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TOTD 16 Apr 2002

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy.
If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem.
But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world,
And a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

-E. B. White

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.

-Eric Hoffer

Thanks to the Reverend Professor Tim Rhodes for the E.B. White quote.

Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
jerronimo
Apr. 16th, 2002 11:02 am (UTC)
man... that E.B. White quote fits me perfectly.
kmo
Apr. 16th, 2002 11:07 am (UTC)
Re:
That's a good place to be.
awe1235
Apr. 16th, 2002 11:33 am (UTC)
:D
keshet29
Apr. 16th, 2002 12:22 pm (UTC)
usually you put two quotes that have something to do with each other, right? I don't see any correlation today?....
kmo
Apr. 16th, 2002 01:23 pm (UTC)
Improve yourself and/or save the world

The two quotes are definitely related in my mind. To make the conceptual shift that will bring the connect out for you, I invite you to consider what actions we can take to genuinely improve the world and then ask yourself how most people go about trying improve the world.

The following quotes may bring clarity to the idea I hoped to convey with today's quotes:

___________________________________

Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.

-Daniel Webster

The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.

-H. L. Mencken
keshet29
Apr. 27th, 2002 11:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Improve yourself and/or save the world
hi, for some reason I didn't read my e-mail about this until now, in the process of cleaning out my flooded, long neglected inbox. The webster and mencken quotes are just too fucking perfect to my eyes. EXACTLY why I believe in anarchy. The funny thing is, instead of arguing about human nature when people hear I'm an anarchist, they want to know who will manage the electricity and water and food and so on, details of which I know nothing about. I have so many ideas about anarchy and sociology, but the only things people grill me on are technicalities. UGH. You're intelligent, mr. k. m. o. sir, so I'm assuming you're an anarchist already. Do you know the answer to such details? I'm sorry you might not even be anything or anyone I think you are, I'm very very tired and jet lagged, in CA for my first day, and I really need to go to sleep. So if this is all stupid ignore it and I can laugh about it tomorrow.

love & revolution
kmo
Apr. 29th, 2002 08:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Improve yourself and/or save the world
I don't identify myself as an anarchist for the same reason I don't identify myself as an athiest, even though I don't believe in the existence of an anthropomorphic god. People generally have half-baked, ill-informed, pre-conceived notions about what "anarchism" and "athiesm" mean. That's why using labels like "athiest" and "anarchist" to describe myself and my views makes for poor communication. People assume they know what those terms mean when they really don't, and, if I'm lazy or careless enough to put labels on myself, they will apply all of the negative judgements and misconceptions they associate with those labels to me and not bother to listen to anything I have to say because, with the labels firmly attached, they think that already they know the contents of my mind.

Synopsis: Labels bad.
keshet29
May. 1st, 2002 09:00 am (UTC)
Re: Improve yourself and/or save the world
There is a big difference between labels and words in the english language. Words are used to describe things, and though everyone carries slightly or very different meanings behind each word, we still use them, and often they are even helpful and beautiful. "Atheist" means someone who does not believe in god and anarchist means someone who does not believe in government. Period. If people are ignorant or just plain wrong, that is their problem. I don't consider it lazy for someone to call themselves plain english words that put them in a category that they do fit in because - oh, no! What if someone thinks I'm something I'm not and gets the wrong idea! I think it's absurd of you to stop yourself from calling yourself whatever the hell you are in fear of people's misconceptions.
whatever. it is not a big deal to me what you choose to call yourself. sorry if I sound like I give a lot more shit about it than I do. (ha, ha! misunderstood!)

peace & love
kmo
May. 1st, 2002 09:59 am (UTC)
words and their virtues
There is a big difference between labels and words in the english language. Words are used to describe things, and though everyone carries slightly or very different meanings behind each word, we still use them, and often they are even helpful and beautiful.

The trick, I think, is to utilize one's intelligence, experience, and mental flexibility to select the words that generate the desired result. If the result you desire is the same one you've gotten consistently when you represent yourself to others using the word "anarchist," then, by all means, carry on as you have been doing.

If you'd like a different result, you'll need to do something differently.

"Atheist" means someone who does not believe in god and anarchist means someone who does not believe in government. Period. If people are ignorant or just plain wrong, that is their problem.

To the extent that you feel aggravated and frustrated by the way people respond to your efforts at communication, I would call it your problem.

I don't consider it lazy for someone to call themselves plain english words that put them in a category that they do fit in because - oh, no!What if someone thinks I'm something I'm not and gets the wrong idea!

Words are as real as you make them. Categories have as much power over you as you allow them.

Words trigger images in the minds the people who hear/read them. People act according to those images. For example, in many people, the word "atheist" triggers an image of a black clad rioter throwing a Molotov cocktail at police. Now, I may want to disabuse someone of that notion, and I may intentionally trigger that image in their mind by using the word "anarchist" so that I can then contrast that image with the actual dictionary definition and possibly help someone to clarify her thinking. I would only do this, though, if I thought that the person in question was interested in and capable of refining her thinking. If I think she's overly attached to her current conceptual framework I won't bother, as it would just trigger the umpteenth repitition of a pointless verbal exchange.

If I know that activating a certain trigger will prompt someone to act in a way that annoys me and draws me into to a discussion that I've had time and again and don't care to repeat but I activate that trigger anyway out of some ideological/semantic commitment to a word or conceptual category, then I think I have given words and categories more power over my life than is useful.

I think it's absurd of you to stop yourself from calling yourself whatever the hell you are in fear of people's misconceptions.

Examine your use of the word "fear" in that sentence. Do you really think that I fear misconceptions, or have I learned to recognize that certain verbal actions on my part trigger tiresome exchanges that I no-longer care to follow by rote and made a conscious decision to use words that produce more interesting and useful results?

Experience alters ideology. I expect that (unless you allow yourself to get hooked on the cheap buzz that verbal conflict provides) after a few hundred repetitions of the same tedious exchanges, you too will come to recognize the value of conscious deliberation and mental flexibility.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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