…The Expert of Everything

Years of preparation have gone into breeding The Perfect Expert of Everything. Unfettered and unimpaired by having had to have read anything, but adept at entering into every domain and every conversation, the Expert of Everything threatens to make everyone else redundant, in their relentless quest to have things their own way.

Why do readings at University, when they’d only be re-inventing the wheel – they already know what it’s about, which is why they dominate discussion in tutorials.

This time has been better spent, by The Expert, honing their skills, lawyering Dungeons and Dragons games to their own advantage, and chairing debates on who would win out of Superman and The Hulk.

These skills, they then bring to every meeting, of every kind, for these skills are infinitely transferable. The Expert, can be identified through their use of earthy, common phrases, used to keep ‘in-touch’ with the laity.

***

‘Political correctness’: This phrase lets you know just what a dissident, and critical thinker you’re dealing with.

‘It stands to reason’, or ‘it just stands to reason’: The Expert, is reasonable in all things, including their most hastily adopted assumptions.

‘I’d argue that…’: The Expert doesn’t need to read, to keep up with the discussion (see ‘re-inventing the wheel’).

‘Aha!’: The Expert has encountered something like this before, and it was silly.

‘Haha!’: You have reminded The Expert of one of their past intellectual conquests, friend!

‘Hmmm…’: The Expert could say something, but doesn’t want to embarrass you.

‘Yes, but…’: This is how The Expert lets you know, mid-sentence, the you’re argument is going to go awry. The Expert already knows what you are thinking, and doesn’t want you to embarrass yourself.

‘X is often misunderstood’: Misunderstood by laypersons like you, not by The Expert, who doesn’t even need to read about these things (again, see ‘re-inventing the wheel’).

‘It seems like…’: The Expert is charitably allowing you to join the dots.

‘I can’t imagine…’: Logically impossible, despite what you may think you can reasonably imagine.

‘Hah hah haaa! [wink]’ (that’s three ‘haa’s with a key change in the middle, and a wink at the end): The Expert knows that you think they are charming, but are too modest to let you know.

Never under any circumstances, allow the commonality of this language lead you to believe that The Expert has nothing new to teach you, nor assume that any of their wisdom is borrowed…

***

Other, less definitive signs that you have an Expert of Everything in front of you are; possible beard ownership; likely penis ownership (even if diminutive), and an almost universal penchant for exaggerated or grandiose hand gestures.

(In rare cases, ‘tosser’s wrist’ – a symptom of compulsive twenty-sided dice rolling, often resembling a masturbatory gesture – may present itself to the observer).

***

The ecology of The Expert of Everything is that they often gravitate towards rationalist social groups; atheists, ‘Skeptics’, humanists, and so on. Intellectual and organisational resources are monopolised as competing minds are made redundant by The Expert’s sheer charisma, wit and genius.

While this may give mere mortal members a reprieve, such monocultures are inherently unstable.

The Expert may through a sheer act of will and self-approval, achieve ‘Mission Accomplished’ status for their social group, rendering the group purposeless. The Expert may see beyond the horizons of the group, and bring new purposes beyond the ken of ordinary members, thus unavoidably excluding them (this process may involve peanuts, imported Cherry Coke, and ‘character sheets’.)

Most likely though, is that the normal means of operation will atrophy while the group is dependent on The Expert, for everything. At some point when The Expert is needed elsewhere (which they always are), their dedication to a group will have to wane, leaving an unprepared people to fend for themselves.

You would be selfish and keep The Expert all to yourself?

***

If you don’t want to destabilise you Expert-friendly group, or you wish to attract an Expert of Everything to your existing, expertise-devoid, group, there are realities to observe.

By all means question The Expert (they’ll tell you all about that), but don’t undermine them, or waste their time with contrarian clap-trap. They have finite time on this Earth, and they are used of their opponents being self-evidently wrong, as this is always the case.

Make sure peanuts and beer are at hand, and if not that, then cheesy-puffy-things, and cola. The mind of an Expert of Everything doesn’t run on nothing – that would defy the Laws of Thermodynamics (which they’ll tell you about)!

Remember to disregard all evolutionary psychology as just-so-stories, unless they allow The Expert to justify their sexual proclivities, or their need for cheesy-puffy-things, or to explain the inherent attractiveness of their non-deodorized body. These things are self-evident, and hence need no empirical substantiation, ergo evolutionary psychology is true in these respects, Q.E.D.

In all other respects, if in doubt, don’t ask – you’ll be told. Unless you’re told to ask, in which case I’m wrong – I’m not an Expert of Everything.

~ Bruce

See also: Neckbeard.

When can philosophy be mistaken for passive-aggression?

When it’s dealing with issues of human interaction, that is. Civics. How to be a good friend… etc.

When attempting to generalise and de-personalise an issue, when most everyone suspects the same insinuated examples, does philosophy become passive aggressive, or does it unintentionally approximate it? How do you know which is which, when they are genuinely different? Can they be both?

I could come up with examples of what I’m talking about, but I’m trying to generalise.

So, no examples, no names, no argy-bargy over Internet specifics. When can philosophy be  mistaken for passive-aggression?

~ Bruce

P.S. Now I’ve got to move on to write on to write a short post about bullying online, and then I can get back to writing the stuff I want to write. Hooray! It’s good to be back!

Apparently my droogies ain’t hardcore, no more…

A couple of years ago, I wished Archbishop Dr Jensen, amongst others, a Happy Easter, for what was in my view, a gift – in particular, his over-privileged, petulant whining about atheists who wouldn’t submit to the will of Archbishops God. It was political gold.

But I’d like to thank another Jensen from the Sydney Anglicans for yet more wild speculation about people they’re in-touch with. I wish him a Happy Easter as well.

This time it’s not atheists being discussed, at least not directly (I mean, you can refuse The Lord’s message, and go for a bit of the biff), but brawlers.

All cities are violent, even though cities were ostensibly founded to protect us from violence. But among Australian cities, Sydney is famous for its love of a good ding-dong, a donnybrook, a barney. Cultured Melbourne is far too genteel for that kind of behaviour; sweet Adelaide even more so. – Emphasis added.”

(Michael Jensen, 2012)

Jensen waxes nostalgic about biff-clichés, but I’d like to think I can be a bit nostalgic about that kind of ‘sin’ as well. Let me tell you a little about my experience of Adelaide, South Australia, and its surroundings.

If cities are violent, such as being worthy of note, you’d expect country towns to be comparatively peaceful. In Port Lincoln, South Australia, I got into plenty of stupid fights as a kid; I got into my first knife fight at age eleven or twelve. (An interesting side note to all of the knife fights, then and since; the other guy always had the knife).

In 1991, amidst other adventures, I took a number of thumpings (under pillow, or Yellow Pages), and enjoyed a brief encounter between my scrotum and a hot lamp bulb, to see if I could be trusted to keep a secret. Fun stuff.

In 1992, after escaping Port Lincoln, one of my former acquaintances blew the brains out of one of my Father’s weed-smoking buddies, and brain-damaged another poor fellow, in Lincoln National Park. Glad I missed it, even as ‘genteel’ as it must have been.

A number of the people who managed to escape, have similar tales to tell, although I guess technically, if I’m to adhere to Jensen’s wisdom, I’d have to confess that a former mate, who I’ve been informed was killed a few years back by a screwdriver through the neck, met his end in Perth. You are probably well aware, this is nowhere near Adelaide.

Then there’s the sweet tales I could tell of my sweet stay in Elizabeth Vale; a suburb in Adelaide’s north, where I lived within walking distance of one of the homes of the Snowtown Killers (at around the time they were actively bumping people off for their Centrelink payments).

Two murders (not including any of the Snowtown murders) within the first two months of living in the area. Knife-fights between neighbours; knife-on-bare-fist; knife-on-knife; knife-on-garden-rake; knife-on-shard-of-glass…

…don’t get me started on the car-on-bedsit, or the syringe-based violence.

Sweet, genteel, Adelaide!

This is anecdote, of course. Not statistics. I’m sure throngs of people from Sydney could tell similar tales.

And what anecdote may Mr Jensen have by way of example? I’m sure those having experienced violence, those in need of respite and pastoral care could take, if not solace, then a sense of solidarity, or even awe, from Mr Jensen’s tales.

“The churches of this town have not always been above a bit of brawling themselves. You have to be tough to survive as a god-botherer in a town that despises wowsers so much. The Presbyterian minister John Dunmore Lang was himself a famously strident and uncompromising debater in his time.”

(Michael Jensen, 2012)

Cool story. I’d almost mistaken Jensen’s article for a middle class, toss-fest.

Happy Easter, folks.

~ Bruce

(HT: Neil).

The Benny Hill Imperative

My father used to love Benny Hill, going as far as calling the man a genius (unlike more modern comedians, naturally). This, much to my dismay.

More to my dismay though, more than even my father’s emulations (which were even more ‘blue’ than Hill), was that this in some respect rubbed off on me, either through enculturation (this quite possibly being the most oxymoronic use of the term ever), or through the passing on of a genetic tendency. No, I don’t run through the parklands in fast-motion chasing scantily-clad women, nor did my father.

*** Continue reading “The Benny Hill Imperative”

The tragedy of the f**kings…

Got that coffee off your monitor? Yeah, I thought it was a pretty cool title. You’re angry..?

For some time now I’ve been promising to write with more f-bombs – there’s been fair warning. So quit whining and let’s get on to the shagging. Continue reading “The tragedy of the f**kings…”

It seems I’ll have to make my own exceptions to Hart’s rules

On pg. 382 of my New Hart’s Rules, ‘20.10 Blasphemy, obscenity, racial hatred, and official secrets’ says…

Publishing a work which contains contemptuous, scandalous, or insulting material relating to the Christian religion is a criminal offense, punishable by a fine or imprisonment. Note that only the Christian religion is covered by this law and that merely attacking Christianity is not blasphemy: the attack would be blasphemous only if it were contemptuous or insulting.

(New Hart’s Rules, 2005)

Which is to say that any attack is at least tantamount to blasphemy, contempt or insult being as easy to conjure, and as hard to dismiss as an unfalsifiable Freudian diagnosis.

I also don’t like the fact that blasphemy is lumped in the same section as racial hatred. A smear by association – I don’t, as a blasphemer, think it fair to lump me or anyone else with the same tolerant disposition towards race, with bigots.

And at the very least, the discrimination inherent in making a special case for protecting Christianity alone demonstrates that the law isn’t interested in equality. By all means, report the law (actually abolished in the UK in 2008 – after this edition of Hart’s Rules was published), but the unnecessary value judgements are something I can do without.

Oh, and on that part of Western Christianity where you’ll find a long anti-Semitic streak, I’ve left a great big, fat, hot, steaming metaphorical turd. Of course the flies were already there before I metaphorically passed my bowels, being attracted to the scent of a thousand and one shitty Passion plays, Mel Gibson’s included.

I simply shat in what was already a latrine.

I hold the original charge of Deicide in contempt. I hold the concept of The Mark of Cain in contempt, and not just the Jew-hating interpretations.

Contempt!

~ Bruce

DAoS: Skeptics who pretend they’re professional lobbyists

“We need you to stop doing that!”

“That’s politically naive. We won’t win hearts like that!”

“Don’t criticise religion! We may want some religious people to join our cause!”

“Whaa! Whaa! Whaa!”

Who the hell put these people in charge? How can these people be put in charge?

Answer me this – what is the skeptic equivalent of Pope?

So your skeptical organisation may have an appointed leader. So what? What makes any given skeptical organisation the authority on all skepticism? What makes a skeptical organisation the skeptic equivalent of The Vatican?

Excommunicate a skeptic from your ranks and they’ll still be a skeptic.

There’s no grand Poo-Bah of skepticism because there can’t be one.

Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with disagreement in good faith about tactics – it’s healthy and rather obviously necessary.

But… There’s a difference between simple disagreement, and authoritarian finger waving.

Continue reading “DAoS: Skeptics who pretend they’re professional lobbyists”