Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Your logic is unassailable, also incomprehensible

I sometimes wonder what people see in the world, patterns in human behaviour. Teenagers, always a prime audience for videogames, enjoy media that tell them that teenagers are awesome, so it is a common trope to put them in a world lacking adults. Other identities are the same. In politics, people worry so much about electing people that they feel are like them, rather than electing scholarly people (or other experts) who happen to share their values. The drumbeats of 「one of us」 beat in us so loudly that unless we take great pains to recognise and compensate for them, we make truly awful decisions as societies - we are not data driven, we don't ask, "is that true?" "what kind of study could address that?" - we don't typically go for the data. We might expect or hope that people meet the yet higher bar of "is this philosophically fairly considered and phrased?" "is this policy consistent with some consistent broader philosophy I subscribe to?", but when we fail so badly at being data driven, the higher concerns of philosophy are blue sky.

I wonder how many of us see this. Whatever our actual positions, if we don't line up well with the actual data - if data/proof isn't one of our first instincts when we hear something, how can we call ourselves mentally mature? As individuals, groups, societies? Without these habits, we don't deserve modern civilisation, much less anything we might build.

Unless we retreat into fields with only a tenuous connection to reality, these faults in human nature will butt up against us - there are many more we might seek to address in order to pursue some conception of virtue, but this seems so foundational and basic an observation on human nature to me that it feels barely worth saying.. except I keep running into people who don't seem to have ever looked in this direction.


Is it that people don't want to try to understand human nature, or perhaps that they need their truth frameworks to be happier? Do these conclusions not leap out at them like they do to me? Or perhaps am I failing to be distance myself enough from the rest of my philosophy and these conclusions stem from suppositions that I've become so close to that I don't see them anymore? I won't say that people are necessarily simple beings, but all human behaviour that I've studied across the centuries, even the things that people call 「insane」 or 「mad」 in public discourse, have come to make a lot of sense to me - I can only wonder how many others come to such perspectives, and wonder if the feelings of things coming together are a warning that I've concocted some kind of deep oversimplifications or misunderstandings that I'm swallowing.

Tags: philosophy

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