In those harrowing times when we must take a stand against the majority, competence and clarity become precious beyond measure, for they wield an authority that is much higher than one that’s born from gross consensus.

18 thoughts on “Musings

  1. Mobs are seldom right. So, how could we approach dissidence to have some chance of influence?

    For important ideas to have power, they must be available to early stages of knowledge. Magazines and newspapers use a scale of 8th to 12th grade education.

    I would not expect a PhD dissertation to change the median mind. Several pieces of writing that I wanted to use in teaching, were rated so high on the Flesch-Kincaid scale, that the education level required was 16.8. the Flesch Ease of Reading score was 40 out of 120.

    My editor asked for revisions until the concepts and language were more likely to connect with the expected students.

    Liked by 2 people

    • For any information to be accepted, there must be an incentive presented to the audience. In school, people study boring material because of the incentive of a degree and increased hire-ability. For all other information, it typically needs to have some kind of emotional appeal, or in other words, be entertaining.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What DSFB says here is scalable. A majority does not necessarily mean a mob. I tend to be in the minority in my family. It’s been this way since I can remember. I have always seen things differently than them. In truth, I’ve always been more open-minded than them, which has set me apart. When I moved away from my home town many years ago, the differences became really obvious. So, when I am with family, my viewpoints and ways of thinking are noticeably different than theirs. In order to be “heard” sometimes, I have to take a stand against the majority (my family). Remaining calm and keeping my head clear and truly being a voice of reason is the way I get through to them.

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    • Scott, you are a free thinker. It sounds like you have no strong urge to influence in your family situation. I can empathize with that. Even if you did want them to better understand your thinking, it would add to the odds of success if your messages were clear, simple, and offered in language and examples that they could easily grasp. I think that works in any setting.

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      • I’d agree with the main thrust of your comment. In any conflict, showing that you understand what the other party is saying, and then responding in appropriately tailored language—even if it’s a brutish opponent and you need to put them in their place through brutish means—opens the bridge to resolution.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely, although I’m not sure whether Von Smith conflated majority with mob, or made an implied conflation. Indeed, the rules are usually there for a good reason, but a superordinate rule to any traditional set of rules is to KNOW that reason, so you know when to break the subordinate set of rules.


      • In your original musing, you mentioned “harrowing times” and “gross consensus.” I took that to mean very distressing times. And, depending on viewpoint, more than one faction can appear to be harboring a distressing consensus to another group. The two political extremes have deteriorated into mob-ish gangs, generalizing, objectifying, and rationalizing political “racism.”

        So, you are right; I used hyperbole to emphasize your original suggestion to have strong points in support for the better path, “Mob” actually may be a tame description in the face of senseless combative attacks, and wasteful extremes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • i agree. “Mob” carries a connotation of mindless herd mentality, but in this context, perhaps there’s a better word, because the blatant tribalism and lack of critical thinking we’re experiencing these days isn’t just stupid or funny, it’s counterproductive and dangerous. “Mob” doesn’t necessarily highlight that, although it does leave room for it.


      • Maybe the word “army” implies a unified, disciplined group, bent on victory. Individuals have difficulty thwarting armies. We are, in that sense in a civil war with two opposed armies and a whole bunch of civilians, who are casualties when convenient to the combatants.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good analogy. Then I’d guess that the best way to go for the civilians would be to band together in the interest of harmony and sound thought, in order to resist the forces of mindless tribalism. Maybe into “well-regulated militias,” lol.


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