A Philosopher's Blog

Writing Away

Posted in Miscellaneous by Michael LaBossiere on August 21, 2011

I suspect that I have a writing addiction. Is there any treatment for this?

31 Responses

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  1. dhammett said, on August 23, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Try some version of conversion therapy. “They” say it works on homosexuals. How much harder can it be to convert a writer to a non-writer?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      People are born writers or not. I mean, who would choose to write?

      • dhammett said, on August 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

        Someone who wants to send a message and prefers written communication over oral communication?
        A mime who has lost his skills , wishes to communicate, yet prefers not to speak?

  2. T. J. Babson said, on August 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Kids.

    • dhammett said, on August 23, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Yeah. Here on the Right Coast we had and minor/major earthquake today.. No loss of life reported.🙂 Clearly God is warning us that He’s going to punish us for something we are doing –or will do. Or maybe it was just a terrorist dry run for an 11/11 attack.

      • dhammett said, on August 24, 2011 at 8:42 am

        Update: Damage to the Washington Monument. has been discovered. This could be ominous.

  3. magus71 said, on August 23, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Plenty of writers do and did. Check out Voltaire’s habits, which included 50 cups of coffee a day and 1000s of written letters, book and plays.

  4. ajmacdonaldjr said, on August 24, 2011 at 5:07 am

    We could form a support group, because I’m an addict too, but I refuse to quit and deny my true self! Perhaps you could write a paper about forming the support group? lol🙂

  5. WTP said, on August 24, 2011 at 8:28 am

    Two suggestions, at least one of these is facetious…

    1) Get a real job. A job where your efforts are measured against the indisputable objective facts of the real world. Then after a hard day of real work, see how much you have to tell us. Of course, based on previous discussion you seem to think you already have a real job so I may as well be writing this in Klingon.
    2) Ask more questions than you have answers for. Rhetorical questions don’t count.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      What, exactly, is unreal about my job? I prepare classes, teach, grade, advise, serve on committees, write and so on. I am evaluated and subject to the bean counters. My students go on to get jobs. Some become lawyers, some professors, some ministers. Some even become engineers.

      But perhaps you regard educating people as “unreal.”

      There are always more questions than answers.

    • magus71 said, on August 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Alright, WTP, I must here, step in. Though I taunt Mike endlessly about his political leanings, he’s still my friend. So ease up on the nastiness, please.

      • WTP said, on August 24, 2011 at 8:50 pm

        Sigh…I apologize for any nastiness. It is certainly not my intent to be nasty. I have said before, I do not regard opinions as personal things. I am sure Mike and I would get along just fine if we knew each other. I have close friends who hold opinions even more off the deep end than Mike. I myself at times held something close to these sort of opinions. But then I had to go out into the real world and get a real job. OK, the first one wasn’t real. It was a government job launching space shuttles. The things I saw, the way the system worked, taught me how much of what I had been taught was highly suspect. And that was just the beginning.

        However, I can’t help but keep in mind that the untested ideas Mike perpetuates are presented to college students as “knowledge”. In regards to socialism, tested and failed ideas that have led to the deaths of millions. Ideas that Mike gets all warm and fuzzy about in ignorance or intent, he presents as if they are benign at worst. Ideas that are at times a threat to our freedoms and our pocketbooks. And he does it subsidized by my tax dollars. Now that’s something to take offense at. I’m obviously not eloquent enough to say it effectively, but in the absence of anyone else doing so, I will say it.

        To me, the internet and blogging are about ideas. No one can get hurt exchanging ideas. But ideas have to stand up to criticism. And one must keep in mind that bad ideas are much harder to stop after they have been enforced. By then in many cases it is too late.

        And I do respect and appreciate Mike’s efforts at maintaining this little forum here. All philosophers should do the same. Those in the ivory tower would be better off for it, whether they realize it or not.

        • dhammett said, on August 24, 2011 at 9:48 pm

          Intriguing but not surprising “apology”,
          “It is certainly not my intent to be nasty.”
          I find it very hard to believe that a person of your intelligence can be nasty so frequently without intent.
          “the internet and blogging are about ideas.” In your mind , it would seem, they’re also about mean-spirited ad hominem attacks .Frankly, I’m surprised magus71 didn’t reprimand you sooner.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 25, 2011 at 7:33 pm

          The ideas I present are, in fact tested. After all, the works of the philosophers I include in my classes are subject to criticism and assessment. For example, Hobbe’s view of the nature of political power seems to have considerable empirical support. While Marx made some important contributions, his theory is subject to rather serious criticisms. As far as how socialism has been manifested in places like Russia and China, that has very little to do with the theories of the thinkers who developed communism and socialism. If you look at what Marx envisioned, China and Russia were not what he had in mind.

          Also, I teach critical thinking and ethical reasoning which are well tested. Logic, at the very least, is as well tested as math and science. I also make a point of telling students that the theoretical views put forth are theories and that the most important lessons are 1) learning to think for themselves and 2) learning to think well.

          As far as my views of socialism, I do support the idea that the state has legitimate roles (at least from a practical standpoint) and that we should, as a people, be our brother’s keeper when he is in need. However, I am against the state destroying private enterprise and I am not for simply giving handouts to people without justification. In short, I am in practice a moderate.

          • WTP said, on August 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

            Let’s try to stick to two things for now

            1) What important contributions did Marx make? Are you speaking of economics or something closer to some other concept?
            2) “we should, as a people, be our brother’s keeper when he is in need”…I believe the same. But you state “we should, as people”, but you consistently support using the power of the state to do so. More consistent with your writings, would it not be more accurate and honest to state “The government should take money from productive people and give it to those it thinks are in need”. I have no quarrel if you choose to give your money to this guy:

            https://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2011/08/21/writing-away/#comment-14174

            It seems the lawyers have gotten to the video, but it was available for a couple months. Perhaps you’ve seen it? Either way, it’s fine by me if people want to support this guy. But they have no right to take money out of my pocket to do so.

            • WTP said, on August 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm

              DOH! Cut and paste FAIL…Here’s the correct link:

              http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfmoms/detail?entry_id=88255

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 26, 2011 at 3:35 pm

              Marx provides the conservatives with a ready made foe. If he had not existed, he would have had to have been invented.

              Actually, I do not consistently advocate using the state to male people do stuff. In fact, I generally argue that the state should keep its intrusions to a minimum. The state, as I see it, has the right to interfere in order to prevent harm and can also sometimes infringe on liberty by compelling positive service for the general good. However, such impositions need to be justified and in cases in which people would act better (or as well) on their own, then the state should not impose.

              It is not just a matter of the state taking money away from productive people and giving it to others. After all, “the state” is just a term for the things that we think we should do together, as decided by the democratic process. Of course, democracy sometimes means that each of us does not always get his/her way. If one does not like how things are going, democracy provides a remedy: run for office (or start a SuperPAC).

            • WTP said, on August 29, 2011 at 12:58 pm

              OK, let me explain what aggravates…Based on your statement “…Marx made some important contributions…”, I asked a question ” What important contributions did Marx make?”. You respond with “Marx provides the conservatives with a ready made foe. If he had not existed, he would have had to have been invented.” Do you consider that to be a serious answer? You interpret my posts as “angry” or “hateful”, but some of your responses to direct questioning of your assertions come across to me as being at best evasive and at times rather smart-alecky. You have your perception, I have mine also. I don’t take it personally but I do consider it to be arguing in bad faith (can’t think of a better term right now).

              As for your response to my second question, you state “I do not consistently advocate using the state to male people do stuff”. But is your answer in the context of the question I asked? I was not speaking of the state “making people do stuff”, I was specifically saying that the government should not take money from productive people and give it to people that the state views as being more needy. You framed your answer to my question in a much broader context.

              This is the sort of logical maneuvering I would expect from someone of a political bent, most definitely. But such a form of reasoning coming from someone who is supposed to be teaching philosophy at a state sponsored school disturbs me. If what I have written seems hateful, there’s not much I can do about it. Those are facts as I see them.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm

              I am a smart ass, but I am nice about it 90% of the time. I’ve found that being less than serious at times helps prevent me from taking myself too seriously. That can be a dangerous trap.

              As far as Marx’s contributions, I would say the two most important are 1) presenting the theory that economics is the driving force of history (I would say that it is a driving force, but not the force) and 2) adding to the notion that the social sciences can be done like a science, by looking at history and then looking forward (though the actual Marxist stuff strikes me, as it did my dissertation adviser, as “vacuous.”)

              I agree: the state should not take money from the productive and give it those taken to be needy. For example, I would prefer that my tax dollars were not jacked to help subsidize oil companies, agricultural corporations, or defense/security contractors.

            • dhammett said, on August 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm

              Your 11/29/12:58 post seems (to me) a bit defensive, but it’s not nasty. You do seem (again, to me) to be 1/attempting to pre-empt any claims that the post may be nasty or perhaps, 2/ implying that some of your previous posts were not hateful, or 3/both. Feel free to continue with #1, but don’t waste your time with #2. That train has left the station.

              “. . .I was specifically saying that the government should not take money from productive people and give it to people that the state views as being more needy. ”
              Stanley Thornton, according to the article you link , “. . .is a 29-year-old man who wakes up in the morning and puts on typical clothing before going to work.” He’s a working stiff. He’s “productive”. There’s nothing in the article to indicate that Thornton in any way is taking state support. You state “. . .it’s fine by me if people want to support this guy. But they have no right to take money out of my pocket to do so.”
              So, to get a bit more relevant. Let’s say Thornton isn’t an extremely overweight man with a freaky fetish. Let’s say he’s a heterosexual 68-year old who has worked all his life at a job with low pay and few, if any, benefits. Let’s say he falls ill and can’t handle hospital and drug costs. Let’s say there’s no government structure to deal with this other Stanley Thornton. You wrote, quoting the professor “we should, ^as a people^, be our brother’s keeper when he is in need”… You responded —– ” I believe the same. But you state ‘we should, as people’, but you consistently support using the power of the state to do so.”

              My question is much more brief than the lead in. If the state doesn’t handle the role of brother’s keeper in such instances, how do we ^as a people^ take its place? Can churches and charitable organizations that even in better times seem to need money and more money to carry on their operations be expected to take on the weight of dealing with the poor, disabled , and survivors ?

              One more question :”. . .I was specifically saying that the government should not take money from productive people and give it to people that the state views as being more needy. ” Who will make the judgment as to who is “more needy”, and will they step up to the plate when necessary?

          • magus71 said, on August 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

            Mike said: “Marx provides the conservatives with a ready made foe. If he had not existed, he would have had to have been invented.”

            Marx provides liberals with a ready made friend. If he had not existed, he would have had to have been invented,

            Mike also said: “As far as how socialism has been manifested in places like Russia and China, that has very little to do with the theories of the thinkers who developed communism and socialism.”

            Yes, that is what happens when you make up ludicrous ideas and try to press them on people. Suddenly you find yourself becoming totalitarian and genocidal to ensure all the people can’t ruin your bad idea. Lenin thought he knew better what was for people than they did, so mass killings ensued to ensure their lesson was learned.

            Without Marx, does Lenin, Mau, or Stalin come to power? I doubt it. Conservatives denounce these men as much as Marx. But Mike, don’t think that merely being a “man of ideas” lets Marx or anyone else whose job is merely to think up theories and write about them, off the hook, After all, Charles Manson once proclaimed: “I’ve never killed anyone!”

            As far as your views on the government, I agree with you to a point. BUT–people should not be made comfortable in a state of nonproductivity.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

              Marx provided a convenient ideology for Leni, Mao, and Stalin. If they had not had Marx, I would contend that they would have used something else.

              No, coming up with ideas does not excuse a person. However, the creator of an idea is only responsible for the content of the idea and what s/he actually tries to get people to do. For example, Jesus is not on the hook when someone commits murder “in” his name.

      • T. J. Babson said, on August 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm

        Teaching is hard work, and important work.

        I suspect that what WTP was trying to express is that Mike should be careful in extrapolating from his experience in his job to what others experience in their jobs, because his job is far from typical.

        I frankly think that Mike could make a pile by working in the private sector, but he values his freedom and independence more than the extra money he could make.

        • dhammett said, on August 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

          I suspect that WTP is fully capable of clearly expressing his intent without depending on you or someone else to do it for him. That being said, I also suspect that his true intent and nature comes through clearly in the ugly attacks he frequently directs at Prof. LaBossiere.

        • WTP said, on August 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm

          Did I disparage teaching? Teaching philosophy, maybe. Teaching philosophy when you lack practical, real-world experience. Patients either live or die. Books either balance or someone (hopefully) goes to jail. Bridges stand or fall. Philosophers who have never held a real job blame the failures of their philosophies on the implementations. Experience is the ultimate teacher of philosophy.

          In other regards, rules applicable to erik, frk, etc. apply to daschel…unfair though it may be. Experience is the greatest teacher there is.

          • dhammett said, on August 24, 2011 at 10:40 pm

            I refer you to Aug. 6 and Mike’s “Disapproval of Congress” article. There,in your post dated Aug.. 12 10:14 –in response to Mike’s Aug 12 post immediately above– you wrote “As for a ‘hateful tone’, Mike I apologize for that, but I really don’t see it as hateful.” So here we are again. And perhaps we’ve isolated the problem. You don’t ‘see’ your tone as hateful where others, like Mike, Magus and myself, do.

            I will admit that you’ve improved. You haven’t written “Oh. Bull fucking shit” again. That completely obnoxious and profane tone has disappeared to be replaced by one of sneering condescension. You’re learning by experience. Good boy.

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

            I’ve been living in the real world all my life. Mostly-I do have that gaming habit. The skills and information I impart does get field tested-by myself in my own life and, of course, by my students and the folks who read my books. To use a specific example, the work I have done on fallacies gives people tools that can be tested. So far, they seem to have worked quite well. Of course, I do not have a grandiose theory that I use to explain the whole world or guide the fate of the masses. I am pleased to be able to shape and polish a few modest tools of thinking and share them with others.

            Experience is only a great teacher if one has the wit and wisdom to hear its voice. After all, some folks do the same stupid things over and over again for decades. They have plenty of experience, but little wisdom.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

          True, my job is different from many other jobs (I think professor was ranked #2 in the list of best jobs) and it would be wise of me to avoid making hasty generalizations from my situation to that of others.

          Each year I go without even a cost of living increase makes the private sector look more appealing.🙂

          • T. J. Babson said, on September 3, 2011 at 8:35 am

            You can always moonlight as a Philosophical Therapist (this is for real, BTW)

            American Philosophical Practitioners Association: http://www.appa.edu/

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/2011/08/18/gIQA7yxNXJ_print.html

            Philosophical counselors rely on eternal wisdom of great thinkers
            By Emily Wax, Published: August 22

            Patricia Anne Murphy is a philosopher with a real-world mission.

            Murphy may have a PhD and an intimate knowledge of Aristotle and Descartes, but in her snug Takoma Park bungalow, she’s helping a broken-hearted patient struggle through a divorce.

            Instead of offering the wounded wife a prescription for Effexor — which she’s not licensed to do anyway — she instructs her to read Epictetus, the original cognitive therapist, who argued that humans often mistake their feelings for facts and suffer as a result.

            Murphy is one of an increasing number of philosophical counselors, practitioners who are putting their esoteric learning to practical use helping people with some of life’s persistent afflictions. Though they help clients cope with many of the same issues that conventional therapists do — divorce, job stress, the economic downturn, parenting woes, chronic illness and matters of the heart — their methods are very different.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

              While going to a philosopher for therapy might seem odd, some of the great philosophers had some very good advice. The stoics, in particular, are a good read in times of adversity. The Socratic method (the real one, not the BS that people often try to pass off) would also be useful for helping a person sort things out.

              I’d feel a bit weird getting paid to listen to someone’s personal problems. That is, I think, what friends and family are for. But, I suppose, an objective outside can be helpful at times.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm

        Thanks. I appreciate the support.


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