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Never been much for mimesis
Why say what has already been said ten thousand times?
People who listen to me or read what I write (and they are few indeed) generally claim that I’m a contrarian. All I ever do is disagree, right?
I understand why they think this, but they’re wrong. I agree with all sorts of things. It would be impossible to live life if I disagreed with everything or even most things.
If for no other reason, I must go along to get along because the alternative is unworkable.
But I don’t see any need to add my voice to the chorus of self-congratulation out there. I find it sad that so many need to shout their agreement with the tribe so loudly and so frequently. We get it. You’re on board. We won’t kill you… probably.
The sphere of communication is simply cacophonous with unnecessary agreement. Back slapping and high-fiving abound. Aren’t we so cool! It’s damned hard to hear yourself think, but maybe that’s the point.
The consequence is that a mob mentality prevails and those who recognize the potential fallacies and foolishness and, above all, the dangers of this emotionally-charged, thoughtless activity are often dismissed as Cassandras.
But Cassandra was invariably right. That’s half of what made her Cassandra.
If everyone is already talking about something with which I am in agreement, then why would I add my voice to the fray? It’s just that much more noise. It won’t change or improve anything, so the only reason for doing it would be to promote myself — to add yet another voice to the glorious echo chamber.
Ah, that wonderful feeling of being unaccountable by virtue of being part of something larger than oneself. What a relief!
I’m just not that narcissistic. Neither do I feel a need to escape accountability. I’ll own my own behavior, thank you.
When there is a different model that is well-supported by evidence, but largely unspoken, unheralded, unnoticed, then there is good reason to speak up, even if only to point out that the emperor is truly naked.
So pretty much everything I speak out about or write about is taking a position in opposition to a widely-held view. If it wasn’t, why bother speaking up? True, this makes me appear to be a contrarian—cantankerous, even—but I am not, really. It is just the price I have to pay for mostly keeping my mouth shut.
What is more, unlike most humans I don’t identify with my ideas. My thoughts are just thoughts, they are not me. I can change my views at any time and still be me. Not that I really care much about “who” I “am”. It’s irrelevant.
And I do change my views regularly. I’ve been changing them — improving them, I hope — my entire life. I hold very different views now than I did a couple decades ago, although my essential moral values remain pretty much the same. After all, moral values are axiomatic, are they not?
This process of changing one’s views as new information becomes available is called maturing and it is the one true path to wisdom. And it is wisdom that I seek, for without it we are doomed.
So I’m not going to change my views because the tribe brays loudly. I won’t change them because you think I should change them. I won’t change them because “everybody knows” or “everybody agrees”.
If you want me to change my views, you’ll need a better argument. Prove me wrong and I’ll change position instantly. That’s only possible because I understand that my views are simply positions I hold temporarily. They are not me. And I am always seeking better ones.
Meanwhile, I will keep my mouth shut until I think that I have something worthwhile to contribute, even if that means I mostly end up saying, We’re doing it wrong.