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    • Joe Carter

      The Hegelian Dialectic is sometimes described as “the art of finding the answer by way of establishing the polar ends of an argument, then looking for a solution within that spectrum”. On the surface it seems reasonable. Understanding the problem in the first step to an effective solution. Where I think the method fails when the way an argument is defined is such that the frame isn't capable of rendering a correct answer. This means whoever frames the argument, in most cases, has already won it, or at least sets the tone for whether a solution can be found. We have our pet perspectives, and this steers what we see and do not see in ways we would probably not be comfortable with if we were to plumb the depths of their influence on our vision. My guess is this is why we can use the same evidence to support different conclusions depending on the presuppositions we use to render the evidence.

      Noam Chomsky once made this observation, he said; "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views." There may be something to this.

      I am fairly certain that this type of thing happens deliberately at times, or as an emergent property of awareness on a cultural level which is sometimes obscured to the individual - even the individual that participates in the process. My guess is this why the battle for controlling the narrative in the public sphere is so fierce - why media seems aligned around framing the picture so that is sows the divide among the population, perhaps because it then gets to sell access to both segments of that divided market.

      I wonder if there is an effective way to communicate, not across the divide, but outside of it. If the answers we need exist outside the confines of our common frame of reference, we need to find that space in order to make progress, otherwise we're spinning our wheels. As far as I can tell, our common ground is Earth, and our common enemy are things like cancer, ignorance, stray asteroids and poverty, not each other. When we make each other the enemy, we also become agents of our own poverty. My question is: What can we do to assure that we are not seeing reflections of our prejudicial ghosts, and how do we share that broader perspective with others still trapped in a narrower frame?

      I appreciate any insight of calibration anyone might nave toward making progress.

      I could be missing something(s).

    • I have an opinion based on an answer Barack Obama gave to a journalist when he was first elected president. It Doesn't matter which party or president you support, it was the idea.

      The question was why his campaign didn't have the drama that Hillary's and McCain's campaigns had when they had so much more executive experience. His answer was there are three things you can focus on: personal grievance, personal ambition, and the mission. He told his campaign to focus on the mission, that it's the best way to resolve personal grievance and personal ambition.

      The problem I have with defining the polar ends is they are so often focused on personal grievance: immigrants steal our jobs instead of a mission we could rally behind, like more and better jobs.

      We fight bitterly over our grievances until a hurricane comes to our city, and then we're suddenly united by a common mission. The grievances we spent so much time fighting over a few days before are no longer a thing.

    • @JoeCarter The purpose of this comment is not to argue with you, but rather to establish the fact that not everyone is going to agree with you on those things which you consider common ground. I am not pointing this out for the purpose in this comment of trying to change your mind on those things which you consider significant but rather to help you to realize that there are a large number of those with whom you disagree whose reasons for holding various views are founded upon core beliefs which nullify the concept of common ground.

      As long as you have a blurry view of the paradigm of the person (or people) with whom you are engaged in a conversation pertaining to a disagreement, you will find yourself frustrated by your attempts to reason with the other person.

      You mentioned the common ground of earth. Yet there are some who think that earth is most significant while others view earth as least significant. There are some who believe that there is a spirit realm that is more important than the physical realm.

      You mentioned cancer, ignorance, asteroids, and poverty as being the common enemy, but there are some who believe that if we resolved all those things but "lost your own soul" that we had lost everything. I happen to be one of those people.

    • No worries about disagreeing. I appreciate the feedback. Fair enough on a spiritual faith type focus for you as an individual, also fair enough on what you believe should perhaps be the center of focus for everyone. I think we might be more likely to differ on the validity of faith based claims than we would on things like gravity, or that too much heat would destroy flesh. I was attempting to encapsulate the common bonds we share more ubiquitously across the board. While I understand 100% agreement on a common ground is probably not possible, there do seem to be some things more widely shared than others.

      Surely some people are not spiritual, or some would disagree on the type that should be followed even if they have faith. (I assume your perspective is of a Judaeo-Christian variety and that you might find other varieties of Christian faith off the mark along with things like Confucianism and Hindu, all the way to Zoroastrianism) I would say that even all of those who share a faith center still have to contend with the necessities of biological reality that come as a package deal with continuing to be here and now on Earth. This strikes me as a more universally shares part of our common experience, whether faith based or not.

      If I understand you correctly, I tend to agree with your point: "As long as you have a blurry view of the paradigm of the person (or people) with whom you are engaged in a conversation pertaining to a disagreement, you will find yourself frustrated by your attempts to reason with the other person." Then again, I don't attempt to use sound reason as a method to communicate if I think the person I am trying to reach doesn't, or isn't capable of using the same currency of thought.

      Again I could be missing something(s)

      Again, thanks for the feedback.

    • No, I think you are getting the point, but I also think that you are thinking of large groups of people as homogenous. You are also probably making silo like distinctions which are not necessarily distinct. For example, in a variety of belief systems, the use of physical force or governmental force in matters of doctrine is considered legitimate. While in my belief system, the use of force produces only behavior modification but does not produce a genuine mental embracing of the belief. My beliefs advocate against any attempt to change the behavior of an adult separate and apart from a change which originates in a change in the personal belief system of the individual.

    • As long as you have a blurry view of the paradigm of the person (or people) with whom you are engaged in a conversation pertaining to a disagreement, you will find yourself frustrated by your attempts to reason with the other person.

      So what happens when no matter what you try, you can't come to understand what makes someone else think like they do? I've lived my life believing that if I just dig hard enough, show enough empathy, wear the other person's shoes and live their life for awhile, I could understand. Now I believe there are human behaviors I'll never understand no matter how I try. What does that mean for trying to find common ground?

    • I am under no impression that there is homogeneous agreement among us in abstract terms. As a species we differ widely in our abstract framing of reality. There are many narratives, but as far as I can tell their common property is that they attempt to pull the message (the subject) from reality (the object) The localized "subject" we derive from objective reality varies considerably from culture to culture and person to person, but the "objective frame" we all derive that variable abstract framing from does have some global properties that apply to all of us as far as I can tell. These common ground messages are what all the variation comes from the same way all written words, that also can vary infinitely, come from a narrow set of symbols.

      For instance, reality demands a certain level of commitment to specific activities in order to sustain us as coherent entities. Things like; stay away from cliffs unless you want to suffer the gravity of the situation, breathe appropriately to the situation - make sure to produce and distribute a sufficient amount of food to stay nourished as a community and or gather enough to stay nourished as an individual - care for the young and teach them to cultivate the nourishing opportunities as well as navigate and or contend with the hazards that reality presents or die out. In other words; we are governed by a common reality that requires we either negotiate the context of nourishing and antagonistic elements to remain coherent, or we suffer the consequences. We must pay homage to that reality if we want to derive a satisfying experience from it, our nature is reflective of its nature. We are a voice in the choir so to speak. Our shared experience is that we are children of nature, and it clearly states that if we sacrifice appropriately, and cultivate sufficiently, we can produce fruitful results that pay far more dividends when compared to the sacrifices they cost.

      Reality conveys that we can count the seeds in an apple, but counting the apples in a seed is not as clear or easy when those seeds are cultivated properly. With this in mind, I do think there are abstract realities within our shared field of vision that are closer to our common source - that common source being what is conveyed through objective reality. We can embrace these realities, and leverage the opportunities available to us, or we can reject or ignore them, but the result in that case is we twist in the capricious winds of circumstance without a rudder or sail.

      Assuming you believe the Bible is the standard for truth; it might be helpful to put what I am saying in Biblical terms; Psalm 19 says;

      The heavens declare the glory of God;
      the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
      Day after day they pour forth speech;
      night after night they reveal knowledge.
      They have no speech, they use no words;
      no sound is heard from them.
      Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
      their words to the ends of the world. (NIV)

      If we translate the common scripture that is communicated through reality into words more pragmatically: We live in an “almighty” reality that both created and conditionally nurtures us - that sets forth requirements (commands) that must be met for us to minimally survive and or flourish depending on how obedient and committed we are to the proposed relationship between us and that greater power - a greater power that acts consistently and faithfully in context. These grander global narratives we all share commingle with the more localized aspects of stories are often caught in word form. “don't eat pigs in a desert because they compete for the same food you do.” or “Don't kill the cows or you will have nothing to plow the fields next year”. The grander narratives globally shared are mingled with the more localized aspects of stories and we then see things like this woven into the fabric of the stories in the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, Quran and the Tao Te Ching for instance. These writings capture what we need (or once needed) to know in a story matrix, along with many other things of greater or lessor use. As far as I can tell, there is variation, but there is also theme. There is our local abstract lens through which we frame reality, but we also share that common theme spoken through that reality as well. It is what we relate to and the nature of that relationship defines our experience of life. This common womb we share is our common ground as far as I can tell.

      As far as I can tell, we humans have a real penchant to confuse the map with the territory, our words with reality, either by ignorance, or by those who exploit this weakness as a tool to leverage their social position etc. My guess is the morals thing we obsess over is the supposition that these things are necessary navigation aids that assisted us in remaining coherent at least at some point in time. They are like the froth on the surface of a deeper need to connect abstractly with the concrete, which is paradoxically fluid.

      With all this in mind, I think your perspective that we are better off being committed to do of believe things than being forced to do or believe them seems appropriate to me. I do believe we have a common frame to establish things, but I also think some of us are lost in our own little words.

      I could be missing something(s)

    • There are many people whose reasons for holding the views which they hold are a mystery to me, but I continue to try to understand.

      Let me cite two examples which are accessible to others because there is written material available. Some of the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien help me to understand his views on monarchy and divine grace. I don't hold those views nor any similar "sacramental" views but I can get a better understanding of his perspective from his writings. Similarly, Orson Scott Card's writings give me a little better grasp of his worldview.

      In talking with people who hold a different worldview that my worldview, I try to get them to explain their worldview and I listen for the purpose of figuring out where they are coming from. I have found repeatedly that the worldview of many individuals does not coincide with a category in which I might be tempted to lump them together with some set of writings that I have previously studied.

      I also advise against listening to what critics of a worldview say about the worldview that they criticize because it often is a "straw man argument."

    You've been invited!