Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Strength in Adversity- Questioning Ourselves and Reliance

Our history is replete with examples of our people overcoming adversity. One of the things that I love about our tradition is not just the fact that we have always overcome but that we have a tradition of that is thoughtful and cerebral.

I love that. I love that we look inwards and outwards. I love that we spend time considering the how, what and why of our place in the world and I think that this is one of our strengths.

One of the things that I think that we must continue to focus upon is community. We must work on achdut, we must work on bringing diverse opinions forward and together. We need to hold on to each other and share in the strength that we can bring to each other.

And on a slightly different tack but still related we need to be aware of the challenges presented by the Information Age. In specific terms this means that there is a wealth of information out there that can be accessed by anyone, but it is important to maintain a critical eye and to not just accept things that are spoonfed to us as being true.

Too many people are in the habit of blindly accepting the word of others. Too many people fall victim to unreal, imbalanced and inaccurate information because it was couched in eloquence. A lie clothed in royal finery is still a lie.

2 comments:

ML said...

Hey Friend,

The second half of your post seems to be an unsubtle, and poorly aimed, shot at this commenter...
However, I prefer it to the first half, which is another boring exercise in cultural self-obsession.

To the shot at me I would respond that we are negligent if we allow the myriad viewpoints and facts made available by the information age to go unexplored. Dismissing information based on ad hominem principles is bad scholarship indeed. So yes, we do need to be aware of the challenges this age presents.

Moreover, I would take issue with your term "spoonfed" in the context in which you use it. The major media serves particular interests and spoonfeeds an homogenized world view to the public at large. With the internet, contrastingly, you get very sincere efforts and world views presented usually by individuals or small groups. And there is no misconception re whether or not this information is biased. You know it is, and can read and judge according to the dictates of your conscience. This requires a person to sift and assess information actively in order to arrive at conclusions. This process is the opposite of being spoonfed. However, once again you are right, we do need to maintain a critical eye and not just accept that which IS spoonfed to us.

And on a slightly different tack, but still related. Too many people hide behind fallacious standards of scholarship in order to avoid information entirely. An intellectual and moral coward in professorial finery is still an intellectual and moral coward.

Jack's Shack said...

Anonymous,

If I was speaking to you I would have addressed it to you. A little narcissitic aren't we.

The bottom line in life is still the same. Try to live a kind and decent life. Have integrity and be moral.

Part of that means using the tools you have to engage in logical analysis of the information presented to you.

Often times people with an agenda will provide you with a skewed view and do what they can to browbeat you into accepting their position as being true even though it is not.

Too many people hide behind fallacious standards of scholarship in order to avoid information entirely. An intellectual and moral coward in professorial finery is still an intellectual and moral coward.

That is true. In my book intellectual dishonesty can take many roles such as trying to pass off inaccurate and out of date information as being truthful and valid. It is also demonstrative of a lack of integrity and character.

Factual honesty is important.