Comments on: What’s Wrong with Stereotypes? conversation and contention, for your attention Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:59:03 +0000 hourly 1 By: Loki der Quaeler Mon, 21 Jan 2008 17:25:53 +0000 ‘Cast it away’… ‘Banish it’… ‘Suppress the emotional charge altogether’… …
I’m not sure where i keep conveying these things in what i’ve written – but as an attempt to suture this thing up:
   As you, seekue, point out, we have some wiring with a very rational rule of “don’t hit” which at the same time both prevents the emotionally charged situation from turning primate-like with physical violence, and allows the emotional charge to still exist somewhere inside.
What i am trying to convey is that there should be an equivalent wiring which discourages the type of gone-mad behaviour that replaces rational discourse with yelling and/or crying and/or raging and/or physical attacks on non-living objects. I’m not saying that this equivalent wiring should banish / cast-away / altogether-suppress / outsource-to-india one’s entire emotional state – just that we’re all adult human beings who should be capable of continual rational exchange, even when we’re not getting our way.

By: seekue Fri, 18 Jan 2008 21:43:56 +0000 Subtracting out the “subjective lens” seems a fool’s effort. However, modifying the “subjective lens” through experience and education seems to be a reasonable way to go about things.


“don’t hit each other when you’re angry or upset”
The emotional charge is still present, and you still may *want* to hit, but you are taught that it is inappropriate to let your emotions manifest in that physically violent manner.


“assert rational control over your thought processes when you’re angry or upset”
This is a request to suppress the emotional charge altogether.

These are two very different requests, from my perspective. The former still allows for the emotional experience, while the latter is a request to cast it away. Instead of rational control by way of suppression, I vote for making rational decisions during an emotional state when the thought process may be more befitting rational decisions (e.g., not during a state of outrage or euphoria).

By: magdalene Fri, 18 Jan 2008 13:01:54 +0000 Your distillation is faulty. Though in revisiting my language, it seems your error is somewhat understandable. So to clarify, I do not suggest maintaining a smooshy status quo, nor inattention to the aspects of motivation and experience that are subjective. It is not apologetic to insist that subjectivity is at play despite the best of fastidious intentions. It is a necessary acknowledgment, a necessary precursor to developing self-awareness and exerting self-control.

By: Loki der Quaeler Fri, 18 Jan 2008 08:58:36 +0000 I’m hazy on where i said ‘banish’ and i, of course, disagree that such aims are ‘denial’. As a society, we seem to be very reluctant to up the bar of behaviour standards; in a number of societies in the world, we appear to be on the same page about some primal bad-deeds, like “don’t hit each other when you’re angry or upset” – at the same time we’re just not there, for some reason, with “assert rational control over your thought processes when you’re angry or upset”. It’s a duplicitous message that we’ve evolved enough that we should have self-control in the first case, but get a skate in the second case.
There’s also something slightly rancid about making a distilled argument which is:
‘We cannot be expected to keep a rational head with this data gathering because it is often based on “unexamined beliefs, unexamined wishes”.’
while it is internally consistent that a person who lugs around a lot of unexamined beliefs and unexamined wishes isn’t very likely to be mindful of their subjective stereotyping, it feels again like we’re giving a gentle “there-there” skate on the second case.

Banishment in either case seems entirely unlikely — that reptilian brain isn’t going anywhere — but if we continue to be apologists for the second case, if we don’t endeavour to keep raising that bar (as we have in the first case), then i think we’re at a fairly contemptible state. It’s an evolutionary onus to be attentive to both cases.

(My last denoting of something as ‘off-topic’ had no teeth to it; it was just meant to be an observation (though as more off-topic things now show-up here, i do feel myself cranky and teething – wondering aloud (not inviting discussion in this thread): there should be an implementation introduced which is a workable solution for everyone involved)).

By: FatalTwilight Fri, 18 Jan 2008 05:42:36 +0000 Speaking of classification, I have a question. Please dont be angry if this seems off-topic, spare my ignorance.

Is this project titled ‘The Process’ a secular version of The Process Church, or is it a project with similar concepts and ideas?

I cant find any infos for people new to this project and was wondering exactly what it is about.

Judging from what the reconstructed archive from wikipedia says, there seems to be 3 different projects.

Transmedia and TOPI seem to me like they are The Process applied to Genesis P-Orridge’s “Psychick Philosophies” and the main page seems to be like something different with a similar approach.

Was the old simply just about shocking people into a state of new awareness? or was it something more?

I also studied the Skinny Puppy lyrics from the song ‘Process’ and saw a striking resemblance to TOPI/Transmedia.

Maybe Im just confused… Is the process about attaining a guitless state of self-awareness?

It seems to me that the old was some sort of collaboration effort for information/art that had relevance to making people more aware of current issues. Can someone help me with this?

By: magdalene Fri, 18 Jan 2008 03:42:40 +0000 Those collecting formal data that may result in contributions to scientific knowledge (and, similarly, trade knowledge, as with your bait example) can and should systematize their collection & interpretation to minimize or “subtract out” the subjective lens. But I think we’re talking about mundane stereotyping; the variables involved do not lend themselves to such a degree of control (past experiences with emotional associations, unexamined beliefs, unexamined wishes, desires, etc): This is an intellectually gifted man with specific physical characteristics; he’ll probably be severely emotionally restricted, and I will probably find him sexually appealing. In this sort of mundane stereotyping, I question that one can significantly “subtract out [the] effect” of the subjective lens.

Perhaps as with stereotyping, where you assert that because it is a given our recourse is to “populate intelligently” (though I’d add a precursor: “become aware of held stereotypes, where they come from, and what they are for”) the subjective lens is also a given. One could (erroneously) proceed about life behaving as though banishing it is possible, and, as such, (erroneously) assume that they are seeing clearly and making sound judgments. This seems like wishful thinking, if not bald denial.

By: Plasmafist Thu, 17 Jan 2008 16:13:21 +0000 Sorry for drifting off topic.
As we all start off as the blank palette of awareness, absorbing reality as it is able to be deciphered, I think the productive time line of ones stereo typing ability is crucial to the development of a proper classifier and intrapersonal reasoning. The predisposed effects of ones environment (e.g. education, location, etc.), and externally evolved, influenced persona make up a far more drastic segment of ones ability to stereo type then most other factors.

I’ll use this example from Spinoza’s Ethics:
“… it clearly appears that we perceive many things and form universal ideas:
1. From individual things, represented by the senses to us in a mutilated and confused manner, and without order to the intellect. These perceptions I have therefore been in the habit of calling knowledge from the vague experience.
2. From signs; as, for example, when we hear or read certain words, we recollect things and form certain ideas of them similar to them, through which ideas we imagine things. These two ways of looking at things I shall hereafter call knowledge of the first kind, opinion or imagination.
3. From our possessing common notions and adequate ideas of the properties of things. This I shall call reason of knowledge of the second kind.”

I think each of these given points acknowledge the synthesis of deciphering intake, its effects, and subsequently stereo typing. With these ideas I would say that stereo types can be conceived and evolve in a sort of “Allegory of the cave” type way. You understand what you perceive from a labeling perspective and deduce to justify quality by the merit which your reality shows as greater, lesser, positive or negative. Thus, modeling an architecture of labeling around quality and how it relates to its ordering quality.

So in essence all intake can become stereo typed can it not? A pin pressing into my flesh I stereo type as negative because my nerves / senses send waves to my brain which deciphers them and concludes that. Same would go for what I believe certain words to emote. Even, as was “hoped” against, there are persons who stereo type individuals who happen to believe in any form of non-religious based science as mislead persons. Each would conclude the opposite, but isn’t this part of the endless spiral of stereo typing outside of simplistic ideas, which even then can essentially be cause for debate as any firm believer in Cynicism might suggest?
Does this make sense? Stereo type it!

By: Loki der Quaeler Thu, 17 Jan 2008 14:41:15 +0000 Using the grouping defined in the BaCR article, i don’t expect to (read: hope not to) find people who hold stereotypes which cover items in group #1 (for example, there’s hopefully no person who has a stereotype that general relativity’s predictions about rates of time in relation to the curvature of space-time are ‘probably right’ — rather they are proven correct and so not really ‘a stereotype’). As such, i think personal experience can (and should) lend important data to stereotypes which cover items in groups #2 & #3; similarly, it’s an efficient mechanism through which to apportion energy to stereotypes (for example, if i’m gathering a lot of personal experience data concerning customer service in a number of supermarkets around town – it’s likely because i’m visiting a lot of supermarkets around town (and therefore have a practical use for (and value return for energy spent on) such stereotypes). Similarly, if i’m not gathering a lot of personal experience data concerning what type of bait works best for fish at the local pond, it’s likely because i’m not fishing at the local pond (and therefore have no need to expend the energy developing the stereotype (unless i work for a fishing magazine, or the state Fish and Game department, an so on)).
On the subject of subjective lensing (and the need to be able subtract out its effect), i’d like to believe that the case of ’emotionally charged’ data gathering is the minority of experience (and if it’s not, i hope not to have to be around a person for which it isn’t) — surely (staying with the supermarket analogy) there’s days in which the collector is having a bad day, or another shopper ticks off the collector, tainting the data, but if this type of event is regular enough so that the majority of the data is due to emotionally charged collection then i’m not sure how i could begin to address that sort of personal reality.
Lastly – although ‘news sources’ are too varied to be accurately ordered, a subset of them should be considered ‘excellent’ sources of data. Not at all meaning to suggest that data population based solely upon personal experience was ideal, i think a tempered application of a number of higher-ranking sources to items in groups #2 & #3 is a responsible approach.

WRT Plasmafist’s off-topic safety nets – i definitely lean in the direction that there’s something totally unbalanced in the equation involving resources spent by a society on members who themselves generate little-or-less for that same society — that is an article of its own, though.

By: Plasmafist Wed, 16 Jan 2008 18:08:00 +0000 Well, just to clarify, I didn’t say a person had to be of high intelligence for critical thought. As the article pointed out even Tok the “low level” wired Neanderthal was able to classify to, an at least, apt degree of intelligence.

Natural selection proves that some people are too inept to live. Its just an unfortunate sign of the times that the safety nets set up around us allow for these individuals a habitat in which they may thrive in their own gluttonous shrouded impotence.

By: magdalene Wed, 16 Jan 2008 16:03:44 +0000 I’m in basic agreement regarding the ordering of your “spectrum”, and I agree that the sticking point is “when people start populating their stereotypes with incorrect data,” which is, to a degree, unavoidable in light of the “subjective component” you mentioned. [Subjectivity being a given, and, perhaps, a necessary component in making decisions when one lacks access to data.] I also agree with a point you make in the Belief and Common Reality article about the importance of continual reflection. But I do struggle with your language, specifically that personal experience is an “excellent” source of data. Though this is perhaps only tangentially related to the original article, I’m interested in reading more about how others consider their own subjective lens, particularly when it is emotionally charged (I would assert that it usually is). You’re making the statement that people should be responsible and intelligent about populating their stereotypes, which seems sound enough, but making accommodations for that omnipresent subjective lens makes it a tricky request, and calls into question judgments based on personal experience alone.

Now bridging to the comment made by ‘Plasmafist’: I think it’s erroneous to presume that critical thought requires above average intelligence. I have the megalomaniacal privilege of teaching college undergrads, and have found the majority of them to be functioning at average-or-just-below-threshold intellectual ability. I am impressed, intellectually speaking, by a student maybe once a year. However, I have been moved, over and over, by their ability to examine stereotypes, and even more emotionally volatile topics such as their own religious beliefs, abortion, homosexuality, etc., and to think beyond. I have only anecdote & interpretation, but what seems to be effective is a warm, nonjudgmental arena in which they can air not only tenderly held beliefs, but also the ones about which they feel ashamed, coupled with warm, excited encouragements to think beyond, to develop a productive balance between wonder and skepticism, and, finally (and this is the difficult part for me, but human will is a reality that must be acknowledged if real change is to occur) that doing so needn’t demean their existing perceptions/beliefs (the part of me that loves Richard Dawkins’ work always cringes at this spot, but Dawkins is not especially attentive to what makes people change, only that they should).