellion led by Yamazaki Sokan sprouted, aptly called: 'HAIKAI NO RENGA' led by the wandering imp, Yamazaki Sokan. His sly retort to the above formal RENGA poem was:

"PRINCESS SAO OF SPRING PISSED AS SHE STARTED"


My truth is that I rather crack-up, than be cracked-up

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 9:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim,

All wars, phony or "righteous", are based on beliefs. Any war falls to pieces when we throw a little fire on our beliefs.

One of the questions that I brood over in the still watches of the night is whether living an examined life is worth the effort, when most people refuse to examine their beliefs, especially their most closely-held beliefs.

Oh, and Jim, philosophically-cooked potatoes are surprisingly tasty. :-)

Dave

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 9:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I tend to go with jim on this to a greater degree. I don't see that there is "a truth", but, rather, a range of "truths" that are dependent on the interaction between people's beliefs and needs and the physical facts they encounter.

But, on the other hand, there ARE some "truths" that are simply not allowable in order for human society to function decently and equitably.

So you may believe that it's the "truth" that women should be seen and not heard, subservient to men, life-support systems for a womb. And, frankly, IMO you can "believe" that all you want to.

But in MY society you can't act on that belief outside of your own little family. Find a consenting adult who will live with you on those terms? Know yourselves out. But you DON'T get to do anymore than use your powers of persuasion to convince others. You don't get to write it into law, you don't get to treat strangers, or employees and customers if you run a business, on those terms.

So I guess you could say that while I agree that there may be subjective "truths" I disagree that you should be able to make social, public, or legal policy based on those "truths".

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:07:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

I like that everyone is bringing a different piece of the puzzle.

Beliefs (pre-conceptions) figure largely in the talk. That is a large problem for us. If we could cleanse the doors of perception and be willing to understand the other free of that bias, we'd probably do a lot better.

Of course, so much of our upbringing is about the inculcation of those beliefs that we come to take them as our own. As I see it, a huge challenge for becoming an adult is the re-examining of all of those overlays and deciding which suit - serve us and which do not.

I believe seeing and sharing the facts in a rational way helps us live in a freer way. We needn't analyze the hidden motivations (which we can never know) in order to formulate a good action plan. To implement that way of life, one must deal with people operating in good faith, which means their coin is honesty.

Quibbling over whether they see the "absolute" truth of any act is therefore unnecessary. Good enough is well-done.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 12:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

where angels fear to tread

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 6:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMO, There is only one truth and it is love.

Other than that, we are all just sailors on a sea of infinity.

Yet, something in us, something quintesentially human, makes us need to chart a course. So we pick a few stars and we shoot them with our sextant and then we give them a name and a story. If we stay that course long enough, or if invest enough in the dream of where we think it will take us, and when we forget the beginning, we call our chosen stars and our course, Truth.

Facts kill truth. But facts also kill love.

avedis

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 11:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis,

I happen to agree with you -- the one truth is love.

Your last line is provocative: Yes, facts may "kill" (I prefer "rectify") our constructed truths, but I don't see how facts kill love, which is an absolute -- not contingent --quantity and quality.

Love is the fact and the truth:

Charity (love) Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth. KJV

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, "provactive"...good. I am in a provactive mood.

I think you answered your own question in your response. If the one truth is love, how can facts gets us there?

That said, I am a practical guy; mostly because I have to be at times. When I am cutting a replacement rail for a fence I need to know that it is exactly 10' 2'' between the posts and existing rails so the new meshes neatly with the old. I suppose 10' 2'' is a fact and a truth.

Otherwise, I see facts as too often little more than assertions argued by lawyers, historians and politicians and the likes. Facts are arranged and then re-arranged to produce all sorts of truths. The facts themselves are disputed. When agreed upon they are assigned different nuances and emphasis which create different realities down stream.

Who knows what the "facts" are?

What do we know and how do we know it?

avedis

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 6:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for engaging me, avedis.

Facts will not get us to love. Erich Fromm wrote, "Immature love says, 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says: 'I need you because I love you'." That is it: Love is sui generis; it should be the fertile ground from which all acts spring.

In a sense, love is our birthright. Most religions command us to love, and to refrain from things that damage that action and belief.

As you say, there are facts that help us cut and measure, and we need those facts (measurable and uniform) to help us construct and fit into society. We know an "inch" or a "meter" because we designate them thus. These are arbitrary impositions upon the facticity we observe. I can call a zebra a mule and he might like the word just as well; he is still an animal with stripes. Is he a white animal with black stripes, or a black animal with white stripes? A rose by any other name ...

Our problem is we are system makers, and we are sneaky. The systems may aid us or hurt us, and that is an essay in itself. Our sneakiness gives us all manner of grief.

I love the simple tale of the Garden of Eden for it lays it out for us on a platter. All of this you could have, but you dissemble and hide, and a hard rain's gonna fall.

What do we know and how do we know it? Another essay. If we suspend our disbelief and really observe (and maybe, cut and measure), we can know. I always work with wood with love. Maybe it is coming from that perspective that allows for clearer vision.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 11:14:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

p.s. to avedis,

Really for Jim, from his landsman Vaclav Havel:

"Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred"

Talk amongst yourselves.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

avedis,
i'll opine that you have NEVER cut a fence board at EXACTLY 10 ft. 2 inches. NEVER.
the canned heat said that you can find love even in a guitar.
i reckon that's b/c it has a g-string.
how did truth turn into love?
today rem told me in a song-virtue is not everything.
jim

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

avedis,
it's my position that there is no infinity or eternity.
i've written that'un but it ain't pubbed yet.
jim

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 12:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And I'll reckon you've never tuned a G-string exactly the same way; nor played it exactly the same the same twice.

There are an infinte number of possible lengths between 10' 1.9'' and 10' 2.1''.

There is a mystic in me that does accept that there is an infinity and an eternity and as I grow older it is these things that seem more important to me than physical facts.

But that's just me. As Jimi Hendrix would say, "I got my own world to live through and I aint goin' copy you". However, I recognize that is a double edge sword. I respect that you don't need to - nor will you - copy me.

That same album also contains 'Axis Bold As Love'.

avedis

Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 2:57:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

avedis
VOODOO CHILE PART 2.
jim

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 8:10:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

This thread is one interesting read.

Lisa, thanx for the Yeats quote on what hell must be like. Didn't know it but it sure rings true. Scary part is, I feel we are already there.

Jim, I didn't mean any disrespect. I find your writings anything but uncommitted, you sir have firm convictions alright.

What I was aiming at with my paragraph was to point out that if one is open minded enough to say "Can't it be both", in other words not convinced of either option being the one and only truth, chances are you won't be as fervent a proponent of either alleged truths as someone who is "all in".

On the topic of philosophy and cooking potatoes, it might not cook them, but with the right mindset they might appear bigger and taste better.

To finish up, chiming in on the Love is Truth dialog, let me again draw on Nietzsche's work.

He said "we don't love anyone. Not our countries, spouses nor our kids. What we do love is the feeling they cause in us."

Having thought about that one for a while I came to the conclusion he might be right. I know it sounds dreary and dark, and yet upon closer inspection it appears to be the case. Watch how people stop loving, things or other people, once those loved subjects cause them unpleasant feelings.

For many love comes and goes, fleeting like paw prints in the snow. The sad truth remains.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 9:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

OK, I'll throw this out; love is BOTH heaven and hell.

The great wonder and gift of human consciousness is the ability to love, to find our place of contentment and challenge in a person, or a place, or thing. To then bring forth from ourselves more than we thought we were capable of, more than we knew we contained, because of that love.

And yet - some of history's great horrors were perpetuated by those who had some great love; love of what they saw as "truth" that required them to smash "falsehood" (whether they called it "heresy" or "malefactors of great wealth" or whatever), love of power, love of another so great that it defied convention and the demands of the world and common sense; an "Antony-and-Cleopatra" sort of love. The sort of love that destroyed kingdoms and broke nations.

As Ronny Cammerari said: "Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn't know this either, but love don't make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit."

Not Yeats by a long shot, but you get the idea...

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 9:56:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

And I think the trouble with Truth and Facts is that we don't "see facts". We take our observations and peer at them through our experience, prejudices, hopes and fears. So for every "fact" there are a hundred beliefs and a similar amount of "truths" (depending on how seriously we take ourselves and our beliefs...

I'd argue that there may well be a "truth" or a small group of "truths" that best fits the facts, but that teasing such a truth out of the complex web of human emotions and beliefs is a damn deadly difficult task and one that has gone unperformed throughout much of human history.

We might be better off as a species if it had...but I'm not such an optimist as to think we're gonna start now...

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Chief, you typed the words of someone who has experienced both, heart's heaven and hell.

As you wrote, love is a powerful motivator, for better or worse. Human history is one long tragic love story.

But please don't forget that not only us humans, or as GD rightly sums us up, knuckle dragging space monkeys, have the ability to love. You'll find love and grief just the same amongst many of our fellow travelers in the animal kingdom.

I sometimes get the feeling love is evolution testing if a certain chemical reaction in brains of species with only a few offspring is beneficial to their survival rate.

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:26:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All true, guys.

However, I was referring to the love of life itself, which may express itself in those other ways - usually at great risk of careening into a hell -as the fundemental driving creative force that fuels this whole (insane) machine and keeps it running.

It seems to me to be the only truth that ultimately matters; all facts and beliefs and other motivations - good and evil even - shrivel before it.

avedis

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
i , like chief(i think) find it hard to believe in truth.you can throw in love also.
isn't it all just enlightened self interest.
everything that you said was ot and no disrespect was noted.sadly everything can be seen from many angles. that's also a definition of history.
it all depends on the age of the person doing the pondering.
jim

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 8:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

"i [...] find it hard to believe in truth."

Well Jim, you are right, truth is a relative term, but a kick in the balls hurts, no matter if you believe this to be the truth or not.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 7:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

Love is the entirety, as avedis suggests -- the whole kits and kaboodle. As Ms. Dickenson wrote,

Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell

I like your definition of love -- reminds me of Cat Stevens' "Hard-headed Woman":

One who will make me do my best,
And if I find my hard headed woman
I know the rest of my life will be blessed


IOW, he (my love) will bring out the best in me. Of course, love -- what we call, love -- can be tragic, messy, rude, a lie, a ruse, a devastation ... all of it, but love deserving of its name is ennobling. Idealist? That's what we're after, the definitions.

I hope we can agree that facts are foundational, but they suffer from the overlay of our beliefs, etc.

We'd all be better off if we could see the facts rationally, disinterestedly, but who can do that, or do so consistently?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:22:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

Your last Nietzsche quote would seem to suggest Ranger's definition of love, etc. as "enlightened self-interest". However, we should remember what a miserably unhappy little misfit he (Nietzsche) was.

Pablo Neruda wrote the sad lines,

'Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido' [Love is so short, oblivion (or, forgetting) is so long.]

This also seems to supports that contention, as it suggests a truncation of love at the loss of one's beloved.

Now, speaking from a disinterested stance, I bring avedis back into the picture: If love is the ground from which we operate, it is never "lost", and we needn't be "embittered". Of course, it takes some introspection to get there.

Per Neruda, "oblivion" is a mighty long time to spend loveless.

You are most cordial, Juan, but do not let up on Ranger for his "fence-riding" with his, "can it be both?" Can it be both does not accord with, "You either are, or you aren't." It is good that a man with Ranger's reasoning capacity be called to the mat on this one.

I deeply dislike fence-riding. The lyrics of an awful country song infiltrated my mind recently, "Why Does it Have to Be Right or Wrong?" -- a song whining about why they can't commit adultery. It irritates me because, though it would seem to be a declarative statement for polygamy, in fact most people (esp. most country devotees) are too weasel-y to be that clear.

They just want opportunistic sex on the side; expeditiousness is the order of the day, and they'll get it by skulking around. If they had conviction, they'd leave The Church and truly live as they moan they wish they could. Fact: Most are not man enough to declare cleanly for it.

I for one like Ranger's, "You either are, or you aren't" as a motto. But you gotta come down off the fence, sir.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:44:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Per Juan's last,

Exactly.

To Ranger:

Do you not believe in love b/c you think you're too old and jaded, or, b/c you think you're enlightened? (Or is it both?)

Do you have any certainty beyond the 6-foot hole in the ground?

(We are playing some hard-ball here, but we are all friends, yes?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Lisa,Juan.
it's irrelevant to opine that love is required b/c the void is so great.
love is a societal construct to facilitate the propagation of the species. who cares that the void eats at our asses??
just for grins watch love at work in any restaurant-watch the customers.
btw-how does the concept of cheating/extra marital sex equate to this topic of love?
i don't.
jim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan,
if we can separate the concept of truth from the topic of our testicles then we surely would be making progress.
jim

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:20:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Juan Moment said...

Re sitting on the fence, one of my fav Stones songs:

I'm just sittin' on a fence
You can say I got no sense
Trying to make up my mind
Really is too horrifying
So I'm sittin on a fence


Lisa, with my earlier remark to Ranger about it possibly being a lack of convictions that has him sitting on the "Can't it be both" fence, I was referring to Nietzsche's claim that it is conviction which holds us back from seeing the truth.

So in general I tend to agree with Ranger, choosing to not see absolutes and instead recognizing the many shades of grey is more likely to produce a true picture.

However, and you wove that nicely into your comment with your description of the wish-I-could country song, this "I am not quite sure" approach can be the cause of inaction and hence a weakness.

In some matters, where life's options don't cater for ones carefully placed principles and its either or, when action is required and its time to be counted, we ought to abandon the fence and fight for the option closest to the shade of grey we've parked our opinions under.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 8:54:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Juan,

May I suggest our terminology gets us into trouble?

If Nietzsche suggests convictions hold us back from seeing the truth, are we not are talking more at the concept of "pre-conceptions" than something like guiding principles, like integrity or morality?

Now, if one must argue that arriving at absolute truth requires we shuttle off all guiding principles, then we are at Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil", and it is that concept of the "untermensch" which I reject.

I do believe it is a good to try and perceive in a "childlike" way, and to see before one's pre-conceptions were formed, as they often do lead to misconceptions. But the misperception is in our apperception of the other; we should always know ourselves. At least, that's how I see it.

Going it rudderless and achorless is to behave like atomic particles running a mindless orbit, without ceasing; it is to achieve no good thing. There are certainly amoralists, and who am I to dismiss their lives.

The Stones are brilliant here:

Trying to make up my mind
Really is too horrifying


It IS horrifying, the imperative to self-assessment, but THAT is where we come down off the fence. As you say, at some point, we must choose, and that is where living life without waffling comes in very handy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:01:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ranger,

I beg to differ. Per your:

love is a societal construct to facilitate the propagation of the species ... --

No, Ranger, I'm afraid that would not be love. That would be hormones, lust, rutting, being in heat, etc. That would be not reining the energy Juan and I speak of. As humans, we're in charge of that transmutation, or ... deciding if the good will outweigh the harm and succumbing, but knowing what it is.

But, we don't control it, so we get something 9 mos. later we'd rather not have, but, it keeps the marriage business going, keeps men working and keeps Walmart, Pampers, Gerber et. al in business.

Love is a different impulse than the generative one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

p.s. --

per Ranger's ?:

how does the concept of cheating / extra marital sex equate to this topic of love?

This pertains to the topic of "convictions or beliefs, your, "You either are, or you aren't" motto.

If the crooners (who represent so many disingenuous people) believe in polygamy, then surround yourself with other who believe in polyamoury, and deep six your marriage. No -- there's no conviction there, and people just succumb to their sneaky animal selves and create misery, when there need not be any if people wold simply man-up and speak clearly regarding actions and intents.

This is where it is essential to "know oneself" -- so that one may be clear in its delivery to another. If I believe we have any imperative, I am with Kant in that clarity -- both to oneself and to others -- is the ground.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim,
When I speak of love i am NOT thinking with or about anything that is covered by my - or anyone else's skivvies.

Lisa gets where I am coming from.

The love I am refering to is actually somewhat impersonal at the individual level. Yet again, it demolishes the individual level as it pervades all existance (i.e. we are all one and all part of this incomprehensible thing called life which seeks to expand and continue infinitely because, well, because it just loves to do so).

Then again, that is just my way of perceiving the driving cosmic force of which we are all a part and maybe i should have left those mushrooms out in the pasture.

Seriously, though, other than this primary force that feels like love to me, all truth is relative. It is a snapshot in time and space at best; simply whatever layer of the onion you have pealed to and how that layer flavors to the main course you are cooking.....avedis

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"....if people wold simply man-up and speak clearly regarding actions and intents."

Chalk one up for Newt?

avedis

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 12:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis says,

The love I am refering to is actually somewhat impersonal at the individual level

Yes, that is that. I have had those rare moments where (when) I joined the "oceanic consciousness"; mostly, I think I just observed, though I must have been in that sea, too. I guess this is what Krishnamurti meant when he said, "The observer is the observed." (That has born itself out in atomic experiments, as with Bell's Theory and the HUP.) It is that sort of "detached" love which is the driver, I think.

To bring Juan's idea of the "involution of energy", without being too complex (but words are bulky things!), if love is the impulse at ground, then of course it underlies the carnal impulse Ranger speaks of, as well. That does not mean passion is therefore "kind" or "good" or any such thing. Love is enlisted and perverted every day. There is no value judgement, it just is.

Here is where I argue for arriving at Truth:

Operating only from the level of the love we speak of, and enlisting and ingathering all facts (peeling the onion back), and, if one is engaged in a project with another, making sure he is an honest broker (not operating in Sartre's "Bad Faith") ... if all of this applies, then we may arrive at a Truth.

It's fine to bumble around and not know the Truth much of the time and just enjoy serendipity. But I still hold that some few Truths can be arrived at, and should be. That is not to say that most people take on this project.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis asks,

"....if people wold simply man-up and speak clearly regarding actions and intents."

Chalk one up for Newt?


Ah, Newt, that dog. Well, no, because he was not honest up front. He should have hung out with swingers to begin with, but I guess he gets a half point for outing himself a few years into the game. Callista probably told him Confessional feels GOOD.

And this is why Newt can't win, but Santorum -- a totally unfit man for presidency -- could. The latter wears his cross to bear every day in the form of his Trisomy 28 daughter. He seemingly did not choose for a better model, and people see themselves there, if maybe a chromosome off (if that). (I might develop this idea later.)

Ultimately, our template is, we are slaves and we like martyrs. Juan discussed Nietzsche -- his ubermensch was an effort to throw off that yoke, but I believe he goes too far for a polite society to entertain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 1:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa, I completely agree with your desire to continue seeking some Truth and your formula for doing so.

In fact, that quest is probably the most noble one us humans can undertake.

And sometimes the journey is as important as the destination. Sometimes the journey is the destination - which we don't realize until the journey is over.

My position does not result in advocacy of throwing up one's hands and floating in amoral willy nilly fashion through time and space. Rather it nuances the realization of ruth. It recognizes that once you think you have it firmly in hand, the old trickster might just pop up with a valid, "yes...but...". It also appreciates that the universe and the beings within it are fluid. If you get too concrete about what is a truth today, you will probably find yourself like a dinosaur frozen in the new world climate tomorrow - or eventually.

avedis

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:37:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rather it nuances the realization of *truth*. It ..."

who is ruth?

avedis

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

avedis,

Thank you. The tenuousness of one's hold on the thing (=Truth) does not make it any less worthy of a goal.

Maybe the best we can do is shaping and molding the understanding we create or perceive, but through attentive and committed effort we can craft something lovely which outstrips mere serviceability.

I think questioning and care, and observing the preponderance of facts, will get us to the truth we need.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 6:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think questioning and care, and observing the preponderance of facts, will get us to the truth we need."

Hmmmm....'wisdom'? Another seemingly amorphus concept that is traditionaly integraly related to 'truth'.

avedis

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 3:52:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

"Wisdom" -- I like that assessment.

Even though the scholars can rationalize the impossibility of Truth until the cows come home, I can learn what I need to know using some simple tools of sight and mind.

That is what we are -- rational and feeling animals, and we would do well to enlist both (all) or our faculties until robbed of them by the inevitable ravages of time.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 10:19:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To all,
SIR WALTER RALEIGH-
"It is not truth,but opinion,that can travel the world without a pass port."
jim

Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 10:25:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Re: your comment on love and cheating, jim, my personal take (and this is only my own, mind you, not what seems to be conventional wisdom) is that the real HEAT round the cheater gives and takes isn't the putting the totem pole in the illicit donut hole or vice versa but the forswearing.

When you marry somebody - assuming that you have no caveats in the promise - you make a deal for exclusivity; you and me only. IMO if you don't want to or can't keep that deal, don't make it. That's where the Newt gets his neuts rapped; because he wanted to play the political game he had to pretend to be monogamous instead of the serial horndog he is. But, having sold his bollocks to the Devil of monogamy, he then decided he didn't want to go to Penis Hell and broke his contract not once but twice. Naughty, naughty Newt!

I'm the first person to admit that when there's a personable gal involved my thoughts turn to the delights we could enjoy woulda-coulda-shoulda. But not only do I love my bride, I made a deal with her. If not for the way I feel about her, if not for the life we've built together...for my own self-respect, I wouldn't want to welch on that deal.

So...I don't see cheating as a "love" issue. I see it as an "honor" issue - including the honor and respect you owe to yourself in the form of keeping your word...

Friday, February 17, 2012 at 7:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief,

You've got it -- cheating is not necessarily related to love; in fact, it probably is not.

It IS, however, an honor and trust issue. First and foremost, one must honor oneself, as you say, for if that's absent, anything goes. Moreover, one not only feels little or no compunction, but one is absolved ante factum of any feeling of culpability for one has set no personal boundaries.

The error and fault, as mentioned, is that one transgresses the expectations of the other involved in the partnership. In fact, unless all parties are on board, it may have the thrill of the chase, but it is merely sordid covertness. Were that cover removed, the romp would probably fizzle quickly, as new expectations would arise.

One's word is one's bond. And for the person who cannot give even that? Life seems a pale approximation of its potential.

I like "Penis Hell"! Yes, -- naughty, naughty Newt!

I'm going to write soon on "The Greatest Sin of All" (in honor of our Whitney), comparing all the Republican ponies (not that they're the only sinners.) Sin can come in many forms, and I hope to dig out some of the unrecognized ones.

Friday, February 17, 2012 at 9:53:00 PM GMT-5  

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