Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Thoughts on Politics

This article by George Lakoff was interesting, in focusing on the nature of empathy, not just as a value, but as a professional job requirement i.e. you can't do the work if you haven't developed this primitive human ability, a basis for socializing, getting along.

Sorting through difficult legal puzzles with no empathy for the characters is like reading a romance and not getting it about that "feeling attracted" part "like what's that about?" -- and you want this person judging you from the bench, like some crufty old Vulcan?

I'm immediately on the defensive though, as I think about "cold fish" engineers, that reputation for being "calculating" which sounds just plain wrong if designing habitats for humanity.

The architects distance themselves from engineers for just this reason, paint themselves as more warm and friendly, not like "peas in a pod" Bucky and his eerily austere suburban village with cigar-shaped cars, and in every home on a pole: another naked Barbie doll, each machine world identical (pre Sims).

:: dymaxion neighborhood (scale model) ::

Sometimes I try thawing this stereotype by pointing out how the word "self" appears everywhere in Python (though it's optional), and not out of selfishness, but as a part of an expressive language designed from the ground up to keep the coder empathetic, with any type of being or subject (including inanimate!).

However, I'm just digging deeper in here I'm thinking, defending my geekiness by quacking like a geek -- obviously circular logic. My audience titters, shakes its head. They'll never let me on the Supreme Court is what I'm thinking (and that's quite OK).

What I worry about after reading this Lakoff piece is he says Democrats don't really know beans about neuro-science or linguistics, and so get all confused about the difference between metaphor and literal truth, and so Republicans like G. Gordon Liddy keep hijacking the conversation with their silly remarks, getting everyone sidetracked in some laugh tracky sitcom.

Democrats get tripped up, get lost in dangling conversations, sometimes rather frequently. This makes sense, as many are descended more from tea cuppy Victorians, aren't really Drapes in that sense, don't say "yar!" all that often (those would be the Independents perhaps?).