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09-16-2001, 04:13 PM
I have been reflecting on the exchange others and I have been having on this forum. Despite its many virtues the Internet and these posts may not be the best forum for this argument in that the medium often determines the message. Socrates suggested that writing itself may be limited and dangerous in that it moves us away from the living voice (e.g. actual dialogue) and replaces it with a mere simulacrum of discussion.


However, I am going to make an attempt to communicate what my reflections have yielded.


The crux of the exchange I have been involved in relates to the idea of good and evil. Cyrus made the following comment upon one of my statements-


You DID state the following, Gil : ""There is an immense difference between us and them. We [Americans] are the good guys and they [??] are evil. This doesn't mean we are perfect, always right etc. etc. but when all the qualifications, causes etc are considered it still comes out the same: we are the good guys and they are evil."" That is manichaeism, Gil.


Note they question marks that he inserted after they, as if he wondered whom I meant. Clearly, in the context it can only refer to the terrorists.


Now a Manichean viewpoint in this context means what? It certainly doesnít mean that one sees only pure good and pure evil in that I ruled that out in the quote above. So apparently one is Manichean if on believes that the terms good/evil are meaningful in any objective sense. It seems to me that Cyrus must defend one of the following propositions-


1. Good/Evil are terms that donít apply and inherently are a sign of ignorance.

--Of course if moral terms donít apply then the only idea we are left with is power. If this were the case then terrorism and the U.S. response would be only a question of who will triumph


2. If neither side is morally pure then all moral distinctions are vacuous.

--This is a clever rhetorical position but ultimately incoherent


3. Moral distinctions apply but favor the terrorists

--No comment necessary


4. Moral distinctions apply and favor the U.S. and the forces of civilization

--This is of course the point I was making in the above quote

09-16-2001, 06:32 PM
What is a simulacrum, Gil? Is it a form of exhibition chess? A fighter plane? A toothpaste brand perhaps? Or the kind of debate in which I'm not interested?


Take care.


[P.S. : Psst. Evil doesn't exist. Pass it on.]

09-16-2001, 07:42 PM
Look the word up as I could only give you a poor image of a definition.


Psst If evil doesn't exist then anything we might do is OK

09-16-2001, 09:16 PM
You don't hunt and exterminate terrorists like Bin Laden because we're right and he's wrong. You do it because if he's not dealt with, many many more innocents will be slaughtered. Am not relishing the war to fight terrorism. It is something that needs to be done. He is a rabid dog that is running amok biting anyone and everyone. He must be stopped. And every coward that strikes at innocent people without provacation or justification will continue to do so unless forcefully terminated.


Fact of life.

And I bet Socrates would load the gun.

09-17-2001, 12:39 AM
"Look the word up as I could only give...."


Is this english?


"If evil doesn't exist then anything we might do is OK"


This serves as conformation for the existence of evil?

09-17-2001, 02:40 AM
Look in the mirror...


[P.S. : Psst. Saddam is not Satan. Pass it on.]

09-17-2001, 09:26 AM
There is a joke in my comment that you obviously didn't get

I think you mean confirmation not conformation

Anyone who needs proof of the existence of evil isn't paying attention

09-17-2001, 09:28 AM
Psst no Satan was least once an angel

09-17-2001, 09:32 AM
I don't know why you shy away from saying we're right he's wrong but I agree with the rest of your post. Socrates by the way fought bravely in the war with Sparta.

09-17-2001, 10:55 AM

09-17-2001, 09:52 PM
Gil, there is no Satan. And there is no evil. There is just us, we have it all in us.


It's nauseous, I know, but who's to blame?

09-18-2001, 09:45 AM
Of course, the evil is in us and it's nauseous but it is still evil.

09-18-2001, 10:48 AM
You forgot 3 words:


"Of course, the evil is in us and it's nauseous but it is still evil in my opinion."

09-18-2001, 02:39 PM
no I didn't

09-18-2001, 02:40 PM
No I didn't

09-19-2001, 06:23 AM
Yes you did

09-19-2001, 06:25 AM
Yes you did.

09-19-2001, 09:52 AM
It's interesting that you can know that I forgot when I did not intend to say "in my opinion" because-


1. If you mean that what I posted is what I believe then the words "in my opinion" are superfluous. I wouldn't say it if I didn't mean it.


2. If you mean that its my opinion and others have different opinions and that all opinions are equal (e.g. we can't say one may be right and the other may be wrong). I intentionally avoid using the weasel words "in my opinion" because to do so really destroys dialogue as a means of knowing.


3. Posting twice was cute