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August 02, 2008

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Ordinary Joe

I don't hold an opinion in the issue, but it suffices to say that your echoing their message is evidence of the effectiveness of their methods. :-)

The want that all strive toward higher forms of discourse and being offended at other methods rings of a time when those savages wouldn't wear red coats and stand in a fixed formation at their end of the field at the appointed time... Look what became of them!

The feeling of being offended begins with an expectation that someone should be following a rule that you've accepted. The way to avoid offense isn't best handled by creating more rules; better to do away with the expectation :-)

O'Cleary

Joe,

Very true. Too many levels of offense exist to ever make enough rules to address everyone's expectations.

I've never seen one of those photos. And I don't look at accidents on the highway. I don't watch crime TV.

In Catholic Church we say, "From the mind, onto the lips, into the heart". This is also the foundation Wayne Dyer's Intention philosophy (it's on MPT now, that is why I'm mentioning), and the basis of a recent Larry King program about Change Your Mind and Change Your Life.

I'm a firm believer in reality as a commonly shared truth, NOT perception. But what we allow into our minds cannot be erased and so it's in our own best interest to be very careful what we let inside.

We're our own gatekeepers, and by taking this responsibility we do not become easily offended.

Ordinary Joe

"I'm a firm believer in reality as a commonly shared truth, NOT perception. But what we allow into our minds cannot be erased and so it's in our own best interest to be very careful what we let inside.

We're our own gatekeepers, and by taking this responsibility we do not become easily offended."


What is the gatekeeper of the mind except the mind itself?

Catholics have contemplative orders that isolate themselves from worldly affairs to find communion with God. Catholics also have orders that serve fully immersed with those that others might consider the dregs of humanity in their own environments. Is one order's method to serving God preferable to another?

If for a moment you loose focus and, instead of seeing a manifestation of God, you see a leper---whether literal or figurative---then you've sinned for having made the distinction. When you say this is a leper and this is not, then you've sinned again. When you decide not to think of the leper, then still there is the leper and again you've sinned again.

More simply, thinking "I will not allow evil into my mind" itself is already your mind poisoned with evil. To employ the mind as a gatekeeper this way first means deciding what is and what is not a leper. Can this be God's mind at work?

Seeing a leper is letting a leper into your mind, and perhaps that cannot be erased. Seeing the same man in his own circumstances as God's presence is the way to not allow a leper into your mind.

Clarice

I hope you are using 'leper' as allegory and do not actually mean that the advice was to shield ones self from the afflicted. That would be at best a misunderstanding and at worst a distortion.

Ordinary Joe

Hi, Clarice-

Of course "leper" is symbolic. I was hoping that was clear here:

"... you see a leper---whether literal or figurative---then..."

and within the context of the post.


My original point was to question the value of constraining how people communicate based upon our want not to be offended. Imagine if I could not have raised the image of a leper because a reader may have misunderstood and may have been offended... :-)

Clarice

I apologize Joe. Seems there's been a fundamental disconnection.

My point was that we each have the ability to decide most of what we want to see and how much offensive material we allow our brain to absorb. I do not think afflicted people are offensive. But traffic accidents and signs posted (as in the host's message) are things I avoid viewing. I am not easily offended as a result of taking this responsibility myself. Also, my ego doesn't run the offense route in most cases anyway. But I didn't think we were talking about the afflicted.

I believe as many Catholics are taught through scripture in mass; evil cannot enter, and we are only responsible for what exits. We are not responsible for other's behavior though we are thoroughly responsible for our own. But I didn't think we were talking about evil, either.

Maybe it would've been clearer if I'd said to 53 Beers: Just don't look!

How's that ;)

Ordinary Joe

When we hear kids speaking of aversions, I tend to think thinks like vegetables and cooties. When we hear Catholic adults discussing keeping things from entering the mind to avoid the consequences ("From the mind, onto the lips, into the heart"), I tend to think things like evil. It's true though: I see I was the one who introduced the word to the thread. It may not be what O'Cleary had in mind. :-)

If a person spends his time habitually running toward those things to which he is attracted and running away from those things to which he has aversion, then in those moments he loses touch with his free will, becoming a slave to the myriad of things that appear around him.

If on a moment-by-moment basis he can maintain conscious awareness, though, he can choose to look or to look away, remaining free. It is in this state that open debate can occur,

So, "Just don't look!" yes, if that is your choice---but look deeper if that is your habit. ;-)

Clarice

The slave to external demands: Very well said Joe.

Gina

I can't tell you how many people I've talked with who spout off about "choice" without ever once thinking about what the choice involves. When verbally describing some particularly gruesome or otherwise upsetting abortion procedure, I've had responses like "They don't really do that!" or "I can't believe they do that!"

If we're going to talk realistically about abortion, people have to know exactly what it is. And if that takes pictures -- if they can't or won't understand and believe it any other way -- so be it. I'm sorry to have to say that, but it looks like supposedly rational adults can't be brought to face the facts any other way.

Marshmallow Man

Hi,

I really appreciate the tone and tenor of most of these posts. It has helped me understand the points of view. And yes, there is a certain elegant simplicty to the concept of "if it offends, don't choose to participate".

Gina, this is not a discussion about abortion/choice/whatever. The beginning of your second paragraph suggests that you feel that it may be. But it's not.

Ordinary Joe

Gina's comments *are* germane to the example cited. It addresses the question of why such tactics might be employed.

When people would prefer an innocuously sterile discussion so as not to be offended, and when it is sometimes the points of fact themselves that are distasteful, sometimes such a shock may stir the public into discourse.

Marshmallow Man

Joe,

That's obviously your view; I have mine. Neither are "right" or "wrong".

Ordinary Joe

Marshmallow Man,

If views or interpretations are neither right nor wrong, then why did you essentially post that Gina's interpretation was wrong? Did you perhaps mean to tell her, like you told me, that we differ in opinion? The two statements do seem to carry different tone and tenor...

If I say "it is wrong," and you say, "it is neither right nor wrong," then did you not essentially tell me that I am wrong? Should I take offense and ask you to argue in a way that I prefer?

Ah---but that is the point, isn't it? :-)

Traci

Gina writes: >> can't tell you how many people I've talked with who spout off about "choice" without ever once thinking about what the choice involves. When verbally describing some particularly gruesome or otherwise upsetting abortion procedure, I've had responses like "They don't really do that!" or "I can't believe they do that!">>

Of course, Gina knows that 99% of abortions are performed in the first trimester, and what the agenda-pushers are showing in their posters are usually either doctored photos of stillborn full-term fetuses or the result of a wanted pregnancy gone so horribly wrong that the fetus has died in utero or that the only thing to do to save the life of the mother is to induce the fetus, no matter where it is in gestation.

Ordinary Joe

Traci writes "Of course, Gina knows that..., and what the agenda-pushers are showing..."

It's always funny to hear one person claim to know the mind of another, and so is it to hear those whose own agendas include the labeling of others as "agenda pushers"...

But that is neither here nor there. *Again* the potentially disturbing posters from the demonstration have inspired further communication on the topic of the debate (which just happens to be abortion in this case). That's the point.

traci

>>Traci writes "Of course, Gina knows that..., and what the agenda-pushers are showing...">>>

Joe: >>>It's always funny to hear one person claim to know the mind of another, and so is it to hear those whose own agendas include the labeling of others as "agenda pushers"... >>

Oh, I'm sorry. So Gina *doesn't* know that 99% of abortions take place in the first trimester? Wow, that's something most people who educate themselves on the facts do know. Then maybe Gina should educate herself, so she's not taken in by the people trying to influence her mind by showing her pictures of fetuses that died in-utero and claiming they were "Baybeeeze aborted ONE MINUTE before they were supposed to be born!" or other such silliness. Education is the best defense to such purposeful propaganda.

traci

Gina writes: >>If we're going to talk realistically about abortion, people have to know exactly what it is.>>

So, will you be forming the "anti-voluntary sterilization" crowd, standing around median strips shoving pictures of gory hysterectomies and vasectomies?

It's really amazing that the people who claim to "love baybeeze" see nothing wrong with traumatizing actual, born children with pictures of medical procedures.

Laura

The problem we have here Joe is that the pro-lifers DO have an agenda. They presume to CHOOSE for us all and limit our choice to back streets and coat hangers. The pro-choicers believe in exactly that...CHOICE. We (choicers) do not presume to choose for someone else, but with regard to the subject at hand, it should remain accessible to all women who CHOOSE it and safe for those women. The only way that can happen is to retain Roe v. Wade and stop the madness of declaring everything an abortifacient, from the MAP to the ordinary birth control pill.

As for the posters, they are usually a bunch of "artistic creations" and do not resemble the real truth in any way. A fetus in the first trimester would barely be recognizable and most women who CHOOSE abortion after that point have a compelling reason. The reason is no one else's business. That's why the law falls under the "right to privacy"!

Ordinary Joe

In a thread that seemed to be launched with commentary on how uncivil people can be in their own efforts to share their points of view with others in debate, we find sarcasm, condescension, and nearly personal attack. Are these elements the same or different---or better or worse---than people waving posters that may offend?

Of course each group has an agenda---that is the nature of forming a group! To belong to one camp or the other is to share their agenda to some extent. As a matter of fact, to actively avoid belonging to either camp simply puts that person in a third camp with an agenda of avoiding the other two! People can drive themselves to madness to expose what they see as another group's agenda, never seeing that this need is their own agenda, never seeing how their own behavior is affected by holding such an agenda. People are easily lost using only a "moral compass" to guide them...

People lose themselves in the words "life" and "choice," never stepping back and seeing that they are *both* arguing to remove someone's choice. The extremists from both camps can clearly state their positions beginning with the words, "Under no circumstances may someone else make the choice to ..." They look in a mirror and see their enemies rather than themselves.

So locked in the fervor of their positions, the point of how we argue is lost to the argument itself. That itself is the point, is it not?

Maria

Joe writes: People can drive themselves to madness to expose what they see as another group's agenda, never seeing that this need is their own agenda, never seeing how their own behavior is affected by holding such an agenda. People are easily lost using only a "moral compass" to guide them...>

Agreed! Arguing that "all life is precious, even if it's a 28-cell blastocyst...and that's MORE IMPORTANT than the "walking incubator" (woman) keeping it alive", then shoving posters of Hollywood-style shock-gore into minivans full of actual children's faces is indeed a sign that someone is lost to their agenda.

And since when is that opinion that "every woman should decide for HERSELF what is best for HER and HER FAMILY" taking away someone else's choice? Unless it's the choice of complete strangers with an agenda to determine what other complete strangers decide for themselves? You've apparetly drunk so much of the kool-aid that you can't see for the artificial-color glow.

Ordinary Joe

Maria, a complete stranger to me and with an agenda of her own, has already decided what is best for me and my family.

Her drink is a different color, so she thinks it is not kool-aid.

Alas, she cannot see it. No woman can see it.

Does that offend you? I don't know why it would; after all, no man can see it either.

When you identify yourself as a woman, when you chose to see things only as a woman, you erode your ability to see clearly. You risk losing sight of that part of you that is truly you, that part of you that we all have in common: a soul, humanity, a universal nature, or whatever you'd like to call it.

Replace the word "woman" with "man," "pro-life advocate," "pro-choice advocate," "democrat," "republican," "black," "white," "skinny," "obese," or anything else and the statement conveys precisely the same meaning. We take what is common to us all, we discriminate and divide, and then we embody those things, argue as if those are the things we are.

How ridiculous.

So, the posters in my face or Maria in my face: Which is the more offensive? Are they the same or different?

Karen-Ann

Joe, I came into this argument late, but I think you're all wrong. Your stance is that it's okay to wave inaccurate posters in the faces of small children (and possibly women who may have just miscarried a very-much wanted pregnancy), and if anyone says that's sick, then they're the ones trying to shove their agenda on you? Gosh, using your logic, anyone who says it was wrong for terrorists to fly airplanes into buildings is trying to force others into an agenda. Some things are just wrong. You can't defend your position so you attack others for speaking the truth.

Abortion is a very personal decision. You don't know why a complete stranger would choose to abort, but you've already decided for her that your reasons trump hers--whether they be life-saving, health-saving, or sanity-saving: you feel your opinions are more important than hers, and that's just sick.

Why don't you be honest-- 60% of the pictures you want to shove in people's faces have to be depict abortion by 8 weeks, 90% in the first trimester, etc - the picture size has to be honest, not enlarged, and you have to give the provenance of the picture - where it was taken, when, who took it, and the circumstances around how the picture was obtained. And I dont believe expecting honesty from you is being unreasonable. Unrealistic, maybe, but not unreasonable.

Maria

Joe writes: So, the posters in my face or Maria in my face: Which is the more offensive? Are they the same or different?

Joe, you are quite ugly inside, aren't you? You're like a little boy pulling wings off a butterfly or blowing up frogs with a firecracker, and when someone points out to you that that's not appropriate, you stomp your feet and cry and claim people are "in your face". No, dear, people standing in a median strip shoving posters in someone's face are "in your face", and are quite different from someone pointing out why that's a dumb thing to do. Now go run along and find something positive to do with your time.

Ordinary Joe

Karen-Ann, you misstate my position by claiming I have a position on the abortion issue at all. If you review my posts, it should be clear that I am making a sincere effort to return discussion to the argument about arguing.

The blog owner's original post happened to have been inspired by a pro-life demonstrators' tactics. It's been pointed out more than once that the thread is not about abortion; however, there are some people who are so sensitive to this particular issue that they simply cannot see this.

That has been and remains my stance.

Ordinary Joe

Maria puts the blatantly inaccurate picture of me as a little boy pulling wings off of butterflies and blowing up frogs with firecrackers into the minds of this blog's readers.

Certainly one does not have to read that particular post; they can just look away, right?

So, protesters with posters or Maria with her graphic imagery: Which is more offensive? Are they the same or different?

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