Monday, October 01, 2018

"Hollow Dolls" and Essentialism and My Cousin's Book

Just finished "The Lies That Bind Us" by Appiah.  I recommend it. The lies are: creed, culture, color, class, and country.  One of the keys to the binding is the lie of "essentialism"--the idea that everyone who shares in the lie is essentially the same: all Americans are alike, all Muslims are alike, all blacks are alike, etc.

It's stretching a bit, I know, but I was reminded of essentialism when I read an article in the Times entitled "The robots aren't as human as they seem."  A biped robot is assumed to be humanlike, a quadraped is likely a dog, or maybe a cheetah.  That very human impulse seen with robots also leads us astray when considering flesh and blood humans and their beliefs about patriotism, religion, etc.

And since I've referred to "Dueling Dragons" in my post yesterday, I'll bring it up again today: I see its theme as the impact of tribalism based on all of Appiah's lies on Ulster.

[Updated--I don't think my post of yesterday does what I wanted--so some additions: if we humans can look at a biped and think it's human, it's easy for me to see that humans can look at other humans and project into the person what they believe.  And the projections will be consistent, because they're not based on facts, on reality, on data perceived in real time but based on ideas in the mind, wherever the ideas come from, past experience or the broader culture.

The reader can see that in in Dueling Dragons, as George Henderson, the newspaper editor, and John Martin exchange their mistaken (my take, definitely not the author's) views of the state and future of Ireland.]

No comments: