• Re: Novelty and beaten Paths

    From Jedi Master@21:1/5 to Ilya Shambat on Sun Dec 19 20:26:59 2021
    On Sunday, December 19, 2021 at 10:54:07 AM UTC-10, Ilya Shambat wrote:
    When I was a student at the University of Virginia, American conservative columnist George Will came to give a speech. One of his statements was that the past is a usable past. That is most certainly the case. I have intensely studied history, and I've
    learned a lot from it. I cannot guarantee that I will not make my own mistakes, but I am most certainly determined not to repeat the mistakes of the people who came before me.

    There are people who want to disregard cliches; but there is a reason why cliches become cliches, and it is not that they are untrue. There are people who want to see conservatives or fundamentalists or Americans as such as stupid, but you don't rise
    to the leadership of the world by being stupid. Similarly there are people who claim that Americans are wealthy imperialists, but Americans were not born wealthy or rulers of the world. They had to work hard at it, and not only work hard but also work
    smart. And they did it in a much more humane manner than say Spain or England, which got their wealth to a large extend by conquering and enslaving other populations.

    We also hear the claim that beaten paths are for beaten people. Why are the paths beaten? Because they work. Whether or not you are yourself a beaten person, I have found out, after attempting to the contrary, that beaten paths cannot be dismissed. I
    am most certainly happy to be a pioneer, and I have come up with a number of useful ideas that, to the best of my knowledge, are original. However I found out that there is a merit also to the work of the people who came before me.

    Vladimir Vysotsky, the Soviet Union's most popular songwriter, wrote a song about how he got into a path and kept riding along in that path until the path ended, at which point he had to make his own addition to the path. He said at the end of the song
    that the path was only his. Well no, it was not only his. There were other people who came before him, and he extended the path. This is how the situation is supposed to work.

    Many people are bored with their upbringing or see wrong things in it, so they then want to do other ways of doing things. Sometimes there is a legitimate reason for this. Many Americans are bored with or find objectionable the stress on money and are
    interested in Russian culture, and many Russians are bored with Russian culture and want to go to America and make money. In many cases going to other places for what the home lacks improves the home. America is improved by bringing into itself Japanese
    cars, Mexican food and Russian ballet. Russia is improved by bringing into itself American ideas on how to do business and politics. It is completely rightful to explore other ways than one's own and see how they can be useful in improving one's ways.
    However it is not valid to deny matters on which the way in which one has been raised is right. And – especially in case of America – there are many things that are right with it.

    In relationships, novelty can be a source of excitement and of introduction of worthwhile things to which one has not been exposed. However it will also expose the person to whatever is wrong with the other culture as well as to value conflicts with
    her upbringing. I know a woman from Kansas who married a Native American man and wound up with 40 stitches in her skull. I know a woman from a royalty-descended government family who married a self-made Reagan conservative, and he would come at her with
    fists if he found a speck of dust on the floor. I know an American man who married a young Russian woman and got used and abused. One frequent scenario is that the person goes for someone from another world and is horrified at the differences in values
    and attitudes. We will see a battle between the desire for novelty and ingrained values. That will likely result in conflict. To deal with such conflicts it will be necessary to understand the other's perspective. However doing so may also lead to
    negative attitudes toward the other person, as their perspective would clash with one's own. Resolving such differences requires lots of intelligence and effort, and many people are not going to put in that effort. And many of those who do will end up
    recognizing, as they examine both their own attitudes and those of the other person, that there are things of merit in their own background that the other person's background lacks. At which point their attitude toward their own background will improve.
    The person will become more appreciative of what she has been given. That does not mean that she will go back to mindlessly agreeing with everything. She will however be more likely to have respect for what she has been raised with and see matters on
    which her upbringing was right.

    A claim made by many liberals about conservatives is that they have a closed mind. Open mind is something that you want to have in order to learn new things. For getting things done, such a thing may be experienced as disruptive. Open mindedness is
    good at a university. In a family, it may not be such a good thing, as it may expose the child to influences that confuse or harm the child or interfere with the child's development. It may prevent the development of a stable identity or undermine the
    structures that the child needs in order to grow. Some influences can be appealing to the child but be very wrong. If a child is exposed to, say, Communism or chaos magic, that could be appealing to the child but take the child down a wrongful path. So
    it becomes understandable why many people would favor open-mindedness when they are students but choose closed-mindedness when they are parents. The two tasks require completely different approaches. And the same person may very well go both ways at
    different times in their life.

    I do favor open-mindedness in learning about other ways of doing things, and I have myself gone to many different paths and learned from them. However there are also tasks that require consistency, and in such situations some influences should not be
    acceptable. If a person takes an influence seriously, the process of making things work under that influence will give them an appreciation for what they came from. Many of the things that the person takes for granted will be missing in their new
    environment, and that will build appreciation for these things. At which point the person would have to choose as to whether to regain these things and appreciate them or go without these things. I would anticipate that most will make the first choice,
    although I have seen many people who made the other choice. Both the European immigrants who came to America and decided to stay, and the hippies who went to Vermont to practice organic farming, have in fact made the other choice. However more hippies
    decided to go back to the civilization and figure out how to live in it than stayed in Vermont. That is because they realized that the civilization had many virtues that they, in their younger years, failed to appreciate; and they came back to the
    civilization and appreciated it, in the process contributing creative thought that was instrumental in creating the computer industry and the ongoing Wall Street boom.

    The hippies has the same idea as the “rednecks.” They both wanted to get away from the civilization and move to the country in order to have freedom. The “rednecks” had more experience at doing this than the hippies. They had to figure out how
    to provide for themselves, how to defend themselves and how to govern themselves. They saw the hippies, who had no knowledge of such things, as spoiled children, and many of them did in fact act like spoiled children. They failed to appreciate where they
    came from. Contact with “rednecks” cured many of their wrongful beliefs. They thought that society or the civilization was the root of all evil; but here were people who were not a part of their society, who were much more violent and much more
    hateful to them than were the “bourgeois.” They thought that people if left to their own devices would start a Communist revolution, but here were people who not only did not want a Communist revolution but were more militantly opposed to Communism
    than were the city dwellers. What the hippies thought people were like, and what people actually were like, proved completely different from one another. Most hippies ended up seeing their error. Some remained in the country and taught the “rednecks”
    the knowledge that they needed to become a major political force. More went to the civilization and contributed creatively to Wall Street and Silicon Valley. For the latter, some see them as having “sold out.” I actually find that what they did was
    more valuable than what was done by those who did not.

    In my case, I have grown to appreciate things about both Russia and America. I have also found that Australia, where I live now, has many great things with it as well. I want to see all of the above correct whatever is wrong with them while building on
    what is right with them. And in all three cases, of these there is plenty.

    You would like my recent post here and elsewhere for your reading pleasure.


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