I have a new article to publish, but — after a day of confirming points and accurate reading of other material, and editing, because cough suppressants are hard to write through — I’ve realized that first I have to write *another* piece:
“Different Talks, Talks Different: How to hold respectful dialog across cultural, linguistic, national, and philosophical barriers without resorting to ad-hominem attacks based on ironically misapplied supremacist/scarcity mechanics“.
I keep seeing people — Americans, mostly — failing to recognize when they are holding an inter-dialog, rather than an intra-dialog. For example, when they are drawing internal frameworks from a specific religious tradition or initiatory model of theology, and lobbing these at another person who is speaking foundationally outside the scope of specific interior frameworks, or indeed from and about another interior structure unrelated to the other speaker’s focus. People are failing to recognize the ontological and contextual boundaries between things: between religions, between spiritual modalities, between philosophical views, between national experiences or geographical/historical realities, and just bludgeoning each other with singularly held-to ideologies *ignorant* entirely of where or what they’re swinging at.
This is an issue of learning, as it is in the realm of education — formal or informal — where humans have framed for them the expected norms of engaging as adults in the outer world. “Education” is not just a place to learn academic subjects, but how to learn at a total-human level how to engage with the bounds between modes of thought, perception, action versus experience, subjective process versus objective reasoning, and so on. To me, this stinks of a very serious problem in the deficits of liberal arts education *and* a decline in critical thinking at large. I am not discussing “higher education” or even commenting on the decline of public schooling’s educational values, because I am seeing these trends societally expressed across all age groups and levels of formal education (or lack thereof). This? This is the cult-of-ignorance and anti-intellectualism we hear (and speak) so much about: not just anti-academia, anti-dictionaria, anti-rational… it is anti-distinction at the most basic level.
When a person is recovering from a neurologically related medical event, such as a traumatic brain injury or a stroke, some of the earliest categories of cognitive functioning assessment involve coordination and distinction exercises. Colors and shapes, in other words. Can a person correctly identify the “like” colors, and pair them? Can they distinguish between geometric shapes? Can they fit blocks or foam cut-outs together in a simple or complex assembly based on the aforementioned selections of color and shape connections? This is one of the main measures, in the event of neurological incident or injury, of cognitive function.
I can attest to the above directly, because I have permanent brain damage resulting from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), multiple strokes, a seizure disorder, and natural inborn cognitive and neurological variances from statistically normative CNS process. I have assembled shapes and colors, I have withstood psych barrages and neuro-assesments, I have submitted to physical therapy regiment to regain the use of 50% of my body due to neurological interruptions from the above, and still to this day cannot cognitively process or recognize certain things which for others are automatic, such as the flow of rhythm and cadence in music, or foreign linguistic phonemes (which I was not exposed to in my very early life), all of which are white-noised as unrecognizable static and cog-storm that rolls in and swallows thoughts and process. Brain injuries and neurological setbacks are serious, and difficult, and incredibly “big”. They’re not pointed out here for the purpose of insult, but instead, for the purpose of necessary discernment of functional consideration; I would myself be unable to cope and manage my own circumstances if I did not have the means of assessing when and where they come into play as either impairments or statistical differences. It would be operationally disadvantageous (if not quite disastrous) for me to proceed ignorant of my set-backs and hardships, sweeping them under a rug and pretending that none of it impacted how I show up, how I respond, how my brain processes incoming data or frames outgoing ideas. In short, “know thyself” is a thing I take pretty seriously.
Which is why I think it is so important to point out the following…
Today, the behavior of people in our society — adults, educated people, public figures, presidential candidates, missionary-lawyers writing atheistic spiritual blogs, anarchist philosophy fanboys, rogue scholars without higher education, unschoolers and wayschoolers and noschoolers — demonstrates massive societal cognitive impairment at the functional level, wherein people fail to recognize (proverbially) the difference between red blocks and blue blocks, round blocks from square pegs, and rather than fitting the cut foam shapes together based on correlated colors and basic geometry (as in the cognitive assessment described above) they’re more interested in cutting the foam with scissors they’ve stolen from an office drawer so that the shapes are whatever they whimsically want them to be. However, they still fail, *even with scissors* to assemble a cohesive arrangement of these shapes-and-colors, and now — with a work-space littered with bits of foam from cut-off corners and mangled geometric realities modified into coerced uniformity — they’re trying to glue the shapes together in some bizarre assemblage that, lacking geometric coordination or understanding of basic color pairings, don’t actually line up in any way. Also, instead of glue, they’re trying to stick them together with strawberry jam, because it tastes better, and no horse feet were used in the production.
Our society has a traumatic brain injury and our culture is denying medical treatment or neurological assessment and repair, in favor of smearing jam on mangled shapes and color allotments which were intended to assist in the rebuilding of cognitive function.
Congratulations, our cultural critical thinking performance is operationally at the pre-school level. At least with strawberry jam we don’t have anyone eating actual glue in the back of the room or under the table, right?
But I digress:
The display in all of these conversations and collisions of culturally informed views and distortions and so forth? It demonstrates that people really don’t know — or recognize any of the shape-and-color qualifiers displayed by — the other people *or ideas or topics or subjects* that they’re engaging with. I’m sorry, those were a lot of words, let me try to simplify that: people don’t identify what THINGS they and the people they are engaging with are talking about.
This, as a model for communication engagement, is a literal guarantee of unending circular conflict. That is the actual recipe for an endless conflict production stream, because it isn’t just pitting different ideas against one another in bizarre Pokemon style street-fights, but it doesn’t even allow for the ideas to be properly paired based on theme or conjectured topical relation to one another. This isn’t an issue of people not discerning apples from oranges, this is an issue of people not discerning apples from airplanes that might have a red-and-green logo on the side, or granny smiths from a MacBook computer, or oranges from orangutans. If somebody is trying to write about airplanes and somebody else picks a fight with them about primate habitat loss or GMO fruit farming hardships in a post-recession Midwest, LITERALLY NOTHING USEFUL CAN COME FROM THIS, and so any and all positions and topics need to be taken to the scissored guillotine of an upraised fist of resistance against… what? What is even being resisted that the methodology of this is to prevent anyone from talking about anything, without somebody else leading a mob in to cut it apart with stolen blades until it isn’t anything at all anymore?
And they’re completely content to just smear jelly on shit and call it debate or blogging or writing or intellectual-and-moral-social-justice defense, all the while lacking demonstrated context recognition.
Maybe somebody should go in and take the scissors and jam away before people start stabbing each other. Of course, whoever gets nominated for that job will be accused of theft, mind-control, or advocating for a police-state of draconic authoritarian dictatorship.
Damn the man! Fuck shapes! Fuck color recognition! Fuck critical thinking! CUT A BITCH UNTIL IT LOOKS LIKE THE REST OF OUR VICTIM IDEAS AND TOPICAL MASSACRES. In the name of freedom from tyranny, let us scissorfully rise together in ignorant bludgeoning bliss, battering our way with muddy boots across everything, trampling recognizable distinctions to blood-dust until everything looks as dirty and lonely and uniformly uninformed as our experience has been because terrifying scarcity-driven insecurities overwhelm reason and differences are scary and complicated and must be destroyed, and then try to convince people that that is not the definition of supremacy.