Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Nothing new here at all. But this brain-fart I had, in the middle of garrulously rambling away here, and then here and here, has shown itself to be worthy of some linkage while I’ve been in the midst of describing some other things. Those things have to do with explaining, without offending anybody too much, how it is that liberals and conservatives come up with their different opinions about things when neither one of them is actually misunderstanding anything or intentionally presenting their perceptions in any delusive or insincere way. This is a worthy goal in these contentious times, when heated discourse has become more abundant, and more cool & rational discussions have therefore become desirable and valuable.
So I need a higher-quality link-point for the idea. Or a more concise one. The idea has to do with the way people perceive things.
Imagine that one day a conservative and a liberal, both reasonable, intelligent and honest, take the time to attend an art museum. Within this museum hang many paintings. Among these, is a painting of a barn adjacent to some fields…and then some other paintings of stuff like kids, birds, clouds, water action, sidewalks with people on them doing things…then, another painting of a barn. Once the suspicion is aroused, an observer can quickly gather some evidence that the two paintings are of the same barn, captured from two different directions, by two different artists, and two different times of day, as well as seasons, and using different illustrative styles.
The ideas that are being captured in the metaphor are, that there are differences in perceptive methodology between conservatives and liberals, and these differences become a bit less subtle in certain situations. These situations avail us of a rare opportunity to see things from the other’s point of view, if we can just make something of them. These situations exist any time an object is illustrated through a defined perception. What you will tend to see happening is that, since liberals suffer from an inability to distinguish a bit of helpful information from some kind of a marching order, they end up living in an empty universe of only one kind of idea. This universe is stuffed to bursting point, with lots of commands, be they good commands or bad ones, and not a whole lot else. You might say their universe of words is noun-sparse and verb-heavy. Think of the paintings as they actually exist: There is the barn, a three-dimensional object, someone built that; the painters then made a decision about how to paint the barn, from the Northwest in the case of one, or the Southwest in the case of the other; these and other actions combined together, layers upon layers of decisive actions, to make the paintings. But the liberals don’t see the layers, they only see the products. As experiences, waiting for observers to come by and live them. Standalone, independent, packaged experiences.
They do not see that it is the same barn — generally. If it is pointed out to them, then — generally — they won’t care that much. That’s because conservatives tend to be Architects, who respond to new situations by thinking, as opposed to Medicators who respond by feeling. So! A liberal stands in front of a painting. The painting makes him feel a certain way. The barn combines with the brush strokes, and colors selected, oil, matte, frame, lighting of the painting, room in which it is kept, to form an emotional experience. And this experience is the whole point. In actuality, the experience is a confluence of many layers of decisions made by the painter, the museum curator, the guy who built the barn…but the liberal doesn’t see all these “layers of commands,” he sees only the one. Painting, is single command, is single experience. Kinda ties in to the “you didn’t build that” thing.
The conservative, on the other hand, who was probably dragged to this damn art museum by the liberal, more likely than not found the whole thing to be a crushing bore until such time as he figured out this bit of trivia with the barn. And to whatever extent this arouses any passion in him, it probably has to do with a genuine curiosity about whether the barn is real, and since it probably is, where it’s located, when it was built, by who, and whether it still stands. Or, maybe he doesn’t find that so captivating. But even if not, it’s still an important part of his perceptive process; it is meaningful to him that painting A and painting B share this common conceptual object. It logically follows that the common object, the barn, will be elevated in importance. The barn, appearing in both paintings, has meaning that is not imbued in the sunflowers that appear in the one painting but not in the other. But none of this matters a tinker’s damn to the liberal. The liberal is more in a thought locus of, I like this painting over here, I don’t like that painting over there.
But a lot of life is like this, which is why conservatives and liberals argue about, evidently, just about everything. Images…which are put together by the task of visually capturing an object. The image is not synonymous with the object, it is just a reflection of it. But to the liberal, to whom each painting is a separate item of value, that doesn’t work. Images are objects, to the liberal. Say something profound in English, then say it in Spanish, now you’re twice as smart. That’s complete balderdash to about half of us, while to the other half it makes perfect sense.
This explains a lot. It explains why today’s statesmanly “leaders” tend to be a grown-up versions of sissy liberal hippie kids back in the 1960′s, and many among those who were not alive back in the 1960′s, but would have fallen in line with the anarchy and rebellion and counter-culture protesting and what-not if they were, now tell the rest of us we’re a bunch of racists if we don’t take our orders unquestioningly from this crop of sixty-something lefty politicians. Liberals see every message as some kind of command. They don’t understand “You go ahead and pay taxes to fight climate change if you want to, but I personally don’t want to” — you say that, and what they hear is “I hate the Earth and I wish to destroy it.” And pretty much every time. That’s a painting they don’t like. Oppose them on the debt talks, and you’re a racist. Oppose them on social spending, you hate poor people. Oppose them on Medicare, you must want to push granny off a cliff. Oppose them on education, you must want more stupid kids. Oppose them on paying for birth control, you must hate women. You know the litany.
Conservatives have a slow time catching on to this. The thing that a lot of people don’t get, mostly because liberals put a lot of energy into propagandizing to the contrary, is that the conservatives pretty much have a monopoly on the nuanced thinking here. In the example with paying taxes to fight climate change, they recognize a common object in the two illustrations, which is the desire that our species should co-exist with the Earth peacefully and toward mutual benefit. Whereas liberals — like their representative example in the art museum, who sees a second painting of the same barn and doesn’t realize it’s the same barn — only hear a second message distinguishably different from the first. Since all messages are commands, and the first one was “good,” this one must be “bad.” Yes, that is the thought process. It isn’t one bit more complicated than that.
So when they talk about what hateful racists conservatives are, it isn’t that they’re actually trying to slander. They don’t think it’s lying. But of course, you can’t say logical things like, “since you think that’s true, why don’t you…” As in, “since you think this is such a terrible country, why don’t you leave.” Or, “since you’re so convinced that I’m dead-set on destroying the planet, where do you think I’m planning to live once I succeed.” None of that stuff works. It isn’t that they think there’s a true or a false, what’s going on is they really don’t care! All they’re trying to do, really, is call out a painting that they think is ugly and bad. Every object is a painting. Every message is a command. Some are good and some are bad. Once you understand this, you understand them.
They don’t have a sophisticated, multi-faceted way of looking at the world. What they have is the precise opposite of that. A liberal trying to understand a conservative point-of-view, is like a dog trying to measure how far it ran to fetch the stick. Our mistake is in thinking, when we see a liberal looking at artwork and professing some appreciation of it, that they understand it. They don’t. And that is not to say, I hasten to add, that they’re stupid or anything. Some of them may appreciate that there is deeper meaning in all the pleasing colors within the rectangle, and that they’re supposed to combine together to make a person or a house or a barn or a cloud — if they tried. But if trying is mutually exclusive from being a good liberal, then they don’t want to try. And it is, so they don’t.
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