Author Topic: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living  (Read 2961 times)

Daley

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Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« on: March 22, 2013, 10:45:38 AM »
Normally, I'm not a big fan of Natural News as they're a bit too tinfoily for my tastes and only a couple steps removed from the batguano of Alex Jones' Infowars, but I keep an eye on the feeds anyway to a) keep a more controlled pulsebeat on the latest goings on in the conspiracy circles without falling too far down the rabbit hole, and b) because they do occasionally have really interesting articles usually focused on natural health approaches. Some mornings I'll read their headlines and thump my head into the desk out of sheer frustration, others will spark a great deal of intellectual and philosophical thought.

This morning was the latter. It's a long article, but it's certainly thought provoking and scrapes at all of our approaches to things within this community and in our lives in general. I know it certainly struck a chord with me given I tend to be more of an individual that tries to approach things from both sides and strives for a more universal understanding of subjects. It also made me wince at how I've conducted myself on occasion here, even if the intent was moored in trying to do the right thing, and certainly made me reflect heavily on several of our other mustachians as well.

Here's the article - Neo-cynicism: Farting at the dinner table by Greg Glaser

Have a "small" quote:
Quote
Everything we experience can be handled positively or wielded destructively, by which I mean everything reveals polarity to us.

Take water for example: you can use it to grow organic food or to torture someone. Consider energy: you can use it to power an eco-community or to bomb one. Consider the gift of youth: some people work tirelessly to nurture and protect innocent minds, and others to scheme incessantly to exploit youth. Consider the idea of strong government: you can use it to build naturally peaceful homesteads and clean the earth and forgive debt and do justice, or you can use it to juggle the industrial balancing act between warring nations and their financiers. Polarization resides in all systems.

Whether our world's problems are steeped in conspiracies or not, I feel our brightest environmental scientists have already proven that mega-industrial systems are unsustainable for daily affairs, and yet we are dependent on them for even the most basic waste disposal and environmental remediation tasks. Even Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter invited Americans to slow down their military and industrial consumption in the 1950s and 1970s.

You know it and I know it - society can be likened to a diseased body, capable but unwilling to heal itself with natural remedies. Like a person with a disease, we are afraid of pain, even discomfort in many ways. And we're addicted to some very expensive materials too, such as "oil" as another President said. One game changer today, theoretically, could have been the internet. Is it working? Well let's first ask what kind of world we live in conceptually.

A lot of us in this community are some very rugged individualists and loud dissenters (and I don't say that with a blind eye towards myself), and as it has brought up a great deal of debate in the past, many of us here kinda go slack on the "making the world a better place" part of MMM's philosophy and frequently conduct ourselves in a far more damaging manner than we may intend, blind to our own biases and hypocrisies. It's always good to hold a mirror up to ourselves and take a good, hard look every once in a while for a reality check.

If many of us really want to change the world for the better, perhaps we should ask ourselves if we're going about it the right way. Whether you agree with Mr. Glaser or not, I certainly think his article can spark a great deal of thought on the subject with all of us.

MountainMan

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2013, 01:01:47 PM »
I think the best way, by far, to change the world is to be an example of that change.  People are inspired by people who do things differently and still find their measure of success (however that would be defined, success in marriage, relationships, in raising children, achieving FIRE, achieving dreams that would be considered "impossible," etc, etc).

It is relatively rare for people to buck the system, conformity, in-the-box thinking, etc.  So when someone visibly does it, there are various reactions to it.  1) "How dare you get out of the box?!  Get back in!", 2) "That's really cool, but I could never do it," and/or 3) "That's really cool, I'll see if I can achieve my own measure of success."

You'll get people talkin' one way or another. ;)

Jamesqf

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2013, 01:06:56 PM »
...I tend to be more of an individual that tries to approach things from both sides...

Maybe that's the problem: thinking of anything in terms of two, and only two, sides naturally leads to polarization.  Instead of just two sides, think of the numerous facets of a gemstone.  Or, as I often do, see two contending sides, and myself off to the side shaking my head and muttering "But they're both effing nuts."


BlueMR2

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2013, 02:19:29 PM »
...I tend to be more of an individual that tries to approach things from both sides...

Maybe that's the problem: thinking of anything in terms of two, and only two, sides naturally leads to polarization."

With good reason though.  So many of the "problems" of our day don't have any middle ground.  You're either for something or against it.  There's often not much room to say that you're "kinda for/against" it.

Some issues have a lot of gray area to work in.  Some do not.  All the easy cases are already settled, so there will obviously be a large number of the difficult ones around us today.

Daley

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2013, 03:20:32 PM »
I think the best way, by far, to change the world is to be an example of that change.  People are inspired by people who do things differently and still find their measure of success (however that would be defined, success in marriage, relationships, in raising children, achieving FIRE, achieving dreams that would be considered "impossible," etc, etc).

It is relatively rare for people to buck the system, conformity, in-the-box thinking, etc.  So when someone visibly does it, there are various reactions to it.  1) "How dare you get out of the box?!  Get back in!", 2) "That's really cool, but I could never do it," and/or 3) "That's really cool, I'll see if I can achieve my own measure of success."

You'll get people talkin' one way or another. ;)

Oh, absolutely, I agree wholeheartedly... but as the article pointed out, whenever we do this sort of thing without a healthy balance of "(a) morality, (b) functional intelligence and productivity, (c) evidence to support our world view, (d) skills to communicate with others effectively, and (e) the consistent desire to adhere to fair civil processes (healthy civics)" we frequently fail to be productive towards the ends to which we strive, but instead damage the very things we desire most. This approach will inherently soften our message in a (good) way that would normally create that bitter pill that so many others frequently view it as, but it requires empathy towards the viewpoints of those you engage with and having the humility to not be one of those people who simply spews your perceived "correct" viewpoint on fragments of other's lives founded solely on your personal biases down their throats when the opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, this does not describe a great deal of our community... especially some of the most vocal.



...that's the problem: thinking...

Hi James!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2013, 03:27:28 PM by I.P. Daley »

Jamesqf

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2013, 12:03:37 PM »
...that's the problem: thinking...

Hi James!

Yeah, I know it's a bad habit.  Life would be so much easier if I just followed the herd...

Or maybe not.  I admit I bailed out of that article about halfway through, when I got down to the sidebar about vaccination.

MountainMan

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2013, 02:55:31 PM »
Yeah, I know it's a bad habit.  Life would be so much easier if I just followed the herd...

Or maybe not.  I admit I bailed out of that article about halfway through, when I got down to the sidebar about vaccination.

It's not easier when you're filing for bankruptcy, laying on your deathbed looking back on a  life of "what-ifs", etc...

The ease of following the herd is an illusion.

It's harder to break away and think out your own path (which may, coincidentally cross paths with, and alongside with, some of the herd), but it is more rewarding in the long run... and probably easier in the long run.

Unless you live in North Korea.  Then forget about what I just wrote...
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 02:57:59 PM by MountainMan »

MountainMan

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2013, 02:57:17 PM »
Oh, absolutely, I agree wholeheartedly... but as the article pointed out, whenever we do this sort of thing without a healthy balance of "(a) morality, (b) functional intelligence and productivity, (c) evidence to support our world view, (d) skills to communicate with others effectively, and (e) the consistent desire to adhere to fair civil processes (healthy civics)" we frequently fail to be productive towards the ends to which we strive, but instead damage the very things we desire most. This approach will inherently soften our message in a (good) way that would normally create that bitter pill that so many others frequently view it as, but it requires empathy towards the viewpoints of those you engage with and having the humility to not be one of those people who simply spews your perceived "correct" viewpoint on fragments of other's lives founded solely on your personal biases down their throats when the opportunity presents itself. Unfortunately, this does not describe a great deal of our community... especially some of the most vocal.

Yes, that's essentially the art of persuasion and getting along.  You have a good point.  :)

arebelspy

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2013, 08:56:21 PM »

...that's the problem: thinking...

Hi James!


While I understand exactly why you did this, and don't necessarily disagree, I had to point out that it made me laugh, given the intro to this post, specifically:

It also made me wince at how I've conducted myself on occasion here, even if the intent was moored in trying to do the right thing, and certainly made me reflect heavily on several of our other mustachians as well.

:D

Have a great weekend, both of you.  :)
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Daley

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Re: Neo-cynicism and the polarization of living
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2013, 09:51:00 PM »
While I understand exactly why you did this, and don't necessarily disagree, I had to point out that it made me laugh, given the intro to this post, specifically:

It also made me wince at how I've conducted myself on occasion here, even if the intent was moored in trying to do the right thing, and certainly made me reflect heavily on several of our other mustachians as well.

Actually, that was deliberate... tongue firmly planted in cheek and riding the irony for all it was worth. I just didn't want to telegraph it as such. Glad someone caught the joke. ;)

Have a good weekend yourself, Rebel.