Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mainstream

I posted an article earlier this week and hoped that it would bring about some fruitful discussion. Instead, it degenerated and went nowhere.

One thing that did come of it, however, is the necessity to define what 'mainstream' culture is. Since being labelled 'mainstream' has brought about offense here at St. Cynic, I thought it would be fitting to attempt to clarify what I mean by 'mainstream'. Not because I want to remove any offense given, but because I find it especially important to offend with good reason.

The adjective form (and the form that is most commonly used at St. Cynic) of 'mainstream', according to Random House Dictionary, 2009 is “belonging to or characteristic of a prinicple, dominant, or widely accepted group, movement, style, etc.” Accordingly, someone being labelled 'mainstream' is being observed to be part of the most prevalent and commonly accepted idea, group, or trend within a given culture.

For example, if the majority of people in Toronto, Canada wore bell-bottom pants with bedazzler-laden pleather cowboy boots, that would be the 'mainstream' fashion choice. Rejecting such a hideous fashion choice, however, would put one outside of the 'mainstream'.

Examples abound of non-mainstream choices: anti-vaccination, family-led learning, barefooting, eco-building, co-sleeping/family beds, child-led weaning from the breast (breast milk isn't best, it's the default), ancestral traditional diets, embraced symbiosis with microbes, intact genitalia for both sexes, libertarianism, bartering, wholistic healthcare, small poly-culture family-based farming, off-grid living, large familes, squating toilets, television free, and the list goes on almost as extensively as what is deemed 'mainstream'.

To be sure, being mainstream affords many comforts: predictability, wide social acceptance, political favour, being able to make full use of government services, potential for being mostly conflict free in daily social rigours, being able to count yourself as 'normal' (that is, fitting in), having an impact within societal systems, being able to empathize with more of the general population, the virtue of blissful ignorance (not my interpretation, I've been told this one more than a few times), etc.

So while I don't participate in much of what is mainstream, and do have a disdain for much of what is touted as acceptable within mainstream, I don't necessarily consider it bad, or evil or anything quite so jejune. It simply is what it is: ever-shifting according to the zeitgeist (spirit of the times). So, if the zeitgeist is sick, so is the mainstream. If it is well, likewise.

Our current zeitgeist is clearly in need of some major reparation, and TLC.

29 comments:

Tag-photos said...

Chris, this again will lead nowhere but here is my attempt again....

" Since being labelled 'mainstream' has brought about offense here at St. Cynic,"

Being labeled mainstream is not an offense. I take no offense in somebody pointing out that I am leading a mainstream life.

Now when somebody calls me stupid, lay, ignorant, or....

As Sarah put it... (You took great offense last time for not including your name, so I include it this time)

"They lack any aspiration to take full and utterly conscious responsibility for their thoughts, actions, and life, and view someone who does as a threat to the comfortable system that affords them this sloth."

That offends...

It offends me, not because it is a direct personal attack, but because it directly and in no uncomprimising terms says that anyone that follows the mainstream is a lazy idiot.

No quarter is given to anybody that does any level of research and chooses what is considered mainstream.

So the term main stream is not misunderstood, nor is it offensive.
Offending all mainstreamers is offensive.

What is worse, and specific to this board, defending the choice to follow mainstream trends. is considered "Trolling"

This leads to the feeling that contrary views and opinions are not welcome here at St. Cynic.

Christopher said...

TAG,

When I was 17, I was part of a group of metal-heads. We all dressed similarly, and listened to pretty much the same bands. We all had a fairly negative view of reality, and were comfortable in our insular, narrow, and overtly angry view of people and the world.

One day, my dad said, "your metal-head friends don't know anything about real life." I was offended and made it known that I considered myself part of their group, and that if he wanted to insult them then he's insulting me. His response was "Fine. I can live with that. You'll get over it eventually."

He was right. I did get over it, and I came to agree with him, too: we didn't know much of anything about real life.

The point? Get over your offense at my wife. Move on.

She thinks what she does, and she has her reasons for it. I happen to agree with her. So now you can be offended by me, too. But you'll have to get over that, too, eventually.

So, in light of getting past your offenses, you may just want to interact with the article and topic a little more, instead of the disclaimer/prefatory remarks for the article.

There's much more to be said about 'mainstream' life than expressing offense about Sarah's distaste for it.

Sarah said...

Research according to the mainstream consists of deferring to the so-called 'experts.' This includes and is usually at best (most diligent), limited to the following:

*asking family physician if xyz drug is right for you
*asking family physician if vaccines are effective and safe
*asking school teacher if child is learning well and socialising according to the standards
*consulting the Canada (or US) Food Guide for diet and it's required nutritional information on packages
*asking family physician for dietary information
*assuming a university/college degree/diploma qualifies a person to act within the scope of their supposed and so-called 'education, and so consulting one of them for whatever their query and taking the answer as authoritative
*consulting specific church/religious tenets for theological/psychological/philosophical truth claims and then modeling life and beliefs, each according to his 'club' (ie: Lutherans consult Lutheran doctrine, Baptists their particular list of rules and regulations, Catholics- the same thing)
*taking childborth classes at hospital for information regarding childbirth
*relying on nurses for breastfeeding and bathing information for new babies
*taking parenting classes to learn how to parent
*expecting, relying upon and consulting government and paragovernmental agencies for basic needs-meeting (food 'safety', drug 'safety', road use, cleanliness of water and surroundings, building codes, etc...)
*depending on daycare workers/teachers/carers to educate and fulfill the needs of children and relying on them to inform the parents of the development of their children, according to the charts and 'ages and stages' mentality of this field of work
*etc...

This is the diligent research methodology of the mainstreamer. Most mainstreamers I know and have known don't even do all of this themselves; they rely on hearsay from disparate others who have and don't even check their sources. Everything is 'good enough' and they stumble around their lives hoping to run into the experts who can point them in the next direction they ought to take.

cont'd...

Sarah said...

cont'd...

When I have suggested to someone to do research, I am not excluding the aforementioned, but I am certainly expecting an enormous amount of further exploration than can be garnered by just that.

Asking a family physician for information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines is paramount to asking a pastry chef about the necessity of flour. There may be a few pastry chefs who have figured out how to bake without flour and decry it for whatever reason, but they are few and far between and to find them would require a lot more research than to simply learn about flour and whether or not it is a beneficial choice for you. Same with asking Drs about vaccines; they are the point of sale- the retailers for the manufacturers of these drugs.

Do you sincerely expect anything more than pat answers garnered from the package inserts? And don't even expect that! That's a step up from the usual cavalier attitude most drs take toward the concerns of parents trying to sort through the mountains and oceans of information about these toxic cocktails.

Anyway, I stand by my assertion that stopping at the aforementioned and concluding on one's concerns according to the 'experts' is lazy and mediocre at best. Even though within the framework of the methodology you may have done everything there is to do, asked everyone who you could find and think of, because the whole thing is so limited as to be utterly ineffective as a comprehensive treatment of anything, it is still lazy, because in the end, you have placed responsibility for your own actions and choices squarely on the shoulders of someone else. This is why there are lawsuits against manufacturers of drugs, foods, tobacco, children's toys and equipment, etc...

People believe that they have an inherent right to be coddled, kept safe and saved from themselves and their innate stupidity. This system is self-perpetuating, so very effective. People believe this, so anyone wanting to control or profit has a ripe audience, one that hands over individual and collective lives without hesitation (Well, they're the experts after all. How could I ever know as much as all of these people combined? I have to defer!).

Diligence within a framework of laziness and mediocrity is still laziness and mediocrity. There can be no excellence in that, and human beings have the capacity and innate drive for excellence unless it is thoroughly squelched either by choice or ignorance.

We are supposed to be the pinnacle of creation, or nature if you like, but we are easily being out-realised, out-actualised and out-authenticated by every other aspect and being in nature from grass to elephants, from rocks to sharks to the sky. We are the most overtly and egregiously underachieving population on the earth.

Now that is not just sad, but the most poignant and utterly disgusting expression of sloth that I can imagine, and I have a great imagination (afforded me by my humanity, thanks be to God).

Sigh.

Tag-photos said...

"concluding on one's concerns according to the 'experts' is lazy and mediocre at best."

Only differences between your experts and mine are bias/opinion, education, and methods of communication.

Of course those doctors you claim to be point of sale retailers also have access to the latest medical studies, papers, and other information not generally available to the public.

The sources that largely go uncited in the articles here generally by authors that have a very strong and obvious personal bias.
I account many of these to mainstream propaganda and media techniques. Create a fear then "educate" people on that fear using an unfairly biased opinion.
Great for selling books though.

So when it comes down to it, who do you prefer to believe.

The licensed doctor whose career is dependent on giving good medical advice. With the penalty being lawsuits and loss of practice.

Or the author creating a book purely for profit with the only penalty of not writing an entertaining/educational book being poor sales.

I choose the experts that have their entire lives to lose, supplemented with person research as needed to quell my concerns.

Of course that makes me lazy...

Christopher said...

"Only differences between your experts and mine are bias/opinion, education, and methods of communication."

I get the feeling from your quote above that you regard those differences as triffles, and not really important at all.

In any case, even if I'm wrong about your take on those differences, I would consider them to be of paramount importance. Afterall, those are the very differences that make a case for there being different conclusions across the spectrum. For example, Dr. X receives his education by being steeped in the medical research and opinions of the very people writing his text books; thus he has a uniform set of conclusions to draw from, all of them biased toward the companies that will be forwarding his samples, and funding his bi-annual vacations. Whereas alternative Dr. Y learns all that Dr. X learned and, on top of that, everything that stands in contrast and/or opposition to Dr. X. Thus Dr. Y operates from a different set of biases that inform his conclusions. Oh, and Dr. Y is most likely not receiving Big Pharma backed vacations.

Note: The preceeding was information gleaned from experience working with Dr. X, and -- as fortune would have it -- knowing a few people who are Dr. Y. Thank you for your attention. We now return to our regularly scheduled disagreements.

"Of course those doctors you claim to be point of sale retailers also have access to the latest medical studies, papers, and other information not generally available to the public."

But all of which will miraculously turn up in the latest edition of the Merck Mannual, world's largest manufacturer of things that don't naturally reside in the human body, and under any other circumstances would normally injure, even kill a person if they ingested it. But go ahead and mix up that toxic cocktail for me anyway. I could use a good shot of low-level poisons to increase my chances at any adverse events awaiting me.

Still, we should defer to these experts who have access to stuff they're not willing to, or even not allowed to share with us. Is there any reason they shouldn't share it with us? What are they concerned about? Why do they go to pains to stop us from seeing what they're doing with us? Doesn't that, in itself, make you the least bit suspicious?

"The sources that largely go uncited in the articles here generally by authors that have a very strong and obvious personal bias.
I account many of these to mainstream propaganda and media techniques. Create a fear then "educate" people on that fear using an unfairly biased opinion.
Great for selling books though."


I think that's a rather ignorant assessment of our sincerity on these issues. Citing the sources we've looked into would, alone, take several lengthy articles, which is simply dull, from where I sit. However, we'd be happy to compile some sources for you, and email them to you.

In any case, you're going to have to get past the criticism that we simply have biases. Everyone does. And no-one communicates apart from them.

More later...

Sarah said...

Tag, we operate on completely different paradigms.

Obviously it would have helped you to formulate an opinion about my methodology if you had asked what it is rather than assumed it.

Your assumed the "only differences between your experts and mine are bias/opinion, education, and methods of communication"; if that were true, you would have a case, but it is not simply a substitution of inputs that separates our methodologies.

You have supported the mainstream manner of research, and have thereby supported my descriptions of it. It remains that it is an seriously inferiour way of learning anything, let alone anything that actually matters- but we differ here too. We don't agree on what matters either.

I will write an article about what research is, shortly, when I have the time.

For now, I want to address a few fallacious claims in your most recent comment and add some comments of my own.

I have a lot of personal experience with drs. Yes, they have access to journals and manuals that most people do not access, due in no small part to the atrociously high subscription rates ($600+!), but I suspect also due to a general lack of interest. Most people assume that drs actually read this stuff and that they can be relied upon to make the best use of the information.

There are many problems with this. Not the least of which is that so-called 'medicine' is an industry. It is directly tied to the pharmaceutical industry, which is directly tied to a lot of dubious entities.

This all means that there are obvious agendas and interests that take precedence over health, which hasn't been the 'business' of drs for a long time- longer than I've been alive. The success of the medical industry has never been predicated on how many or how well the people it purports to serve attain to actual health. It is a maintenance industry. It has been since the advent of chemical pharmaceuticals began to show potential for major profits, so at its inception. It maintains illness so as to maintain profits. It's really the simplest for-profit business model there is.

Drs' 'whole lives' are not at stake when they go to work each day. They have insurance if anyone actually deigned to hold them accountable for their general neglect and ignorance.

Their careers are not even slightly dependent on them giving good medical advice- not even slightly. They are dependent on perceived good public relations with pharmaceutical companies, medical boards, hospitals and staff and least of all, 'patients.' And NEVER for their medical advice- only how they wield their perceived and self-appointed, public-ignorance-perpetuated power.

I would encourage you to look up the number of complaints of patients versus the number of drs being required to pay out and turn in their licenses.

Drs literally 'get away with murder.' Is there a population more 'above the law' than drs? I haven't come across one. It is difficult to prosecute gov't officials and high up CEOs of very wealthy corporations, even sometimes police officers, but even more difficult and less likely to affect any change, is an attempt to stop a sadist who has a medical license. I wish I could write that sadists are the exception, but from my many years of experience with many, many drs, and the stories I have been privileged to hear because of this, I am confident, sadly, that they are the rule.

A kindly, knowledgeable, and excellent dr is such a rarity as to be a wonder. Anyone who has found one like that speaks in a way that confirms this and the people who hear of this dr are equally astonished in a delighted way as if to be relieved that there does exist a dr whose interest is in the human being in need of assistance, even though most people still idolize them.

The fact that 'arm yourself with information before you go to your dr' is such a usual sentiment and commonly heard phrase in media and in common parlance should indicate that something is seriously amiss.

cont'd...

Sarah said...

cont'd...

All of this is beside the rather major issue that western medicine is predicated on incomplete and faulty understandings of how the human body works in conjunction with the whole earth because western medicine, much like western philosophy, denies this very obvious and ultimate connection, and thereby cripples itself to learn and grow and return to the excellence that is the potential and ability of the human race.

So, Tag, as you asked, when it comes down to it, who do I believe? I believe what becomes and is apparent, not what an expert has told me to believe.

I am also curious about your assumption of the biased sources that you think go largely uncited here. If they are uncited, how do conclude that they are by authors that have 'very strong and obvious personal biases'? Why do you even assume this?

The interesting thing is that in several areas of my own interest, I have surpassed in knowledge and understanding as well as pure work and effort, the curricula provided by universities that teach these as 'majors'. I have personally completed more work and research than would be required for a few degrees, and yet, minus that piece of paper, having not been bestowed upon me by someone likely less capable of determining my own understanding than I am, you wouldn't consider me an expert, and so think that what I share is simply my opinion.

Whereas were the same info given by me with M.D. after my name, you would be sure to uphold my findings as long as you felt good about the exchange. After all, my whole life would be depending on my good advice, so obviously you would trust that above all.

The other issue is that for the thousands upon thousands of pages of information I have absorbed about the variety of my interests, having analyzed and synthesized disparate bits and whole expositions into what is now a cohesive mindset, and thought-life (still growing and learning), it would be impossible for me to cite sources for much of what I write. The myriad sources have provided me with fodder for my own formulations of thought and I do write from a 'strong and obvious personal bias.'

My own brain's work is often my source now, having more than 2 decades worth of interest-led study. The authors you may wish to see cited are actually just me in many cases. I would cite me because while I acknowledge that nothing I could ever come up with is without it's origin, once my own mind is so formulated with diversity and understanding, it is no longer necessary or even useful to continue to cite others. If it were, I'd have to cite each word individually and even cite what I am writing presently about myself. Nobody expects that sort of thing. If you sense that there are uncited sources, you would be partially correct, but my name at the end of my articles provides you with the necessary information should you need it.

I read quickly, retain the vast majority if not all of what I read and experience, and I have absolutely no trouble or hindrance in learning anything I desire. I have a wealth of personal experience as well, much more than I wish I did in many cases, but in others, I am grateful for it.

I am not a slouch, and if my name was lettered and you read my work in a book where I could treat my interests comprehensively, it is doubtful, or less likely given your admitted biases, you would have such reservations about the expression of my biases and the information I share.

Just because you know my husband does not mean that I am inept or common (not that there's anything wrong with being common; I'm just not).

I would never ask you to just believe what I write/share though. I would never call myself an 'expert' and offer myself/my writings/experiences in the stead of autonomous responsibility. This may be a major reason why I have chosen to pursue free-learning and not canned curricula, and the reason why my name is not many-lettered.

I would describe myself as 'diligent,' as relates to this topic.

Christopher said...

"So when it comes down to it, who do you prefer to believe.

The licensed doctor whose career is dependent on giving good medical advice. With the penalty being lawsuits and loss of practice.

Or the author creating a book purely for profit with the only penalty of not writing an entertaining/educational book being poor sales."


Since you know me, and have a severely minimal (and largely wrong) understanding of my wife, I'm sure you could guess at the fact that we try to avoid false dicotomies as much as possible. So I can state outright that we reject your either/or scenario between the medical doctor, and the concerned author.

My first response to any situation that would require medical attention from outside sources would be to get the medical opinions of both MDs and alternative sources (whether by research, direct appointments with a Naturopath, or whoever else may have reliable information about the particular circumstance I'm dealing with). Once I've done that, I decide on the most natural, least invasive method possible of dealing with whatever has come up. In that sense, I attempt to scope out the best of both the medical, and the alternative communities.

Aside from your illegitimate either/or scenario, TAG, you seem to make a grave and inappropriate assumption about the interested author who writes about a certain topic. I can't help but be suspicious that you're referring to the author of the book I pointed out to you in a chat: Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma". I believe that was the book you made brash criticisms of right away after skimming the Wiki article and never having actually opened the pages of the book itself.

Given that, I'm not sure exactly why you think you're in a position to assume anything about the author's intentions to simply profit from his writings, rather than make a genuine plea for people to read and learn. Profit from his book may simply be incidental to actually publishing, but like you've pointed out, it's not a guarantee.

Even if you were not referring to that book in particular, but to anything else you think we, or anyone else who shares our views, have read, at what point do you terminate your judgmentalism and start engaging in the sources you're so quick to ignorantly discredit? Do you think that that kind of attitude might just be the indolence that Sarah and I see expressed in the majority of mainstreamers? Haven't you just outted yourself by giving no quarter to a concerned author and simply deferring to, and lauding favour on the MD because s/he acts in fear of losing his/her credentials?

You've still got your work ahead of you if you want to prove the integrity of the mainstream as over-above the non-mainstream. From my perspective, I'm happy to be wrong. I don't need to be right. Having said that, I also don't need to be ignorant and wrong, either. But since this is the only body I get, I'd at least like to have my own say in how it's treated, how it functions, and how it gets on in society.

Enough for now.

Tag-photos said...

"Given that, I'm not sure exactly why you think you're in a position to assume anything about the author's intentions to simply profit from his writings"

If the intention was to educate and spread the word of good health, the internet provides a nice VERY cheap or free way to spread that information.
Writing books is about making money.

"I don't need to be right. Having said that, I also don't need to be ignorant and wrong, either. But since this is the only body I get, I'd at least like to have my own say in how it's treated, how it functions, and how it gets on in society."

That applies to all of us.

Christopher said...

"If the intention was to educate and spread the word of good health, the internet provides a nice VERY cheap or free way to spread that information.
Writing books is about making money."


Yes, writing books does provide the author with money -- if the book is successful. And there's nothing wrong with wanting to receive remuneration for contributing something of value to people who would value that.

Do you have a problem with books? What is your point here, TAG? What are you trying to get at? Does making a profit mean that a person can't be treating their subject with integrity?

sarah said...

"Does making a profit mean that a person can't be treating their subject with integrity?"

Sometimes it does. It is a conflict of interest in some cases. In sharing information that ones believes to be true, it likely isn't, but even then, there are millions of e-books online for a profit that offer little more than twaddle in terms of value.

In the case of Drs who profit directly through sales and stock options amongst the myriad vacations and freebies they receive for promoting one drug over another and a drug where one isn't needed, then, yes, it does.

It is really a red herring to answer the problem of authenticity and value with whether or not a person is able to make money as opposed to an income commensurate to his/her contribution. For most authors, they offer more than they receive. Most drs enjoy the opposite. I am opposed to that sort of greed.

sarah said...

Tag, I sincerely hope you have more coming than this. You opened a can of worms. It is disingenuous to not stick around for their wriggling- not that I am assuming you will leave as they twist and turn in various directions, but I hope that my prompt will bring you back too address the various issues you raised if you weren't planning to do so.

Christopher said...

Sarah,

Thanks for pointing out that fine line. I hadn't considered the outlying context that TAG's question could imply. Instead, I responded to his question as if he was writing specifically within the context of well-meaning people publishing books, and that that would be purely for profit, not the wider application of disseminating knowledge. That is, as it seemed to me, what he was asking.

Thank you again for clarifying. :)

sarah said...

No problem. :) I knew that you were using a specific context, but I wanted to make certain that there was ample room for my aforementioned points, lol. ;)

xo

Tag-photos said...

"Do you have a problem with books? What is your point here, TAG? What are you trying to get at? Does making a profit mean that a person can't be treating their subject with integrity?"

Medical papers, scientific papers, journalism, legal publications, those are the sources of literature I can think of off the top of my head that are written with integrity for the material as the utmost concern, rather than profit.
Special mention of journalism though... Newspapers are of course a for profit organization and their choice in stories published and pursued reflect that. So with that in mind journalism needs to be scrutinized carefully. Doubt that and maybe you should do some research. My research may be old, and my papers long lost but I have done substantial research into propaganda, with the intent to focus on military applications, but quickly changed into propaganda based in popular western media, mainly newspapers.
The bible would also fall into this category if you are an idealist.

All other books, especially those published by a publisher, should be treated as a source of literature solely for profit.

Think carefully about what people like to read about. Think about what sells newspapers, or you see in the mainstream media. These are the biggest daily sources of information.
In my opinion fear is what sells the best.

When somebody is scared they want to be informed. What better way to make money than scare and inform at the same time.

Also with that in mind, a publishing house is ONLY interested in the money. When they review a manuscript they do not think about the educational value, they are concerned with profit margins.

So while I do enjoy books and have nothing wrong with them I also consider the source and the reason for the creation of the book.

Tag-photos said...

"Does making a profit mean that a person can't be treating their subject with integrity?"

Of course not many professions rely on just that principle. Doctors, lawyers, journalists, etc...

I would not include authors in that list.

Authors have editors agents and publicists to please. Each of those people have others to please. Do you really think all those people all the way down to the publishing house stockholders really care about the integrity of the book? Or the subject matter for that point?

Books are for profit.

Tag-photos said...

"In the case of Drs who profit directly through sales and stock options amongst the myriad vacations and freebies they receive for promoting one drug over another and a drug where one isn't needed, then, yes, it does."

Sources?

Sounds like conspiracy theorist thinking to me.

Do I doubt that happens, not really. Do I think all doctors are like that, of course not.
Thinking like that is like thinking if one cop accepts bribes all cops do.

Tag-photos said...

"Tag, I sincerely hope you have more coming than this. You opened a can of worms. It is disingenuous to not stick around for their wriggling- not that I am assuming you will leave as they twist and turn in various directions, but I hope that my prompt will bring you back too address the various issues you raised if you weren't planning to do so."

As i mentioned to Chris in private, I generally would not let myself be goaded into an argument like this, but I had a REALLY bad day. The type of day that will bother me for weeks, if not years, so I am in kind of a fighting mood.

Otherwise I would have ignored this thread of discussion like you and Chris have dropped or ignored so many of.

Tag-photos said...

"well-meaning people publishing books, and that that would be purely for profit, not the wider application of disseminating knowledge. That is, as it seemed to me, what he was asking."

I never said an author could not disseminate knowledge. I was stating my cynicism for using an overtly biased book as a reliable source of knowledge.

Especially without corraborating sources.

What I tend to keep in mind with books like you guys have been citing as sources is the way that information is presented. These books tend to instill fear, then educate on how to overcome that fear.

Tag-photos said...

"It is really a red herring to answer the problem of authenticity and value with whether or not a person is able to make money as opposed to an income commensurate to his/her contribution. For most authors, they offer more than they receive. Most drs enjoy the opposite. I am opposed to that sort of greed."

I never claimed that you could not offer authentic information while making money.

All I said is that a book published for money is not, in my opinion, as reliable as many other sources. Specifically those that spend their lives educating themselves in the specified field, such as doctors.

Trying to discredit the medical profession as a whole is largely a personal decision based on either these biased fear mongering sources or poor personal experiences.
We have all had bad experiences with doctors, and most with other professions as well.
Such as I have had poor experiences with police officers in the past as well. I am not about to say that the law enforcement profession is broken though. Despite all the evidence I could find to support that claim.

Most authors!??!? You have got to be kidding....

Look at the myriad of diet books. Or how about celebrity nutrition books? What about the authors who do nothing but compile anthologies?
That is just talking about the non-fiction authors....

Looking at fiction authors their contributions are often far less reaching than that of actors and actresses, just they get paid less.

Now about the contribution of doctors? How about life? Is that book, what was it "The omnivore dilemna" more valuable to your han your life? What about the life of one of your children? My life perhaps?
I know the doctor Broda (my original GP) saved my life by fast tracking my to the hospital on a hunch. I was likely hours away from a ruptured appendix.

But I guess you have never known anyone that has been helped by a doctor....

Not counting the emergency life and death situations exampled above my doctor's office (3 doctors I think) take care of over 3000 patients (maybe it is 5 thousand). Either way that is at least 1000 people he sees on a somewhat regular basis, and he does help them. Even if it is just telling a parent that their child's sniffle is nothing to worry about.

Personally I think Doctor's contribute far more than an author selling fear mongering propaganda for profit.

Tag-photos said...

"I sincerely hope you have more coming than this. "

Glad you finally think we have found a subject that I am worthy to speak to you about.

Christopher said...

"Glad you finally think we have found a subject that I am worthy to speak to you about."

You've really gotta drop this juvenile snitch you've got going for my wife, dude. The comment quoted above makes you look like a self-pitying ass.

That, and I'm really losing my patience with your demeaning attitude toward Sarah when you've clearly not understood what she has shared with you.

You've had a bad day. I get that. Don't use my wife as a punching bag in the meanwhile in an attempt to gain some vindication for the things that have gone on in your own life.

Not cool. Back off, get your bearings, and come back when you can be rational.

Your idea to stay away from this conversation was much more mature than your idea to come back and take your bad day out on Sarah and I.

I'll address the rest of your comments when it's not 1:43 a.m.

Tag-photos said...

You are right Chris, that was childish comment.

I normally do not fall for Trolls like that.

Just so you know exactly what I mean by Troll.

"An off topic post with the purpose of getting an emotional response"

Sarah said...

Tag wrote: What I tend to keep in mind with books like you guys have been citing as sources is the way that information is presented. These books tend to instill fear, then educate on how to overcome that fear.

I recall that a specific book and author that you accused of this was from your cursory reading of the article summarizing The Omnivore's Dilemma on Wikipedia (what's the point in actually reading the book if you can pretend you know something about it through Wiki? 'Amusing Ourselves To Death', anyone?- oh wait, another 'biased' book, lol Authors with biases cannot present truth because truth is predicated on the (faulty) assumption that it is only true if it's purely objective and divorced from reality or our ability to perceive it...right?):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Omnivore's_Dilemma

The interesting thing beside that even the Wiki article doesn't even hint at fear-mongering or obvious bias, is that the book is written by a journalist who is a city-slicker through-and-through and while he learns very much on his journey to understand the food chain, he isn't converted to any hard-core or fanatical or radical or even non-mainstream behaviour regarding what he and his family eats.

He has simply reported to the best of his ability and interest, and in a very poignant and easy-to-enjoy style, what he learned through following his food from 'start' to meal plate (though not really because he also learns about the cyclical nature of nature and so there is no delineated 'start' inless food is mechanized- which it usually is... Read the book.).

Compiling and reporting information that I could obtain as easily and much of which is available for free from every avenue of the food industry and non-industry, is not fear-mongering. If what he found out is fearfully disgusting, then it is, but he has done nothing to present it as anything more or less than it is.

His report on the vast number of 'food' products that are derived of corn, and how cattle are treated and that chicken feces and bedding are a USDA allowable cattle feed (!), are all available to the public for becoming aware if they so choose.

The absolute most fear-mongering books I have ever read in my life are the most mainstream trash and burn worthy-books I know. Among the worst are pregnancy and child-rearing books. The 'What to Expect When You're Expecting' series is especially horrendous. You would half expect that all women are expected to die from childbirth as a matter of course, and that to escape death is nothing short of miraculous. *vomit*

Fad diet books might be next- you'll die or live near death if you eat butter, or if you cook your food, or if you eat meat, or if you drink milk, eat bread/grain, or whatever. I don't eat according to a diet fad or diet guru, and I do expect to eat food, not something designed to trick my body into accepting what isn't food as though it were.

Christopher's Atheist books and our theological texts are not fear-mongering either, unless we read them knowing this and for a purpose. I have always read a wide range of books on topics that interest me. I have read myriad books, and again, the most fear-mongering books I've read are, in general, the mainstream-biased ones.

The aim of my NON-mainstream books is generally to REVERSE the fear-reaction cycle of mainstream culture, by presenting actual data and information that helps to point those who want to truly know and understand to the resources that will help them.

con't...

Sarah said...

con't...

How is knowing that chickens who eat like real chickens lay much more nutrient-rich eggs than their battery-farmed cousins fed corn and 'protein pellets' made from the viscera, feces and whole discarded sick bodies of previously battery-farmed animals, fear-mongering? It just is what it is.

You make whatever choice you want to, but you can't make an informed choice without the information! I don't even know how 'fear' enters into knowledge in that way from your perspective.

You have your paradigms mixed up. True knowledge and true understanding cannot be based in fear. If you truly know something, it isn't because you are afraid to think otherwise, it is because it is true and nothing else. If you are just afraid to think otherwise, then you just have fear, NOT knowledge and understanding.

I seem to also recall that Christopher presents a lot of articles meant to dispel unwarranted fear and to discredit fear-mongerers and their tactics.

Do you not realise that you consistently accuse us of the very opposite to what we've presented? To you, we are obviously biased, fear-mongerers or fear-mongerer-supporters, arrogant (just Sarah who couldn't really know or understand anything of value to her...), lacking skill in understanding the very information we've laboured to present and for which there is ample confirmation, though not at the dr's office..., plagiarists, etc...

You seem to think we're completely incapable of the very things we excel in, and have always. None of what we've presented here is difficult for either of us. We don't present the whole story when we write, because at least writing on my own behalf, I would have to go back decades to cite every source and decades and write thousands of pages to present the whole story!

I do not think or understand in truncated school subject-like snippits and trivia. Everything I have ever learned finds it's place in a huge network of connections. I cannot write the whole story of my understanding of food as completely separate from the story of the physiology of the human body or microbiology or the wilderness in the soil or the reason why I don't force my children to say please and thank you or the reason why I despise mass warehousing of human beings in institutions called schools or my disgust with the lack of true freedom in this country, why I make my own paints and why I don't wear shoes, etc... NONE of it is separate.

There are distinctions for the sake of communication, but it is all connected, not separate. ALL of it! All of life and what we are and observe is 'hollonic' (another word I learned in TOD). That is, that what appears as singular and separate is completely tied in with both every other organism and particle and wave, etc..., and also distinct. Everything is interdependent.

This is my presupposition, and not just an intellectual or cleverly 'universalizing' strategy. I actually believe this and receive confirmation of it in steady stream, without end and without effort. It is plain to me. Completely obvious.

con't...

Sarah said...

con't...

When you think you've pointed out something that you think I've misunderstood or not considered about what I write, it isn't likely (though it is possible- it hasn't happened though). What I write here is such a tiny fraction of my understanding, not even the whole tip of the iceberg.

You will really have to step-up your pursuit of truth and intensify your journey to be able to truly engage me in discussion that isn't like this- a correction after years of putting up with being treated as though your perceptions of me are what and who I am and have to offer.

If you have no such interest and think that my assertions about this are a symptom of what you consider my 'arrogance', then I'm not sure why you bother to respond at all. Why??? Because you like what you think is a fight?

This isn't a fight. I'm not fighting. I'm letting you know where you stand in relation to me. You lash out, frequently and in various venues other than this one- those you call 'private', but we're not in the same arena, Tag. You're not hitting me at all, though you come out swinging in whatever direction you think I might be.

It is simply not a valid expenditure of the time and effort and abilities of a software engineer to teach me how to move files around on my computer. It isn't that the software engineer is arrogant if s/he tells me so either. It just is what it is. If I want to engage a software engineer in matters of his/her expertise, I EXPECT to have already brought myself to a level of knowledge and understanding that will make it possible for him/her to benefit and engage in meaningful discussion, even if I come up under and need to be brought the last few steps to his/her level (which would have to be agreed upon, not assumed).

I don't expect him/her to waste precious time, ability, and energy with the tedium of my first steps. And, it isn't considerate or reasonable to then lash out at him/her when I'm not there and don't want to be anyway, but come to the places where I can meet him/her just so I can name-call and confirm for myself that competent people are all arrogant jerks.

I think it would benefit you to decide whether or not you intend to pursue truth however and from wherever it is offered (as long as it's truly true), or stop pursuing 'fights' and interjecting smarty-pants-style, and assuming one-up-man-ship in my sincere efforts to engage anyone who can and will engage me in a discussion that allows me to potentially connect with like-minded people.

You clearly are not like-minded and you're clearly not going to change my mind, so the decision to pursue with integrity and purpose or to bow out are still yours. Sticking around to 'fight' with someone you think so poorly about while trying to tear her down in the pages of her own journal (regardless of it being online) is not a productive use of anyone's resources.

Can you please make this decision and refrain from posting here until you do? I would appreciate the reprieve from the incidental stress this introduces into my home as well as here. I started writing here to have a creative outlet for my writing and to engage like-minded people in discussion. You're truly spoiling the joy I had in doing so with your behaviour.

Tag-photos said...

It is truly remarkable that such a lengthy reply from you and you can barely even begin talking about what I posted and instead simply complain about me, and you assumptions nto only of me but you assumption of my assumptions.
And then those assumptions are so completely and utterly wrong.

I don't come here looking for a "fight" generally. I come here looking for intelecctualy stimulating discussion.

Problem is when you type a comment directed to me it is far too often telling me what I think, should think, or that I am too dumb to think.
Then of course there are also the comments from you that simply exist to antagonize me.


As for my opinion of you...

Educated, intelligent, industrous, loving mother and wife.
You also seem to have a a severe lack of self confidence, which is a pity.
My only true assumption about you is that you are also talented. That assumption s based on what Chris has said about you and the knowledge I have (very limited) about your formal education.


My so called lashing out is simply replies to your comments in my regards.

My behaviour here is simply responding to written posts with my opinion. And for that I get labelled a troll and receive numerous personal attacks. Then if/when I comment on those posts I again get lashed at as if I were beginning the off topic nonsense.
So I am truly sorry that stating my opinion is spoiling your fun.

sarah said...

Tag, besides the irony of not addressing my direct questions and responses to you in this last post, I didn't go line by line with yours, annoyed at having to cite my husband for what he knows happens between drs and big pharma because he worked with one, and I am friends with one and have had many who are not ashamed to admit that I could take this drug or that one, but if I choose this one, s/he'll be a few points closer to a free trip to Tahiti, not joking.

I don't need citations for that because my former gp went on those vacations and told me who funds them! So, I cite ME.

I do not post here for argumentation, but for discussion. Your tact is and has been historically with a few exceptions, to write in your perceptions of what you think is wrong, and then admitting that you really don't know anything about the subject about which you feel free to express your objections, and then refuse to learn it because in the end, you have no interest. How you do not see that as trolling is beyond my ability to facilitate, since it requires you to acknowledge and change your approach.

Perhaps you equate the sort of to-the-point discussion and intolerance of ambiguity here as intellectual belligerence, but it is not- at all. When we pick and parse and specify and hold one another to distinctions and scrupulous examination, it is not to show one another up, as you seem to desire to do here. The rest of us are all actually making efforts to hone our understandings of ourselves, others and our universe, not to prove ourselves right respectively and others wrong.

I think you may have completely missed the tenure of this blog and its purpose, and that is derailing the attempts of others to carry on in genuine discussion, being open to learning from one another. Your strategies invoke barriers where there need be none.

Self-pity if you like that state of mind, but it holds no weight here, not with me, not ever. Also I do not lack self-confidence, and I find that you assume that because I know my abilities and am willing to express that I do, I must be insecure. I'm sure you're not qualified to assess that, but I am not actually one of those people who boasts above their capacity to fulfill their empty conceits.

I am actually capable and I don't think there's anything wrong with, weird, or that warrants offense because of my expressing that. You may not be accustomed to it, but I do not boast when I acknowledge the abilities that I believe are God-breathed and meant for the universal benefit of all of creation. I don't keep my lamp under a basket (anymore). My confidence is also my humility and my responsibility. To be insecure denies both humility and responsibility; if you knew me, you would find that I am lacking in neither.

A quote for you from Marianne Williamson:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.' We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Yeah that.