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This reminds me of Mr. Rogers' "Freddish," or his specific way of talking to children. One of his principles was this exact point: only phrase things in the positive. Thus, rather than saying, "Don't cross the street by yourself," word it more like, "Ask an adult before crossing the street." There were several other components to Freddish, like emphasizing the benefits of listening to adults and praising the child for their compliance, but "phrasing things in the positive" was the one that stuck the most in my mind, and is the most germane to this discussion.


(I think I've also heard something similar regarding e.g. warning signs, that positive statements like "Stay away from the wires" are more effective than negative statements, like "Don't touch the wires," because your brain basically ignores the negative part of it. "*mumble mumble* touch the wires? Don't mind if I do!")

...You can't just mention one region and say "we don't talk about that region!" Now I really wanna know. :P

Is it the equivalent of those taxes where imposing the tax overly benefits the rich, but if that tax already exists, removing the tax ALSO overly benefits the rich? So in this case, Omelas is bad, but destroying it would ALSO be bad? It's the derivatives that are throwing me off a little.

I haven't exactly been seeking out romantic relationships, but when I think of the things I wanna do with a spouse, it's not going out on dates or sexy nights. It's having someone to talk to, cook for, go grocery shopping with--y'know, someone I like to have around. I've always wondered if there are people out there whose idea of confirming romantic compatibility is going grocery shopping together and seeing if their personalities match. I was working on a novel where one of the main character's romantic interests did just this, and it seemed cute. I dunno. shrug emoji

I have a couple frameworks that seem to fit into this:

One is the Greek word "kairos," which means... something kinda like "right now," but in the context of rhetoric means something more like "the present environment and mood." A public speaker, when giving a speech, should consider the kairos and tailor their speech accordingly. This cashes out in stuff like bands yelling out, "How are you tonight, Houston?!" or a comedian riffing off of a heckler. It's the thing that makes a good public speaker feel like they're not just delivering a canned speech they've given hundreds of times before, even if they have.

The other framework to me is the "language" of objects. When you're first learning to drive a car, for example, you don't fully understand the way the steering wheel affects the direction the car will turn, or how the angle of the gas pedal affects the acceleration. But as you get more adept, you can "speak" the language of the car. You know what every growl of the engine means, or the quirks of adjusting the seatbelt, or the spaces you can squeeze into. At one point, I was calling this the "machine spirit" of the object--there's almost an animistic sense to this idea. You act, and the object "responds" in some way. A rubber band gives moments before it snaps, or the tone of a kettle changes as the water starts to boil. 

You know what this reminds me of? The notion that reality acts like itself, and we're the weirdos for e.g. thinking subatomic particles should act like billiard balls. So what you're calling "paranormal" is really just that discrepancy between normal human expectation and the way reality actually is.

(Funnily enough, that makes me think of what the first "paranormal activity" ever discovered might be. And it might just be "Hey, you know how earth goes off in a flat plane in all directions? Well, if I find the right place, I can make a distant city vanish below the horizon.")

I've definitely been thinking about something like this for a while recently. My thoughts were about the limits of consent as an reigning societal principle. For example, in American culture you shouldn't touch someone without their consent. But if you need to get their attention, it's generally considered acceptable to politely tap their shoulder once or twice so that they turn around. Or if you're stuck in a crowded elevator or train, it's understood as unavoidable that you might slip and accidentally bump into somebody standing next to you. The more common explanation of this is that "by being out in public, you implicitly consent to these types of touch," but "implicit consent" is kind of... oogy to me. This maybe gets a little closer to what I'm getting towards: that we a society carve these exceptions out of consent so that human interaction still works smoothly.


(I'm thinking also about exceptions to these exceptions. For example, there's infamous stories about people pulling earbuds out of someone's head to get their attention, or molesters using a crowded train as a smokescreen to hide their inappropriate actions. Obviously these are people abusing the exceptions afforded them, and we as a society denounce these actions as going too far.)

This reminds me a lot of that one Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic about "converse prophecies," with examples like "People don't like me anyway, so why should I be a nice person?" and "I don't see any point in trying if I'm just going to fail."

Fake Edit: Found it: