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Is "social-life" a mockery of human-life?

The Catcher in the Rye was a pile of feces. It reminds me of the ungodly "pieces of art" Burroughs published. I still have recurrent nightmares from reading Naked Lunch.

My main contention with talking with strangers or people you don't care about is how hard it is to talk about non-trivial, boring subjects.

TCITR was a great teenage book. Yes, people are false; yes, sometimes you stumble through life as a result -- and where to from there? And how did we get here? And what do we do about it? It's a book of hopelessness, at the end, because all we can see is the twofold curse it leaves us:

(a) Don't be a phoney
(b) That guarantees you'll be everyone's rape toy

It's one of those books that teachers love because most of them are dunces (why else become a teacher, but if school didn't injure your ego? excepting a few enlightened cases, that's the wrap). It's easy to teach. It's a topic people can identify with. It has shocking scenes and zero actual moral struggle.

Similarly, To Kill a Mockingbird is much-beloved for its easy, bite-sized, non-confrontational moral lessons:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703561604575283354059763326.html

But it's also a fake, or at least is designed for children (and liberals), not people of full mental cognition.

Thinking you've found quality people just because you can discuss philosophy with them is pretty stupid. I've talked to a handful of people who present themselves as intellectuals and though they may seem interesting at first it's pretty easy to tell that they for the most part only understand the philosophy they drool over on a superficial level and don't actually know how to apply that knowledge to answer more complex questions about life. My friend trolled a philosophy professor at UMass, the conversation went something like this:

Friend: I came to the conclusion the other day that nihilism is the only philosophy that can be substantiated by rational thought.
Professor: That's a mistake alot of amateur philosophers make.
Friend: Well, I mean, you can't really prove ANYTHING conclusively. For all we know this could all just be a projection and our brains are all in jars somewhere. You just can't know.
Professor: That's ridiculous. The amount of power it would take to power a system that could project a false reality would make that impossible.

The guy was not only totally missing the point but his retort made absolutely no sense. He's probably only used to people coming up and asking him what his favorite works by John Stuart Mill are and what he thinks about the Communist Manifesto. Alot of people are into philosophy for the same socially motivated reasons people listen to certain types of music and drive certain types of cars.

The best people I've met have been humble, reserved, and guileless.

Thinking you've found quality people just because you can discuss philosophy with them is pretty stupid. I've talked to a handful of people who present themselves as intellectuals and though they may seem interesting at first it's pretty easy to tell that they for the most part only understand the philosophy they drool over on a superficial level and don't actually know how to apply that knowledge to answer more complex questions about life. My friend trolled a philosophy professor at UMass, the conversation went something like this:

Friend: I came to the conclusion the other day that nihilism is the only philosophy that can be substantiated by rational thought.
Professor: That's a mistake alot of amateur philosophers make.
Friend: Well, I mean, you can't really prove ANYTHING conclusively. For all we know this could all just be a projection and our brains are all in jars somewhere. You just can't know.
Professor: That's ridiculous. The amount of power it would take to power a system that could project a false reality would make that impossible.

The guy was not only totally missing the point but his retort made absolutely no sense. He's probably only used to people coming up and asking him what his favorite works by John Stuart Mill are and what he thinks about the Communist Manifesto. Alot of people are into philosophy for the same socially motivated reasons people listen to certain types of music and drive certain types of cars.

The best people I've met have been humble, reserved, and guileless.
Well your friend should have just said, "But what if 'power' is merely an illusion, too? What if it's simply an aspect of this false 'projection' and a concept designed specifically to do exactly what you just did - throw us off the scent of discovering this reality-projection.  Check-mate, buddy, check-mate."

It seems like anyone can worm their way into academia these days.  You just have to stick it out and pay the money.  I suppose the dedication is commendable but I'd rather have raw talent.  I have a friend becoming a Prof. who just has absolutely no business even getting a Bachelors degree.  I guess he just wore everybody out.  Philosophy discussions on campus are a charade, forget about at a bar.

It seems like anyone can worm their way into academia these days.  You just have to stick it out and pay the money.
Why do you think its a modern illness? Back in the '20 and '30 lots of liberal professors believed the lies the USSR told them and were avid Communists, and in the 50's they were avid anti-Communists. In the East-European countries (and Vietnam) these "useful idiots" were the first to go, obviously. You also have the post-Modernists who's philosophical movement started in the 50's too. Just to name a to name a few examples that immediately come to mind.

It seems like anyone can worm their way into academia these days.  You just have to stick it out and pay the money.  I suppose the dedication is commendable but I'd rather have raw talent.  I have a friend becoming a Prof. who just has absolutely no business even getting a Bachelors degree.  I guess he just wore everybody out.  Philosophy discussions on campus are a charade, forget about at a bar.

When we insist on equality, degrees become a matter of (a) sticking it out and (b) not offending anyone.

However, what this means is that good people need to get in there as well and be represented, or we are taught exclusively by dolts.

Why do you think its a modern illness?

I'm starting to define "modern" as "post-1789."

It seems like anyone can worm their way into academia these days.  You just have to stick it out and pay the money.  I suppose the dedication is commendable but I'd rather have raw talent.

What would you rather do with that 'raw talent'? Instead of education? Please clarify if this is not what you were deliberately implying.

When we insist on equality, degrees become a matter of (a) sticking it out and (b) not offending anyone.

I have no idea what you mean about insisting on equality in a university context. Where I live indigenous peoples can get much better social security payments if they are studying post-graduate, but nothing about completing the coursework has anything to do with equality. What do you mean not offending anyone? And what is wrong with sticking out a university degree?

Take your own advice and hit the bars to relearn some social skills. Step outside your quiet, surly, critical, insular INTJ bubble a little more often and you'll realize that humans are not mere yes-no, right or wrong information-relay machines.
Did you read his whole post before your eagerness to go off on this tirade consumed you? He pretty clearly does step outside his bubble and derives a lot of joy from socializing. Are you upset because he doesn't like everyone he comes across, or what?

Yes, I read his whole post. No, actually the tirade did not consume me, and no I am not upset.

I think his issue is not that he doesn't like everyone that he comes across, but that he does not understand fully what socializing involves, and the effect of this is that his perception of other people is negatively altered.

So which parts am I missing out on exactly?  The problem is that people really do have different theories and motivations about why they are going to various social events.  Some people go with the conscious goal of trying to sleep with someone that very night.  Others are going "just to dance" and going home with someone is against the rules of the group you came with.  People in the former group would describe the later as "cockblocking."  Others are going to get as intoxicated as possible.  A different group of people is trying to do business networking.  Some more people might want to see how those people they haven't seen in a while and reconnect with them.  Some people like to stand around and take pictures of themselves and post them on social networks.  Other people have this theory:
Here are our two glossary terms for today's assignment.

bubble sort

pecking order
As cynical as it is, I do sometimes take this perspective that human beings have social dynamics that are similar to a wolf pack.  This seems to be mostly a male thing.  It's a hierarchy with the alpha male at the top, and everyone else is acting like 'unwelcoming personalities' and 'egotistical enemies,' developing that behavioral code so you can shame others into being 'gay.'  I guess that night if you don't like Toy Story 3, you're gay.  That's one way of interpreting it.

And I'm an INFP damn it! ;)

All kinds of social activities including clubbing and parties are underpinned by courting. And there is definitely an alpha male/pecking order hierarchy that undermines every point of socializing. You can study those two things in your free time if you want, and learn more about it, but that is not the point! And it doesn't matter in this context. The point is that you were killing the mood when you said Toy Story is a movie for kids. And you should understand why.

Inconsequential bullshit is what quality socializing is made up of. Ironically, by calling it that, you couldn't see past what it really was. The inconsequential bullshit itself is superficial, the human bonding that underpins it is the crucial and important feature of socializing. You shouldn't be seeking to learn something practical from every encounter, that destroys human meaning. For example, I tend not to learn very much at all from seeing my grandma, but I still like to see her, and feel happy when doing so.

As an aside, those who prefer a strict utilitarian, manipulative, psychopathic paradigm of thought have the opportunity to become great, very high achievers in society. For example, Agathocles.

I personally would rather be alone then socialize with people to whom inconsequential bullshit is the norm. I dont want to wade through there bullshit so that we can "bond", just as I doubt they want to grin and bear mine. I cant possibly see how that leads to bonding with someone.
how does seeking meaning in your encounters with people lead to a loss of meaning?
ps. Im not meaning to come off as passive aggresive/agressive aggressive, I just at the moment cant formulate my thoughts better and would rather post and possibly be flamed than keep silent

hmmm theres alot of "I" in there

I personally would rather be alone then socialize with people to whom inconsequential bullshit is the norm. I dont want to wade through there bullshit so that we can "bond", just as I doubt they want to grin and bear mine. I cant possibly see how that leads to bonding with someone.
how does seeking meaning in your encounters with people lead to a loss of meaning?
ps. Im not meaning to come off as passive aggresive/agressive aggressive, I just at the moment cant formulate my thoughts better and would rather post and possibly be flamed than keep silent

hmmm theres alot of "I" in there


Same as me.  I have tried many times to go out to the places most college students go to "have fun" (which is usually bars, parties, and clubs) and I have found it to be the worst way to spend my time and a wonderful way to become suicidally depressed about what college and college kids consists of.  I happen to be someone who doesn't enjoy country music blaring in the background and people talking about such important topics  as popular tv, culture, celebrities, sports etc and the males talking (bragging) about who they fucked last. The people you will likely encounter at these places are of no value even as friends.  If you happen to become friends with one or more of them (which I unfortunately have done before), they will call incessantly to go to another party, bar, etc.  That's their LIFE, that's what they plan their weeks around.  don't let it be yours!

It's perfectly ok to have a distaste for the norms of social interaction. You can be a well-balanced human being without going to bars regularly or discussing the merit of Toy Story 2; I doubt anyone worth their weight on society's back will really care very much.

It's important to communicate who you really are in a social setting to a certain degree. Passively agreeing with things you disagree with for acceptance's sake won't get you anyone's respect; you just have to learn how to disagree without making an idiot out of yourself.

For example, I became interested in my last girlfriend when she made a remark in a class discussion about women in the workplace that men get paid more because they're better at their jobs. That statement probably alienated her from most of the class but I knew there was alot going on in her head behind that statement, so a week later I approached her after class, introduced myself and brought up the remark she made. It sparked a 2 hour conversation that ended with us exchanging numbers.

Just be you. Everyone at least owes that much to themselves.

It seems like anyone can worm their way into academia these days.  You just have to stick it out and pay the money.  I suppose the dedication is commendable but I'd rather have raw talent.

What would you rather do with that 'raw talent'? Instead of education? Please clarify if this is not what you were deliberately implying.


I'm saying, if I was a student, I would want a professor who became a professor by way of raw talent, not dedication.  And in general, I would value both talent and dedication, but I would value talent more.

I'm saying, if I was a student, I would want a professor who became a professor by way of raw talent, not dedication.  And in general, I would value both talent and dedication, but I would value talent more.

Incompetents that are dedicated are equal to lazy people with talent, Comrade Citizen. Don't make this mistake again or we will have to feed the guillotine another traitor.

By order of Robespierre