Mar 082012
 

I found a relatively new poster at open.salon.com. http://open.salon.com/blog/not2late4 She writes with thoughtful passion about ways that she has had to face and reason about controversial situations. It turns out that I was the first one to “favorite” her and we exchanged several messages. She was distressed by the strong anger that one her articles had provoked and was considering withdrawing from the site. I hope that she will carry on.

Dear Kat,
People who write like you do are really annoying. This is actually a good thing. Don’t worry about it. Keep it up. Perfect your art. I got a bumper sticker for my wife’s car that said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” Margaret Mead is quoted as saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  You may also draw more encouragement from http://herestothecrazyones.com/ As an award-winning elementary school teacher, my wife always kept the quote prominently framed on a wall … at student’s eye level.

If you read some of my stuff posted at SocioDynamics.org (some of which is cross-posted at open.salon) you will see that I have been wrestling with the questions of why some people are persistently fearful, angry, ignorant, or bigoted. I’ve found many answers in the science of psychosocial development. Unfortunately, the answers point to the fact that, in sequential developmental stages, there will just be things that many people can’t understand yet. And, they will dislike you intensely for discussing those things.

Introducing a new idea is, for them, like bringing a new cat into the house. There is no, hello-how-do-you-do. There is just reflexive hissing, arched backs, and hair on end. But, in time, it (usually) settles down to shared naps in the sunny spot on the floor. If there is hope for cats, there is hope for the public discourse of ideas… and maybe even all of humanity.

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Feb 262012
 

Don’t you just love those social surveys that tell you that the animal you’re most like is a ferret? Or, how about the one that asks things such as your favorite color, sports team, shirt size, and zodiac sign so that they can tell which clothing retailer’s advertisements to send you.

I usually don’t fall for this foolishness. But this was a Facebook friend asking stuff. It was, in fact, my first-born son asking stuff. He wasn’t asking me; I was just lurking. He should have know better. He was obviously just making trouble. I’ll show him trouble.

So, he asks: “Philosophical question for the artistic types… If you had to choose between doing a decent job with something completely new, innovative, and groundbreaking, or an excellent job at something tried-and-true, which would you pick?”

So, being a considerate and accommodating daddy, I gave a philosophical answer:

David Satterlee

      • My only experience is with really putting my foot in it, completely new or tried-and-true. I think I would just stick with my talent. There’s just something warm and comfortable about about a good, well-worn rut. Then again, at my age, I’m more likely to break wind than break new ground. Then again again, breaking wind is tried-and-true and I do such an excellent job of it. Yeah, I pick that one. I pick my nose too, and do an excellent job of that. I don’t pick up my socks so much, but if I wear them all week, I can just throw them in the wash with everything else. That’s when I get out a completely new sock and really put my foot in it. What was the question?

Oops, now I’ve gone and posted it again. Boy, do I really know how to put my foot in it.

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