August 26th, 2020


(no subject)

I've been keeping a weather eye on the US Republican convention. There's something about the way they're reacting to the DNC and talking about how Biden's policies hurt real Americans and only Trump can save us from them - it's almost like he's running as the challenger. That makes a certain amount of sense, but also not, and (I can't repeat this enough) is not normal. Then again, what is?

I was getting a frozen meal out of the microwave to stir up the veggies half way through, and pulled my hand back in shock at the temperature. I was holding the plastic carton by the peas and carrots section which was still half-frozen, so very cold to the touch, but my body perceived it as burning-hot-ouch-ouch-ouch-ouch, because I was reaching into a microwave and pulling out a heated-up dish. My body felt it as hot because it was expecting it to be hot. Even on a second touch, it still felt like burning.

Philosophers argued quite a bit over whether "hot" was a quality of a thing or just our perceptions of them. You might say a dish is six inches across, or made of plastic, or even 89 degrees; but to say it was hot or cold was more about you and how you felt it. Descriptions of texxture (smooth/rough) or even color fell into the same group, they're what Locke called secondary characteristics. So in a very real sense there's no such thing as a cold corner of the dinner-tray. Just a corner that feels cold to me; or doesn't. In this case it's not about my expectation but about my actual state (the same room may be warm to someone who's just come out of the cold but chilly to someone who's been inside for a while). Still I think there's something similar going on.

I don't know. It feels like there's something sort of profound or at least worth working out in how we hear ideas and talk and the sort, how we condition ourselves to the point that it actually legitimately strikes us a certain way that has little to do with the person talking. I don't know. I happen to think I'm right when I say the Republicans are douchenozzles who would not be earning my vote with this nonsense even if I were winnable. But there's equally something to this idea that we can't escape our own corner of reality and the blinders it forces on us. Or something like that.

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