Attitudes in Aggregate

To really get the point across there needs to be a narrative.

Tim and Craig are sitting in Tim’s living room and they’re watching the VMAs on television. They finish watching the show and Craig’s face puts on a look of disgust. Craig then says, “How can anyone think this is good art? They reward curated garbage year after year and dismiss much more deserving, smaller, artists.” Tim responds “That’s a very veridical statement. I didn’t know you were such a culturati.” Craig’s face turns to a look of confusion and asks “what?” Tim, knowing the exact cause of the confusion, responds “‘Veridical’ means honest, truthful, and veracious. ‘Culturati’ is a person deeply interested in culture and art.”

“Alright,” says Craig “but why did you say it like that? Like, why those words specifically?”

“Well, I believe that people need larger vocabularies. Humans as a whole have become over reliant on simple words because after middle school we are not encouraged to learn new words. Learning new words helps people communicate ideas and describe things, which leads to better understanding. So if I start using more complex words, in addition to other people, and people catch on; then society as a whole will have a larger vocabulary.” Tim felt quite proud of his decree. Craig responds “Okay, I agree that people should have bigger vocabularies, and I agree that that’s a good way to go about it. But, you shouldn’t do that because people are constantly going to have a hard time understanding you and you’re always going to have to keep explaining words. So it’ll just be easier if you don’t do it.”


A little context is necessary for further explanation. A few weeks ago a friend and I were debating the efficacy of a tactic used by activists. He was opposed to the tactic based on the grounds that it increased the probability of the activists receiving harassment. Otherwise, he agreed with the principals the group was trying to instill into society and agreed that the tactic is an effective tactic. Yet, he still opposed it based on the probability of harassment.

I found this problematic. Not the situation, the logic behind his thought process. It’s the same one surrounding people that tell you that you shouldn’t get visible tattoos because it will make employers think you’re no good. Or similar to the statement that you shouldn’t post pictures of you at parties on Facebook, or else it will send the wrong impression to employers.

Even though that person agrees that tattoos are a form of expression and that basically everyone goes to a party and drinks, and that neither are a statement of work ethic and character. This is all a huge fallacy.

Both parties are in agreeance that this socially beneficial change needs to occur. But by telling one of the parties to stop, they are hindering the spreading of the ideas influence. As that person won’t spread the idea around making it harder for it to reach normativity. If this logic was applied to every instance of a person who wanted to forward a socially progressive idea, and they then followed it; then the results of that idea would never come to fruition, take a much longer time than necessary to come to fruition, or remain wishful thought in the minds of people. All while the pre-existing notions continue to perpetuate with little to no resistance.
The act of perpetuating a progressive idea requires the sacrifice of some form of comfort on the part of the people. Without that sacrifice, the idea won’t come to normativity. It’s ironic that, even though they support the idea, the logic they endorse hinders it. Make this the aggregate attitude towards progressing ideas and there would be no progression period.

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