Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pattern Recognition

This blog tends to focus on human rights, politics, and whatnot - all those serious, grave controversial subjects - as well as photography, literature, science and whatever else randomly strikes me.

If things get too heavy here, check out my Tumblr blog, Pattern Recognition: I make a concerted effort to keep it colorful, positive and entirely non-political. It consists mainly of quotes, which inspire me in the moment and photos of stuff which amuses or touches me, and which I've generally taken and uploaded on the spot with my cell phone.

I do write about politics and sometime religion on this blog pretty openly because I'm convinced that as a society we've made it a taboo to discuss the three topics we should probably be having the most dialogue around: sex, politics and religion. Because we're not always sure how to handle these subjects delicately and diplomatically and because some people can't engage in debate respectfully either without taking offense or quickly descending into ad hominem attacks, we've kinda thrown up our hands and decided not to discuss such things, unless we feel pretty safely that we're preaching to the converted.

As a result, in the 21st century we have
  • Kids getting pregnant at 17 and then forced into marriage because their parents didn't want them told explicitly how their privates function
  • Folks believing and fiercely defending the idea that Iraq attacked us on 9/11 and that Barack Obama is a covert Muslim/terrorist/communist/all of the above
  • Folks believing the Bush administration engineered the events of 9/11 in order to justify its hawkish, pro-Democracy agenda
  • Folks believing that our gay friends aren't deserving of the same civil and human rights as the rest of us
  • Folks believing all sorts of other superstitious nonsense - often to the detrimental effect of the health and well-being of others
What part of any of that is any good? So I'm a believer in open but civil dialogue. Sometimes it might get a little rough and tumble, sometimes there might be a healthy injection of humor or satire, but, hopefully, it remains civil and respectful. Otherwise, we're just preaching to the converted. 

We all - liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and Muslims, and so on - suffer from a tendency to focus upon only that information, which reinforces that which we already believe.  To ignore that is to misunderstand the human condition. But it'd be nice if we could recognize that pattern of thinking and work to overcome it.  

P.S. I just added comments to Pattern Recognition. Like many, I love the minimalist approach to Tumblr, but I think the ability to comment creates more community.

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