Appendectomies

I have spent a long time declining to formulate my thoughts on the…let us call it “enormous cognitive dissonance”…that I see among genuine friends and “people I know and respect” over various political/politicized subjects the last year or two. I will mostly continue to decline, but, it appears to affect “both sides” (whatever that may mean), such that all capability for critical thought seems willfully jettisoned the moment any such subject arises.

Phrased more directly, I’ve seen otherwise highly intelligent people spout some seriously dumb shit with deep conviction.

It perplexes me, but apparently my refusal to waste conscious thought on it has not precluded unconscious thought, such that today I began “spontaneously” recognizing this as a species of what I usually term, disparagingly, loyalty. “Blind loyalty” is perhaps more apt, but damn the adjectives. That comes back to the hypocrisies of tribalism and mob psychology and so on, but I am uninterested in the semantics and underlying mechanisms here and just want to babble.

The “educated left” seems to have a slightly lower incidence of it, which in practice only means they get divided against themselves more often than their “opponents”, and lose as a result.

Manifesting my own peculiar form of “tribalism”, I suppose, I cannot recognize this particular quality in myself and therefore view it as some “strange Other” than I must kill before it kills me. So to speak.

I have never understood it. Mothers whose ability to find fault in their children disappears the moment someone else finds a fault. Managers who refuse to recognize an employee needs to be terminated so long as the employee is only hurting everyone other than the manager. Abused spouses who defend the abuser in a thousand different ways. Politically minded folks who rationalize their candidate’s behavior ultimately because they don’t care about the victim(s) (ex: the number of people who don’t mind that Trump “grabs ’em by the etc” is significantly larger than the number of people who wouldn’t mind if Trump “grabbed” their daughter). Too many examples.

It’s an anachronistic blight on our species, an appendix of the mind, a feature that no doubt served us well when we were few and weak and struggling, but will more likely than not kill us all when it finally ruptures.

Smoke Detectors

Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is the precise function of smoke detectors, CO detectors, fire alarms, et cetera. That they would be even more useful if they also provided a solution to the problem they detect does not detract from their utility, and only a deranged fool ignores them as a result

Top-quoted Email

Epiphany: top-quoted email is spoken conversation written down.

If you give this some consideration, it explains everything that is awful and wonderful about top-quoting, and also identifies when to use it and how to do it properly.

Also why I hate it.