[FRIAM] Posts from the Scotts

Steven A Smith sasmyth at swcp.com
Sat Jul 27 16:44:27 EDT 2019

Marcus wrote:
> One might argue that is harmful to eat animals.   One way argue that would be to imagine that you were to be eaten.  How would you feel?    That assumes that all species are equally valuable or perceive things in a comparable way.   A hedonist might argue that the pleasure of eating meat is self-evident and not arguable.   Another way would be to argue that raising animals is too energy intensive, and that it produces greenhouse gases.  That would be pointing to a shared environment that would impact many species.    Or one might argue that carnivores are evolved for eating flesh, and so if all life is valuable then there is a paradox.    There are many perspectives one could take on the matter, some there are more objective and quantifiable than the others.   A rational decision involves agreeing on what matters and then making a decision based on all of those things.
As an oft-vegetarian who has even flirted with veganism along the way,
I've explored the full range you mention above and been pressed up
against folks who fall on both ends of the spectrum who trivialize the
issues out of hand.  Similar things happen for me in my complex
relationship to many social issues as well, ranging from abortion and
gun rights to the tensions between local/global awareness/choices.  
>    Prescriptive cultures either fail to recognize the complexity of what matters (poor modeling), or they ma!
>  ke up some random stuff and fail to learn from their social experiments.   The failure becomes doctrine and impacts their economies and quality of life for centuries.
I'm painfully aware of the many examples where fossilization of
ideas/preferences/??? into doctrine has shaped my world (and that of
those I care about) in painfully limiting ways.  On the other hand, the
truism that "constraint provides form" reminds us that there is
something *useful* if nothing else about *some* constraints, even if by
some measure they seem arbitrary?    The interesting landscape seems to
be among the split hairs of "how complex is enough?", "which model?" and
the map/territory dualities.   Glen often accuses me (and others) of
"premature registration" which I acknowledge is one of my modes of
error, and often "unnecessary"...  
>  How might one (one self or all-one) resolve this
>     kind of (artificial/rhetorical?) difference without geologic upheaval?
> Logic?   If the whole is in equilibrium than the parts are in equilibrium.
> I think upheaval is ok.   A few small earthquakes here and there won't release the energy.  

My bad for invoking an inapt or at least misleading metaphor.   I think
this is part of the problem I'm trying to expose...  if we treat the
socioeconomicpolitical tensions of our current moment as being framed
entirely within a "conserved energy" model, then the only answer IS to
break a lot of eggs (switching to a culinary metaphor) to make our
omelette or have tectonic upheavals to renormalize the system.   Too
much of our energy seems to be going into characterizing "the other" as
inimical to our own interests and all but guaranteeing a "tectonic
event" is the only way to resolve those differences.

I made reference to "adding another level of indirection" to point in
the general direction of admitting a more complex model that *subsumes*
the disparate models that are currently at odds.   I agree/accept that
some of the ways the models disagree may be fundamentally opposed and
perhaps eggs will be broken, earthquakes and volcanism will be
triggered, but I suspect a great deal of the tensions we experience
*can* be resolved through a more complex model.

I think the local/global duality might be a good example...  the "think
global/act local" bumper sticker did seem to acknowledge that when it
first erupted.   When we consider the ways that a (more) global
optimization may actually improve our local circumstance, albeit in a
higher-dimensional space than the one we originally considered, this is
what happens.  

- Steve

More information about the Friam mailing list