What exactly is it that you are muting?
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You know how people always say that politicians suck and it would be so much better if someone just did what seemed right?
Here we are.
I have empathy, but empathy is something that is triggered when you look at someone sad and dying on the streets, not numbers and abstract concepts. Empathy keeps us from murdering one another, it keeps us helping those who are sick, because we feel their pain when we see them.
What you refer to is not empathy, but "social requirement to express empathy based on abstract concept." I will not claim to feel something I don't, and I think all of the people out there who work themselves up with all their "empathy" on things like this are telling a lie, and a dangerous one at that.
Until we understand that people really don't care when you present them with statistics like this, that our empathy is not this thing that persists in our entire world and thoughts, we will never recognize that we can't rely on it to kick in when dealing with the "big picture." We cannot rely on empathy. It can be overridden by as little as fear of standing out from your group, or the orders of authority. It can be turned to hatred and scorn that leads to genocide. We must rely on knowing how we think, how we act, and arranging our society so that it works as well as possible using that fact, rather than denying it exists.
Empathy doesn't back all human action, and it shouldn't. If it did, we'd have gone extinct long ago when we were starving in an ice age and refused to put our own lives over that of the cute animals we'd have to kill for meat.
My concerns are practicality. Do you seriously think I said what I have because I think trans people don't need help? Do you think I want trans or gay people to be in bad situations?
I agree that helping those who are homeless, and those who abuse opioids also helps those who are gay, trans, minorities, and in all other sorts of negative situations. That's the point. We don't help these groups by giving lip service to how horrible it is that "oh no 50% of trans people die due to murder every year" we do it by helping and building a strong, stable society where all prosper and do well.
And, yes, I don't do shit to help people around me. I don't go out to help the homeless, or fight drug epidemics. My point is not that "Oh, I do so much better", my point was "You can do so much more with your time than this". My point is "I was reading this and it sounded like there was some severe epidemic I needed to care deeply about, and it turned out to be literally 50 people dying".
If we all devoted our resources as a society to fixing the fact that a disproportionate number of trans people die every year, we wouldn't get anywhere. If we instead focus on the issues that aren't founded in identities, races, or cultures, and pushed everyone behind means from which we all benefit and we all cannot deny are important, we all succeed and we all can get behind any issue.
- I do know a young trans woman who
I'm not talking about people in your life. I'm not talking about individuals. I'm talking about a system of 300 million individuals, and of which all are of equal importance.
If you know someone in a bad situation, you can and should do what you can to help them. That's my fucking point. Those 50 trans people the article talks about are so far distant from me, and almost everyone, that it's hard to summon any level of care for any of them. It's a stupid little statistic that gets repeated over and over to make people go "oh wow, they have it tough."
If you are there, if you are seeing it in front of you, then it's a different story, and that trans person is no different from the homeless person you can go out and help. I'm not criticizing the helping of people in bad situations, I'm criticizing these moral-pandering campaigns to care about something that doesn't effect almost anyone in the nation.
Opioid abuse? Homelessness? Those are everywhere. They are universal issues that cut across lines and allow us to share a common enemy which we all benefit from if we defeat. If we want broad information campaigns, we should be informing people how to deal with those situations, and correcting the many, very shitty impressions people have of those who are homeless, abusing drugs, or otherwise.
Focusing people's efforts to something so distant, so irrelevant, takes it away from the issues that do effect their community and their peers. You proposed the question of what I could do to prevent opioid abuse. The answer is that I could probably connect to my family and find, in a very short amount of time, someone who I am personally close to and connected with that could use my help. I can make a small, but significant impact by taking 1 away from the tally. I cannot do that for trans people. I don't know any trans people in a situation where they would be, and I don't have the resources to even begin to help someone in a bad condition. If you do, that's great, but you aren't in the majority.
The course articles like these take us on is one of endless worry of a sea of plights to people far away who we cannot effect. We can feel good while we rant about how bad they have it and how good we are for making everyone "think about how bad they have it" while we don't do shit to actually fix anything. These articles make us look at a world where we are one in 300 million, where our lives don't matter and where we are only important if 50% of our sexual/identity/racial group face issues.
That world is shit. That outlook is shit. I will not support or take part in it.
I'm a member of society, not the transgender community. I do not care if a group is getting murdered a whole lot more than other groups if that group has absolutely no impact on my life or any of the structures I rely on every day.
We can and should promote the social progress that enables trans people to live happy healthy lives. A lot of people are reduced to nothing because of how they are treated, and could be so much more than they could today. A change in the way society looks at them would solve those murders along with promoting and progressing the freedom of all people. I'm not saying trans issues aren't important in general, because the general progression of social views is a hell of a lot bigger than the trans community.
But phrase the issue to me as "oh no, 50 people died and because the trans community is so small it's like they have a huge portion of their group being murdered" I'm not going to care, because it just doesn't matter to me at all. Whoever they are, 50 people are 50 people, and the loss of their lives is not more significant because they are part of a minority group.
I just modified my comment a bit.
Yes, every life lost is horrible, but these are 50 people I do not know, in situations all over the country. 50 people is a tiny number among 300 million. Their lives are absolutely important, but I don't care unless I am close to or know them, just like I don't care about the 50 people who die every single day of the year to murder alone. That's about two per hour.
The issues trans people face are bad, sure, but it's no societal plight, and I can't be asked to care about something that is so super tiny compared to the many other issues facing society today. It's 50 people.
Frankly, I said the same thing about the 4 who died in the London bombings. Yeah, people are important and all losses are bad, but the reaction people have to 4 deaths is like going into a crying sobbing fit when you realize the restaurant is out of mayo for your sandwich.
Lives are important, and should be preserved, but we don't live in a world where the resources with which we can use to improve ourselves and save lives and improve lives are unlimited.
I can save 50 lives by going out in my community and feeding the homeless. I can save 50 lives by joining a support line for suicide. If I want to see a sweeping social trend, it needs to be saving thousands of lives, even tens of thousands. Not 50. Cultural pushes like this should be against the ever-rising abuse of opioids, or against repressive practices that lead people to hide away their suicide, or other means, or for healthcare, or for a thousand other BIG issues that effect millions, not hundreds.
How many do I save if I devote my time and effort to changing perceptions on trans people? A fifth of a life? A hundredth? Zero?
All lives are important, but you are one guy in a sea of millions. We matter, but we really aren't very significant in the scheme of things.
- Opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin) killed more than 33,000 people in 2015
50 v 33,000
Yeah, those 50 matter, but if they matter just as much as everyone else than they really don't matter.
If you could help it or choose then you are merely opting to be weird or special and, quite frankly, people who pull that sort of crap deserve what they get.
Straight is defined as a strict attraction to people of the other gender. It doesn't matter what history there is, or what culture changes around us. The core definition of straight is strictly incompatible with people who are attracted to those who are of the same gender they are.
I do get what you are saying, in some ways, but really I think it's less a matter of if these people are "straight" and more a matter of if "straight" and "gay" and "bi" are even functional or reasonable lines with which to group people.
Perhaps they were reasonable in a time where we needed a hammer, but now when we have power tools and all sorts of "social technology" our viewpoints and systems can be far more advanced and nuanced. "Straight" as a classification may be similar to "the element of earth" as a means to understand the composition of wood.
It may well be that "straight" and "gay" are less innate parts of our being and more akin to strong fetishes. That doesn't change what it means to be straight or gay, it just changes what place those phrases has on our views of ourselves and each other.
Regardless, if you are attracted to (having sex with) other men, you aren't straight. There is no way I'll ever accept any debate to the contrary because it just doesn't fit with the term as it is defined.
This question concerns me slightly.
And I'm not a woman, but I can tell you this is super subjective and you really should be able to better know the answer for your book characters than any real woman could tell you what is or isn't horrifying to them.
For what it's worth I made the assumption that your class follows along what is typical for a general education type class.
If your class, instead, opens up options for true general expression of thoughts and ideas, I would have to eat my words. If you, when talking about these poems, just ask for people's thoughts rather than saying "Say how this poem inspires you to think about how to change your worldview", you've probably got a class that I'd consider a very good one.
That said, it seems more to me like you've got a very "hoop-filled" class. It isn't your fault by any means, but the ultimate goal is to "make sure the students write like a graduate" rather than "forge students into people who are thoughtful and capable of expressing themselves".
- If you wrote big long fake paragraphs, you'd have to do it over. I hate big long fake paragraphs
The contents aren't fake, they are constructed. Fake, here, means the paragraphs were written with a general mindset of contempt. "I don't want to do this but I have to so here's some stuff". "Oh, hold on, not at the word count, lets add a paragraph". Where I might say "I see what the poem is trying to get at, but it is very ineffective at inspiring any idea of making my mindset change." I will instead say crap along the lines of "The poem inspires the mind to change by drawing analogies to the scenes around the main character, and draws attention to how who you think you are and who you actually are tend to be different."
It would depend on the class, but you just kinda follow along with the things you are told to see and observe, and viola! A good grade comes to you. You don't have to think, you just have to adopt the point of view the class wants you to take.
- My requirements are that students be able to write and speak at a graduate level
Your link seems like a really really low bar for graduate level writing. I guess you deal with people who pass under that bar, so it's understandable, but my assumption about "graduate level" is that "use proper grammar" is a given.
- I have to abandon this thread now. I've left myself open, bleeding, and vulnerable.
Yeah, I didn't think too much about what I said here, considering this is kinda your life and possibly your passion. Sorry if I fucked anything up for you, and I am sure that whatever you are doing it is beneficial in some way. Being critical and tearing stuff down is easy, you've got the hard job.
Computer science is the study of computers. Schools require general education when you get a degree so that students have knowledge of art and other "higher cultures" crap. That's where communications courses belong, not in CS.
The humanities are the classes you half listen to before giving a bullshit answer to the questions the professors ask that they absolutely gobble up and love. Just throw in there about how meaningful and special it is and how it expanded your worldview. It's not about substance, it's about making them feel good. When your teacher asks you to write about your thoughts on the recent election and how that reflects on democracy you damn well know you are only allowed to write one thing.
- Oh wow, donald trump is evil and the system needs to be fought. Wow, republicans are racist and evil and repressing true democracy. Wow.
What's bad is that I agree with the concept of Trump being shit, but every bone in my body wants to write a big-ass paper on how awesome Trump is. Every instinct of me screams "come on, argue why he isn't that bad". But I don't, because I want to pass the class. There is no room for original thought.
If I were in your class, and as a soon-to-be graduating CS major I would be, I'd be writing big long fake paragraphs about how meaningful and great all these poems were, because I know it's fucking arbitrary and I know it's the best way to get a good grade. It's all about the generation of piles and piles of bullshit.
And here's how I think it's done right, how you really get people to think. Mind, these classes aren't really making people think, you are allowing them to express themselves. Some, many, will just not think or put any effort in. That's what failing grades are for.
The professor that I respect the most goes on rants about his thoughts and opinions. He asks us to find something and write "our thoughts" about it. That's it. No poetry analasis, no bullshit. Find something, think deeply about it, and give me your thoughts. He asks students to give a presentation about things and debate their thoughts, with no or little input from himself. We are not given a topic and a lecture, force-fed and opinion that we have to or feel that we have to pander to.
We don't even have points in that class. He looks at what we did and gives us a grade. I absolutely love that system.
We are not given a solid direction or a place to stand from. That's not how you create or inspire thought. Instead, we have a simple order. "Search, Read, Think, Share, Repeat". That's what general education should look like. Not poetry. Not bullshit. Even with all the liberal arts classes, I can assure you that the vast majority of students aren't learning to think, they are learning to bullshit .
To be fair, that was a CS course, but the important thing is that we were learning ABOUT computer science. The things we were to speak about were things that were strictly relevant to computer science. When our teacher talked he talked about situations like dealing with managers who ask for something they don't want, or about how it's bad to ignore security. He speaks from sixty or more years of experiencing bullshit and attempting to impress that knowledge onto people who haven't lived a fraction of that.
Classes that want to make us into thinkers should not lecture us and tell us what and how we ought to be thinking. Instead, they should inspire and create the structure necessary to force people to begin to think, and to think deeply, before they can progress. Bullshit shouldn't get a passing grade, and it gets that grade over and over and over again in the liberal arts classes.
It's because they want bullshit, they don't want real original thought. The philosophy classes aren't about you thinking, it's about you understanding how plato thought. The reading classes aren't about your thoughts on the book, it's about learning the agreed on symbolism in the texts. It's not about what you think, or what you learn, or what you observed, it's about what you should think, what you should learn, what you should learn.
So, yeah, poetry is hollow bullshit. Does it have to be? No. But it is regardless!
If I want to think about the world, I will one day get a paddle boat and go out in a lake where I can close my eyes and just rest and think. If I want to improve the world, or challenge my values, I will speak to those who challenge them and try my hand at improving my local community. I will not sit in a brightly lit room while a teacher lectures me about how much beauty there is in the world, or how ones values should be reconsidered. I will not read a couple of sentences intended to be some deep and great meaning, or read some book written in great prose. I will read sentences of people just expressing their honest thoughts, and I will find within those meaning that is far more substantial and life changing than any of this poetry can ever be.
If I want to know the world, I will do it by observing the world, by debating with real people expressing real opinions. A college course is not such a thing, and no matter how much all these professors pretend to stand for "real honest discussion" that couldn't be further from the truth in the classes of today.