Sep 10, 2009

OSS # 170: Punchline

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Thoughts on Generalizations

While listening to another set of politically incorrect Top10 entries in Chico and Delamar's radio show in RX93.1 this morning, my partner and I were talking about how people formulate rules like they have figured things (politics, love, sexuality, religion, etc.) out. We laugh at the entries but we know a lot of them are totally wrong. A lot of people have a tendency to make generalizations based on the things that they have observed. Once these generalizations are taken as fact or truth, some are rattled when they see something going against this 'truth'.

My partner started saying that there's a theory that says, in a way, the choices we make has been predetermined by our past and the people around us. He was saying, in a way, that there is no such thing as free will and that we are already programmed to react the way we are going to react. This was something I was afraid to admit so I tried to challenge it. I was saying that a lot of philosophers (scientists included) based their ideas on ideal and over simplified system. I pointed out the Ideal Gas Theory, Adam Smith's idea on capitalism and Michel Foucault's study on prison systems as examples. All these are based on simplified models of our complicated lives. I explained that in engineering (and other applied math subjects), a margin of error is always considered. There is no exact correct value but a range of acceptable values. I was saying there is some unpredictable randomness that may have not been considered by the no-free-will theory he was mentioning, a theory which I can only guess is based on a simplified model.

My partner sort of agree with me as he was quoting someone saying something like 'there is something more important than philosophy--imagination.'

Of course, I myself make hasty generalizations about someone or something. Lately, I let the generalizations I labeled as truth be challenged (of course, I could be wrong). I had to, otherwise the joke is gonna be on me.


gentle said...

nosebleed,niel! hehehe. and this is how both of you pass your idle time? hehehe. :)

Niel Camhalla said...

Not always. Breakfast pa lang yan. Inaantok pa ng lagay na yan. LOL. Saka sya usually nagsisimula. Ako nagtatanong lang at 'kinokontra' (according to him) sinasabi nya.

Anonymous said...

another thought provoking question.

if there is no free will and that everything is predetermined, then i guess the one/thing/event who/that set my destiny is unfair.

but of course, i don't believe in predetermination. =)

citybuoy said...

i've thought about that in the past. i dunno. siguro, we can all think na everything's been planned but where's the fun in that? haha it's like in time traveler's wife (the book, not the movie), you can really see the struggle to believe in predestination or free will. anyway, i'm babbling.

re:generalization i think it's just our way of making really complicated things simple. at the end of the day, no one really knows how to define love or faith or even sexuality. generalizing is just our mind's way of coping, i guess.

citybuoy said...

ps. it's been a while since you last posted anything. glad you're back. :D

Anonymous said...


some people believe in predestination so that they can find escape goat to/for their mistakes? i think it somehow makes them feel better. lol!

just a thought =)

Niel Camhalla said...

To both Anonymous(es?) (12:50AM and 2:46AM), I think we believe what we want to believe (free will or predestination) for our own benefit (like it would make us feel better).

and about "the one/thing/event who/that set my destiny is unfair.

It may not be just one entity. It could be your genetic makeup and how you are raised (including society, education) combined that lead you to your choices.

@citybuoy, I guess we should at least know how to define and make rule for these things only for ourselves (and not force it on others).

MkSurf8 said...

fact or fiction? truth or dare? true or false?

if you believe it's the truh, then it's faith.

bwahahaha. welcome back! =)

Niel Camhalla said...

Thank you for the welcome but, I wasn't really gone. I didn't even said goodbye or announce a blog leave (Not that I would when I finally decide to stop blogging). I've been blogging (not making comic strips, though) about dolls for a while. But I don't think that would interest a lot of you folks. ^_^

And I've been reading blogs (yours and others), too but since I have nothing new to say (or I don't feel the need to reiterate anything) I don't leave comments. I just giggle in my corner at the little absurdities I read.

Niel Camhalla said...

Not that everything I read are absurd. Some actually make complete sense that I don't feel the need to add anything (like a comment).

But I can't deny some are just absurd. But its nice when people know that they are deliberately being absurd like a joke.

the geek said...

nosebleed mode.

and to think i've had enough of those lately. literally..

Niel Camhalla said...

what do you mean? you had enough nosebleeds lately? di ba masama yun?

Aldrin F.T. said...

I believe in neither predetermination nor generalisations.

Nothing is really predetermined. We may be predisposed to certain behaviour in the initial stages of our lives but we are never bound to them for all eternity. Eg: Many people believe that is a fact substantiated by genetics that females are smaller and weaker than males. But that is not because they are female; that they have female reproductive organs, rather it is because their cultures limit them to certain lifestyles therefore limiting their capacity for growth. In this regard, culture overwrites genetics. It usually does.

As for generalisations, they are potentially dangerous. They become dangerous when people start believing that generalisations are absolute. It cripples them, leads them to the roads of ignorance and intolerance, and so on.

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