Monday, November 25, 2013

The weirdness of unreason II

Another World - M C Escher - from Wikipedia

Have you ever tangled with the vexed problem of obviousness? Are some things so glaringly obvious as to leave you baffled when someone transcends the bounds of reason by taking a view contrary to your own? 

Do you occasionally find this kind of thing a little odd – even weird? We are after all, the same species. One might think we'd respond to reality in much the same way.

So in true Hollywood style, this is the second post of my weirdness of unreason franchise. By the way, why is a cinematic rehash called a franchise?

Anyhow, the first post was a kind of write-it-and-see test to see if reasons, concepts, ideas, explanations and arguments can be equated to allegiances. I think they can is the sense that something useful emerges from the idea even though our allegiances are bound to get in the way of knowing that useful something.

I suspect we cannot form ideas without framing them within some kind of validating allegiance.

Take politics for example. Those people with no particular allegiance to political abstractions will find it difficult to frame political opinions. Their vote will be dictated by other allegiances, however frustrating that may be for those who happen to have political allegiances.

Similarly with climate change. It isn’t so much a technical or scientific issue, as an issue about allegiance to abstractions within which the debate is always framed. Those who don’t share those allegiances tend to sit on the fence and see the issue as too complex for them to resolve. Maybe they merely lack framing allegiances.

So let us keep the focus on our allegiance to abstractions because they already have a well-known framing role.

We obviously have allegiances to numerous abstractions such as science, logic, equality, honesty, justice, peace, politics, beauty, reason, education, style, fashion, social mores, religion, what Mum always said, politeness, aesthetics, the rule of law and so on.

Unfortunately many claimed allegiances are false as we all know too well. Ideas supposedly bolstered by some authoritative allegiance but framed within in a different, covert allegiance designed to hide our endless primary allegiances to the usual suspects.

My career.
My inner circle.
My outer circle ...these are a few of my favourite things!

A good example is David Cameron’s strikingly crude offer of an EU referendum after the next election. His idea is far too obviously framed by allegiance to his future career while claiming a false allegiance to democratic ideals.

Claimed allegiance to abstractions is where the prim, prissy, supercilious, devious, dishonest and shamelessly unworthy frameworks of so many manipulative debates come from. Those we have to cope with every day of our lives.

As ever, behaviour highlights the deceit. As ever it isn’t enough if the deceit has powerful backing as we so often know to our cost.

A life not dominated by allegiances is an ideal never realised in the grit and grind of the real world. Maybe a life without allegiance would be akin to nirvana. Or maybe it would offer a glimpse of the eternal as Spinoza envisaged a blessed state of purely disinterested knowledge.

Unfortunately, in daily life every idea we have is framed by some allegiance or other. Including this one.

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James Higham said...

Began reading and thought - this is a bit strange for Sackers. Looked down and it was AKH himself. Should have known. Usual challenging thoughts.

A K Haart said...

James - I rather like strange!