The Main Options in Human Conflict.

The fundamental options (means to an end) to consider in every human conflict:

  1. Changing minds (possibly even your own mind)
  2. Separation
  3. Use of Force
  4. Surrender

Obviously, where reasonable, the first two options should be used instead of the latter two.  And I’d include a wide range of things (perhaps even verbal abuse, certainly verbal harassment) in the category of “use of force” even if it is intended to change minds.  Some people even physically strike someone over the head and shout “think”, and that could be an attempt to change minds too, but certainly involves physical force.  See also:  Conflict Escalation, and De-Escalation.

On the topic of changing minds, it would be nice if we could spread values that made people tend towards correction. Such as:

  • strong curiosity and good epistemology
  • valuing learning more than being right all along (this will even make you have less fear of admitting error):
    • recognizing that learning happens all our lives, so we might be able to improve past what we currently think.  If so, wouldn’t you want to?  The advantages to your own future are clear.
    • Here’s some tips from Julia Galef:  How to want to change your mind.

(and I think these could be used for conflict prevention, too)

What are things?

There’s different ways to say what something “is”. For example a hammer. You can talk about:

For hammers, like for many things, an intensional definition can be developed. In the case of hammers I think it would mostly have to do with its function, what we use it to do, and how it works.

See also:

Though usually, a ton of these ways of looking at the thing come together into a concept or “construct”.  Even degree or probability might go into the concept.  An ice cream sandwich might be “a sandwich” in some sense, but when someone says they are bringing you “a sandwich” you’d be rather confused if it turned out to be an ice cream sandwich.  And yet clearly the two have enough similarity in form and purpose that it makes sense to use the name “ice cream sandwich” rather than “ice cream mystery object”, as if it were a wholly unfamiliar shape.

See also:

Some Simple Things (That I Wish Everyone Already Knew)

     First, when a joke (or something else) is friendly and when it is unfriendly. That could be a big topic, but for now I’ll narrow it down to one situation: when someone asks you to stop.
     When someone tells you to stop something, you have a few options. Your can:
  1. accept their request
  2. not accept their request (by either continuing what they told you to stop, or complaining about their request)
     I’d argue that option 1 is friendly, and option 2 is unfriendly. When someone sincerely tells you to stop something and you continue to do it, it ceases to be friendly. Even if the action looks the same.
     Real friendliness includes wanting to avoid annoying or upsetting your friend. It means caring about their feelings, preferences, and how they want to be treated.
     In some situations that might be difficult, like when their preference conflict with yours. If the two of you really can’t come up with a solution that you both like, maybe you can’t be friends at all. But that’s unlikely to occur in the case of jokes, which you don’t really need to make. So in this example, I think it’s most reasonable to accept their request.

A second (and related) point: sometimes seemingly identical actions can be morally different.

     How can two actions which seem identical be morally different?
     If there is some other difference.
     For example, if a professional boxer starts boxing unsuspecting people in the street, that’s assault. Their actions alone might look identical to the ethical sport of boxing. But the random people on the street (in my example) did not consent to a boxing match. That’s the key difference.

Rape Culture 101: What Is Rape Culture?

Here are my criteria for what the term “Rape Culture” refers to:

  1. memes and attitudes etc. (“culture“)
  2. that are incorrect/immoral
  3. that are related to rape, sexual assault, and consent
  4. and may contribute to problems related to rape, sexual assault, and consent

So the debate over whether Rape Culture “exists” are usually baffling to people who understand this.  Obviously we can see that attitudes and memes exist for any given subject.  Obviously some of them can be wrong.  Obviously errors can be harmful.

What people really should be arguing about is not whether it exists, but whether a particular meme or attitude is actually correct or incorrect.  That’s the part that matters.

And there’s plenty of well-informed writing on that matter.  I might gather a bunch to post later.

For other examples of the “_____ Culture” terminology format, see: “ownership culture”, “blame culture”, “ask culture”, “guess culture”, etc.