I'm reading Casanova's Memoirs right now. I thought this was really insightful -
The theory of morals and its usefulness through the life of man can be compared to the advantage derived by running over the index of a book before reading it when we have perused that index we know nothing but the subject of the work. This is like the school for morals offered by the sermons, the precepts, and the tales which our instructors recite for our especial benefit. We lend our whole attention to those lessons, but when an opportunity offers of profiting by the advice thus bestowed upon us, we feel inclined to ascertain for ourselves whether the result will turn out as predicted; we give way to that very natural inclination, and punishment speedily follows with concomitant repentance. Our only consolation lies in the fact that in such moments we are conscious of our own knowledge, and consider ourselves as having earned the right to instruct others; but those to whom we wish to impart our experience act exactly as we have acted before them, and, as a matter of course, the world remains in statu quo, or grows worse and worse.
Casanova likens learning morals before getting real world experience to reading the index of a book before the book itself. You get an idea of what's going to be in the book, but you don't really "get it."
It's kind of subtle, but I laughed a lot at him saying everyone feels the need to against what they were taught, have things go badly because of their choice, but then they feel consoled that they can now teach others. Hilarious stuff.
I'm enjoying Casanova's Memoirs. Interesting book. It's out of copyright, and thus free at Gutenberg.org - here's the first section in plain text - http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2951/pg2951.txt
I saw the article "Memoirs of a Bullied Kid" on the site Single Dad Laughing. It's written by a guy named Dan Pearce, and he seems like a hell of a guy. He's talking about raising his son, about accepting yourself, dealing with conflict, things like that. Pretty inspirational and good stuff.
The Memoirs of a Bullied Kid article must've taken a lot of guts to write, and I massively respect that. That said, I disagree with his conclusion on how to deal with violent bullies. So I want to send some praise and respect in his direction, but also some significant disagreement.
I originally wrote this as a comment for Hacker News, but it came out to about a normal post's length. Tone is more discussion site level than blog post level, but you'll get the gist of it -
"Son, as soon as someone puts their hands on you..."
This comment will be controversial, especially for North Americans and Western Europeans. I ask you to read it and think about it a moment before reacting, and comment if you disagree. I believe what I'm about to say is true, and I'm not trying to get a rise out of people - I want to fix some problems with society.
Originally Posted: Sunday, September 11, 2011
It's interesting the ideas that a mind likes to hold on to and analyze. I'm sitting here at 1:30 in the morning, outside, watching the lightening and listening to the thunder....thinking. I just saw The Help, which I recommend, and it just makes me think about how people were treated in those days versus how people are treated now. In our time, we don't have mandatory segregation and most people don't use derogatory terms of those that are different from ourselves. However, time has pretty much stood still because people treat others constantly with disrespect in one way or another.
I believe that we do have more in common with those that are like ourselves, and that we tend to gravitate toward those people. But does that mean we automatically need to think that a stereotype of a group of people holds true for all those in that group? Or that, depending on current conflicts in our society, we need to say and do things that can be seen as "racist"?
The consensus says that we have evolved over time; this should mean both physical and mentally. If we have truly evolved, why is it that people continue to be awful to others? If it's not racism, it's social status. If it's not social status, it's sexual preference. The list goes on and on. I see how people look at each other, I hear how they talk about each other, I can sense what they think about each other. Unfortunately, I've taken part in these "judging" activities...as I think most people have. I think it's time that we try to make a difference, to give people a chance before making a call about their personality, character, morals, etc. Even after we've given them a chance to show their true selves, if it's not someone that has good morals or if they are just a negative person, maybe we can just let that person be and move on with our day instead of stooping to their level by talking about them behind their backs or being a bad person to them in return.
It's just sad to see that the human race has continued being judgmental, because in other things we have come so far. Maybe one day we won't have to worry about laws that protect "minorities", instead we will just have laws that protect human rights no matter your religion, race, or any other human characteristic. This is just something to think about on the 10th anniversary of a national disaster. A time where many American's are thinking poorly about those from the Middle East or anywhere else. Instead of spending time and energy on negativity, maybe we can all reach out to be a little more compassionate for others around us.