A Proposition and a Question.

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • 'Think for yourself and question authority' - Timothy Leary.


    To me this always seemed like one of Doc Leary's easier to comprehend sayings.
    It seems so obvious and necessary that it hardly needs to be said, and this attitude has underpinned my approach to all the many and diverse sets of ideas, spiritual paths, philosophical views I've looked into over quite a long time. So following on from other recent threads I though I'd post it here, and maybe provoke some discussion.


    I'd be interested to know what followers of different religions, paths etc think about this.
    And if you think there's something wrong with it, what exactly?

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Shaman: spelling mistake ().

  • That's the catch with telling people to think for themselves; by doing what you tell them to, they arnt really thinking for themselves...they are obeying you :D So its a self-defeating command :insane:

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

  • That's the catch with telling people to think for themselves; by doing what you tell them to, they arnt really thinking for themselves...they are obeying you :D So its a self-defeating command :insane:


    Gosh - it's not a command - a proposition, a suggestion even. What on earth makes you think this is meant as a command?


    But if it's is insane as you say then what do you think? People shouldn't think for themselves and just accept without question whatever 'authorities' tell them to think or do? Their's not to reason why?

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • The trouble with questioning authority is, it usually leads to this :


    [strikethrough]Murdoch[/strikethrough] Mob rule anyone ?


    But the media of which the sun is part is taken as authority by millions. They rely on media to tell them what to think.
    Thinking for yourself would entail questioning what the media say.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • But the media of which the sun is part is taken as authority by millions. They rely on media to tell them what to think.
    Thinking for yourself would entail questioning what the media say.



    I agree with you on that one, Shaman. Only unquestioning people would read the Sun, cos if you start questioning it then you realise how facile it is. Of course it's better than the Daily Mail as at least the Sun is blatant trash and doesn't pretend to be anything else!
    The problem with questioning things is that it generally leads to discomfort. Many people only want a comfortable life. Of course, maybe if people questioned more then there would be less mental illness as they would be being more honest with themselves and not just swallowing everything they are told whilst suppressing their own feelings about it.
    The religion of Islam is very much into the pursuit of knowledge, it is actually an insult to Allah and therefore an enormous sin to not use the gifts you have been given, including your intellect. This would also come under the heading of Jihad - the Greater Jihad, which fights against evil inside yourself and the Lesser Jihad which calls you to fight against evil in the world, which could well include authority as you must take up arms against a tyrant or you are colluding with him/her/it.


  • The problem with questioning things is that it generally leads to discomfort. Many people only want a comfortable life. Of course, maybe if people questioned more then there would be less mental illness as they would be being more honest with themselves and not just swallowing everything they are told whilst suppressing their own feelings about it.


    I think you're right that people want a comfortable life. No one wants to rock the boat.
    However, it's only because some few free thinking people back in the rennaissance questioned the authority of the church that we now know the earth isn't flat. History can furnish many examples like this, where progress ahs only been possible by people thinking outside the patterns established by the various cultural authorities.
    On a personal level, I think many people get caught up in ideologies and so on which actually become a block to their happiness.




    Quote

    The religion of Islam is very much into the pursuit of knowledge, it is actually an insult to Allah and therefore an enormous sin to not use the gifts you have been given, including your intellect. This would also come under the heading of Jihad - the Greater Jihad, which fights against evil inside yourself and the Lesser Jihad which calls you to fight against evil in the world, which could well include authority as you must take up arms against a tyrant or you are colluding with him/her/it.


    I can't comment much about Islam because I simply don't know enough about it in detail. It probably won't surprise you to learn that from what I do know I'm not particularly enamoured of it.....
    Probably though, we might be better of without the slightly militaristic implication of Jihad.I don't personally like to see life as just a fight against evil.
    It also seems that in Iran for example, Islamic tyrants rule.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • Gosh - it's not a command - a proposition, a suggestion even. What on earth makes you think this is meant as a command?


    Get outa here, its a directive :D but anyway....


    Quote

    But if it's is insane as you say then what do you think? People shouldn't think for themselves and just accept without question whatever 'authorities' tell them to think or do? Their's not to reason why?

    If you question too much you undo things like trust and replace them with things like anomie - not a good swap. But then if you question too little you can be screwed over.


    And of course not everyone necessarily has the ability to question in a meaningful manner -they may either lack external resources (information, other people to speak to) or internal resources (descernment, educational/experiential framework and presence of mind).


    To an extent, Leary's directive smacks of paranoia (especially of the kind induced during the "Cold War") where we are encouraged to assume people are selfish and will screw you over; check out "The Trap" for some interesting perspectives on this. I dont agree with all of Curtis' conclusions but it is interesting and quite informative.

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."


  • If you question too much you undo things like trust and replace them with things like anomie - not a good swap. But then if you question too little you can be screwed over.


    And of course not everyone necessarily has the ability to question in a meaningful manner -they may either lack external resources (information, other people to speak to) or internal resources (descernment, educational/experiential framework and presence of mind).


    To an extent, Leary's directive smacks of paranoia (especially of the kind induced during the "Cold War") where we are encouraged to assume people are selfish and will screw you over


    And of course, we all know that politicians today are unselfish creatures, not at all looking to screw anyone.........Popes speak their infallible truths... kids come back from Afganistan minus their legs....mullahs speak the infallibe truths of the koran....


    Just because not everyone has the ability to question things in what you think would constitute a meaningful way doesn't mean we all have to dumb down to that level.
    Anyway, people aren't encouraged to think for themselves, and certainly not to question authority, so it's no surprise they find it challenging to do so. Whether it's the church, the state, the mosque, the university, they all 'know what's best' for us.


    Anyway - although you don't like this much, you are actually doing it on this thread - I assume you are using your own mind to answer here, and you're questioning both my authority and that of Doc Leary.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • And of course, we all know that politicians today are unselfish creatures, not at all looking to screw anyone.........Popes speak their infallible truths... kids come back from Afganistan minus their legs....mullahs speak the infallibe truths of the koran....


    There is however a.....shock horror.....middleground where perhaps the majority of people dont actually want to screw you over? We are actively encouraged to be paranoid these days.....which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as it fragments and erodes community :S


    Quote

    Just because not everyone has the ability to question things in what you think would constitute a meaningful way doesn't mean we all have to dumb down to that level.

    I'm not suggesting we do; but I do wonder on most people's ability to question in a meaningful way....given their current behaviour.


    Quote


    Anyway, people aren't encouraged to think for themselves, and certainly not to question authority, so it's no surprise they find it challenging to do so. Whether it's the church, the state, the mosque, the university, they all 'know what's best' for us.

    Like with a child, you test with the roundnosed scissors before you trust with the bowie knife.... ;)


    Quote

    Anyway - although you don't like this much, you are actually doing it on this thread - I assume you are using your own mind to answer here, and you're questioning both my authority and that of Doc Leary.

    Indeed; I am not anti questioning.....tis just that it can go too far and erode community; leaving a lot of anomic fragmented individuals wandering around lost. Some folks, such as Leary, make questioning a good thing in itself, as if you cannot have too much of it.

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

  • Indeed; I am not anti questioning.....tis just that it can go too far and erode community; leaving a lot of anomic fragmented individuals wandering around lost. Some folks, such as Leary, make questioning a good thing in itself, as if you cannot have too much of it.


    I'd have to say that if you look at the world, and the state it's in, you might well think with some justification that everything is up for question.


    I don't want to break up communities, but actually I don't think there are many communities left in the true sense.
    Religion I think only gives a kind of illusion of real community, and to be part of a religious community you will always be asked to suspend critical thinking and accept, on authority, often authority established by means contrary to the teaching of the religion, whatever dogmas are held by that particular group. Usually, the line is that non-acceptance, critical thinking etc will be punished.
    Since this leads to disagreement between different religions as to which is the correct version, it tends to go counter to any kind of view of a global human community.


    Also, it's hard to communicate with people who are stuffed full of recieved ideology. They tend just to repeat that, and you hardly get to see the actual person. That's not a good basis for forming communities as far as I can see.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • ....
    However, it's only because some few free thinking people back in the rennaissance questioned the authority of the church that we now know the earth isn't flat....


    The Ancient Greeks knew the earth wasn't flat....all about the mathematics.


    But that's not part of the debate so I'll step away :)

  • The Ancient Greeks knew the earth wasn't flat....all about the mathematics.


    But that's not part of the debate so I'll step away :)


    Still, the knowledge was lost to christendom, until the time of Copernicus and Galileo.


    I'm glad you mentioned the Greeks.
    Socrates died for teaching pretty much this same notion of thoughtful enquiry and questioning authority. They said he was diverting people from worshiping the gods.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • I don't want to break up communities, but actually I don't think there are many communities left in the true sense.


    And we wont rebuild them on paranoia.... People tend to do better in well-rooted communities with strong traditions and slow, gradual, change. An absence of roots, a condition of fragmentation and the presence of fast, sudden, change tends to make a mess of them rather than nurture them.


    Quote

    Religion I think only gives a kind of illusion of real community, and to be part of a religious community you will always be asked to suspend critical thinking and accept, on authority, often authority established by means contrary to the teaching of the religion, whatever dogmas are held by that particular group. Usually, the line is that non-acceptance, critical thinking etc will be punished.


    That depends on the religion and indeed the specific community within the religion. Protestantism, for example, was created by people asking awkward questions...


    Quote

    Since this leads to disagreement between different religions as to which is the correct version, it tends to go counter to any kind of view of a global human community.


    Who the hell wants a global community? :eek: For starters, its an oxymoron - you simply cannot know personally all the people in their world. Communities are created by pulling together for common local need.


    Quote

    Also, it's hard to communicate with people who are stuffed full of recieved ideology. They tend just to repeat that, and you hardly get to see the actual person. That's not a good basis for forming communities as far as I can see.


    "Question all authority" is a "received ideology" ;)


    I tend to find that a lot of people dont get quite as hung up on minutia as is made out in the media (and I include Leary as "media" in that sense); so you'll find, for example, anglican priests who do not actually hold to the nicean creed but who say it anyway and get on with the job of actually helping people :D Although, in the face of growing anomie you'll actually find more people immerse themselves in a fundamentalist approach to ideology in order to regain a sense of solidity :insane: So Leary's maxim has actually enouaged MORE hard-lining :S

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

  • And we wont rebuild them on paranoia.... People tend to do better in well-rooted communities with strong traditions and slow, gradual, change. An absence of roots, a condition of fragmentation and the presence of fast, sudden, change tends to make a mess of them rather than nurture them.


    I'm not sure we have that much time left for slow gradual change.
    This culture has pretty well lost its roots anyway, and a good ridance to them I say.




    Quote

    That depends on the religion and indeed the specific community within the religion. Protestantism, for example, was created by people asking awkward questions...


    Unfortunately not enough questions I'd say.


    Quote

    Who the hell wants a global community? :eek: For starters, its an oxymoron - you simply cannot know personally all the people in their world. Communities are created by pulling together for common local need.


    No - we're far better off with competing nations and ideologies armed with neuclear weapons.


    Quote

    "Question all authority" is a "received ideology" ;)


    I don't really think so. If we want freedom we have to question authority. By definition it seems to me. What is it, why is it, why should it be accepted etc. Obviously some authorities will prove to be correct when questioned - mathematicians are a good example. Anglican priests are probably not, as a lot of them are a bit woolly on what they actually do believe.
    I suppose one could construct an ideology of sorts on this basis. But let me say it - it would be a libertarian ideology, rather than one for servants, drones and automata. So it seems to me.


    Quote

    I tend to find that a lot of people dont get quite as hung up on minutia as is made out in the media (and I include Leary as "media" in that sense); so you'll find, for example, anglican priests who do not actually hold to the nicean creed but who say it anyway and get on with the job of actually helping people :D Although, in the face of growing anomie you'll actually find more people immerse themselves in a fundamentalist approach to ideology in order to regain a sense of solidity :insane: So Leary's maxim has actually enouaged MORE hard-lining :S


    You give Tim too much credit. He was only repeating the basic line taken by Socrates and many others through the ages. Shelley is a good example. Blake is another.
    If attacks on religion cause it to become less rational and more fanatical, that just shows the fault lines more clearly. The more fundamentalist they become, the more ridiculous the thing looks, and perhaps the less sustainable in the longer run.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Shaman ().

  • That's a very good point, Coyote, we can't have communities if everyone distrusts everyone. Meaningful relationships have to exist. And the global community point make s a lot of sense.


    Shaman, can I say that you should maybe question the authority of the media when it comes to discussion about Islam!? Just because there are many leaders in Muslim countries who are tyrants doesn't mean that the religion condones it. It actually means that they have failed to follow the teachings of their Holy Book effectively and, let's face it, doesn't every religion have examples of that? The word Islam actually means peace and if Jihad was followed properly then there wouldn't be any outer conflict. Fighting against evil within yourself is surely not a bad thing?! If everyone did that effectively then no-one would need to fight outwardly.

  • That's a very good point, Coyote, we can't have communities if everyone distrusts everyone. Meaningful relationships have to exist. And the global community point make s a lot of sense.


    Shaman, can I say that you should maybe question the authority of the media when it comes to discussion about Islam!? Just because there are many leaders in Muslim countries who are tyrants doesn't mean that the religion condones it. It actually means that they have failed to follow the teachings of their Holy Book effectively and, let's face it, doesn't every religion have examples of that? The word Islam actually means peace and if Jihad was followed properly then there wouldn't be any outer conflict. Fighting against evil within yourself is surely not a bad thing?! If everyone did that effectively then no-one would need to fight outwardly.


    This raises a lot of points Amulet.
    I have read a bit about Islam and it's history, and actually, I have a friend who lives in Maroc and has converted.
    The fact is that Islam was only established by the Prophet after a Holy War against his own clan, the Quraish, as I'm sure you know. In my mind, that isn't good from our modern perspective, because fanatics can always point to this, and to Muhamad's words to the effect that he had seen the souls of those killed in the Jihad in paradise, to encourage impressionable young minds towards a violent course of action on behalf of the religion.


    On the question of whether people are actually following the teachings on love and peace which most religions claim to have, I don't think they are really in many cases. But generally it's a bit confused. Jesus for example is thought of by many as encouraging love and peace, but he said somewhere that he came 'not to bring peace but a sword'. Islam similarly seems to give a mixed message.
    Christians historically have undoubtedly been the bloodiest religion in history. But Islam too was spread mainly by conquest during the time of the generation who immediately followed Muhamad. In fact, it was one of the most rapid expansions in military history.


    Fighting evil in yourself is good in principle I agree. The thing is though, how do we define evil?
    Religions traditionally define as evil some things which we today no longer think so. Homosexuality is a good example.
    The catholic attitude towards this must cause terrible problems for some people.


    I think myself that we have to try to develop a kind of ethical sensibility of our own and be guided by that.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • I'm not sure we have that much time left for slow gradual change.


    Rapid change has its place, just as a rare and "emergency" response rather than as a typical situation.


    Quote

    This culture has pretty well lost its roots anyway, and a good ridance to them I say.

    It also seems to have unprecedented levels of mental health problems and community breakdown...


    Quote

    No - we're far better off with competing nations and ideologies armed with neuclear weapons.

    Its a common misunderstanding that the only options are Nationalism and Internationalism. They are not the only options :) There are at least three others:
    * Anarchism - do what you want
    * Tribalism - loyalty to immediate and extended family
    * Localism - responsibility to local community and to local place
    * Nationalism - Jingoism and State control
    * Internationalism - Imperialism and Super-State control


    In case it isnt clear, I am argueing from a Localist perspective, which is the one I seem to have most in common with. Unfortunately, as with the whole "socialist or capitalist" depiction we are limited to in media and education, we are also typically only offered the "Nationalism or Internationalism" choices. :rolleyes: Which is part of why I think encouraging a lot of people to "question all authority" is dangerous....as the so called radical thinkers rarely left this paradigm either (unless it was to drop out and rely on the charity of those who did not drop out :whistle:).


    Quote

    I don't really think so. If we want freedom we have to question authority.

    And if we want healthy communities we have to realise that questioning authority is not an invariably good thing; it can often be destructive. Do you really want a society where people constantly have to justify themselves? :S


    Quote

    I suppose one could construct an ideology of sorts on this basis. But let me say it - it would be a libertarian ideology, rather than one for servants, drones and automata. So it seems to me.

    Your terms prejudge "libertarian" as a "good" thing.....whilst health is almost never found in an isolated extreme. Day is good, until you need to sleep. Night is good, until the plants wither for lack of sunlight.


    Quote

    You give Tim too much credit. He was only repeating the basic line taken by Socrates and many others through the ages. Shelley is a good example. Blake is another.

    He is part of a group of people (including the likes of RD Laing) who led an attack on tradition and authority in the 60s. Not just dodgy bits of tradition and authority, but all of both in a wholesale manner.


    Quote

    If attacks on religion cause it to become less rational and more fanatical, that just shows the fault lines more clearly. The more fundamentalist they become, the more ridiculous the thing looks, and perhaps the less sustainable in the longer run.

    That wasnt what I said. :)


    If people undermine authority constantly they erode the security and trust we need in life....which tends to result in panicy people who jump on the nearest feasible "rock" and cling to it all the more tightly.


    Quote from Princesstigermouse


    That's a new word to me.


    Its one a lot of "Hippies" would be advised to look into :)

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Coyote ().

  • Whether it's the church, the state, the mosque, the university, they all 'know what's best' for us.

    As a university lecturer, I really wish my students would be more questioning. I deliberately try not to give them too much guidance, so that they will have to work things out for themselves and develop habits of individual and critical thinking. Unfortunately the system is really stacked against this approach - they need to get a 2.1 at least to hope to get a good job, their degree class mostly depends on exam results, so they prefer to avoid taking risks and go into the exam room with clear ideas about what sort of answers will be "acceptable".


  • I don't think there are many 'hippies' left. At least in so far as hippie has a kind of anti-authoritarian, utopian undertone.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Shaman: sp. ().

  • As a university lecturer, I really wish my students would be more questioning. I deliberately try not to give them too much guidance, so that they will have to work things out for themselves and develop habits of individual and critical thinking. Unfortunately the system is really stacked against this approach - they need to get a 2.1 at least to hope to get a good job, their degree class mostly depends on exam results, so they prefer to avoid taking risks and go into the exam room with clear ideas about what sort of answers will be "acceptable".


    I think this is a big problem. A lot of education seems to me to discourage critcal thought.
    My experience showed me that it's largely a matter as you say of coming up with the acceptable answers - learning to jump through a set of hoops. Is it education or training for work?
    I think a good education would seek to give to people the tools, the capacity to think for themselves. Maybe some subjects tend to do this more than others. When I biefly studied social sciences some years ago, I found that quite good in some ways as it did at least make people look at critical social theories etc.
    What concerns me most about education today is that it isn't even giving a lot of people the potential to continue to educate themselves independently.

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Shaman ().


  • Maybe the increase in mental problems has other causes. Maybe it's simply become more noticable.


    Possibly; but it's a generally accepted fact that anomie leads to mental illness....we are not creatures of wild chaos but rather require security as well as liberty. Too much liberty leads us without a context to live within, resulting in chaotic lives. Too much security leads to oppression, resulting in stilted lives.


    Quote

    shows that you do think for yourself

    I hope I do :D


    But I dont discount authority and tradition in doing so. Neither do I see them as inherently "good", just as I do not see liberty and change as inherently "good".


    Quote

    They have to justify themselves now in many ways. But either way, society is breaking down, and the old formulae don't seem to work anymore.
    Also, to take an historical example, back in 1914 they had a pretty rock solid social order. It gave no value to the individual - other than as cannon fodder.
    That wonderful, old fashioned, christain based society sent kids of 14 off to face the machine guns in an imperialist war.

    That would be Nationalism you are speaking of (as set out in my list).


    Quote

    You're prejudging 'libertarian' as an 'isolated extreme'.

    Nope, just reponding to you comparing it; "it would be a libertarian ideology, rather than one for servants, drones and automata" sounds pretty much libertarian=positive non-libertarian=negative.


    Quote

    You could parphrase this too and say control is good until you want freedom.

    And freedom is good until you want security. Like I said, extreme poles are rarely, if ever, the healthy point. We need freedom, but we also need security. Free thinking has its place, but so does tradition and authority.


    Quote

    It needed then, and needs now to be attacked. It is rotten to the core.

    Authority and Tradition are "rotten to the core"? That is another example of polarising notions of "good". A society may be "rotten to the core" but that does not mean Tradition and Authority are.


    Quote

    I think you give people too little credit. And what you say is only your theory. Since we've never been a situation where people seriously do question things it's really only theory.

    It's nothing to do with "credit", its fairly basic human nature.


    In wars for example, all the norms are removed and chaos tends to take over....and in such situations people grip hard on any percieved source of security.


    Similarly in a situation of ideological "warfare", where we question incessantly and pull down the structures we live in, we end up in a desolated wasteland that has no shelter.


    You can see the beginnings of this in contemporary society, where we've questioned the norms and authorites and now many are over taken by a jaded cynicism (hell, it got me as well for a long while :D) where authority and tradition become "dirty words". But they are not "dirty words". Both can be corrupted but tradition is what we also do when we find something that works and we dont wish to keep re-inventing the wheel, and authority is what people have when they are capable. In the modern world though we are encouraged to discount other people's views and focus on the self. To expect everyone is out to serve themselves without regard to you and that authority is just a position to use for that.


    In many ways it part of the journey into the consumerist society we have today....and certainly in many cases its because authority and tradition have been abused....but that doesnt mean (cliche alert) we should throw out the baby with the bathwater. Its not "Rosemary's Baby" ;)

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."


  • Could you give an example of traditions which haven't been abused?
    Or which realistically hold out any hope of leading us to anything but more of the same?

    reconsider what you have learned about life - choose to listen to nature's broadcast - the voice of earth....

  • Hang on - I think you're getting me wrong here. I'm not saying we should aim for chaos, rather for a better order.


    I'm not suggesting that you are aiming for chaos, I'm saying that declaring a de facto open season on tradition and authority will result in that, and that the response will then be an increase in fundamentalism in response to the resultant lack of security.


    Quote

    True. I don't like to see people reduced to dumbed down robots.

    Me neither. But I dont want to see community eroded by attacking traditiona and authority in themselves.


    Quote

    Human nature according to your definition and understanding. Poor little things that can't cope without another set of humans telling them what to think and do.

    Some can. Some cant. Tradition is part and parcel of human living; an established way of doing things rather than comprehensively reinventing the wheel. By all means question to tweak, but to assume that the wheel needs repeatedly reinventing just ends up with a lot of cultural cars up on bricks :D


    Quote

    That's not my experience. I have found it's much better to have an independent mind. But I'm not really looking for 'shelter'. And the 'shelter' offered by trad religions seems a very shakey one to me. Why should belief in archaic and basically illogical doctrines make you feel more secure?

    That depends on what you believe. Belief and tradition are themselves not inherently unrealistic. Rational secular consumerism has hardly been without problems....and has a record of abuse when numbers become more imporantant than people.


    Quote

    Traditions also make people focus on the self. Our 'tradition' of consumerism is a good example of this. Also in a lot of religions it's all about personal salvation and immortality. And screw those who don't conform. Send them to hell in fact to burn forever under the aegis of the 'loving god'.

    And in those same religions you will find charity, compassion and caring for others.


    Quote

    I'd say that a lot of the cynicism is a result of the disfunctional nature of the structures, social, religious, intellectual, in which people are stuck. It's because the traditions are bankrupt that people are alienated and become cynical.

    And nothing to do with them being manipuated by others; such as Mr Murdoch and his ilk? :whistle:


    And its resulted in people increasingly seeing markets as the place their voice is heard rather than the political arena....convenient, wouldnt you say? ;)


    Certainly there is corruption and dysfunction but tradition and authority are as much a part of human living as liberty is.


    Quote

    Could you give an example of traditions which haven't been abused?

    Of course not. All traditions have been abused just as liberty has also been abused.


    Quote

    Or which realistically hold out any hope of leading us to anything but more of the same?

    Family, community, tradition and authority are normal behaviours and relationships that can also be carried out in an unrealistic manner.

    "The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do."

    The post was edited 1 time, last by Coyote ().

  • I would just like to add here that, whatever we might wish the human race are like and whatever high ideals we may wish to give them, most people don't want to question authority. If you strand a bunch of people on a desert island, there will naturally become leaders and followers. That is the way thay human society works.
    For example, I run a CUSTOM ONLY tattoo studio. We have no flash. We do each design only once. We are called Inkside Out because the idea is that everyone has a design inside themselves and all we are doing is putting it on the surface for them This gives people freedom and liberty to choose exactly what they want. However, people still come in wanting to look at flash and walk away confused that they need to come up with their own ideas. Not all people want to be in charge and question authority, they want to be told what to do, or at least given very strong guidance. These are the very people who, if all security were removed by the sudden collapse of authority, would turn to whatever seemed most solid to them, which could very well be some kind of fanaticism or radicalism.
    Not only that, not everyone CAN be in charge. If everyone were free to do just what they wanted then no-one would be there doing all the menial banal shite which needs to be done everyday to keep things functioning. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians - nothing would be done!
    I agree also, that extremes of any sort are bad. Communism and Fascism are very different extremes, but in practice they become very similar.
    People should be encouraged to think for themselves, but many either can't or won't.
    As has also been pointed out, education should encourage questioning as this is the only way people can learn. With all the hoop jumping in the National Curriculum, et al, there is very little scope for genuine questioning.
    So, I think what I'm saying is that thinking for yourself and questioning are good things, but not for everyone. Questioning authority is good if the authority is in the wrong. Just doing it for the sake of it is pointless.