The Collapse of Discourse

Today, I’m going to start off with a little story. And if that sounds a little weird, creepy, or like I’m your grandpa and it’s bedtime, chill out. Bear with me, it’s going to serve a function. I promise.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away there was a country founded on the premise of Intelligent Discourse during a period known as the Age of Enlightenment. It was at the beginning of this Age that Mankind decided to actually take a look around; at their cave dwelling, at the rocks and twigs that they’d been using to pound their cave neighbor’s skull in on a semi-regular basis, and at themselves, and started to realize that there just might be more going on in the world than just the petty and shortsighted view that Mankind had been using to survive on a day-to-day basis. This miracle of Reflection and Thought afflicted nearly every Man of Importance in this mystical land and inspired them to put down their clubs for a minute and collectively discuss and debate the meaning of the things they saw around them. To expedite this debate process, they formalized a series of rules for discussion and debate. Modern imaginary archaeologists have unearthed these mystical rules just so I could secretly share them with you, the reader of this article (which at this point, due to my heavy use of the term ‘Man’ and seeming exclusion of the term ‘Woman’, has caused excessively uptight Feminists to jump to the conclusions that a) I don’t think women have brains, b) that I hate women or c) that I’m a chauvinist, sexist pig and have quit reading. They’re wrong, of course, but you can’t really prove a negative to a fanatic.).

The rules that these archaeologists have uncovered were apparently designed to ascertain something called Fundamental Truth. Fundamental Truth was a Very Big Deal to these primitives. It captivated their imagination, it forced their minds to ponder the very Fabric of Existence, and it kept them from inventing crude and lewd reality television programming. Truly, these were Dudes On A Mission. They did a number of things that were virtually unheard of in their time. They knew that the best way to pool information was to…

Rule 1: Welcome all viewpoints to the discussion.

Apparently, it was thought that each Man-creature might view the world slightly differently, have some experience that the others might not have had, or have some idea that others might have overlooked or never thought of before. Since The World was a much bigger place back before Dinosaur’s massive weight crushed it into a smaller volume, this was thought to be a pretty nice rule. It helped save time by not requiring everyone to see everything. This worked pretty well for a while until, legends say, two complete tools drifted into Cave-opolis, Moronicus Maximus and his cousin Fabricus Factus. Writings say that Moronicus had a incessant habit of repeating anything and everything that he overheard others saying, whether it be superstitious nonsense, the beginnings of conspiracy theories or his cousin’s purely ridiculous stories. Fabricus enjoyed seeing whether Moronicus’ eyes would ever cross that final threshold that keeps eyes inside people’s heads, so he’d spend his time creating wild stories out of  thin air that he knew were clearly false and would convince Moronicus that they were ‘God’s honest truth’, all in an effort to see the fruits of his handiwork.

This caused massive upheaval within the budding circle of Truth Seekers, as Moronicus never shut up and was constantly repeating the wild concoctions of his cousin, as his OWN ‘true’ experiences (you know the kind I’m talking about: cotton candy is the result of rainbows having naughty relations with clouds, etc). Eventually, this grew to be too much for the group, whereby balance was mostly restored by creating….

Rule 2: Any position that cannot be remotely substantiated, verified or deduced is to be removed from the discussion, removed from memory and tossed into a volcano. On the sun. In a different galaxy. Get that crap out of here.

And that was where Moronicus Maximus and his comedic cousin Fabricus Factus were sent to take up permanent residence.

As this new rule was going into effect, Constant Lee Butthurtia began to protest and launched a full-scale offensive on this new rule, arguing that it basically disenfranchised him from the discussion. Constant Lee Butthurtia was consistently advocating numerous positions that were more about making him and his compatriots feel better about themselves than actually seeking out The Truth. ANY idea concerning the universe that didn’t jive with him and his cohorts being at the center of it, was objected to and argued against until each council discussion adjourned itself just so everyone could get his shrill screeching out of their ears. Convinced that he was unassailable, always right and invincible, it came as a great shock when the council decided to fire Constant Lee Butthurtia into a Quantum Singularity just to be done with him and instituted…

Rule 3: Emotional states and ‘feelings’ are inadmissible in arguments. Nobody can verify emotions and no two people feel the EXACT same way about an event, making Emotions out to be dubious personal creations of possible non-existence.

Rule 3(a): Being Constantly Butthurt is not permitted in discussions, arguments or society. If you’re constantly being upset about everything, then you’re acting like a complete baby and babies aren’t allowed to be part of adult discussions. Some aspects of life simply suck. Get used to it, get over it and grow up.

It was argued, quite convincingly, that emotions were NOT a means of attaining Truth. That they were, in fact, quite capable of blinding people to Reality by generating a delightful Illusion to cover up The Facts wasn’t really a surprise. Emotional states can’t be verified by others and so they were struck from the discussion. As the leader of the group, Eternalis Wisdomus stated, quite eloquently:

“Emotions are constantly changing creations. A woman can love a man one day, ‘hate him for the rest of eternity’ on the next, and go back to loving him in 2 days time. Constantly changing states do not represent permanence and lack of permanence injects doubt. Changing emotions don’t change Facts and it is FACTS that define Truth and Reality. Ergo, Emotion is not an indicator of Reality. Any argument that relies on Emotion to support itself is no argument at all.”

This was a tough pill for the group to collectively swallow, as nearly everyone in the group was subject to emotions at some point in time. Much discussion was generated by this concept and, ultimately, Wisdomus prevailed. In order to counter the fact that everyone had some weakness that was capable of keeping them from seeking and acknowledging Truth, two rules was formulated to insure that discussions continued to be productive:

Rule 4: If one wishes to be part of a discussion on some topic, one should have the fortitude to hear out the entire argument, assess its merits and judge the argument on its validity. This does NOT mean that you throw a tantrum about someone presenting evidence that runs counter to your position and running away from the discussion after calling people ‘ignorant’ or ‘bigots’ on social media or in-person simply because you can’t handle the evidence that conflicts with your emotional state. Assess the Facts and the Reasoning. Truth and Reality supersede your emotional state and being a sissy and a crybaby impedes the entire discussion.

Rule 5: If you wish to be part of a discussion, understand that others may challenge you on your position. Defense of an idea or position is a good thing. It exposes strengths and weaknesses in reasoning and allows for the entire group to take into account new information or arguments that are either relevant to the search for Truth or the search for the best course of action. If you can’t handle defending your position with Reasoning or Facts, your position is probably not justified in being part of the discussion. If ye canst not handle the heat, ye shouldst not stand your booty next to the fyre.

As you can see, these were some pretty tough rules. This should indicate just how committed these barbarians truly were about finding Fundamental Truth. They were willing to go to extraordinary lengths to understand the Very Nature of the Universe, even so far as to entertain the notion that Reality didn’t bow to their wills. But it didn’t stop there. They were intent on not only understanding the universe, but also wanted to build a society that could function within the limits of that understanding. Which means that they had to be proactive in their actions and policies and develop a system of governance that could handle that responsibility. The 6th rule that they came up with was hailed as the most fundamental and important rule of their governance system:

Rule 6: Consider the ramifications of the policies that you wish to enact. What will be the likely consequences to society should you enact a particular policy? How will they affect society on a biological level? On a cultural level? On a moral level? How will it affect relationships that are necessary for a functioning society? How will it affect the greater sphere of Life? Insure that your policies reflect the dominant themes of the Universe or you will destroy yourselves. Nature doesn’t like caveats or discrepancies and will resolve them on its own without your input or guidance.

Now. Take a look at today’s society. Is there any evidence that these rules are being used in ANY context? In ANY discussion? No. You have two pigheaded crybaby points of view who resort to name-calling, taunting, fact avoidance, rampant use of emotional arguments to support positions, refusal to admit some valid viewpoints to discussions, and the admission of crackpot theories to the discussion that can’t be verified or even deduced with any degree of coherence.

Does your government make even the slightest attempt to think about the consequences of their legislation? Of their executive actions? Of their judicial decisions? I’m not just talking the Federal government. I’m talking about your Local and State governments too. Crap always rises to the top. The reason your Federal government is so incompetent is because you elect local people who have all manner of free time because they either a) have someone who can cover for them in their job, or b) make promises they know (or don’t realize) that they can’t keep and those promises are always some super-slick ‘plan’ that somehow manages to make everyone happy without raising taxes or eliminating things from the budget. So you elect these turds to your city councils, then elect them to your state legislatures and then promote them to the Federal level. And every one of them is the reason why you complain about how bad things are.

You don’t think about the issues, trusting, instead, to just ‘go with your gut’, and elect someone who says that THEY just ‘go with their gut’ (OMG, they do things like you! That must make them smart and handsome! Guess who’s getting (re)elected?!), and if everyone uses their guts to make a decision, your guts end up being what’s spilled by your bad decisions. Think Iraq. Think Afghanistan. ‘Leaders’ know that the safest place to be when they’re planning on going to war, is to be the guy on television who points the finger and says, “They’re bad people who have done bad things! We should teach them a lesson! Boys, let’s go to war!”, and promptly hands off the responsibility of fighting and dying to young men that they’ll never know or care about while they get to go home, safe, with their loved ones, comforted by the thought that it’s not THEIR ass who might be dying this day.

YOUR leaders, that YOU elected are the incompetent sycophants and parasites feeding on the lifeblood of this country. They don’t care about the consequences of the political decisions they make. They think that they’re above and beyond the concerns and reach of the legislation they write to impose on you. And to an extent, they’re right. YOU gave them that power. And you still refuse to take up the only thing that can save you from them and yourselves.

So, now, be honest. How many of you shut your mind off once you hear someone arguing a different perspective? How many of you can shut your ego and emotions off and evaluate an idea on its genuine merits? How many of you have resorted to calling someone names instead of addressing the issues presented? How’s all that working out for you, again? When was the last time you agreed with an adversary or had an enlightening moment about the world we live in? Judging from what I’ve seen on social media, the political discourse is stalemated by blind hatred and lack of common ground that BOTH sides have gone out of their way to remove by planting land mines on the Field of Discourse. Both sides suck. And both sides are wrong. And until both sides realize this and get off their high horses, you, collectively, keep pushing all of humanity closer to the cliff from which there is no return.

Just something to consider.

Have a great day.

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