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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There really isn't a point like that, Usa, if the build up is gentle enough. They did experiments in the 40s, I think, about that. The pilot test had people in a room with a set of switches going from 1 to 40 to XXX, and they were told the switches were connected to an electric chair somewhere else. They needed to give the person in the chair a small shock if he didn't do what he was supposed to. The tester kept giving orders for higher and higher switch values, and the subjects overwhelmingly kept sending the electric charge, even until 'XXX', or death. They never completed the full study.

I may have misremembered the details of the study, but the basic premise is right - take away the responsibility to decide, build it up slowly, and you can get most people to do pretty much anything. The Nazis worked the same way.
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Asa wrote:
There really isn't a point like that, Usa, if the build up is gentle enough. They did experiments in the 40s, I think, about that. The pilot test had people in a room with a set of switches going from 1 to 40 to XXX, and they were told the switches were connected to an electric chair somewhere else. They needed to give the person in the chair a small shock if he didn't do what he was supposed to. The tester kept giving orders for higher and higher switch values, and the subjects overwhelmingly kept sending the electric charge, even until 'XXX', or death. They never completed the full study.

That's the Milgram Experiment. And it was completed, actually, at the time of its original testing. It was actually an experiment that rose out of the Nuremberg Trials, trying to see how far people would go if there was a figure of authority urging them on. The answer: the vast majority of people will go really far.

The experiment was banned by the APA and the ethics board for a long time, though, so no one could repeat it. Someone eventually went back and did psychological evaluations on the participants, determined that the experiment didn't cause psychological trauma and was perfectly safe, and managed to talk the ethics board into letting them reconducting it.
That was in the 1990's, I think.

That's an excellent example, though. The Stanford Prison experiment might also be a good example, though it doesn't quite cover the same topic.

Ummm. I want to say that there was an experiment that set up similar parameters as a cult . . . Can't remember. I'll try and remember to look it up when I get home. ><;

Cults are scary, and psychological experiments have continually shown that even if people say they would never be involved in/do something like that, it is still possible to get sucked or pressured in, regardless of morals and personal beliefs.

Point: Stay away from them.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tinu. wrote:
Asa wrote:
There really isn't a point like that, Usa, if the build up is gentle enough. They did experiments in the 40s, I think, about that. The pilot test had people in a room with a set of switches going from 1 to 40 to XXX, and they were told the switches were connected to an electric chair somewhere else. They needed to give the person in the chair a small shock if he didn't do what he was supposed to. The tester kept giving orders for higher and higher switch values, and the subjects overwhelmingly kept sending the electric charge, even until 'XXX', or death. They never completed the full study.

That's the Milgram Experiment. And it was completed, actually, at the time of its original testing. It was actually an experiment that rose out of the Nuremberg Trials, trying to see how far people would go if there was a figure of authority urging them on. The answer: the vast majority of people will go really far.


It's the staple citation in most Psychology courses, Milgram's is. That and Zimbardo's Prison Experiment, as Tinu mentioned (more commonly attached to Stanford).

I suppose I have an odd view of this, though I think I've come to where I am from very abnormal means. While it is still very possible to influence me (most easily with a cute girl, much to my eternal amusement), almost everything which would require an action on my part is run through a strict logical thought process. This is probably because, for the past decade (almost exactly), nearly everything I've done has had significant life repercussions, and when I get lazy about remembering that things tend to fall apart. I don't tend to be easily or quickly persuaded.

That said, I have walked away from situations which required an input greater than my predisposition allowed. The potential reward was high (and, in some cases, the actual reward was high), but it's not always an issue of what "might" happen. Most of the time, my evaluation takes into consideration what will happen.

I have two questions which I run most things through:
a) "What good will come from either/any action or from inaction?"
b) "What harm will come from either/any action or from inaction?"

And then you just try to minimize the amount of Value B, while maximizing the amount of Value A. Largely I exclude myself from Value B, in that I'm willing to heavily stack Value B over Value A only in my case. Put it simply, I'm willing to play martyr to help others. It's not always gone my way, but I have long-term guilt to atone for. My ledger is red, and I'm looking to wipe it out (for fans of the Avengers film).

Bit off topic, let me move it back.

Cults are a fascinating topic. The initial "buy in" is really very low, and doesn't move you outside of your comfort zone. The second step is a bit more, but you can get along with it because you're already invested - and it's not really outside of your comfort. The third, and so on, are usually still things you would normally do, but your investment at this point makes you more inclined to continue. By the time you get to the things you normally would never do if a random stranger asked you on the street, you have the positive reinforcement of the group (Conformity, particularly) to contend with on TOP of previous investment.

A fascinating study on conformity, and something which ties scarily in with Zimbardo and Milgram's work, is Solomon Asch's experiment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYIh4MkcfJA (Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments ).

Zimbardo's experiment shows us that, given intended roles, we are likely to conform to them even if we don't normally hold those ideas or values.

Milgram shows us that, under pressure from authority, we are likely to cede to those who we believe are more knowledgeable or more responsible than we are.

Asch shows us that, given a group, we are likely to go along for one of several reasons.

To that end, cults are pretty scary things. If you're in a large group setting, put your faith in someone of higher 'rank' thank you, and are given a title or role (even as follower), then you're getting hit pretty hard.

The Stanford/Zimbardo experiment was 100% conformity, Milgram's was north of 65% (of participants delivering lethal/XXX shock, even after the "subject" became nonresponsive), and Asch indicates that we will literally disagree with our own physical evidence about 1/3 of the time, if the group does the same thing.

I suppose that's probably why I don't go along with very much on a whim. I take Nem's style, and give it a few days' thought. If it's an immediate thing, then sure, but if it's not going to evaporate in a few minutes or hours then it deserves some good consideration.

(Of course, that leads to the persuasive tactic of Scarcity, but that's another topic entirely).

Ah, sorry for the huge long post... I get so happy when I can use my education for something. :X

Edit: Asa mentioned Nazis, and I forgot to touch on that. Basically the combination of your presumed role ("iron willed, steel hearted, loyal to the Fuhrer, SS officer"), your powerful/knowledgeable authority figure (they were taught to regard the Reich as the future), and the rest of your group (entire military) doing the same thing you're doing, it was amazingly hard to break away from that. That's why I have such devout respect for those that did so before the Allies started winning. They had to know it was a death sentence for them, but they valued their moral code over their own lives, or the lives of their family. Arguably the height of nobility and courage, though they are statistically irrelevant. "Outliers" would be giving their number too much credit.

Much more popular move once the Allies started winning, and the Axis' credibility looked less.

That reminds me, persuasion (back to cults, Nazi Germany, or even US talk shows) hinges upon one very important trait: the speaker's believability. If you can believe the speaker, you're far more likely to take the message to heart.

There are two types of persuasion (in a certain model of persuasion, which is sort of generalizing the whole topic):
"Central" reasoning and "Peripheral" reasoning.

Central Reasoning is your logical process. They give you facts, they give you statistics, they give you data points. These are the things you're going to hold on to, even long after the speaker is gone. Not surprisingly, US talk shows (particularly political ones) has this in common with Nazi Germany. Neither of them even tried to use this. >_>

Peripheral Reasoning is your gut reaction. The speaker looks nice, they have a nice voice, they seem well dressed, or they seem very passionate. You can convince someone only with this method, but it's actually not going to last overly long. Your returns are minimal, which is largely why propaganda works well when you bury people in it. This is how politics works, for the most part, either because people are incapable or unwilling to learn enough about the system to use logic and reason for their decision making. They'll cede to authority figures or sharp dressed, kind spoken people behind a podium. (I could go on for hours about this. It gets under my skin. I'm VERY political, heh.)

Another tactic which Nazi Germany used was the tactic of dehumanizing your enemy. It's much easier to hate/hurt a group when you constantly (even in passing) refer to them as less than human. This is also why bullying in schools is such an issue. Even if you don't bully a person directly, you're actually far less inclined to be nice to them or treat them normally when you simply don't argue with a bully dehumanizing them.

A good example, I think, is in Formula 1 Racing this season. One of the drivers, Pastor Maldonado, received a lot of flak when he was signed last year to the Williams team. He was signed because he was bankrolled by the Venezuelan Gov't to the tune of 72 Million USD, which the team desperately needed (they haven't been doing well for many years). He had moderate results, but by far wasn't a bad driver.

This year, he's only had a handful (3-4) accidents. He's also won a race, regarded widely as insanely difficult with his current car. However, come the end of the season, he's always lumped in with another driver who is incredibly accident prone (of 17 races, the other driver has crashed on the first lap of 10-12 of them). Why? He's not as bad as the other driver, but we're all so used to talking smack about Pastor that it's easier to do. It's harder to think of him as a good driver, despite the fact that he has won an F1 race - no small feat from any driver, good team or not.

I think I could go on about this topic for quite some time.. >_> The pitfalls of social interaction are many, and the ways you can get people to do what you want are many. It's kind of terrifying, how easily you can sway people's actions to even drastic levels. You just have to know how to do it, really.. And that terrifies me. It's not a tool I feel comfortable wielding.

Edit 2: Oh, and Tinu, the original Milgram and Stanford experiments were before the ERB (Ethics Review Board) existed. In fact, they were some of the primary reasons the ERB was created! The Milgram studies were done several times over a long period in the 60's and 70's, I believe. There were two other times/experiments which were similar, one in which participants actually shocked real puppies, and one more modern Milgram experiment.

The real puppies was a horrifying result (20/26): http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Top/ecomments/4755/ Amusingly, those who refused were all men, and the women obeyed 100% of the time all the way up to lethal voltage.

Ah, the modern Milgram experiment was done in the UK. There was also a similar game show in France. Both are noted on the Wiki page, both obtained virtually identical results.. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obedience_to_authority#Replications_and_variations

Another disgusting reveal of how far people will go was the "prankster" who called fast food places and had employees do... horrible, horrible things. http://www.gina-perry.com/2012/09/16/modern-milgram-mcdonalds-strip-search-prankster/ (Possibly NSFW to read. It went soul-crushingly far >_> )

At the end of the day, it comes down to this:
"Love all, trust a few, do harm to none." - William Shakespeare

Couldn't say it better myself.
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Last edited by Tenshi on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Asa



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other thing about the Nazis, and what made their military machine so efficient, was that the DIDN'T force any soldier to do something he was uncomfortable with. If a soldier started showing unease at the front line or concentration camp, they removed him to a desk position way behind the lines until his comfort zone expanded. This on top of all the factors Usa mentioned.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ignoring the fact that they were the largest and most successful machine of human suffering in modern times (though people are trying to claim the title again), the Nazi organization was... terrifyingly good at what they did. Terrifyingly.

Also added an edit to my post (Edit 2) that you might be interested in, Asa.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The largest number of, more or less, civilian deaths I can recall a government being responsible for offhand is 40-70 million with Mao's regime in China.

But... some people do say no. They exist. The managers who when called up don't strip search their employees, the people who don't run all the way up the electric shock metre, the folks who hide persecuted minorities. And, especially with things like anecdotes, you don't hear about their side of things very much. What's the difference? Why do some people do these things and others not?

I think, though I don't have any immediately relevant data supporting it, that a lot of it comes down to how much you think about this sort of thing beforehand. How many stopping points you have in your behaviour to check what's going on against the old data from when you were thinking about it before - so that you recognise when the little steps are leading you into evil. So that you can see it ahead of time.

It's weird to notice that it works on the victims too. This, relatively, gradual approach to slaughter that is -

Quote:
"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those blue-caps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you'd be cracking the skull of a cut-throat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked. The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!

If... if... We didn't love freedom enough. And even more we had no awareness of the real situation. We spent ourselves in one unrestrained outburst in 1917, and then we hurried to submit. We submitted with pleasure! We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterwards."

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


But, one imagines, the immediate threat of defecting seems significant, and the ultimate effect of not defecting seems far away. Confused

I don't doubt that there are other factors, mind. If you were doing it the textbook way would be - take moral responsibility away from them, create an enemy image, allow verbal dissent but insist on behavioural compliance, get them to invest in the course of action so that they don't WANT to make any more decisions, provide role models of compliance so that they think they'll be all alone if they defect....

Hnmm... wonder whether there's a way to educate a society to be less likely to commit atrocities without some massive secondary cost. :/
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, I passed out in bed curled around my textbook. Not terribly healthy, but 'tis what 'tis. This was fortunate, as after about five hours of rest the combination of the overhead light and my awkward position woke me up. Woke me up to snow. It had been raining all day, so the snow was unexpected. As was the amount. We had gained about 3-4 inches of snow in the same number of hours. I gathered my hoodie and my keys, and set out to wipe off the cars and clear a path down the hill (driveway).

At 4:30AM, things weren't so bad. Nothing to report other than my brother getting home to join me. It was fun! Lots of snow, so we took pictures and had fun, but not a terribly big deal. Still, it looked pretty cool! I did miss snow, so this was exciting for me:


I got everything done by 5AM, and headed back inside to finish sleeping for the night. Woke back up at 8AM, albeit after fitful sleep, and began the process of getting everything together. Wisely, I decided to pack a few days' change of clothes and a travel bag. A "just in case" measure, if you will, since I know how winter can adversely effect where we live. Further, it's supposed to continue going back and forth between rain and snow for two days. It should be real interesting by the end.. Anyway!

Once I woke up, my dad told me that he moved my car (afraid of trees falling on it), and that the windshield wipers didn't work. Which is... worrying. (This becomes important later). I found the problem pretty quickly, though. He'd tried to run the wipers without actually clearing snow first. The car is almost 20 years old, those wiper motors are not strong enough for that! XD So, I woke up to this scene, with a bit of car cleaning ahead of me:


All is well so far. I clean up the car, get packed, and head down the hill. My father follows, and we go to make our way out to the main road (left, from the driveway). Nem and Asa have seen a video of this trip, I think, but it's about a mile of twisty, turny, country roadsy driving. It's pleasant in spring, summer, and fall. It's bloody treacherous in bad weather, which we have. I got to this part of the road which switches back (a 180 degree turn), which is downhill from both directions to the actual switch. Downhill, unplowed, so it took about 50 feet of sliding and skittering to stop the car. I had to stop for good reason, though...


That guy standing there? That's his car in the lower left of the picture. Poor guy...

Anyhow, I managed a twelve point turn on the road, and reversed to go the long, back road. It does the same thing in the end, goes from my house to the main road, but it goes into the country quite a bit further. It also is even less likely to get plowed. But hey, I had an advisor meeting and midterms.. so I had to try. I saw my dad pull off into the yard to call it a day, but I soldiered on. As it turns out, he followed behind me a few moments later, but I wasn't aware of this until I called later on. No pictures from here, as you may imagine, but here's the story:

So about a mile down the road in the other direction, I'm coming downhill again. I've learned my lesson, and there are NO tire tracks (a bad sign in heavy snow, it means that people haven't gotten out yet). I have the car in first gear as I crest the hill, and then have a lovely "Oh, crap" moment. There's a utility truck with its rear wheels hanging over the embankment, sort of hovering in the air. It's been abandoned. It's been abandoned literally across the road, taking up the entire one-lane paved road. My options are to stop, or to put my car in a ditch against the other (rising) side of a mountain. So, I tap the brakes. ABS kicks in, and the car just growls at me, sliding merrily along, aimed right for the middle of said utility truck. ...like I said, "Oh crap."

I pump the brakes, nothing. I ease the emergency brake in (the wire between the lever handle and the brakes is really weak), and nothing. I'm going down the hill, there's no stopping it, and I'm going to have a single choice: T-bone the truck, or dive into the ditch - the only space to put my car without plowing into a stopped truck or going into a mountainside. Maybe. If I'm really good and/or lucky. Turns out, I'm a bit of both.

I let off the brake and ease the emergency brake off, and just work at pumping the ABS system to try and modulate my speed (being in first gear saved my bacon, in this case). I start angling for the space the truck's nose leaves, and sort of manage to ease my way into the ditch. Car keeps rolling, I maneuver by (just, maybe half a foot on either side), and gain traction in the mud and sludge. Better than snow and ice, apparently. I throttle back up and climb back onto the road. On we go, pretty as you please.

When I got to a gas station some ways up from the main road, I called my folks to tell them NOT to take that road. As it turns out, my father had tried to follow me out. He saw me lock the wheels and start sliding, so he ducked into a driveway. He could merely watch as I managed my little sliding/aiming, but headed home after that. Last I talked to them, they're still fussing with the generator, as we've lost power. I also noticed I had a leak in one of my tires, which - considering that I drove overtop of three felled trees after avoiding the truck, is not that bad.

Put air in the tire, and head on down the interstate. Here the roads are pretty well cleared, so I'm not bothered. However! Remember how I mentioned my father fussing with the windshield wipers? Yeah. So, I'm driving, and suddenly the wiper arm just flops off the side of the car, hanging out over the side. The driver side. (Coincidentally, I don't think this could happen on a right hand drive car. Well played, Brits.) I pulled off, forced the arm back into place, and tried again - same problem.

I lean out the driver's window and nurse the car into an auto parts store, only to have them explain that the arm is held on by a plastic bushing. There's no way to put one in by hand, and I don't carry tools in my car (they're all still in my old car, amusingly). However... this morning, on a whim, I grabbed my multi-tool. It had been sitting on my shelf and gathering dust for two years, so why did I grab it? I have no idea. I just decided to do so, even though the tool would be mostly useless.

Useless, until I managed to use the pliers to tighten the bolt on the wiper arm just enough to get the wiper to stick together. Made the remaining five miles to campus less blind, and arrived 15 minutes before my first midterm. Sat down to office-machine-brewed coffee with my professor (who is awesome), and shared my story with her. She regaled me with her recent trip to Cali (90 degrees! @__@) and showed me pictures of she and her boyfriend attending a wedding in India. Protip: If you ever have a chance to go to an Indian wedding, GO. So much color...

So yeah. My car's in the parking garage with a gimpy wiper and a flat tire. I'm not sure where I'm staying tonight, since the weather's not going to improve and it's already getting bad again at my house (and there's zero chance of me getting home while using a spare tire). I'm going to bum a wrench off of someone to fix the wiper, but the spare.. eh. We'll see.

Oddly? I'm in a fantastic mood. I guess it's because I survived? Razz
I shared a hug with the first friend I came across, sort of as a grounding, "I'm still here" moment. Whew.

What an adventure!

The rest of the picture album:
Code:
http://s243.photobucket.com/albums/ff72/infinity-omega/Winter%202012/
Code: GoSnowGo

_________________
. Dubbed "Usagi" by AsA .
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"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
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Tinu.



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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Holy Cow! Glad you're still alive and kicking, Usa! o_o
I hope you find a place to stay, and stay safe, ok? No more crazy stuff.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I agree with Nu. Stay safe, and stay in town!
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't go looking for trouble! I was just trying to get to class! ^^;

A really nice friend of mine put me up on her dorm room floor last night, for lack of a better option available to me. I can't say sleeping on floors is fun, but it's a sight better than sleeping in a car while the weather drops below freezing! Plus, she and another friend hooked me up with some really soft blankets, so it wasn't too bad.

The house will be without power until Saturday morning, by the by. I was supposed to fly out to NYC on Friday morning, but since most of New York City is underwater, that may not be happening. Not sure as yet if I'll just eat the cost of the ticket, or I can get a refund/reschedule/credit. I saw on the news that NYC isn't supposed to be cleared up until Tuesday, so... suppose we'll have to find out as we go.

Classes are still intermittant. Professors that live to the east, in my direction, are reporting difficulty getting to campus. Professors to the west are reporting students having difficulty getting to campus. Amusing, being midterms week!

Today I decided, since I was already going to shower at the recreation center, that I'd do my workout while I was there. I forgot to use my inhaler beforehand (as I was instructed to do), and actually found it easier. This is the real reason I've been working my heart rate into the 150 and 160 beats per minute range, to increase my body's ability to draw in and process oxygen. If I can forego the inhaler.......

-Happy Dance-

Tonight, I'm slumming it around with friends again, borrowing floors and couches. It's good to have such awesome friends, frankly... Also, good news! My car seems to have been repaired by the elbow grease I put into fixing it. Seems the damage was temporary, and scary-but-not-permanent. I promise to continue attempting to avoid such situations. It's not like I go looking for them... >_> Anymore.

Okay, back to working on midterms. Well wishes to anyone adversely affected by the weather! May all of you be safe, warm, and happy.
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"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
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Nem



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allegations of corruption in critical journalism make me laugh in a rather cynical manner. The most damning condemnation is only tangentially related to whether the person is corrupt or not. It's that people can't tell the difference. Talking about whether someone's opinion is coloured by undue influence relies on the underlying premise that the vast majority of their writing doesn't have anything to do with reality; that there's nothing of substance you can check for bias or outright falsehood. If they were corrupt in any meaningful sense, then you wouldn't be talking about their funding, you'd be talking about all the lies they told.

The standard of dialogue in critical journalism is so empty that people who subscribe to it have long since lost the ability to meaningfully criticise what they consume. This is not particularly surprising: The point of advertising based journalism, which is most of what we have today, is to say as little as possible that might offend someone who might pay the bills. And everyone does it to varying degrees, pushing their luck as far as they think they can to balance page-views and revenue.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today, a friend whom I've known for three years came out. At birth, the decision was made that she would be male, but she's grown her entire conscious life... not feeling that way. It was a 50/50 shot, in her case, one of those 1:30,000 chances. A transsexual. We've been friends for years, I just treat her same as I'd treat anyone, right? A person'a actions and spirit defines them, not what they've got under the hood, in my opinion. Not like I'm tinkering with the exhaust manifold with any of my friends, right? >_>

So anyway, she came out to her friends. I was one of two people still in her life that she had told up until now. Living in a southern community, she has been reviled her entire life for this condition. It's something she's hidden, believing that she is dirty and wrong and sinful, all that jazz. But it's who she is. So, following her experience with my support and normalcy, she came out to people who are critical pillars of support in her life - her closest friends, if you will.

They were all, nearly unanimously, like "okay. And?". She was moved to tears, she was crying. She, for the first time in twenty years, wants to live. And she told me I'm the most amazing human being alive, that I'm why God gave man a second chance, that I'm what he designed mankind to be. >_> I'm uncomfortable when people tell me I have generally nice qualities, dudes and dudettes. And I didn't do anything special anyway. I just treated her like a human being.

Then she told me she loves me.

........ I honestly don't see any path forward that doesn't hurt her. Yes, she and I are close, but I... My heart is elsewhere, and I can't lie to her about that. I can't flirt with her like she wants, that would be lying to us both. I can't tell her I love her, that word... That word holds so much power, to me. That word is one I want to save for that one person, because I save it for family.

-_- How on earth can a person believe I'm as good as all that? The skeletons in my closet can't even be enumerated. The drive I have is half fueled by an eternal guilt. I've never forgiven myself for some of the things I've done, and the events have never left my lips. I'm only perfect as an example of how far mortal man can fall into darkness and evil, and I'm cloaked in the mantle of skills that hold a constant allure of wickedness and self interest. My silver tongue (I hate that compliment), my confidence, my charm, my wit, my strength, my persistence. It is a daily struggle for me not to use these things for selfish interest.

And every time another person falls in love with me, I wonder if the inevitable truth isn't that the only place safe from me is away from me. -_- I am not perfect. I'm barely even good. So many mistakes.. So make mistakes..

And I'm going to tell her that I have to hurt her, that I can't flirt with her, because what holds all of those inner demons in check is one thing: honesty. Too honest most of the time, too afraid of my strength, too afraid to even touch people... But these are my manufactured flaws. I modeled them after Asperger's. I saw the world through the eyes of an Aspie, and I realized that it allowed for more black and white, more certainty, more truth. It's all I cling to, truth.

Back to an old favorite:
*shrug, flail*

Edit: I'm not looking for people to tell me how good I am, I should add. It's not a self worth issue - I'm not depressed. It's... Did anyone see The Avengers? I've got some red in my ledger. I've got a lot of red.. And I don't think a mortal life is long enough to make up for what I've done. No matter how many people I save, no matter how many lives I change, no matter what I do or who I do it for, I can't... Unmake a handful of decisions. A handful that, after a decade, I can't forgive myself for. In a way, I don't want to. I should feel guilty. Someone should. So I'll live every single day to the point of exhaustion, and I'll change the world one person at a time, and then, maybe... I dunno. Haven't worked that final part out, yet.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if it makes you feel any better: While you're reasonably clever, you're not the smartest man who ever lived. You're not even the smartest man I know. Chances are that if you abuse your advantages over some others too far someone will just kill you.

I realise that may not sound brilliant, but the idea that there's some sort of social safety net might also be a comfort - so... 50/50? Wink

Phew. The rest of that situation's a toughy. Yeah. Not really sure what to say about that. Sounds like a ... vulnerable ... personality being attracted to a stronger one. If she never actually asks you out, then you might just be able to get away with letting it sail past unremarked. Though how desirable that is for you.... -shruggle- There does seem to be a standard in most Western societies that the man's meant to initiate the more overt portions of the relationship.

Dunno, I'd imagine your reaction when she told you may have been fairly telling without the need to say anything :/ Tricksie.

Good luck anyway! ^^;
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem wrote:
Well, if it makes you feel any better: While you're reasonably clever, you're not the smartest man who ever lived. You're not even the smartest man I know. Chances are that if you abuse your advantages over some others too far someone will just kill you.

This made me laugh and laugh...
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Keeper of the Siderean Swords

"If by chance some day you're not feeling well, and you should remember some silly thing I've said or done, and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose as your clown has been fulfilled."
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WARNING: Tough love ahead.


Oh, Usa, wake up. Wallowing in your faults is as selfish as wallowing in your abilities. Being 'good' or 'bad' is not an absolute value, it's about making mistakes and learning from them, and trying not to make them again. Sound familiar? I believe you mentioned something like that in your post. Perhaps you have a lot of red in your ledger, but the black you've put in since then strikes me as more than enough to balance it. Even if you haven't eradicated the red, I'm pretty sure the black will balance the scales of justice in your 'one day...' scenario (and that's not accounting for G-d's aspect of Mercy, which is also at play).


I had more to say, but I'm pretty sure it would all fall under the category of 'telling you how good you are', so I'm going to refrain. So yeah, bottom line: Wake up, Usa! Stop picking at your scabs and keep on as you have. I promise you're on the right path.
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