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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Collective Reponsibility Confusion

The most unfortunate aspect of this modern trend, of ceding responsibility to a group, is to confuse power and truth. (Modern men are so confused that some will even deny that truth exists. But, look at their behavior and listen to their words, and you see that they do believe in truth, and that power and truth are exactly the same thing to them. This is how they can carelessly call the opposition "racists," for example. What is the truth of their accusation? It's because The Man told them so. That's good enough for the sheeple.)

Once you confuse power and truth, you become barbaric to the extent the group allows. Civilization comes from truth having a separate life from power; or, at least, civilization comes from knowledge being *uncompromising* and being itself a power.
-- Mark Cao

This is, of course, part of the  public discourse, where people decide upon the actuality of a historical event on the basis of how many other people endorse a particular view.  That explains Wikipedia (and one of its most horrifying weaknesses) but it also informs how history is written by the victors (or the losers if their power is great enough), or Lord Acton's notion that "power corrupts" because in Acton's context the "absolute power" was the ability to shape how people view history so that people can act upon their knowledge.  If I really want to hammer it I can go into Dawkins' meme theory and Mackinac Center's Overton Windows.

People act in response to a perception of reality and this perception is derived or determined by how the world is presented to them in the most consistent and definitive manner.  My brother and share I trait in which our respective voices take on a particular tone whenever we set upon a particular state of being in the world and are teaching it a nephew for example.  That gets particularly persuasive apparently, dogmatic.

Now wikipedia is a democratic medium whereupon the truth presented is ultimately determined by community with a process of Overton Window and inertia, with continuous series of edits, reverts, changes.  These changes are only rendered acceptable and more immune to reversions as people tire of a given dogma, and they have to fit rules of acceptability to begin with.  Ultimately though whether an article even rates inclusion in the overall description of the world is determined by votes.  The only people who vote are those who are enough to notice.

The Mackinac Center describes the Overton Window thusly:
Joseph Overton observed that in a given public policy area, such as education, only a relatively narrow range of potential policies will be considered politically acceptable. This "window" of politically acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer, but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. In general, then, the window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them. Click here for a video explaining the Overton Window. 
Naturally a proper definition and use of therm is Overton Window is applied politically, a narrow context. As it is many will see the truth as an absolute concept.  Some even see it as unchanging, and there are truths that do not change. Now someone can "tell the truth" by being sincere while unknowingly present a lie.  Obviously some truths change simply in that "how someone is" shifts by physical age and the passage of time and continuous alteration of circumstance.  That is obvious.  But assuming that truth is simply what something is, no more and no less, regardless of differing interpretation, what people react to is often not the fact of something but how they believe that something is, and how it will affect them.  Perception affected by presentation of a fact is more immediate than the fact itself, and people react to perception regardless.  Overton Windows describe not a continued evolution of a simple idea but the continued movement of acceptability of given sets of reaction, e.g. policy.

If a plague sweeps the planet an initial response from American populace ranges from optional vaccine to forced vaccines to treatment to quarantine to possibility of cure, to killing the infected. 

But as it is we can assume that an individual has a responsibility to seek truth, especially as his actions are determined by his belief in what truth is.

But all of that is ideas.  and ideas mutate.

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