Pride-kulkue ja yläaste

PrideKävin tänään osallistumassa Turku Pride -kulkueeseen, koska olin samaa mieltä sen idean kanssa ja se oli kiinnostava tapahtuma. Siellä ollessani mietin, mitä erilaiset ihmiset mahtavat miettiä tapahtumasta. Olen kuullut joidekuiden ihmettelevän, miksi seksuaali- tms. vähemmistöt pitävät ääntä itsestään ja yrittävät olla niin erikoisia. Tiedän kyllä, mikä vastaus tuohon on. Kyse ei ole siitä.

Yksi esimerkki siitä miten asiat oikeasti ovat tulee helposti mieleen jos vain ajattelee, millaista oli kun olin yläkoulussa (siihen aikaan “yläaste”). En tiedä, kuinka paljon asiat ovat muuttuneet niistä ajoista, mutta tiedän, etteivät täysin.

Ihan yksinkertaisesti sanottuna: Yläasteella pojat haukkuivat koko ajan toisiaan homoiksi. Kaikki tiesivät, mitä se tarkoitti (tai ainakin tiesivät sillä tavoin kuin monet aikuisetkin, jotka eivät tiedä eroa sukupuolineutraalin avioliiton ja anaaliseksin välillä), mutta se oli myös vain haukkumasana. Ja vaikka olisi ollut kuinka hetero, piti varoa, ettei vain tekisi tai sanoisi mitään sellaista, että joku voisi vääntää siitä homoussyytöksiä. Ties millaista sitten oikeasti homoseksuaalisilla pojilla oli.

Kerran yläasteellemme siirrettiin vähäksi aikaa eräs poika. Minulla ei ole aavistustakaan, mikä hänen seksuaalinen suuntautumisensa todella oli. Mutta hän joutui silmätikuksi “homomaisen” käyttäytymisensä takia. Hän oli itse asiassa todella mukava ja avoin ja uskalsi olla oma itsensä, mutta hänet kiusattiin ulos siitäkin koulusta ja siirrettiin muualle. Ilmeisesti sellainen käytös oli liian normista poikkeavaa ja siksi ihmiset eivät sietäneet sitä. (Tietenkään en tiedä kaikkea, mitä tapahtui, ja tämä on vain paras arvaukseni.)

Tällainen oli siis tilanne jo koulussa. Ei ollut todellakaan niin, että seksuaalivähemmistöjen edustajat marssivat ympäriinsä kuuluttaen suuntautumistaan suureen ääneen ja halusivat huomiota. Päinvastoin oli niin, että muut tekivät koko ajan numeroa siitä, miten ei olisi saanut olla homo tai jotain vastaavaa.

Luuletteko sitten, että tämä loppuisi kouluun? Ettei siellä oppisi mitään asenteita?

Joten ei tarvitse ihmetellä, miksi vähemmistöt vaativat oikeuksia ja pitävät itsestään meteliä. Tarvitsee vain muistaa, millaista koulussa oli; eivät he sitä aloittaneet. Jos päästään siihen pisteeseen, että saa olla minkälainen tahansa eikä kukaan muu tee siitä numeroa, no, se olisi todella hyvä, mutta siellä ei nyt olla.

Vegans and humans: How not to use words

I’ve written before about how you should know whether you’re talking about the meaning of words or something else. Just now, I found myself thinking about an annoying example of how someone didn’t… and since I feel like explaining why it’s wrong, I might as well do so here and use it as an example.

The example comes from an interview on the radio where someone was talking about what it was like to be vegan. She talked about how this also involved wanting to make ethical choices towards humans, not just non-human animals. She mentioned that someone had been surprised about this and asked why, and she’d said that humans are animals too. But that had been the end of the conversation because they other person’s opinion was that no, they’re not.

I don’t know what the situation was really like. (I might even remember the details as told in the interview incorrectly.) But let’s take it as an example, and at face value: that the other person would just insist that humans are not animals, period.

Two points:

  • First, if we’re talking about the meaning of words, okay: There are basically two meanings of the word “animal”; one of them includes humans and the other doesn’t. Just because your linguistic intuition only recognises one doesn’t mean the other is invalid. And if the point is that you feel that there is some essential difference between humans and other animals, that’s at least not more accurate than to say that there is sameness, that they all belong to the same group. The definition that “animal” includes human is the more scientific one, after all. Humans are taxonomically in Animalia. (See also: The Mythical Animal.)
  • Second, why would this be a relevant point anyway? What would make humans not-animals in such a way that this would mean that humans could be treated less well morally? Of course people can base their morality on arbitrary boundaries, but why ask for that if someone isn’t doing it?

Words are just tools, but people like to use them like they’re something else — something more important than what they’re being used to talk about or that they’re otherwise doing. It’s not that word meanings shouldn’t sometimes be brought up. What you should do is to talk about what is relevant and understand what the words used are actually doing in that context.

Suppose you didn’t know about gravity…

Earth.jpgWe know things fall down because gravity pulls them down towards the centre of the Earth. Gravity is a force, or some kind of spacetime curvature that acts like it’s a force.

Suppose you’d never heard of this. And suppose, while you’re at it, that you didn’t know the world was round. Then, quite possibly, you would think it impossible that the world would be round — because the people at the bottom would fall off.

Now, since you know about gravity, you could ask, why would they? In fact, there’s no “down” in space, only somewhere like the surface of a planet, and then “down” is towards the centre. Knowing this, we can ask, why would someone fall off the “bottom” of the planet? Why assume that?

But if you never had heard of gravity and never thought about such things, it might seem obvious to you. Things at the bottom end of the planet would fall off. You’d imagine something being placed there and automatically imagine it falling off. It’d be obvious, not needing an explanation. If someone told you that wouldn’t happen without a reason, you would not, in this scenario, understand what it meant. You wouldn’t think it needed a force. You’d just think it was obvious.

Yet, of course, it wouldn’t be. Things wouldn’t just fall if there wasn’t a force.

We’re lucky to know about gravity, because it gives us such a good example. There are a lot of other questions where people consider something obvious and not needing an explanation, but really it does. There’s some extra premise, like gravity. For example, why do we often automatically assume that if someone does something bad, they deserve to be punished? That’s the kind of thing where people won’t even notice there’s a missing premiss. They’ll just jump from guilt to deserving punishment without asking why that leap should be made. Another example: how many people ask the question of why things farther away look smaller?

We don’t always need to question everything we take for granted. But sometimes we do. When that time comes… well, it’s hard to notice. But remember the example of things supposedly not needing a reason to fall down.

World of Warcraft notes: Pira- er, Combat Rogue changes in Legion

WoW Combat to Pirate 4

Image source: Me.

Today, we’ll take a look at the revamped Combat Rogue, now being changed to Outlaw. Combat Rogues didn’t really have a clear theme before, so we took the opportunity to give them a much clearer one. Which is, uh, some kind of swordmaster or brawler we guess. We definitely weren’t thinking of some other cliché when we made this.

  • Outlaw rogues are the unscrupulous scoundrels of Azeroth. Operating outside the law, they bend the rules and distort the truth to get what they need, and also they like to sail the seven seas with their outlaw maties plundering treasure and going “arrr” a lot, but don’t read too much into that. The archetype has been inspired by such classic works as the outlaw-themed book Treasure Island and the more recent Outlaws of the Caribbean movies.
  • To further emphasize the “swordmaster” theme we’re going for here, we’re giving Outlaws the ability Pistol Shot. They still don’t use guns as weapons, mind you, but every swordmaster has to be ready to pull out a hidden blunderbuss, right?
  • One of the new talents is Cannonball Barrage, which causes an invisible ghost ship crewed by invisible ghost outlaws to fire cannonballs at your enemies. This also totally goes with the swordmaster… um… yeah, anyways.
  • We looked for more p- outlaw related concepts and found “parley“, so that’s an ability now too.
  • The ability Blade Flurry is renamed “Dead Man’s Chest” for no particular reason. Its function remains the same, though its icon is changed to a Jolly Roger.
  • Outlaw Rogues get a permanent buff that affects their speech in a way similar to drunkenness, except that instead of going “hic” occasionally, they randomly spout “ARRRRR”. The buff cannot be dispelled, ever.
  • After the pre-patch launches, every Outlaw Rogue will immediately begin a new obligatory questline where they have been shanghaied by the outlaws of Booty Bay and wake up on an outlaw ship. Your organs have also been harvested, so you get a permanent appearance change as you now have a peg leg, an eye patch, and a hook in place of a hand (you get a choice of left or right). During the questline, you’ll also gain a cool and unique new pet: a talkative parrot that follows you constantly and cannot be dismissed.

…Well, maybe not quite all of that, but that’s about how it feels.

(See here for more accurate information about the Outlaw Rogue if you like.)

A slightly less ambitious 2016

My original goal for the year involved posting twice per week — or at least one “analysis” and one “review”, which could also be the same post. I’ll just drop that down to at least once per week. It’s a busy year.

less ambitious or whatever

I’ll also start using free stock images in my posts to attract readers. This one’s just for irony, but I bet it will make someone click to this post anyway. (Source: Pixabay.)

The philosophical gap

Introduction

Imagine two young, passionate lovers, say Romeo and Juliet in a world where they didn’t die but got to stay together. We can assume they’re both about the same, but for this story, let’s look at things from the point of view of one of them — Juliet, say.

(This is actually about philosophy, but wait for it.)

At first, everything seems perfect. She’s intoxicated with him and he with her, and they like everything about each other. Their time together is bliss and there are never any disagreements because they care about each other above all. She knows they are perfect together because they are so in love. What else would be needed?

But time passes and the rest of life begins to seep into the seeming perfection. Things that have been pushed aside start to have an effect. She actually doesn’t like how he always picks his nose and only pats her on the head and says she’s cute whenever she tries to say something intelligent (or whatever).

And then hey have a fight and say angry, mean things to each other.

Juliet is devastated. Her whole world comes crashing down. Their love didn’t automatically solve all problems after all. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t the most powerful thing in the world. She almost wishes they would have just tragically killed themselves earlier so that at least people might have mistaken it for the most epic romance in fiction instead of some snotty teens being obsessed with each other for a while.

Of course, it never occurs to her that love might show its strength in being willing to resolve your conflicts, and that expecting one emotion to do all the work for you forever is naïve, unrealistic and, really, lazy. Just because love isn’t some silly effortless solution doesn’t mean it’s not real. In fact, is it not even more significant when it involves making an effort and overcoming real adversity.

And what is this an analogy for? Well, a lot of philosophers and other people who really start thinking about things are in the Juliet position. When they find out their naïve beliefs are not true, maybe are even contradictory, they stop there and think they’ve proven something huge, when all they’ve really found is that the naïve version of old beliefs was not true. They still hang onto the naïve belief of how things should be, though they don’t believe things are like that. They’re caught in the gap between naïve belief and real understanding.

If only they could cross the gap, they could gain a real new understanding.

Gap

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Review: Biocentrism by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman

Biocentrism

Wait, quoting Deepak Chopra? Who exactly is this being marketed to?

Biocentrism purports to outline a new scientific hypothesis strongly suggested by both the results and the blind alleys of current science. According to this theory, life and consciousness must be understood as not being merely emergent phenomena in a universe built of physics, but something fundamental that the physical universe depends on. The main arguments combine metaphysical idealism from philosophy and an interpretation of the “observer effect” in quantum mechanics to conclude that physical things do not exist (or do not exist in a definite state) other than when they’re observed. There are also other conclusions like the unreality of time and space at the fundamental level.

Apparently Robert Lanza is supposed to be some kind of a new superstar in science — someone such that if anyone was going to revolutionise things, it would be someone like him — and Berman also a notable scientist. Nevertheless, their presentation here gives little reason to be convinced.

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