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the divided self
30-09-2005, 12:47 PM
Post: #1
the divided self

Do you agree with me that our society forces a person to 'split' unhealthily?

take for instance politics which encourages us to nail our colours to the mast and choose one party and its beliefs over another. Hence we get staunch capitalists or socialists. And yet I truly think that every Tory supporter has within them elements of the socialist, and every left winger is in part a capitalist.

Same with religion where we are asked to dismiss the beliefs of other groups in favour of our own.

The list goes on. pro-hunting or anti. Pro- or anti- abortion. Pro - Europe or not.

I think these things are unhealthy bcause by channeling us into one camp or another they turn us into something that we are not without our realising it.

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30-09-2005, 12:58 PM
Post: #2
the divided self
I do agree with you Swerve. And I believe that staunch believers in a certain thing would probably call us "woolly".

As far as politics is concerned, I don't think I know enough or actually take enough interest to believe strongly in any of the parties. I do vote (sometimes), and I choose the party I vote for because I prefer more of their policies than the other parties. And sometimes because I don't like/trust the party leader, that would influence me.

Shallow, I hear you cry. And you're probably right.

I am a bit of a fence-sitter on many things because I don't think we are in a position to be able to have a staunch view of something unless we fully understand it or have our own experience of it. Like abortion, like fox hunting. There are pros and cons for both and each side has very valid arguments. Same as capital punishment, as we've discussed before. There may be many reasons why we should do something, but I may vote against it for one overriding particular reason.

So, I am a shallow, woolly fence-sitter. Does that make me a Liberal then?
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30-09-2005, 01:06 PM
Post: #3
the divided self
I get what you're saying SF, but I don't think I agree totally. I'm inclined to think that only the fanatasists of any belief are turned into "something they are not".

Most people have a viewpoint about politics, religion, abortion, hunting and all other "contraversial" issues, but despite their personal views, most people are able to accept that some other people have different views on the same subject without hating them for it - often this is because they can see some validity in the oppossing view, even if they can't agree with it wholeheartedly.

What you suggest may have been true for society as a whole 100 years ago. For example, in those days people pinned their colours to the mast politically very openly and would not be swerved for anything - and frequently they would take a political stance purely because that was their family view, rather than their own. But these days people are open to change. These days political allegiance for many people is a fickle thing and people would happily change their vote - probably because the divide between socialist and capitalist is growing ever smaller.

Actually, I think today's society is less inclined to have strong views on contraversial issues than almost any other preceding generation. Nowdays society is full of people who sit on the fence and society in general doesn't mind that. Frankly, I think its because we are too apathetic to bother climbing down from it and that is not necessarily a good thing.

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30-09-2005, 04:50 PM
Post: #4
the divided self
Gosh! I think you maybe right!

Has it been different I wonder?

I personally find being on the middle of the spectrum [of whatever] a good place to be. Of course, my 'middle' maybe someone else's extreme - but I value my ability to see other's PoV.

Having said that most things are woolly nowadays, aren't they?

I always cook with wine, and sometimes I actually put it in the food.
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30-09-2005, 05:51 PM
Post: #5
the divided self
Flip Wrote:I personally find being on the middle of the spectrum [of whatever] a good place to be.

Well yes. I think that for some issues "being in the middle of the spectrum" often IS a good place to be as it could promote balance and tolerance and discourage fanaticism. However, the middle ground is only a positive thing if that position has been reached through considered evaluation of the options rather than sheer laziness. But I suspect that all too often, the people who decline to offer an opinion on an important issue are doing so not because they can't make up their mind which is the best option, but rather because they can't be bothered to think about the subject at all. In those cases, the middle ground is NOT good.

This kind of apathy is particularly evident when it comes to peoples opinion on politics - and its bluddy dangerous as it effects everyone! 50/60 years ago, society did pressure people to take a defined political stance, and people were very passionate about it. Nowdays, society doesn't pressurise people and as a result there is a sizeable minority who cannot even be bothered to vote. Its worth bearing in mind that Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party came to power following similar apathy in Germany.

But its not just politics. Society displays the same level of apathy in most other important issues i.e. care for elderly, abortion, Europe, healthcare, debt, pensions, poverty, the homeless etc. Its all going on, but no-one can be bothered to think about it much unless it affects them directly. Part of the reason for this is because the media doesn't really bring it to our attention as much as it should because it doesn't sell copy - people don't want to be depressed. Most people would rather read about Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt's divorce than the scandal of underfunded care homes. Sad, but true.

I suspect that its not fashionable or PC to be passionate about a lot of the important issues.

BTW - I'm not preaching here. I'm often as guilty as most of ignoring the important issues. Its just that SF's thread has made me think about it a bit. And its made me realise that far from being divided (as SF suggests) I feel that I'm not divded enough!

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30-09-2005, 06:39 PM
Post: #6
the divided self
Yes, I agree, I think social society is a bit schizophrenic. In the area of mental health, society says if you ask me how I am, I respond and say "fine, grand, ok etc" so all the bits that are not fine, ok, and grand submerge and over time create a very unhealthy split which, in my opinion, is not normal and could be avoided if we only knew that we dont have to choose one or the other - and know that we are all somewhere inbetween on the continuum of mental health and illhealth.

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01-10-2005, 07:27 AM (This post was last modified: 01-10-2005 07:30 AM by survivorfan.)
Post: #7
the divided self
karenh Wrote:But I suspect that all too often, the people who decline to offer an opinion on an important issue are doing so not because they can't make up their mind which is the best option, but rather because they can't be bothered to think about the subject at all. In those cases, the middle ground is NOT good.!

This is where I think you are falling into the trap I was talking about originally. You see, you seem to be implying is that there are two options you have to choose between, and by not choosing one or the other you are being indecisive, lazy., woolly, or what ever. I would say there is a fundamental mistake here in believing that (1) you have to divide an issue into options that should be chosen between and (2) if you have done so it follows that it is necessary or desirable to have make a choice

nevertheless that's how things work and how we are expected to behave.

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01-10-2005, 11:50 AM
Post: #8
the divided self
survivorfan Wrote:This is where I think you are falling into the trap I was talking about originally. You see, you seem to be implying is that there are two options you have to choose between, and by not choosing one or the other you are being indecisive, lazy., woolly, or what ever. I would say there is a fundamental mistake here in believing that (1) you have to divide an issue into options that should be chosen between and (2) if you have done so it follows that it is necessary or desirable to have make a choice

Well, that isn't actually what I said SF. What I said was that sitting in the middle ground and having no defined opinion was often a good thing provided the subject had actually been considered. In the paragrpah that you quoted I was referring only to those people who can't be bothered to consider a subject at all.

But to answer your original question, yes I agree that society would often like us to choose between a series of options and have a definitive position - but that is just the way that soceity has to work. Without definitive options there would be no society - no government would be elected, no laws passed, no social change would take place.

However, I do think that todays society is allowed to be more free (or lazy even) in their opinions than precedingg generations. Apathy and disinterest are the fashionable attitudes today!

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09-10-2005, 01:34 PM
Post: #9
the divided self
Agreed we all can see both sides of any fence and most folks realise that if they disagree passionately with someone then they too must feel that way the other way around.

However, to make decisions and progress one must polarise. Politics is about decisions based on compromise.

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19-10-2005, 10:20 PM
Post: #10
the divided self
survivorfan Wrote:This is where I think you are falling into the trap I was talking about originally. You see, you seem to be implying is that there are two options you have to choose between, and by not choosing one or the other you are being indecisive, lazy., woolly, or what ever. I would say there is a fundamental mistake here in believing that (1) you have to divide an issue into options that should be chosen between and (2) if you have done so it follows that it is necessary or desirable to have make a choice

nevertheless that's how things work and how we are expected to behave.

Hello survivorfan

Of all the great questions to ask most of us would be very confused to consider anything other than that which is in black and white, right or wrong, labour or conservative the reason for this lies in that which is thought to be dominant social theory i,e conservatism (not necessarily politically) or naturalism (not as in naturalist) i, e left wing socialist communist view of historical thought and action.

In the process of making choices we do not allow ourselves any middle ground, or grey areas and because they obviously do exist they are often the most difficult to explain. To be short you may find books on the founding fathers of sociology and the development of industrial societies very useful. Especially those well worth looking at covering INTERACTIONISM.

As I feel you may not be fond of epics any good library should stock enogh books to study and befriending your librarian is a good move.

Good luck.

Maureen
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