Talk:What you can change and what you cannot

Latest comment: 5 months ago by Lbeaumont in topic Some of the examples...

Please leave comments, questions, or course feedback here. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 15:45, 28 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Addictions edit

Consider addressing addictions in the section on what you may be able to change. --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 21:06, 28 January 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Reframing edit

Address the ability to reframe a problem or interpretation. Consider the ability to change (choose):

  • What you observe,
  • what you overlook or ignore,
  • how you judge and interpret observations,
  • the ideologies you accept, the worldview you accept,
  • your beliefs,
  • more

Thanks! --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 13:50, 13 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of the examples... edit

The pope did not persecute Galileo because he wanted to change the shape of the earth, but because it was an inconvenient truth that undermined his "authority". "Reality" did not prevail, Galileo and other critical thinkers did, and only because of their appreciation for the natural world and their need to understand it, or their "philosophy", in the original sense of the word. Even then, the pope made a much better living by dealing in falsehood than Galileo by dealing in truth.

Statements like "Eventually reality prevailed" encourage a rather complacent perspective, don't you think? The current pope and Trump and countless others, including plenty from both sides of the false political dichotomy, seem to be enjoying quite a comfortable existence compared to Galileo's intellectual progeny, e.g. grad students, honest independent journalists, and so forth. It is folly to presume that liars and frauds will all receive comeuppance by "reality" itself, rather than the painstaking effort of people such as Galileo, for whom it could only be called a pyrrhic victory. Certainly he would have done the same thing whether it meant victory, pyrrhic victory, or defeat, so he deserves a bit more respect than this, don't you agree?. AP295 (discusscontribs)

@Lbeaumont I would like to know what you think about my comments above. As is, I feel that the article gives the reader a distorted or complacent perspective. It makes me vaguely uncomfortable. Did Galileo consider whether or not his efforts were futile or that it might cost him too much time and energy to change the beliefs of others? Did he prioritize his own comfort by avoiding frustrations or things that might upset his peace of mind? Was Heliocentrism not believed to be an immutable "law of physics" in his time? He behaved in almost exactly the opposite way that this article suggests one should. I dislike it. AP295 (discusscontribs)

There are more grotesqueries that I could go on about, but I have other commitments so I'll await your response and any other comments that might be forthcoming.

I'll add a permalink:

Thanks for this comment. I link to the Galileo affair from the existing article, which explains the role of his courage. Inspired by your comments I added a brief paragraph to the section. --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 11:20, 13 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. Truth and liberty are only sometimes obtained through anger and dissent, but never through resignation and apathy. I feel that people are often far too passive, if anything. AP295 (discusscontribs)
@Lbeaumont The paragraph you added, "Brute facts remain unchanged regardless of your beliefs, wishes, or proclamations. Reality is our common ground.", is rather opposite the sort of change I had in mind. I'll leave you with a few more notes so that you might see what I'm getting at. First, the article makes a lot of assertions about the reader, with the words "you" and "your" appearing two hundred and seventy nine times. With a word count of 3,749 words, "you/your" occurs about every 13.5 words. I assume that the subject of this discourse is either people in general, or some smaller population like students. To avoid making statements that may strike some people as presumptuous, I suggest that "you/your" be changed to reflect the proper subject of this discourse accurately and in its entirety. The "you"s and "your"s can be reserved for motivational effect, and I believe they will be more effective when used sparingly and in the right places. Any reader would be made to feel self-conscious reading a complete tabulation of what they can and cannot do, addressed to them directly in the second person. The only spoken conversations with so many "you"s are generally conducted at well over 100 dB and include lots of four letter words, so I don't think it will make the reader very receptive to the message. AP295 (discusscontribs)
Not very long ago in America, a man was his own master yet at the same time had stronger social bonds with his community and fellow citizens. Today, our motivation, confidence, self-determination and principles are frequently undermined. I watched a video on youtube about axemanship entitled "Ancient wisdom: round splitting wedges = better." in which it was said, "A man does not apologize for his nature. Neither does he beg others for acceptance. He remains accountable for, but not guilty of, his choices." I rather like this quote. It shows respect toward the reader, being neither patronizing nor presumptuous. It does not refer to the reader in the second person. When is it ever appropriate to use the second person like this resource does? AP295 (discusscontribs)
Thanks for your comments. The "you" referred to throughout the course is specifically the student studying the course. The reference is intended to be personal and specific and it is an appeal to the agency of the student. The only person who can decide to accept what they cannot change and change what they can is the individual student. Do we agree or disagree on this point? Can you suggest a specific wording change to a specific line of text that will improve the course? Thanks! --Lbeaumont (discusscontribs) 11:50, 15 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"The only person who can decide to accept what they cannot change and change what they can is the individual student." And nobody else? Are they to be addressed as individuals, floating about in the cold vacuum of space? There's a wide dissonance here between the ostensible message and the way in which it's addressed and worded. Compare it to the motivational advice that I quoted from youtube, which conveys a large portion of the same message (or at least the better parts of it), in a single sentence and in a way that does not talk down to the reader. AP295 (discusscontribs)
Also, I can't think of any reason to use the phrase "decide to accept" rather than just the word "accept". This is what Orwell called a "verbal false limb". Also, everyone can (decide to) change what they can change, so that part is tautological. If we reword your statement accordingly, it reads "The only person who can accept what they cannot change is the student". Taken literally this is false, but quite suggestive of "you must accept what you cannot change". AP295 (discusscontribs)
You ask that I suggest specific wording changes to specific lines of text, but I will pay you (or anyone else) fifty dollars in bitcoin if you can reword this resource line-for-line without any references to the reader in the second person and using only complete sentences (no bullet points), without having it sound silly, tautological or disturbingly Orwellian.
Content such as
"What you know:
* Facts you have gathered,
* Understanding,"
Would end up as "Students know the facts they have gathered. Students know what they understand." and so on.
I think to improve this resource, it has to be made more specific and the important points separated and distilled from the content that is merely obvious, which can be left out. Imprecise language has far-reaching consequences, especially when impressed upon the public. Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language" is an excellent work and explains why we must be more responsible with our use of language and avoid the idioms and wooden language so often impressed upon us by political media. "When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases – bestial atrocities, iron heel, blood-stained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder – one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favourable to political conformity." -Orwell AP295 (discusscontribs)
I believe that there's value in this resource though. For example, CBT is quite effective for changing one's habits, and perhaps deserves more attention. "Rely on moral reasoning..." is also excellent advice, far too many people have confused or half-baked morals. The rest of the sentence, "and exercise agency only for the good", I would amend or change though, as it is also necessary to exercise agency against cynicism, exploitation, lies, moral bankruptcy, hypocrisy, and so on. These points should be developed further. Conversely, "You cannot change another person's beliefs or thoughts (unless they choose to change)" is not true. The media distorts and modifies public opinion and the public's behavior as a matter of course. They do it so well that most people can't even discern the extent of this influence or what society might look like without it. This is another instance of something that instills complacence. Objects like "reduce your frustrations, and increase your peace-of-mind" along with the constant use of the second person to address the reader also seems to limit the idea of "change" to just those things one can do alone and without too much frustration or hardship. Aren't there things people can do as a group or perhaps alone but through great hardship that they might not be able to do as a self-serving individual? How might such a group be organized and motivated? How might such an individual endure hardship or despair and yet still persist? It is implied we should change ourselves in response to anger or frustration, but they are natural emotions and do serve a purpose. Sometimes we should be angry and in fact must be angry. Anger is not a pathology any more than joy is. Perhaps someone who's angry has damned good reason to be angry. AP295 (discusscontribs)
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