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Fri Feb 15, 2019, 10:27 PM

Who are we?

This will be my first post in this Group. And, so far I only read the Jan 3 (2019) post by Defacto7. So, if I say something that someone else has already said, think positively; think great minds think alike (that's a cliché); don't think "this guy is plagiarizing, I can't be, I haven't read anything yet.

I want to explore (at least for purposes of this discussion) who are we? And, who should we be, what should Democratic politicians be like. Often I have heard that as humans we can be distinguished from other creatures (if I may use that term, since it seems to be derived from 'Creation') because of our ability to reason, while animals are usually seen to operate on instinct. I am sure that subject has already been explored by known philosophers, and I shall not further dwell on it or dig into it (at least not at this time).

People, as I see it, can be grouped into two groups: Talkers and Thinkers. At this moment I am just 'thinking' about that. Others have tried to group them by the color of their skin, or by their ancestry or even by their religion. But those characteristics don't define a person. I agree, in case you want to argue about my two major groups, there are other distinguishing categories, like good and bad, to place people into, but Talkers and Thinkers seem to be two good categories for this post.

Since this a political discussion website, though a philosophy group, I want to talk about what would make a good political candidate.

A political candidate should first of all be a Talker. The candidate needs to be able to express herself or himself, whether female or male, extremely well. After all, we are a democracy: voters need to become "votimated". You may not find a definition of that term votimated (Motivated to go to the polls on election day and vote for the candidate). But politicians also should be quick in providing answers when confronted with questions on an issue. This latter quality seems to also impress people and attract voters. Now, would that not also make them Thinkers? When I chose the category Thinker, I wanted to use that to place people into it who like to reason things through, rather than be able to provide quick-thinking answers to a question.

I need to digress and delve into details of my two groups of people. It would be foolish, if we did not recognize that we all are individuals and each one of us is different from all of the rest of us. That's why we can identify people by their genes just as well or better than by their fingerprints. So in each group there is a a gradation of both characteristic traits, one gradually decreasing while the other is increasing as the person's strengths can be placed closer to a borderline separating Talkers from Thinkers. Somewhere in the middle I would then draw a line, characterizing one person as a Talker and another as a Thinker. Chances are that I would be wrong in my choice of where I drew the dividing line.

So, how can politicians, Talkers, come up with split-second answers when prompted by a reporter? I think whether we are Talkers or Thinkers, we all have a little animal instinct in us. Our instinct qualities are usually suppressed, but are ready to help us when called into action in a moment of need. However, the help gotten from our instinct seems to be based on past experiences, interactions with others or special events. That reminds me of a definition in heard a long time ago; a politician is a person who can predict what is going to happen and then explain why it didn't happen.

Thinkers train their thoughts to reason from premises to conclusions. Those are proactive thoughts from the present to what may happen exist or happen as a future result because of actions taken or thought processes at this moment. That's how scientists become inventors. That is how Einstein came up with his theory of relativity. Talkers train their ability to speak by speaking, noting what worked and using what worked before with variations that fit the moment. An activity with retroactive characteristics.

My conclusion to all this, politicians, whether presidents, CEOs(had to add those in), senators or representatives will become successful to get to their respective positions through their charismatic and eloquent appearance and speech. They will be successful in their work only if they know how to surround themselves with proactive advisers, and more importantly, heed their advice.

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Reply Who are we? (Original post)
Huin Feb 2019 OP
defacto7 Feb 2019 #1
Huin Feb 2019 #2

Response to Huin (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2019, 02:00 AM

1. Welcome to Philosophy group...

and welcome to DU!

Thanks for your input. I often think about politics as philosophy. You seem to equate your philosophy of human nature to political success and it very well may have merit. I personally feel that talking without thinking is useless; it's more manipulative than productive which certainly mirrors present politics. I would have to ask the question: What is success in politics? Is being a talker the same as being a communicator? Is being a thinker the same as being wise? What is the outcome of political thought without insight or knowledge? With those questions in mind, can a politician be of any real usefulness to the public good without insight, knowledge, experience, empathy and talent as a communicator? I don't think so unless success as a politician has nothing to do with the public good.

Good night, it's late here!

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Response to defacto7 (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 06:22 PM

2. Thanks for your reply and for your input.

I need to thank you on more than one point. I realize, what I posted that night was a little crude and not very sophisticated. I had promised to post and I did. But I struggled and could not really focus on what to write. Like you said, it got late. I let the thread ferment for a while longer, but no more replies. Thank you for your input.

Responding to your post, after thinking about what I wanted to say is this: The politicians that I hear about are the ones that make the news. For the most part, I feel they fit my definition of Talkers, being courted by the press, but for reasons that make me turn to the subject of philosophy. Isn't it true, many philosophers turned to that branch of study being dissatisfied with the status quo, seeking answers and ways of changing the world to their ideals. I'm not a philosopher, but looked at the group somewhat in desperation.

In my post, instead of "Talker" I could have used the term "Populist". That seems to fit a number of people in politics who in the recent past have made the news. Also, I agree with you that talking without thought is useless. Not all politicians are in a talker (populist) category, and even those who I would like to place into it, do think (unfortunately, maybe) when they propose an idea for a resolution or bill. As I hinted at in my post, talkers would come up with proposals based on their past experiences or their upbringing, hence with retroactive thought, without thinking (or even caring about) what effect that proposal may have on the country as a whole or the people who they represent. Thinkers would reason proactively to a conclusion more likely to be realistic in the long run.

Two little stories are simple examples of what I am trying to say. The first is an anecdote I heard or read somewhere, the second is of my own experience.

"During May of a leap year a first grade teacher asks the question 'what do you think the world will be like 50 years from now when you are all grown up?' Johnny answers ' I know only one thing for sure, February will be the longest month.' Teacher: 'What makes you think that?' Johnny: 'Well, a while back you told us that every four years another day is added to February. And this year it has already 29 days.'

Being impressed by the ability of a 5 year old to add and subtract numbers, I decided to test his understanding of numbers. I asked him to add the numbers from 1 to 10. He wrote them down and then added them, coming up with the correct result. Then the teacher in me took over. I said: 'There is a neat way of getting the answer much faster. You add the 1 and the 10. What do you get? 11. Now you add the 2 and the 9. Again, you have 11. Check it, the same is true for 3+8, 4+7 and 5+6. Right? How many of these groups of 11 do you have?' The answer came: 'Five'. I went on: Each group adds up to 11. Adding the five groups, what do you get? The answer came: '55'. I was amazed what five-year old kids already knew. But then I cautioned him, he could only do that when the last number was an even number, because, I told him he needed always a set of two numbers to add. To which he replied 'if the last number is an odd number, I would start with zero.' "

The first story shows what I mean to be retroactive thought. You take a known fact as a premise and apply it to get your conclusion. The second story I would define as proactive thought, to reason from the input (simplified but not even correct, because there is an algebraic equation for any sequence of numbers) that it does not work to how can I make it work. I need another element, but I cannot change the total value of the set.

Why did I become interested in political philosophy? I believe there is room for improvement in how our government functions. Aren't we on a downhill slide, oscillating from one extreme to another? Like a driver alternately hitting the gas pedal and then the brake pedal, it seems wasteful and destructive.

I can easily find fault with our latest tax cut; there is probably little opposition to me saying that, particularly in view of our latest deficit numbers. Would it not be a good idea to tie the corporate tax rate to the number of employees of a company as an incentive to further employment?

But enough for now, and thanks again for your remarks.

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