Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Dialogue with an Anti-Logician

I sometimes imagine what it would be like to have a discussion with my alter ego, the Anti-logician. It may go something like this:

AL: "Sam, let's take a break from all this boring logic stuff, especially within politics, and talk about stuff that really matters. Life what makes life good?

UL: "I suppose. But it is difficult after breaking free from the Common Master, to make any sense at all. But, I'll let you run with this for a while. Do you mind if I ask what you mean by the word "good?"

AL: "Wait a minute! NO COMMON MASTER! Got it? Can we get away from the logical "definition of terms" please? Let's just have a simple conversation without all the analyzing of words and such. Anyway, you know what "good" means.

UL: "English is kinda loosey-goosey. There may be five or six meanings for the word 'good.' Good could mean: happy, content, fulfilled, tasty, moral, meaningful, talented, etc. Lessee, you could have a variety of definitions of the good life such as having lots of money; lots of sex, or better, lots of sex with no consequences; lots of toys; lots of kids; or no kids at all; or having power or position; having everyone answer to your beck-and-call; have everyone leave you alone; getting to do what you want, when you want it and where; ruling the world, ruling the universe; ruling God, or better, be God. There could be many definitions of what is the good life.

AL, looking at UL in dumbfounded amazement: "Okay, okay (mumbles something about being an anal-retentive logic-driven ass, or something like that). The good that makes you feel like life is worth living. Easy enough, or do I have to spell it out for you?"

UL: "Why?"

AL: "Why what?"

UL: "Why is it worth living? If you want to know that you are living the good life, you want to identify why it is worth living. It's asking if it will get you where you want to go. Right?"

AL: "I want to agree, but I'm thinking you have a catch."

UL: "Do you want to know if you have the good life or not?"

AL: "Of course."

UL: "Then how do you know that it is worth living unless you can identify the ends of those "worth living" factors. If they don't exist, or if they don't take you to where it's good, isn't it fair to say that you are NOT living the life worth living?"

AL: "Uh, yes. I spose it's when...well it's varies with different people."

UL: "What varies? The goodness of the good life or the life of the good life?"

AL: "Everyone has a different definition of what the good life is. A mom in New Hampshire is living the good life when she enjoys reading her children a bedtime story. It's doing what she was meant to do as a mom."

UL: "Are you saying that all moms that enjoy doing mom things are living the good life?"

AL: "Yes! DUH! (rolls his eyes like UL is a nitwit)"

UL: "Uh, you're breaking your own rule."

AL: "What rule?"

UL: " The rule that the Common Master is not allowed in this discourse. You are getting into universals, like the essence of motherhood. You are close to creating a categorical proposition, saying "All moms who do mom things (subject) are (copula) living the good life (predicate)."

AL: "You're trying to get the Common Master in this. Stop it, UL!"

UL: "No, I'm not. It illustrates you cannot break from the Common Master without speaking total nonsense."

AL: (I cannot print this due to the expletives)

UL: "You see, you want to tell me what you think using symbols that have universal meaning so I get what you say. You have to make statements that declare something of substance which involves objective reality...your thoughts. You can't break from the Common Master any more than you can suspend the laws of gravity for yourself."

AL: "You are deliberately being resistant. I am simply wanting my definition to stand without you trying to alter it, condemn it, question it, analyze it, or dismiss it. Common Master! I really am beginning to hate your attitude, or better, hate you period! ( More unprintable expletives) Life is worth living, damn it! That's it, end of story!

UL: "Why live a life worth living? Why not a miserable life? How about a totally boring life? How about a life that is really short, but filled with extreme pleasure? Why live at all? Why not kill ourselves? Why not kill others for pleasure, like some giant real-life game of "Mortal Kombat? Why not a life of crime and adventure, like Bonnie and Clyde? Why not a life of religious glory, like flying a plane into a large building containing thousands of your enemies so you get 72 virgins for eternity? Why not a life of total focus on self and the hell with the rest of humanity?"

AL: "You have to make it difficult, don't you?

UL: "No. You make it difficult by excluding the Common Master. If you want to communicate to me, I'm going to have to know what you mean. I can't assume to know what you mean. What if I want to live the good life too? You may hold the key so I can live it too."

AL: "You and the Common Master can go to hell."

UL: "How do you know hell exists? What do you mean by hell?"

The reaction is so violent, we have to postpone this until the one of the party cools down... and gets out of jail.


At 5:22 PM, Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

My head spins...

At 6:49 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

ever know anyone who analyzes things to death, who doesn't recognize the point of over analysis? Who is so busy analyzing stuff that they never do anything about stuff?

The religious equivalent was uttered 50 years ago the late Rev. O.P. Eastman, who once asked, "ever know anyone who was so heavenly focused they are no earthly good?"

By the way, you know you are living the good life when you can look back at all the bad and evil things and people that have been part of your past and say, "no, I wouldn't change anything, otherwise I wouldn't be where I am now"

You know you are living a life worth living if you have made a positive contribution to someone else feeling the same way (very John Stuart Mill, I know, what can I say)!

And even though this is belated, hope you and yours had a great 4th

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...

I did, and thank you! Hope you did as well!

At 5:46 PM, Blogger ts said...

glad to be back online and reading your site, underground! our family recently arrived in seattle, where the atmosphere is decidedly anti-analytical.

At 10:45 PM, Blogger Underground Logician said...


Glad you're back!! I'm visiting your blog!


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