Amazon.com Widgets

Laurence

Joined: Dec. 2, 2011

Bio:

A 4th grade teacher and birder in Phoenix, who spends all of his time being happily married.


Most recent posts by Laurence:     (See all of them)


The Abuse of Language and the Dehumanization of the Person

Feb. 22 at 10:25am | Comments: 13 | Most recent comment: Feb. 26 at 8:52am

This article was submitted to the member forum.  Since it touches on the issue of language, which Jules raised below, we're moving it here. Language is the most powerful tool ever invented. Its simultaneous precision and malleability provide infinite possibilities of expression, whether it’s through poetry, mathematics, music, or W-2 income tax forms. People use language to define their world, explore their reality, and share in the human experience. The English language is especially fun. With over...


Latest comments by Laurence:     (See all of them)


Re: To get Beauty, bring back the critics!

Aug. 1 at 12:28am | see this comment in context

On that note, being a good critic also requires something that is considered very dangerous today, the assertion that, as you say Jules, there are things that are objectively thing, things with an objective value, things that are Beautiful. 

Criticism is often addressed as a sort of haughty arrogance, as if all critics are implying by their criticsm that they could do better than whomever they're critiquing. The critic is often dismissed as arrogant. This couldn't be further from the truth, I think. In asserting that something, anything, may be true, that there is an objective good, the critic is exposing a vulnerability. He could be wrong. This exposure is not arrogance, but a form of humility it seems, the willingness to pursue the Good and the Beautiful even at risk of being incorrect. 

The selfish are those who withhold all criticism, who dismiss objective Truth and Beauty as possibilities, instead insisting that all opinions and works are equal, are interchangeable, are the same. This relativism has the arrogance to presuppose a higher perspective than all others, one which turns everything below into the same amalgamated mush. The fear of criticism strikes me as a fear of truth, as cowardice.

Re: To get Beauty, bring back the critics!

Aug. 1 at 12:21am | see this comment in context

An excellent article! In a similar way, it's generally acknowledged that a trip to a musuem, or a tour, is much better with some sort of guide, someone of something to give those of us who have not specialised in the art, but want to enjoy it nonetheless, a chance. 

I think this relates to a problem Maria and I have been discussing recently, which is the increasing hesistance to publicly pass judgment on anything. From damaging lifestyles to bad grammar, it has become so opprobrious to ever correct someone, even politely. The critical person (a critic) is seen as purely negative, as if there's no possibilty to improve or be helped by criticism, or at least that whatever help may come is not worth the discomfort of being criticised.

Re: The Hunger Games

Mar. 20 at 11:49am | see this comment in context

It's all so well said and so true. The bullies have the audacity to claim that those who stand against them are in fact the bullies, are in fact waging a war against women, etc.

Re: Holy cosmetics

Feb. 27 at 12:36pm | see this comment in context

That's a lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

Re: The Abuse of Language and the Dehumanization of the Person

Feb. 25 at 8:27pm | see this comment in context

Newman's point, as I understand him, was not respecting the child, but respecting the doctor.  Doctors use scientific and clinical language because of the spiritual distance it provides from human sufferings that would otherwise quickly become overwhelming.

 This being the case, than I think the argument is the same for the doctors as it was for the WWII soldiers, namely that their use of euphemism is acceptable because they do know the truth, and are not actually deceiving themselves or others. 

As you say, that's an important distinction, but I guess I shy away from calling any of these hypothetical realities unbearable. At least, I certainly do not think we should use decption as a precaution to truth, just in case the truth turns out to be very difficult to bear.

Stay informed

Latest comments

  • Re: Pitfalls of Asserting Gender Roles
  • By: Ian Skemp
  • Re: Pitfalls of Asserting Gender Roles
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Samwise
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Devra Torres
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Katie van Schaijik
  • Re: Becoming Who You Are, Even If You're Not Sure Who That Is
  • By: Kate Whittaker Cousino
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: SarahG
  • Re: Testing for soundness in relationships
  • By: Katie van Schaijik

Latest active posts

Reading circles

Lectures