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Old 09-16-2011, 02:25 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Tannhauser View Post
My 2 cents (or 2 pence):

I know this won't be a popular view, but I feel very strongly that failing to observe 'two minute silences' and the like is by no means disrespectful or reprehensible.

The whole practice of respectful silences rests on a series of questionable assumptions. For a start, who chooses which events to be marked and which aren't? It doesn't seem to be chosen democratically, it just appears out of nowhere. I seem to recall a two minute silence for the 7/7 bombings in London (56 dead), but not the Haiti earthquake (at least 46,000 dead). Presumaby I'm supposed to feel more empathy with the former than the latter - but personally I don't - they are both utterly ghastly tragedies - so why should I be obliged to mark one rather than the other?

Secondly, if you feel strongly about a tragedy, keeping quiet at a given time - that you haven't chosen - is only one way of showing your feelings. There are lots of other ways. You might feel that you would rather show your solidarity by, say, helping the victims. With reference to other tragedies (not 9/11, I can't speak about that), I know plenty of people who will happily observe a minute's silence - but that's all they will do. Try asking them to stick their hands in their pocket and actually do something, or give up a bit of time, and the empathy evaporates.

Thirdly, there is an atheist objection to 'silent moments' that runs like this: the separation of church and state, and a secular government, means that no one can force you into a religious observance. However, by calling it a 'moment of reflection,' and just announcing 'there will be a minute's silence, it's prayer sneaked in by the back door. It's prayer in everything but name - what else are you actually supposed to be doing by standing there silently? I'm not sure I completely buy it, but you can see why a committed atheist or someone of another faith might feel that way.

Fourthly, I can't help feeling that it's an exercise in conformity. regardless of what your personal feelings are, this is the behaviour that's been adopted by the group, and you'd better toe the line. Not doing so marks you out as a deviant, who does not share the in-group values, and therefore a legitimate target for anger and attack.

I guess people like to take arbitrary - often nonsensical - behaviours, imbue them with meaning and then vent their wrath against anyone who refuses to do the same. I can imagine a parallel universe where everyone has to put on a top hat to mark some terrible tragedy, and anyone who doesn't is disrepecting the dead with his unspeakable hatlessness.

Everyone likes to think that he/she is a free thinker, and that they walk their own path, yadda yadda yadda. Everybody says that about themselves. Yet when these individuals, commited body and soul to individualism, are confronted with someone who truly takes a different stance on widely accepted practices (say, someone who won't go a funeral, or who doesn't celebrate Christmas, or who has their own way of marking terrible events) it's funny how quickly groupthink emerges.

So essentially, my take (and response to those guys at the game) would be this: if you want to mark someone's passing by standing silently, with others, at a pre-designated time - fine. I can see that there is a power to that, aesthetically if in no other way. But don't form sort of grief police, forcing everyone else to do the same. Don't do it explicitly and don't do it tacitly. And don't ever take the moral high ground and make the risible assumption that just because you fell into line, and they didn't, that you care and they don't.
All of the above can be answered by this single sentence:

Quote:
Originally Posted by *MC* View Post
If you want people to respect your beliefs, you have to respect theirs.
Honestly, I really liked your arguments, and you had some excellent points. Your usage of your vocabulary makes you a very vivid writer, and undoubtedly displays your intelligence and ability to think "outside the box". However, I do take beef with your second to last paragraph.

Unfortunately, no matter who wrote that paragraph, those words come from a hypocrite. There is absolutely no possible way for anyone to look at some of the things others do, and not find a single thing in the world appalling to you. We are all unique in some way shape or form, and that is our true individuality, but I would find it impossible to believe there is someone who truly is beyond anyone else; that their ideas and opinions are not shared by others. You speak of a purity that just does not exist.

I'm sure I could think of several actions, non hypothetical (extreme nonetheless), where you would share an opinion with others that frowns upon certain behaviors. No man is as pure as that paragraph would make them out to be.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:25 PM   #22
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tannhauser View Post
My 2 cents (or 2 pence):

I know this won't be a popular view, but I feel very strongly that failing to observe 'two minute silences' and the like is by no means disrespectful or reprehensible.

The whole practice of respectful silences rests on a series of questionable assumptions. For a start, who chooses which events to be marked and which aren't? It doesn't seem to be chosen democratically, it just appears out of nowhere. I seem to recall a two minute silence for the 7/7 bombings in London (56 dead), but not the Haiti earthquake (at least 46,000 dead). Presumaby I'm supposed to feel more empathy with the former than the latter - but personally I don't - they are both utterly ghastly tragedies - so why should I be obliged to mark one rather than the other?

Secondly, if you feel strongly about a tragedy, keeping quiet at a given time - that you haven't chosen - is only one way of showing your feelings. There are lots of other ways. You might feel that you would rather show your solidarity by, say, helping the victims. With reference to other tragedies (not 9/11, I can't speak about that), I know plenty of people who will happily observe a minute's silence - but that's all they will do. Try asking them to stick their hands in their pocket and actually do something, or give up a bit of time, and the empathy evaporates.

Thirdly, there is an atheist objection to 'silent moments' that runs like this: the separation of church and state, and a secular government, means that no one can force you into a religious observance. However, by calling it a 'moment of reflection,' and just announcing 'there will be a minute's silence, it's prayer sneaked in by the back door. It's prayer in everything but name - what else are you actually supposed to be doing by standing there silently? I'm not sure I completely buy it, but you can see why a committed atheist or someone of another faith might feel that way.

Fourthly, I can't help feeling that it's an exercise in conformity. regardless of what your personal feelings are, this is the behaviour that's been adopted by the group, and you'd better toe the line. Not doing so marks you out as a deviant, who does not share the in-group values, and therefore a legitimate target for anger and attack.

I guess people like to take arbitrary - often nonsensical - behaviours, imbue them with meaning and then vent their wrath against anyone who refuses to do the same. I can imagine a parallel universe where everyone has to put on a top hat to mark some terrible tragedy, and anyone who doesn't is disrepecting the dead with his unspeakable hatlessness.

Everyone likes to think that he/she is a free thinker, and that they walk their own path, yadda yadda yadda. Everybody says that about themselves. Yet when these individuals, commited body and soul to individualism, are confronted with someone who truly takes a different stance on widely accepted practices (say, someone who won't go a funeral, or who doesn't celebrate Christmas, or who has their own way of marking terrible events) it's funny how quickly groupthink emerges.

So essentially, my take (and response to those guys at the game) would be this: if you want to mark someone's passing by standing silently, with others, at a pre-designated time - fine. I can see that there is a power to that, aesthetically if in no other way. But don't form sort of grief police, forcing everyone else to do the same. Don't do it explicitly and don't do it tacitly. And don't ever take the moral high ground and make the risible assumption that just because you fell into line, and they didn't, that you care and they don't.
Agree completely with this, especially the part in bold. *Most people* brag about their individuality. But they can tolerate "individualism" in others, only to an extent.
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Old 09-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #23
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All of the above can be answered by this single sentence:

Originally Posted by *MC* View Post
If you want people to respect your beliefs, you have to respect theirs.
I have lived long enough (and a police officer for over 12 years), to say this is a duel edge sword dependent upon many individual factors:

Sometimes giving respect does NOT return respect.


And, it doesn't really (IMO) sum up everything, only some of it.

Mutual rights--"that were happening at the SAME TIME" are at odds with one another.

To wit:

1. The persons right not to stand in silence and the right not to respect the national anthem

and

2. The persons right to stand in silence and the right to respect the national anthem.

It happened in the United States of America. Where we enjoy many freedoms that over lap the other, and they tend to collide once in awhile.

Neither right is stronger than the other, in the constitutional sense. And, neither has the right to infringe the right of the other.

Who respects WHO first here?.

Does the moral values out weigh the rights of the other? Remember, he has the RIGHT not to honor if he so chooses. And, the person reacting has the RIGHT to select his mode of action.

In addition, even if the guy reacting did not like the guy on the cell phone, what about..............respecting his RIGHT to do so?

ITS A TWO WAY STREET.

And, considering the "type of" supposed disruption (by using cell phone), does it warrant a violation of his right.....of personal protection?

And, even if he was a moral violating moron (violating no criminal law, but only moral values--not premised under any statute to bring a violation of law), does it justify the reaction?

This is relative.

Some would say, yes, and take the consequences. While others may say, they were justified and shouldn't be prosecuted.

While is true, you remove the stimulus that provided the aggressive reaction, the aggressive reaction "more than likely" would not have happened.

BUT.......respecting the guys, RIGHT, and being personally annoyed (without violence) would have removed the aggressive reaction. Avoided violating additional personal rights and criminal prosecution.

We have to be responsible for our actions.

EDIT:

We all have the constitutional right to free speech.......correct?

Yes....BUT...its conditional and at times can be down right criminal.......and with consequences, even when you exercise this RIGHT.

Think about it.
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Last edited by Chillen; 09-16-2011 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:55 PM   #24
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Everyone likes to think that he/she is a free thinker, and that they walk their own path, yadda yadda yadda. Everybody says that about themselves. Yet when these individuals, commited body and soul to individualism, are confronted with someone who truly takes a different stance on widely accepted practices (say, someone who won't go a funeral, or who doesn't celebrate Christmas, or who has their own way of marking terrible events) it's funny how quickly groupthink emerges.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Unfortunately, no matter who wrote that paragraph, those words come from a hypocrite. There is absolutely no possible way for anyone to look at some of the things others do, and not find a single thing in the world appalling to you. We are all unique in some way shape or form, and that is our true individuality, but I would find it impossible to believe there is someone who truly is beyond anyone else; that their ideas and opinions are not shared by others. You speak of a purity that just does not exist.
If I understand your point correctly:

I'm not setting myself on a higher moral plane here. I'm suggesting that there is a weird tension between elevating individualism to an extreme virtue on the one hand and insisting on conformity on the other. And that includes me.

Also, I'm not saying that having group norms, and being appalled when someone breaks them, is always a bad thing. We couldn't function as a society without that reaction. For me, the problem is that there are some group behaviours that make very little intrinsic sense, and so the appropriate response to ignoring those norms ought to be...."well, I want to do this because that's my thing, but if he doesn't want to...so what?" To me, I think we should be grown up enough, as a society, to recognise those situations for what they are.

The particular objection I have against minute silences is that it's an attempt to legislate and enforce grief and remembrance. And those things are spontaneous personal things that should not be intruded upon. I don't mind saying that I have shed tears for victims of many crises, and reflected on their plight. This has happened naturally, and at the time that was appropriate for me, rather than at an arbitrary moment selected by someone else.

I'm going to tread carefully here, but it seems to me that for many people taking part in minute's silences, their primary preoccupations at that moment are (a) waiting for it to end and (b) trying to look sombre and maybe (c) looking out for anyone whose not doing it, so that they can be righteously annoyed. In any mass event like that, my guess is that a lot of people aren't transported into a reflective state at all. That's not to say that they don't care, just that they need to arrive at that state themselves, in their own time, without prompting.

Last edited by Tannhauser; 09-16-2011 at 05:58 PM.
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