Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back to L/C basics

Before we became enmeshed in these statistical concerns, which I think illustrate the near fruitlessness of population studies, Howard brought up an interesting concern. I've reexamined my principle that C-Minds make moral judgments about personal problems based upon broader impact. (Recall that Fred said that he couldn't keep bowling with Ricky, because it would encourage cheating in the general population. Ethel tried to sympathize with and forgive Rickie's yielding to temptation.) Even though Howard's torture case doesn't quite fit the situation, I'll revise my analysis.

Both L-Minds and C-Minds will examine specific applications when offered a piece of global legislation or general policy. If one proposes a policy which outlaws the use of torture (I won't bother to define this term, since Howard and Ira disagree as to its meaning.) then all kinds of minds will demand that nebulous terms be clearly defined. All kinds of minds will ask "what if?" (As I've said before, I'm not interested in what politicians say, since they are motivated by electoral and partisan considerations that obscure their L/C Mindedness.)

Hmmm. Now that I think about it, I may have spoken too soon. Maybe specifics are not a universal desire. Two cases come to mind. The ERA was opposed by many C-Minds, because it was too general and would place too many issues in the hands of the courts. L-Minds argued the general principle was sufficient and that the courts could iron out the details. The same was true for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law was lacking in specifics and subject to judicial interpretation. The latter resulted in the removal of street toilet facilities in New York City, because they couldn't be made wheelchair accessible. So, I guess I'm still uncertain about the underlying principle. I believe it's there but I can't seem to find it.

I would just like to clarify something. The kind of principles I'm looking for, should allow one to design an expert system capable of doing what you and I easily do intuitively. The expert program would be able to take any problem whether public or personal and select an L-Mind or C-Mind position. If it is a rule-based system we ought to be able to set of rules that would make this possible. ( I'll let someone else worry about the parser.) I believe this thought experiment will reveal some interesting things about the thinking process. With respect -Joel


Ira Glickstein said...

The following quote is attributed to British PM Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881):

"A man who is not a liberal at 16 has no heart;
"a man who is not a conservative at 60 has no head."

Similar quotes, using "socialist" in place of "liberal" have been attributed to many others, including George Bernard Shaw and Churchill.

I think it captures a critical L/C difference:

The L-mind is dominated by "heart" (emotions, idealism ...)

The C-mind is dominated by "head" (reason, practicality ...)

Anyone who was not an L-mind in his or her youth is sorely lacking in empathy and humanity. Those of a more mature age who allow their emotions to dominate their more rational faculies are sorely lacking in experience and reasoning abilities.

As Joel suggested some time ago, L-minds tend to personalize global problems and C-minds tend to globalize personal problems.

L-minds empathize with all humanity (and all living beings). They focus on the "trees" and soft-heartedly want to end all suffering and want and poverty and so on instantly.

C-minds see the suffering and feel sorry for the victims, but they focus on the "forest" and hard-headedly seek to improve what can practically be improved.

L-minds "dream the impossible dream" and, when their short-sighted approaches are implemented, they "live the inevitable nightmare".

C-minds reject untried approaches "out of hand" and, in doing so, may miss some "long shot" opportunities. By stifling our natural human idealism we may become incurable cynics.

That is the great benefit of dialog between L- and C-minds. We complement each other.

Ira Glickstein

Howard Pattee said...

That is consistent with the fact that comics are usually L-minds. Comedy is pure emotion. Reason spoils a joke.