Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More wisdom from Mr Tutwaller

When all else fails, bewilder your audience with nonsense. Say it with confidence, so that those who are listening will assume that they do not measure up to your erudition. Politicians and philosophers are masters at this. A perfect example of this is the philosophical phrase that has become part of everyday communication: "There is no right or wrong answer." Consider the paradox that this meaningless statement is always presented as an absolute statement, which any sensible person should ascribe to. Amazingly, it is a favorite statement employed by teachers. The alert student ought to reply with something like this: "So, why am I taking this class from you?"

5 comments:

Sonja said...

Actually, all you really need is confidence. Many people now-a-days listened to their teachers and seem to really believe that any number of contradicting ideas can simutaneously be valid truths because truth is now assumed to be subjective rather than objective. It therefore doesn't matter if you speak reasonably or not because assumed subjectivity of truth does not bolster confidence and such a liberated person unhindered by a narrow mind usually does not feel prepared to disagree with someone who seems to know what they are talking about whether they really do or not. After all,"one can't really know anything anyway." Therefore, just look impressive. If you happen to not know what you're talking about you are unlikely to be exposed and will come out looking pretty good. Of course, if you are in public office or teach philosophy at a university, bewildering your audience can be a means of job security. Once again, Mr. Tutwaller is right on!

Mr Zzyzx said...

I wonder how much of Mr Tutwaller's perspective has trickled down from the Hegelian Dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis)? I recognize that I am treading in deep water here because (a) I am not an expert in philosophy, (b) I am intrigued by the Hegelian Dialectic - I employ it frequently, and (c) I suspect the Hegelian Dialectic has given rise to the modern ability to hold two conflicting ideas as true without being the least bothered by the paradox.

Sonja said...

Probably half of Mr. Tutwaller's perspective is inherited from Hegel and the other half from Mad Magazine. I disagree with you on (c). The modern ability to hold two conflicting ideas as true is not Hegelian because no attempt is made by moderns at synthesis. Synthesis is no longer necessary because sentiment and pragmatism rather than truth are the modern commitments. Of course, that's only my version of truth. Your truth might look entirely different and I must accept and respect your reality as being equally valid as mine.

Mr Zzyzx said...

Mad Magazine? That was painful! However, I have to agree with you on both counts. At least in the process of synthesis, there is some logical attempt to make sense of conflicting ideas. By "pragmatism" do you mean "self-interest"?

Sonja said...

By "pragmatism" I mean whatever works which is often tied to convenience and I suppose convenience is rooted in self-interest.