The Common Misconception of Bias

B

The Common Misconception of Bias
Sexism and Racism

FALLACY1

Particularly in the past few decades, the surge in tolerance and legality of ethnicity, gender and homosexuality has lead to a rather huge shift in moral standpoints. It is generally accepted that discrimination, including ethnic bias (racism) and gender bias (sexism), is largely immoral, and the explanation as to why it is immoral is almost universally understood; because distinction in skin colour, or sexual physiology, are not valid justifications of peoples’ intrinsic value. Unfortunately, this moral standpoint has caused a huge confusion in identifying bias situations – leaving people to be ostracized when they do not deserve it.

A Lady's False Accusation of Racism on Facebook

A Lady’s False Accusation of Racism on Facebook

I had just recently saw an image (portrayed above) of a woman complaining about a certain image’s racist remarks on Facebook, despite the fact that no racism nor negative stereotype was even remotely conveyed in the image. She gave a further explanation as to why she considered it racist, suggesting that the descriptive words used (slackass etc.) were inherently targeted towards black people, but her justification was nonetheless refutable, and simply misunderstood. Although some people agreed with her, I felt compelled to send the lady, whose anonymity remains, a message explaining in detail as to why the image in question was not biased at all. While the message* (below) was directed at her comment specifically, it still relates to any situation in which people’s comments are inaccurately accused of having biased undertones – something which I see far too often. Hopefully, the following message will give some clarity in identifying discrimination.

Original Image, Accused of Racist Pretense

Original Image, Accused of Racist Pretense

Facebook Message

I saw an image which showed you accusing an image of having racist pretense, and I’m going to tell you why that post isn’t racist:

     Firstly, the post wasn’t relative to black people at all.There were no suggestions that black people are lazy/slack etc. and the adjectives were attributed to the person in the picture, who was wearing ridiculously baggy pants. The mockery was targeted towards the clothing style. Just because you associated baggy clothing and laziness to black people, it doesn’t mean that the post associates its comments to black people.

     In fact, if you claim that those adjectives were typical of a black person, then you’re not only falsely interpreting the original post, but you’re the one perpetuating the negative stereotype on black people.
Secondly, even if it did claim that black people wear ridiculously out-of-proportion clothing, it still doesn’t constitute as racism, or any bias for that matter. See the definition of racism below;

racism: Noun
Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief.” – Google result, definition

Just because the concept of black people wearing baggy clothing is considered stereotypical, it doesn’t mean that black people are marginalised or discriminated against; a stereotype can have truth to it, and that exempts it from racism. If somebody said that black people predominantly live in the housing Projects, which is true, then it would be a stereotype – not racism, because the comment is based on statistical evidence and it’s not suggesting that black people live in the projects BECAUSE they’re black. It didn’t claim that people vary in intelligence/character according to their skin-colour – it didn’t even remotely portray a stereotype about anybody.

If you’re ever confronted by anything which people deem as racist, then remember the fallacy: correlation does not imply causation.

If black people are statistically more likely to live in poverty, then it’s suggesting that black people correlate with poverty. It doesn’t, however, suggest that black people are the cause of poverty. In this case, if somebody ever suggested that black people wear baggy clothing, then they’re giving a correlation between baggy clothing and black people – not a causation.

Morgan

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East to West: Part 1

East to West:
Part 1

Islamic Architecture values Aesthetic

Islamic Architecture values Aesthetic

 

In Australia, my country of residence, a less-than-popular Television channel called ABC broadcasts constructive documentaries, foreign films and educational series, particularly during prime-time. Recently – that is to say last week – ABC began broadcasting a Television series called East to West. The documentary series, which begins at 7.30pm every Wednesday, Details the Eastern cultures during Middle-ages and post-Ancient times and their influence on the Western world. Unfortunately, the general concencus of the Eastern world in Western culture is very uninformed. With the increasing negative stereotypes around Islam and Asian society (i.e. Al Qeada being associated with Muslims), the program could not have come at a more appropriate time. Hopefully, people will change their channels from The Big Bang Theory to ABC in the effort of watching East to West, as it serves as quite an informative, yet visually stimulating series.

The first broadcast of the documentary, presented last week, centered around the early Islamic movements and their influence on the Western culture of the Renaissance as well as post-modern times. The show turned out to be quite informative to me, as it kept me captivated with great facts of history which are rarely ever spoken about. As it turns out, the Muslims and Arabians were imperative for flaying our society into shape and the current stereotype of their culture is in blind sight of their influence. Important texts of the Ancient Greeks, such as the writings of Plato and Pre-Socratic philosophers, were translated into an almost Universal language by the Middle-Eastern Muslims. In fact, some of the precious gems supposedly destroyed from the Dark Ages were gracefully saved by the Eastern societies. If it were not for Islam’s great value of religious and historical texts, the Western world today would presumably be entirely different – with valuable texts like Republic lost to the wind.

I will be evaluating the upcoming episodes of East to West and supplying the Blog with the Eastern influences pronounced by the Documentary. The next episode will give an explanation of Buddhism and the struggle for leadership of Rome and China.

Personal Analysis of “All Along the Watchtower”

Updated:
13/03/2013

[1]     “There must be some way out of here” said the joker to the thief
     “There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
     Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
     None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

[5]     “No reason to get excited”, the thief he kindly spoke
     “There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
     But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
     So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”.

     All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
[10]     While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

     Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
     Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Bob Dylan Portrait

Bob Dylan Portrait

Personal Analysis of All Along the Watchtower
by
Bob Dylan

During the surge of music proceeding the Beatles, Bob Dylan stood out as a profoundly influential musician of his time, and perhaps for future generations as well. Bob Dylan was considered the pioneer of lyrical writing, as he integrated riveting story-telling into musical passion. Songs such as Like a Rolling Stone and Hurricane were prime examples of Dylan’s story-telling genius, and other songs such as Mr Tambourine Man and All Along the Watch Tower were a testament to his avant-garde, poetic side.

Possibly the most revealing sentiment about the lyrics of All Along the Watchtower is extracted from the final verse;

[11]   ” Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
          Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

The lines paint an introductory scene for the listener, suggesting that the song’s chronology is reversed. This revelation was established by English Literature professor Christopher Ricks, saying that “at the conclusion of the last verse, it is as if the song bizarrely begins at last, and as if the myth began again.

From Christopher’s finding, the lyrics tell quite an interesting, almost Biblical, tale of both a Thief and a Joker (1). Throughout the first lines, the Joker talks of a matter of freedom to his companion, the Thief. The Joker’s tone seems rather stressful as he claims that “there must be some way out of here.” Obviously, the two are both retained in some form of imprisonment. Unlike the fellow prisoner, the Thief’s tone is particularly firm as he says;

[6]     “There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
           But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
           So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

The thief’s comment gives value to the scene as it suggests that the two strangers have apparently known each other for quite some time, almost as though they’re inseparable friends. The response also gives clarity to the two protagonists’ philosophical perspective: that life is contrarily a divine experience. A traditional middle-aged castle with Princes, sprawling crowds of women and “Foot servants, too” is presented in the lines preceding the final verse (9, 10). The picture of the Castle, or more specifically a Watchtower, in the relevant lines gives the perspective of seeing the forest for the trees. While the expansive Castle is visualised as being magnificent, the community within its gates is very hierarchical in social status. The Princes who “kept the view” (9) are established first as the wealthy class, following with the women, who are the middle-class, and poverty-stricken foot servants being presented last. The social Hierarchy is a blatant reference to Western culture’s burden of wealth distinction.

watchtower_quoteYet, with both the characters’ Philosophical values, imprisonment and the social Hierarchy are evident, how do the three correlate? When evaluated from its reversed structure, it becomes clear that the two characters were, in fact, the riders approaching the watch tower. Their subsequent imprisonment is not necessarily justified, however the assumption is made that the two were wanted thieves, or bandits, judging from the mysterious aura shrouded around their identity; it certainly explains why the protagonist is referred to as the Thief.

Naturally, the Joker’s pseudonym implies that the character is comedic and light-hearted, as though life is “but a joke” (6). However, the identity of the Joker is unmasked when the Thief expresses their Philosophical belief that life is quite serious, and divine in nature. It seems that, in light of being in abandonment, the two characters express their genuine identity, as opposed to what the titles convey.

Along the Watchtower, however, the general population goes about their day free from imprisonment. Their identities (i.e. the Princes, the women & the foot servants) are never expressed differently throughout the entire lyrics. Instead, their pseudonym remains the same – the Princes are wealthy, the women are maids, and the foot servants are poor. As such, lines 9 & 10 are directly communicating the political dilemma of class distinction and the negative impact of a mass society which judges people based on their social status and popularity. In this sense, the Joker and the Thief are positioned as people who are direct victims of demanding social expectations. This is further emphasized in the following lines, “Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
     None of them along the line know what any of it is worth” (3), as it suggests that monetary value of objects, particularly retail prices, don’t testify to their intrinsic value. The mentioning of Businessmen validates the concept of class distinction, and it gives a more accurate detail as to what privileges the wealthy have lost to the poor. According to the song; the poor, as William Blake said, “see a world in a grain of sand”, while the businessmen find 5 dollars in a bag of sand.

Perhaps their imprisonment is metaphorical in the sense that it shows the consequences of revealing one’s independent identity. The Joker is sentenced to abandonment from the populace as the song reveals that his beliefs contradict his pseudonym. The Thief serves as a close companion to the Joker, being the only one who has remained in the cell of confinement with his friend. In this sense, a genuine friendship goes beyond the confines of social abandonment, and the masks of everyday life are not  just worn over the face, but rather the soul.

The lyrics pose an unusual stance, making it rather difficult to interpret the meaning for some. Like many pieces of literature, however, the texts are entirely open to a myriad of different interpretations. Nobody quite knew what Shakespeare was expressing in his sonnets, and Chaucer never did leave behind cliff notes for his writings. In some respects this is the beauty of literature – one text may have no meaning to one person, yet it may offer profound relevance to the human condition for another person. All Along the Watchtower is considered the latter for me. It expresses a great political and social turmoils in youth culture with typical Dylan song-writing, and it serves as a quintessential example of how literature is endlessly open to interpretation.

Forbes’ List of the World’s Billionaires

Forbes’ List of the World’s Billionaires

http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2013/03/04/inside-the-2013-billionaires-list-facts-and-figures/

Carlos Slim

Forbes’ lists has just recently released a controversial document listing the wealthy men throughout the world who have the sole value of over a Billion dollars. The whole list is rather insightful, especially when seen in comparison to previous lists. There are more Billionaires now than ever before, and it’s not entirely because of inflation. As well as that, the Billionaires listed both previously and now are gradually becoming more valuable – as the expression goes, Nothing makes money faster than money.

This is certainly true when looking at the value of some of the richest men on the planet, with the man coming first, Carlos Slim, having a Net Worth of $73 billion. Not only does this list give startling evidence of democratic society’s opportunities for material success, but it also shows the increase in the Billionaires’ philanthropy particularly for the less fortunate. Warren Buffett, ranked as the 4th Wealthiest man, has exceeded the expectations of many by donating an astounding amount of nearly $41 Billion in his life-time. The Forbes’ list certainly shows a future of generous wealth.

God and Morality

God is Great

There is a question proposed by a lot of people in regards to God’s morality, and it is often left unanswered by some. Often as a result of a personal or national tragedy occurs, people are left asking the notorious question; “How could God let this happen?”

For the sake of argument the existence of God is unquestionable  and assuming that the God is naturally supposed to radiate justice, then the question is begged by yet another question; how is it the God’s responsibility for tragic events which are a result of human (or perhaps natural) manipulation and alteration?

The God merely created the Universe, its components and laws of nature, and it shouldn’t be his responsibility when you exploit the laws of nature and the Universe’s components in order to injure somebody. For example, if I shoot somebody, then I am using certain mechanics with a device with my own intention of sending an object at rapid speeds to penetrate somebody else; why should it be the God’s fault if I were the one who solely committed the act?

Just because God created an environment in which beings die it doesn’t mean that he is at fault, as the Universe’s components and laws, particularly our manipulation of them, are what result in injuries and deaths (two of the most atrocious acts of immorality). Besides, you’re suggesting that divine beings have the capability of seeing human morality. Perhaps they can understand ethical codes, but the objective sense of morality which humans, not animals, possess is basically synthetic.

Is God Responsible for the World's Turmoil?

Is God Responsible for the World’s Turmoil?

A proportionally popular response to the question of God’s morality is particularly expressed by theists and faithful, and that is; “God works in mysterious ways.”
Such a response is usually expressed in good spirit, and, in some respects, it does have some validity. Mankind’s grasp or morality, a supposedly objective and external truth, goes only as far as our ethical perspective, and our ethical standpoint is often subjected to cultural/individual relativism. For example, somebody in Western society may have strong beliefs against physical assault – so much so that any form of physical assault is subhuman and never justified unless used as a form of defense. However, in country’s riddled with religious extremism and political madness, people may find that physical assault is perfectly justifiable in seemingly unjustifiable situations. Perhaps God only knows that which is truly moral, as opposed to ethical, and the failure to grasp this leads us to beg that notorious question.

Or, contrary to trying to rationalise the madness that God apparently allows in this world, perhaps God is immoral. After all, God in essence is defined as the creator of the Universe, and to create something does not necessarily mean that one respects their moral obligation to keep their creation intact. Maybe the gift of life itself is a privilege so profound that God’s lack of moral sense of forgivable.

Surge of Feminism; Humanitarian, or Biased?

Feminism: is it Humanitarian?

Feminism: is it Humanitarian?

 

Recently there has been a huge surge of feminism in western society, primarily as a result of the relative surge in communications technology and social media, such as Facebook. However, this surge of feminism has brought in a lot of women who misunderstand the essence of what feminism ideally sought after, and instead only using its philosophy as a means of self interest. Recently, I have been wondering if feminism is necessary at all in today’s society, as the approach of gender equality, a result which has respectfully paid off from ideal feminism, suggests that people have to start focusing on balancing individuals and not stereotypes.

Perhaps it would be wise for the self-proclaimed feminists, who seek rights only in the interest of their fellow gender, to put down their pitchforks and consider an approach in which we, as an entirety, take a humanitarian interest and pursue the welfare of every individual . We should not be condoning the equality among different genders and ethnicity, but we should aim to bring equality among every individual. Categorising genders and ethnicity does nothing to help equality, as it’s not in the interest of the individual; instead, these categories which feminists and likewise philosophical movements promote are doing no less than ruin what we really must be focusing on – man as one, and man is an entirety. If we can focus on equality for everybody, while still maintaining a sense of freedom which doesn’t breach moral and lawful ethical code, then we can stamp out the people who are victims to being abused merely for the colour of their skin, their sexual orientation and their gender. Those who choose to go down the road of focusing on stereotypes, such as the feminists who only seek the aid of women, then they damage society by commercialising these stereotypes of marginalised women and so-called abusive, over privileged males.

Atheist and Theist Mistakes in Argument

God and Adam from Garden of Eden

Common Atheist and Theist mistakes in argument

1.

I’ll start by saying that, in controversial argument of atheism vs theism, there is no definitively correct answer – so long as the opposition remains unproved, then the theory is valid, however speculative it may be. Causing a scene and claiming that your opposition is just “wrong” or “retarded” doesn’t support your argument, it just further permeates a negative stereotype of your own beliefs.

2.

Theism is not a religion, and religions are not necessarily theism. Religion usually constitutes not only the belief of God, but sacred texts, rules and ethical codes, ontology, cosmology, epistemology and many other beliefs. Just because Christianity or Islam believes in a God, it does not mean that theism is essentially the same. IIf an atheist is to argue against theism, then they are to argue the belief (that is that God exists), and not Christianity, creationism, or Mormonism etc.

3. (and the most important)

Fallacies are abundant in both the arguments regarding theism and atheism. The primary fallacy in this case is known as the straw man fallacy. The straw man fallacy is when the opposition (often intentionally) misinterprets one’s argument, and rearranges it so that it sounds absurd, yet vastly inaccurate. A prime example given which is in this Thread is by the following gentleman;

“Believing in a God is just the same as believing that a cheese sandwhich made the Universe.”

As you can see, the person has employed a comparison of believing in a God, a founder of the Universe and divine being, to that of a Cheese sandwhich being the sole architect of the Universe. This attempt at reductio ad absurdum, while being hilarious, is a straw-man fallacy, as it gives a blatantly ridiculous comparison in the hopes of drawing people to believe their argument based on social convention. Clearly, it is insane in our society to believe that a cheese sandwhich created the Universe, therefore it must be insane for one to believe in a God, right? No, this is not true. There is a lot more to the belief of God than this cruel attempt of sophism, such as sacred texts, reports and general philosophical reasoning.

4.

Atheism is not supported by science.
Many atheists, and people in general regardless of their beliefs, somehow believe that the field of science gives evidence supporting atheism or, in extreme cases, “proves” it to be true. However, science doesn’t support atheism at all. One might say “but after all of this space exploration, there has been no sighting of God – so there musn’t be a God?”
This is certainly a good question, however many theists believe that God does not even reside on the natural Universe, but instead in the divine realm (i.e. Heaven). If God supposedly resides in the divine realm, then there is no possible way for one to employ empiricism (the fundamental ploy of evidence in science) to support their atheist beliefs. An atheist could argue, however, how absurd it is to believe that a God resides in the divine realm, as one could possibly not evaluate any hard, legitimate evidence supporting the belief.
Personally, I believe the discoveries made by science does the contrary to supporting atheism, for if one looks at how intricate the Universe and even their own body can be, then they might become very compelled in believing that some divine being is behind it all.
As for the Big Bang theory, many theists could argue that a God was the force behind the initial “big bang”.

5.

“Atheism is its own religion.”
Atheism is a belief, not a religion. A religion, as said earlier in my second (2) point, constitutes for a way of life, codes of ethics and cosmology. If one claims to be an atheist, then they merely believe that a God does not exist, but it does not constitute for a particular way of life or how the Universe works. Just because an atheist may support science and empiricism, it does not mean the two are relevant to each other (see point 4 for more details regarding science and atheism).
Atheism is not a set of beliefs – it is one belief.

There are variations of atheism, and many atheists strongly condone and follow scientific and empirical foundations; but this does not mean that atheism, by default, also takes into consideration these foundations as a way of life.
Your argument is just a matter of semantics. Consider your argument as something which is like the claim that we are living in the Matrix; we may be living in the Matrix, this may not even be the “real” reality, but it does not matter for we still perceive something external, and we can still gather knowledge of the external “something’s” truths, and we still refer to it as “reality”, whether or not it is “real” by somebody’s standards is entirely irrelevant.

In your (the atheist’s) case, you’re claiming that atheism is a religion, but it’s just a matter of semantics. It doesn’t matter what your interpretation of the words “atheism” or “religion” are, because the former is not, by definition and current meaning, categorised into the former. If you’re claiming that atheism does, by default, carry a system and way of life, and cosmology. etc. then you’re wrong. It’s similar to a cause and effect fallacy – you seem to think that just because atheists are more than often empiricists, that means atheism is empiricism.

Some people speculate that atheism is a LACK of a belief. This has some truth to it, but it still co-exists with the fact that atheism is a belief. Atheism is, indeed, the lack of a belief in God; but the lack of a belief in God is, by all means, just the belief that no God exists. It’s a silly matter of semantics to really argue this point, as the only factor between this argument is how to express it properly – which is redundant considering that both presentations are equally unbiased and respectively right.

6. (and final point)

Atheism does not automatically mean one is safe from attack. Many people mistake atheism as a belief in which they hold a skeptical stance, and subsequently are resistant to a lot, if not every, attack supporting theism. However, if one were to take a more skeptical, yet appropriate stance, then agnostic atheism (or just agnosticism) is the most preferable path. An agnostic person essentially believes that a God most probably does not exist, considering the substantial lack of evidence, but the possibility of theism as being truthful remains so long as more evidence is presented. Agnosticism is a very skeptical stance, and it’s more than often the most rational stance in the great debate between atheism vs theism. Unfortunately, many people aren’t aware of this belief.

Government Conspiracies

Government Conspiracies

The New World Order Conspiracy theory has one fatal flaw: and that is that mankind, no matter how cruel they are depicted throughout history, will still follow their own nature without being diabolical, purely intellectual, beings that exist entirely for the sake of controlling other people. Of course, people would like to consider controlling others, or world domination may be a passing though; perhaps somebody may seriously pursue it. But, in the end, they’re going to question their code of ethics and whether or not their decisions for Controlling the World is, in actuality, a decision which is good for themselves in the end.

The only reason in which I could even consider that an organisation is working to control us and create one Government is that the members of the organisation, whoever they may be, already have answers to the divine purpose of mankind, and that their divine purpose is somewhat related to putting mankind under one roof – so to speak. Yet, even if this is the case, it still goes against my argument regarding human nature, ethics and intuitive, for if somebody were to finally answer some of Philosophy’s deepest, most unknown, questions, then it would seem natural that they would share it and write it down with reasoning that concludes why the world has to have a New World Order.

Perhaps people are mistaking the prediction of the New World Order because of reading from science fiction novels (notably 1984 and Brave New World), as well as the fact that the Government IS controlling us in the respect that they maintain equality and civility at the expense of some of our own liberty and freedom. Yes, supermarkets have extremely long aisles of food and their speakers chant songs of propaganda; yes, the current economic situation that our world is in seems largely unnatural; but these are both consequences of what has led us to genuinely believe that civility and stability comes from such a system, as well as marketing ploys used by businesses.

In the meantime, I find the point of this ‘New World Order’ too dull to pursue for man, unless it is either just for human stability and equality, or for whatever divine purpose. If it is for a divine purpose, then I’m afraid I’m not about to give up my beliefs in Philosophy and knowledge of Western history in Philosophy because of mere conspiracies. However, if the New World Order is just a case of simple Politics going on an unnatural path, then I won’t stand to see such things happen. I already loathe walking through a Supermarket aisle for the reason that the current state of Government and marketing ploys are very unnerving — and in this respect I could see your point of view about the New World Order, but if it ever happens then there are many resolutions to change your lifestyle out of such a morbid image, such as moving to a different country which condones nomadic lifestyles. And yet, even if the latter does occur, then I’m almost certain that it’s not for some diabolical reason because mankind’s nature is to have a code of intuitive ethics. Conspiracies lack fundamental rationality and reasoning so much that I choose not to believe them.

The Cave Allegory (Preface)

Preface: The Cave Allegory

Update: 22/02/2013

Drawing depicting the cave in Plato's allegory

Plato, one of the many philosophers to which I personally aspire, written a great allegory which is not only prophetically relevant to today’s problematic society, but it also delivers an explanation as to what I aspire to achieving with philosophy. The allegory follows a tale which takes place in a cave, where a woman, or variably a man, is bound by chains and consequently only capable of facing a wall. Behind her a fire emblazons the walls, and before her the silhouette of figures, such as horses as soldiers, are being cast onto the cave’s wall. It is naturally understood in this tale that the silhouettes are being cast by people behind the imprisoned lady, yet her unknowing of this leads us to believe that the men behind her are tricksters, or otherwise called “Sophists”.

After being imprisoned for such a long time, the woman gradually believes that the shadows are not representations of objects, but rather actual beings; the lady begins to interpret the shadows as reality in its entirety. Eventually, after much time in imprisonment, the woman breaks free from her chains, and runs outside of the cave hurriedly. Upon exiting the cave, the external world’s light leaves her incapacitated, but only temporarily. Once her eyes affix to the lighting conditions, her very foundation of so-called reality is shattered as the sight of towering trees, the distant sound of whistling birds, and the heavenly aroma of nearby flowers immediately usurp the throne for her new conception of reality. In this new light of discovery, she returns to the cave to tell her fabled silhouettes of the world beyond the cave’s confine. Yet, upon re-entering the cave, the light dissipates and she is left in darkness, as her eyes are no longer affixed to the cave’s dark atmosphere. Meanwhile, the tricksters, or Sophists, who charmed her into believing a false truth, are quick to control her and bring her under the shackles of a false, synthetic reality once again; however, in re-imprisonment, her eyes remain closed and the memories of the external, legitimate reality flood her eyes, giving her a sense of clarity which no imprisonment could exterminate.

Do we achieve Independent thought?

Do we achieve Independent thought?

From this tale, Plato identifies three significant types of people: The manipulators (or Sophists), the manipulated, and, most importantly, the bearers of truth. This allegory, told in the Republic, bears an almost scary relevance to contemporary politics and social agenda.The Sophists in modern terms are regarded as lying Politicians and, more prominently, social Media. Politicians and social Media are notorious for manipulating the general population into voting, or buying a desirable product, or even marginalising socially acceptable opinions of events. Politicians and the Media are undoubtedly quintessential examples of those depicted as tricksters in Plato’s allegory. A prime example of sophism would be a case of product advertisement; consider an advertising agency promoting anti-perspiration products as being able to attract the opposite sex with unfounded success, when any sense of rationality dictates that this is clearly not the case.

The allegory presents a second type of person who, out of a lack of knowledge, foolishly believes the rhetorical endorsements of sophists. This category of gullible people are considered as the general population of people; those without an education, and those without any interest in intellectual integrity or truth. As the most common of all three categories, these people are the reason as to why sophism is so financially successful. The third type of person in this allegory is the person who understands that spraying deodorant over them clearly does not make the opposite sex racing to have sex with them. Instead, this type of person has enough reason and clarity to only justify buying such a product for its legitimate purpose – anti perspiration.

Plato regards this third, unique class of people as philosophers, or at least those capable of being professional philosophers. Surprisingly, this category is rather small in comparison to the other two. Philosophy, as well as mathematics and logic (both formal and informal), excel in educating people about rationality and resisting the urge to succumb to being manipulated. Unfortunately the Philosopher is more than often prone to being ostracised by general society, as the sophists deliberately demote the mentality of the Philosopher in order to protect their product endorsements and political positions. It’s a rather vicious circle, but anybody with enough intellectual integrity to question the authenticity of their favourite political party or their most favourable news station, philosopher or not, is a man who deserves the clarity which was offered to the woman in Plato’s cave allegory.

Plato, pointing up in the sky; indicating his cosmological beliefs

    Plato, pointing up in the sky; indicating his cosmological beliefs

In this respect, I (hopefully with some modesty) regard myself as the third class of person. My profession is Philosophy, and I am often in the situation in which I am being ridiculed by society. Yet, I find it noble that I have not succumbed to buying a can of Coca Cola entirely for the sake of altering my identity to what was depicted on their Television advertisement, or applauding a political party because of my parents adamant worship of the party in question. With this being said, I hope that I retain my modesty in saying that I don’t regard myself as some self-proclaimed Doomsday prophet who claims to have ‘seen the light’, or that I excel everybody else in terms of intelligence.