Friday, July 27, 2007

We all have different ways of knowing, which often clash. I tend to focus on generalities rather than specifics, facts rather than feelings, and I don't make political decisions based on affliation. Why? Because facts, generalities and logic over friendilness tend to be more reliable. People feel with equal intensity that child support is an injustice and that children going hungry is an injustice. If we just chose based on who is the loudest about how they have been hurt so bad, well, first, people who are suffering but are more stoic are ignored, second, people who have fewer means to complain about things get less heard than people who have more time, energy and money. This also serves to weed out fakers. In the years in which I came of age, fakers have become more prevalent- Christians who claim that Christians are persacuted in America, white men who are being oppressed by the perscence of black people on campus, etc. Using facts such as the percentage of people who are Christians, white people's wealth levels, etc, helps reduce the amount of false equivalence between the time this lady glared at you for breast feeding and the entire Civil Rights movement.

I also tend to focus on generalities rather than specifics because in my experience, one exception does not disprove a rule. Oprah doesn't mean that black people aren't economically disadvantaged, the fact that planes fly doesn't disprove gravity, and the fact that your Nigel is the best person ever doesn't disprove the general system of male dominance. I note that people have a tendency to believe that one vivid story means that that story is the norm. That's very nice if you're talking about very basic things, like "should I run out into the street" but on the societal level, just because a team of five or six people shoot chickens out of cannons, it does not follow that all people in that society shoot chickens out of cannons.

Not to mention, there is also the issue of self selection. In real life, your circle of friends often depends on proximity and common interests. Online, the group of people frequenting say, LJ AP_Racism and LJ Domestic Snark, tend to be different, although there is some overlap. Even in large common areas such as the etsy forums, the users tend to be female and to like to create objects. People with common interests may have other things in common, and certain people may talk more than other people. Even the type of person who is interested in my blog and the type of person who would be interested in Feministing are quite different, although they are both under the umbrella of feminist blogs.

One dynamic that I see on online spaces are that there are some dramatic people who are really loud, and people may believe that the views of those people are more representative than they are. Of course, I'm suspicious of thinking that affiliation is the path to truth. One example of this is my misogynist friend. He is in fact quite nice to me. But that doesn't make women illogical no matter how much he says it. One's personal qualities and whether one's arguments are true are in fact two seperate things.

So in summary- your brain is fucked, your friends are fucked, and truth is not a matter of opinion. K, thx,bai.

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