[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Wednesday, 2022-08-10

We are all Sisyphus

Filed under: Philosophy,Writing — bblackmoor @ 14:24

Being skilled at a thing does not correlate to an understanding of other topics

Someone being good at their job — even being really good at their job, which Dr. Benjamin Carson is (yes, he is) — does not mean that you should listen to their opinions on other topics. Examples are ubiquitous; exceptions are rare.

Being skilled at a thing does not automatically correlate to an understanding of it

Someone being good at their job — even being brilliant at their job, which Harlan Ellison was — does not necessarily mean that you should listen to their opinions on that topic.

I came out of the womb a writer. I didn’t realize that everybody couldn’t write. Writing was my natural form. I didn’t become a writer, I was a writer.

Harlan Ellison, ATW Interviews; January 14, 2012

Even someone really good at something might not be able to teach you how to do it, particularly if, like Ellison, they never had to try to excel at it: they just did. Should you listen to them? Maybe. Maybe not. So how do you tell?

Don’t depend on one expert for … anything, really. Four out of five dentists might be wrong, but giving them the benefit of the doubt is not a bad way to start, when all five of them know more about teeth than you do.

Knowledge and experience are undervalued by ignorant people

People who have dedicated the time and energy to understand a topic will be ignored, at best, by those who haven’t. Ignorance wants to perpetuate itself. Exceptions are uncommon.

No you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation — the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet — for global warming.

Frosty E. Hardison, outraged parent; cited in Harden, 1997, para. 4

“Intelligence” is overvalued by intelligent people

This is one of the first things I figured out about myself. Being born with a facility for specific kinds of pattern-matching and problem-solving — what we generally mean when we use vague, billowy words like “intelligence” — correlates to making effective decisions, not to making beneficial decisions. Exceptions are rare.

Also, being born “smart” is not an achievement, despite the accolades and financial benefits that come with it. Sure, it feels great to excel at something. But being able to reach high shelves is not an achievement — using your reach to help someone is.

We are many things (and that’s okay), but what is most important about us is what we choose to be.

We are what we choose to do.

How is this relevant to Sisyphus?

This is all distressingly … timeworn. If you were to translate the above paragraphs to ancient Greek, I bet you could find 2500-year-old references to similar observations. Sometimes, the emphasis will shift slightly, and it will be expressed as a desire for the “dinosaurs” to die off and get out of the way. I’ve said that myself.

I confess, I do love the irony of that.

We are all dinosaurs. We are all Sisyphus.

Not you? Heh. Okay. 🙂

Monday, 2022-06-06

The past is a different country

Filed under: Fine Living,History,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 18:16

I had a sombre thought today. The world I grew up in doesn’t exist anymore. In some important ways, that’s a good thing. But it’s a bad thing, in a few ways. I feel sad for people who’ll never be able to live in it. Ah, well.

Saturday, 2022-05-14

Claude Shannon

Filed under: Philosophy,Programming,Work — bblackmoor @ 23:53

“Shannon’s account of genius was a refreshingly unsentimental one. A genius is simply someone who is usefully irritated.”

One of the fathers of modern computing used this 6-step process to solve any problem

Thursday, 2022-04-07

Consider your priorities

Filed under: Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 10:44

Every second of your life is the most precious, irreplaceable resource you have. Spend it with people you love.

Wednesday, 2021-12-08

I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here

Filed under: Humour,Movies,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 08:51

“I have absolutely no idea what we’re doing here, or what I’m doing here, or what this place is about. But I am determined to enjoy myself.”

Wednesday, 2021-11-03

The Second Coming

Filed under: Philosophy,Poetry,Politics — bblackmoor @ 08:42

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The Second Coming“, W. B. Yeats, 1919

Fun fact! Yeats went on to embrace fascism and authoritarianism — the “passionate intensity” of “the worst“. “The Second Coming” is the most compelling proof I know of that an artist is not their art — and if we insist on conflating the two, or on depriving ourselves of great art by less-than-great people, that it is we who suffer for it.

Yeats, after all, is long dead, and quite beyond our reproachment.

What had me thinking about this was, of course, the results of the election yesterday, in which the “the worst” — angry, hateful, and completely detached from realitywon virtually every election.

I am glad that I don’t have children. The United States is a dumpster fire, and it won’t get better in my lifetime.

If it ever does.

Wednesday, 2021-07-14

Indians, transvestites, and gypsies

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 14:45

Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

— Rita Mae Brown

On the one hand, it’s my opinion that the specific word someone uses means very little compared to what they mean by that word.

On the other hand, yes, vocabulary changes over time. “Decimate” used to mean “kill one person in ten”; nowadays it means “destroy most of”, almost the opposite of its archaic meaning.

But context matters. Intent matters. Chasing the term-of-the-moment is a distraction from what actually helps or hurts people. This semiotic scavenger hunt is one of the ways in which well-meaning people are kept occupied by trivia, while the Republican death cult burns the United States to the ground.

That being said, if someone from Mexico tells me that they consider “Mexican” to be pejorative because someone, somewhere has used that word as an insult, I will make an effort not to use that word around them. (Note: this is a hypothetical example, but it very easily could be a real-life example tomorrow.)

Thursday, 2021-05-06

Is good news still a thing?

Filed under: About Me,Humour,Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:01

Is good news even a thing anymore? Not “making the best of it” news. Not “people staving off doom for one more day” news. Not “here’s some trivia about some stranger’s personal life” news. Not “be thankful things aren’t even worse” news. Actual good news.

That would be nice.

"I'm so looking forward to this being over and life getting back to normal." -- Stacy, former Souplantation assistant manager, February 2026

Good intentions

Filed under: Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 13:31

The United States was founded on good intentions, which are continually foiled by 1) racism so entrenched that some people think it’s synonymous with being American, 2) ordinary people’s worship of the ultra-wealthy as our “royalty”, who are rich by divine right, 3) a cultural obsession with warfare, and 4) neo-Puritan hypocrisy of such an intensity that it would be difficult to exaggerate it — no matter how bad you think it is, it’s actually worse. One-third of the USA literally belongs to an apocalyptic death cult which extols lies, hatred, and death as the core of their “morality”.

Tuesday, 2021-04-13

Resist authority

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:26

It is bad for people to be obeyed too readily. It is corrosive to good manners and a healthy relationship with those around them. When you resist someone with authority, you are looking out for the well being and sanity of that person.

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