Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sympathy for the postscript

"London," from William Blake's Songs of Experience (1794)
Might be topical.

Regarding the last post, my mad scientist cousin commented:

I take issue with only one thing you wrote, that "in any of these impassioned public debates ... what you ultimately want is for the other side to change their minds ... and join you." I think most of the people behaving badly in public debates on the internet are either so full of anger and indignation that they don't really know what they want to accomplish, or else they are more worried about enhancing or cementing their position within their own side than with anyone outside of it. (Or they're trolls, of course.) Seeking a sense of being secure in one's own tribe by villifying outsiders is as old as humanity; reasoned debates are not.

I wish I my blog entries could be peer edited before they're posted. (I also wish I proofread and tuned them more.) But he's absolutely right.

Maybe what I should have said would have a few qualifiers: "what you SHOULD want," for starters. "What you should most sensibly hope for." "What's probably in everyone's long-term interest."

One might more easily incline towards the sectarian logic of warring tribes, but that's counterproductive when what we really require is a unified front. A stable human supercolony.