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  1. #1
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    Default Can a sophisticated individual rise above ideology?

    Can a sophisticated individual rise above ideology?

    All thought is saturated with egocentric and sociocentric presuppositions. That is, all thought contains highly motivating bias centered in the self or in ideologies such as political, religious, and economic theories. Some individuals are conscious of these internal forces but most people are not.

    Those individuals who are conscious of these biases within their thinking can try to rid their judgments of that influence. Those who are not conscious, or little conscious of such bias, are bound to display a significant degree of irrational tendencies in their judgments.

    “Can the intellectual, who is supposed to have a special and perhaps professional concern with truth, escape from or rise above the partiality and distortions of ideology?”

    An intellectual might be properly defined as those who are primarily or professionally concerned with matters of the mind and the imagination but who are socially non-attached. “The intellectual is thought of not as someone who displays great mental or imaginative ability but as someone who applies those abilities in more general areas such as religion, philosophy and social and political issues. It is the involvement in general and controversy outside of a specialization that is considered as the hallmark of an intellectual; it is a matter of choice of self definition, choice is supreme here.”

    Even anti-ideological is ideological. If partisanship can be defended servility cannot; many have allowed themselves to become the tools of others.

    We have moved into an age when the university is no longer an ivory tower and knowledge is king but knowledge has become a commodity and educators have become instruments of power; the university has become a privately owned think-tank.

    “A profound change in the intellectual community itself is inherent in this development. The largely humanist-oriented, occasionally ideological minded intellectual dissenter , who saw his role largely in terms of proffering social critiques, is rapidly being displaced either by experts and specialist, who become involved in special government undertakings, or by generalist-integrators, who become house-ideologues for those in power, providing overall intellectual integration for disparate actions.”

    The subordination to power is not just at the individual level but also at the institutional level. Government funds are made available to universities and colleges not for use as they deem fit but for specific government needs. Private industry plays even a larger role in providing funds for educational institutions to perform management and business study. Private industry is not inclined ‘to waste’ money on activities that do not contribute to the bottom line. ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune.’



    Thomas Kuhn, in his famous book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, explains the difficult we have with recognizing and accepting experiences that contradict our anticipations.

    As Kuhn observed:
    “Novelty emerges with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a back drop provided by expectation. Initially, only the anticipated and usual are experienced even under circumstances where anomaly is later to be discovered…Further acquaintance, however, does result of awareness of something wrong…[which] opens a period in which perceptual categories are adjusted until the initially anomalous has become the anticipated.”

    He concludes: “What a man sees depends upon what he looks at and also upon what his previous visual-conceptual experience has taught him to see.”

    Kuhn provides us with an experiment performed by Jerome Bruner and Leo Postman undertaken to illuminate this human characteristic of seeing only what we are prepared to see.

    Subjects were shown standard playing cards mixed with the anomalous card a red six of spades and a black four of hearts. Subjects repeatedly and erroneously identified the anomalous cards as a six of hearts or a four of spades. Some, even after the experiment was over, displayed confusion and even anger at the experiment. Only after repeated exposures to the cards did the subjects slowly feel something was askew here. Only after forty exposures did the subjects correctly identify the cards.

    Quotes and ideas from “Knowledge and Belief in Politics” Bhikhu Parekh

  2. #2
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    That's interesting stuff.

    I guess an individual can effectively de-program themselves of ingrained political, social, economic, religious ideologies but it would take alot of work, considering how early these beliefs are introduced to our consciousness.

    An ideological de-programming course/method in and of itself would be interesting to develop. How could that be done without introducing new biases?

  3. #3
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    Hopefully so, maybe one day. But the sad thing is, the more original you think you are the more the plainer you actually become. Take for instance this forum. Before I came here I thought that nobody was like me, or would ever understand me, but ever since I have found this website, I feel that I can be considered to be in a group where as at first I thought the way I acted was highly original.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    That's interesting stuff.

    I guess an individual can effectively de-program themselves of ingrained political, social, economic, religious ideologies but it would take alot of work, considering how early these beliefs are introduced to our consciousness.

    An ideological de-programming course/method in and of itself would be interesting to develop. How could that be done without introducing new biases?
    Ideology is always following us about ready to leap into the uncritical brain.

    I think that fairmindedness is the antidote for ideology.

    To be fair-minded one must be vigilant (consciousness plus intention) of the need to treat all viewpoints alike. This demands that we adhere to intellectual standards such as accuracy and sound reasoning, which are unaffected by self-interest.

    A contrast with fair-mindedness is intellectual self-centeredness.

    Fair-mindedness is a challenging task that demands a family of character traits: intellectual humility, courage, empathy, honesty, perseverance, and a confidence in the value of reason.

    Our culture places maximum value not on fair-mindedness but upon self-interest, and maximizing production, and consumption.


    Intellectual humility begins with the recognition that absolute certainty regarding any matter of fact is beyond human capacity. There exists no mind-independent reality that we have the capacity to know. We can know only that which is “colored” by our experiences and historical perspective.

    Our common sense views, coupled with philosophical tradition and religious dogma, all teach us that such is not the case, that we can find absolute certainty. This cultural tradition works aggressively against our goal of intellectual humility thus demanding that we must become more intellectually sophisticated in order to gain the level of intellectual humility required.

    Intellectual courage is a difficult assignment. We all tend to place great value on our own opinion, which is more often than not just something that we grabbed as it flew by. But this is even more of a problem when we are “wedded” to something that we have a strong commitment to, for what ever reason. Our political affiliation is one example.

    Intellectual courage is especially difficult, and even dangerous to our well being when we hold ideas that society considers them to be dangerous; even though we are confident that they are rationally grounded. Society often punishes severely all forms of nonconformity; the execution of Socrates by the citizens of Athens might serve as a good example.

    By developing this character trait of intellectual courage we will often be ostracized from a group or even a large community. Such an experience will give us incentive to recognize that most people live their lives in such a manner as to be secure in the middle of the approval of those about us.

    Intellectual courage ain’t for sissies!

    Intellectual empathy is a consciousness that one must engage the imagination in an effort to intellectually place your self into the shoes of another so as to comprehend that other person as well as possible. To accomplish this transaction we must try to learn as much as possible about the other person’s situation so as to reconstruct that person’s assumptions, premises, and ideas.

    Many of these ideas were gleaned from the book Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life by Richard Paul and Linda Elder

  5. #5
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Ideology doesn't have to be a bad word, and something truth is always up against. An ideology is just a set of ideas. Just because all ideas aren't equal, we shouldn't let the bad ones ruin the whole concept.

    There is no such thing as an absence of politics and ideology in a society. So a sophisticated individual should rise above it, but still fly back down when it's time.

  6. #6
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    If ideology is -

    Predigested thought,
    Serves interests,
    And has a demonology,

    Then ideology is not only an intellectual and moral failure, but a tool of power.

    And if liberal democracy is the limitation of power, then ideology must be limited by free speech.

    This is why 57 Islamic states have passed a resolution criminalising free speech.

  7. #7
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    And if liberal democracy is the limitation of power, then ideology must be limited by free speech.

    This is why the Islamic states have passed a resolution criminalising free speech.
    It's a good thing someone had the idea to start a free speech ideology.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    It's a good thing someone had the idea to start a free speech ideology.
    If free speech is -

    Neither predigested thought,
    Nor serves interests,
    And has no demonology,

    Then free speech is not an ideology.

    And quite the contrary -

    Free speech is the limitation of ideology.

    And free speech is the necessary limitation of ideology so that liberal democracy may flourish.

    And it is the enemies of liberal democracy that have criminalised free speech.

    So we find it is the totalitarian temptation that finds it necessary to criminalise free speech, whether it be communism or national socialism or islamism.

  9. #9
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    If free speech is -

    Neither predigested thought,
    Nor serves interests,
    And has no demonology,

    Then free speech is not an ideology.

    And quite the contrary -

    Free speech is the limitation of ideology.

    And free speech is the necessary limitation of ideology so that liberal democracy may flourish.

    And it is the enemies of liberal democracy that have criminalised free speech.

    So we find it is the totalitarian temptation that finds it necessary to criminalise free speech, whether it be communism or national socialism or islamism.
    When one thoroughly digests a thought, what comes out is poo.

    Some poo has seeds in it.

    When a seed takes root, it grows.

    Free speech was once a seed.

    In a desert, few plants are allowed to grow.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    In a desert, few plants are allowed to grow.
    So let a thousand flowers bloom!

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