What do you
think might help solve this particularly difficult problem?
Our culture has a love affair with the put-down. TV likes the
roast. The sitcoms glory in ridicule. Movies push the put-down
with great creativity to ever more violent and vicious extremes.
A list serve discussant starts a diatribe with, "you are a whacko,"
suggests that someone he disagrees with "go back to kindergarten, or earlier,
to see if you can do better," and ends by threatening that, should the
discussion be continued by she who disagrees with him, he will give out
more "analysis from me." If this were a face to face discussion,
those comments would be seen by all but the speaker as coming from a very
disturbed mind. What is it about our Internet culture that lets such
put-down incivility easily slip into the e-mail ether?
This insulter's reasoning displayed "obvious" logic-blindness; a
fact that was obvious–no
quatation marks–to most of the list serve's participants
and lurkers. As was the futility of retort. And one of the
logic-blindnesses was to the mutual reciprocities that are so necessary
to intelligent discussion. Here
we enter the mysterious world of Lawrence Kohlberg, and anyone who would
seriously attack this serious problem would be well advised to look deeply
into Kohlberg's work and its enigmas.
We come to expect the put-down. At every turn; in every facet
of day-to-day life. Our description of "The Singles" could easily
be interpreted as a put-down. In particular, the facetious
"virus," Herpes simpletonisus might be seen as an attempted put-down,
especially since the accent is on the last syllable.
Out of the question!
There can be no put-down that carries any logical weight.
When you have found "Human Intelligence" you will see outlined why
we believe this is one of the more important "obvious yet unobserved" facts
of social life. (When you discover The Platinum Plover Egg, you will
see some flesh put onto that outline.) "Logic" is almost always seen
as something we can compare on a line, "low" to "high." The insight
to strive for is why the comparisons must be made, not on a line, but in a
space of many dimensions.
We have tried to broach this problem rather directly, trying not to be
rude, trying not to stir up a bit of bile. Nevertheless,we find we do
sometimes stir up some bile.
Isn't that common rudeness we see on the Internet sociopathic?.
When might it even be psychopathic?
We need to set the stage for examining this interesting problem that is
especially rampant on the Internet.
But we are all human beings—on the Internet; in day-to-day
life; wherever...—where we interact face-to-face in a multidimensional
web of interpersonal relationships. Rank order by "worth" or "value"
is oversimplification carried much further than is usually recognized.
To see any one person as "better than" or "lesser than" another requires
that rank order. We all do it, and when we do we might stop, think,
swallow our pride (recalling that pride is the first of the seven deadly
sins) and, instead, think bird six-dimension color, human seventeen (plus?)
And revel in that complexity.
The logical underpinning of this simple truth lies in the world of
the "simple but difficult" at the edge of human comprehension. Multi-dimensional
ranking is a simple but powerful concept sensed by many but articulated
by very few.
How might we help the Internet society find ways to map routes to
this powerful insight?