Scary Monsters, Super Creeps, Keep me Running

Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does many things. He is the author of the forthcoming book "The Paris Bureau" from Dio Press (early 2021).

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8 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Yet I couldn’t help wondering: if I remained oblivious to the existence of Dick Cheney until the end of days, would my life be better or worse?

    You come from a culture that says that more data is better, more information is better, and understanding things is one of the highest goods.

    Intelligence is seen as a moral trait and cleverness is seen as a reliable indicator of intelligence.

    You have been lied to. Interestingly, it’s in one of the most subtle ways of lying. It’s not that P is False therefore ~P must be True, it’s that P is a category mistake and so ~P will not bring you any closer to truth.

    It sucks.

    (For what it’s worth, I fell for that crap too.)Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      Awareness! The highest good.

      Now, I am only partially aware of what Spinoza was talking about… And I am only partially aware of what Steve Bannon was talking about. Which is going to bring me closer to the truth?Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Jaybird says:

      You come from a culture that says that more data is better, more information is better, and understanding things is one of the highest goods.

      Which is derived from a culture that has a creation myth that the original human condition was one of child like innocence. And knowing stuff is for fa…fallen people.

      You know what? That’s BS. Knowlege is good. It’s not a trick of the devil; it’s not the exclusive providence of a jealous G-d.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Kolohe says:

        I don’t know what The Good is anymore.

        I’m wandering back toward something approaching “happiness” (or in the ballpark where other terms might be… stuff like “contentment” or “inner peace”).

        Accurately modelling reality has upsides, lemme tell ya, but I’m not certain that it’s in the same ballpark as The Good.Report

        • fillyjonk in reply to Jaybird says:

          Watching “The Good Place” from Season One has messed me up more than it should. (And I still want to read Kant now, even though I suspect that will end in tears for me).

          What is a good life? What if you are doing “good” things but for the “wrong” reasons (I am eternally guilty of doing stuff that is arguably “good” because I want people to like or respect me).

          I don’t even know what “happiness” consists of any more. I used to think “working towards some goal and making progress” was it but the past few years have left me wondering if some of my “goals” aren’t just totally fished and….I don’t know what new goal to seek. “Not making things worse than they are” seems a hopelessly small goal but some days it seems all I can manage.

          Doing things to serve others – which I also used to think of as a source of happiness – at times leaves me overwhelmed and resentful because people can be such TAKERS.

          I suppose being nearly 50 has me worrying more about “What is the meaning of life and have I wasted mine?”Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Kolohe says:

        Surely, there has to be a happy medium between childlike innocence and my mother whose phone gets texts from Fox News so she won’t miss out on the latest outrage while eating dinner in a restaurant. I mean, yes, knowledge is good, but is it useful?Report

        • Maribou in reply to Rufus F. says:

          @rufus It’s also the case that for most of history Fox News text alerts might be classified more as “gossip” and less as “knowledge”. And certainly I’d say they are a lower class of knowledge than the knowledge she might gain from paying attention to her surroundings.

          The question of whether particular bits of information are knowledge, or aren’t knowledge, is a vexed one, as I’m sure you know. (and reference above.)Report

        • Doctor Jay in reply to Rufus F. says:

          Just a couple of items before this one came up in my RSS reader, there was this one. It seems super relevant.

          A new information technology, the printing press, doesn’t just foster the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. It also helps the witch craze go viral.

          Nevertheless, I think the printing press is a good thing. There’s far more enjoyment in my life because of it than there is misery. Even though it has added misery.Report