Ciprian Elliu Ivanof

Wiki Contributions


I lived in a bad neighborhood in DC in the 1990s but went to school in a safer neighborhood and then into a school in the suburbs. 

The block I lived on rarely had grass because of the mess of broken alcohol bottles, needles, and dime bags (and very occasionally a shell casing). Several of my neighbors argued sincerely that Malcom X was a race traitor whose murder was justifiable. While most of what I witnessed were scuffles, there was mention of serious crimes and of strong aversion to talking to the police. That was not a universal attitude but it was enough that several adults there seemed frustrated at their neighbors. Having seen a Dutch woman drive through the block, I saw her check the car doors were locked. 

If people were actually in favor of Malcom X's murder or the murder of the families of the Hanfi Muslims, then why would disrespecting them be safe? Maybe the kids saying that were ignorant (which is hard to believe) or the adults saying it were just trying to look good to others but it at least suggests a willingness to reward violence against opponents and the crime behavior in the area suggested impulsivity.

Talking to the American teachers in school seemed to get very negative reactions and accusations I was just watching too much television (I did not have a TV and my father's radio did not always work). I recognize my father was probably mentally ill but his reserve colleagues seemed happy to discuss the use of violence in securing an area with caveats or to discuss evidence. It is as if there was a huge but quietly denied gap in how details were handled between the reservists, bank officials, and lawyers and the teachers. Insofar as teachers got very angry when trying to add caveats, it seemed they were sticking with the initial wording.

I specifically asked "Is tolerance more important than human life" when in 1st grade and didn't get a clear answer but remembered the reactions as angry. How can anyone prioritize under such a refusal to specify?

Once going to undergrad, I saw similar behavior in getting angrier the more precise the wording was with several of my fellow undergrads but not all of them.

I am trying to figure out if "Tolerance" culture is different from "stop snitching" culture but they just look similar because of the resort to hyperbole. I need to know if there is a functional or even a theoretical difference between "always be tolerant" and "snitches get stitches". When i tried pushing on the issue, I often got uncomfortable looks, not answers. 

When I try to infer people's priorities from their statements, I note that, of the people who speak, they tend to very negative to police action when discussing an incident in the news and articulate as obvious facts discerned after the incident. A smaller subset seems to be insistent that police conduct has to be judged based on information available at the time, not after the time. From that, it seems like the real test is if one bulk of people are happy with the result, not the actual conduct but lie as if the result is done by people with perfect knowledge. While assuming perfect knowledge may be a fallacy, is it realistic that people would engage in it in a calm environment?

Sure, I can speculate that "they really mean X" but have such an fantastically leaky memory or imprecise wording that conversation is impossible but they don't seem to be treated that way. I think it is more likely that there is some unspoken assumption I don't get (which I assume is some notion of "normality" that is being modified with hyperbolic wording) or sincere approval of what went on.

If the idea that people are trying to signal modifications to some hypothetical "normal" state and are using hyperbole to that end, how can someone without that idea of "normality" operate based on such instructions?

That conclusion seems pretty horrifying. While obviously knowledge may be localized, the severity of some consequences seems pretty understandable. It is certainly predictable that adults in a city famous for the crime would know kids may face things like stabbings or less savory incidents. When talking to military personnel, they were perfectly happy to insert caveats and point out that isolation often meant death. While gang members were less inclined to insert caveats, they likewise pointed out death was anticipated and the arson incident and stabbing was suggestive of the sincerity. Both of those fields try to accomplish something.

What would vague wording accomplish? There are classic ways to be ambiguous that do not impose an imperative.

Can you both treat someone seriously and disregard their wording? It seems absurd to claim one is treating a nuclear technician seriously while not listening to their description of the situation. If the words are be disregarded, that just seems to reduce every problem-solving effort into a brutal popularity contest that just benefits specific cliques and yet the people issuing broad wording are praised for being idealistic. If results matter (and at least there was a lot of verbal appeal to results), then the wording to accomplish the tasks would also seem to matter.  These are not new issues and the bitterness over ADM Zumwalt's "I should have been more clear" excuse was famous in the US Navy.

Maybe some of this is a difference between a long-term and short-term mindset. I was brought up around people that dealt with practicalities like "did this ship get sunk" or "can you survive reporting bad news to the dictator" or "will there be enough meat to prevent more malnutrition or infant deaths" so it boggles my mind that adults would be sloppy with their wording. Are there people so cruel they would issue broad demands just to seem dramatically "compassionate" even when rational people would know death is likely to be involved?

You may be right because my efforts to comply with the wording never seemed to satisfy the adults whom I am referring to. I sometimes speculate they had some hypothetical "normal" society in mind rather than the range of incidents I saw in the old neighborhood but that strikes me as way to speculative to rely upon.

One old technique for training one's mind to see various issues has been to try to argue for the opposing view by yourself. Debate teams also force people to switch sides.

However traditions are cultivated efforts to inculcate ideas and habits, not merely patterns of similarity.

You've made your point that life is full of fluctuations but what is that in reference to? Is it that in reference to the title and claiming that the hypothetical state of "normal" is the equilibrium of well-regarded states or variables and then reminding us of variability?

Is this written against some hypothetical "static world" assumption as if the hedonic treadmill was not well known?

Maybe I don't understand what is going on since I struggle to understand references to "normality" not expressed narrowly (such as "normal range" in hormones is clear but "normal" in violence is not).

I suspect some of this is tied into the increasing sense of interdependence and the reality that there are different trust systems that people use. Being bombarded with reminders that you are defendant on people who use very different trust systems is inherently anxiety producing and the increasing pace of information flow is certain to exacerbate that.

Another facet may be that big projects, while rarely economically efficient, may have a psychological grandeur that people crave. Note William James search for a "moral equivalent to war" in that the psychological yearning for achievement, sacrifice, and victory is inherently human and being awash in reminders of how others achieve and of how pampered one's one life is likely to sap any sense of achievement.