Tolerance And Open Mindedness—Searching For A Causal Relationship

My Conversation With MV Returns
Future Time
Somewhere In Limbo

“But you got married,” said MV.

“No, that was later,” I replied. “True, three years after my bicycle
trip I did get married, but it took another five years after that
before I finally stopped pushing my God idea. Once I rejoined the
student ranks, I was back at it.”

“Oh, my mistake,” MV responded. “It’s hard to keep a time line
straight when you keep jumping around the way you do. How did you
combine sociology with your metaphysic anyway?”

“It wasn’t easy,” I said. “Actually, back in the classroom, I kept my
mouth shut most of the time. I needed to become employable, not

“But what about your thesis,” replied MV, “you said the data supported
your ideas.”

“I didn’t write about my metaphysic,” I said. “I wrote about the
implications contained in it. Remember, my first two thesis topics
were rejected, so when it was suggested that I do survey research on
prejudice my topic became prejudice. Actually, I was okay with that.
Prejudice always made my blood boil, so I thought getting to know more
about it was a good idea. In my literature search on the subject I
found a connection between prejudice and ambivalence. Ambivalence
played a major role in Adorno’s study of the Authoritarian
Personality. In order to escape ambivalence, the child, in Adorno’s
investigations, redirected hostilities toward out-groups and away from
his or her own authoritarian parents. In fact, the need to get rid of
ambivalence ended up in prejudiced attitudes in other studies too. I
found that curious.”

“So what does all that have to do with your metaphysic?” responded MV.

“What could possibly be more ambivalence generating than the condition
of being-what-is-not-while-not–being-what-is?” I said. “Of course I
know most people don’t experience the self in that way, but some do,
and among those that do, you do not find much prejudice, if any.”

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About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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3 Responses to Tolerance And Open Mindedness—Searching For A Causal Relationship

  1. I find the concept of uncertainty more useful than ambivalence. Ambivalence is usually a binary; uncertainty can be that, but also boundary-less and more not knowing than ambivalence. Jerome Kagan is my guru on uncertainty and sees it resolved as you discuss rhe resoluion of ambivalence, but also in other ways. Fear is unresovled uncertainty; guilt resolution by self blame. Again, I love reading you because you make me think long and hard, as you have obviously done.

    • bwinwnbwi says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I’m sure the head of my thesis committee would have said the word uncertainty tends to the philosophical as opposed to the sociological. I was told to avoid philosophy and Stay Sociological. Actually, that made sense because I was trying, in my thesis, to connect the lack of prejudiced attitudes towards African Americans (and other minorities) to my own interpretation (bwinwnbwi/ambivalence) of George Herbert Mead’s self-concept. The results were mixed. Thanks again. Take care.

  2. bwinwnbwi says:

    If, in the following quote, you replace the words biography and negation with Mead’s “me” and “I” reference, then Mead could just as easily be talking about (the ~bb of b~b~bb) as opposed to his I/me couplet, when he states, (1934:174) The “I” (negation) of this moment is present in the “me” (biography) of the next moment. There again I cannot turn around quick enough to catch myself…If you ask, then, where directly in your own experience the “I” (negation) comes in, the answer is that it comes in as a historical figure. It is what you were a second ago that is the “I” (negation) of the “me” (biography).”

    The implicative affirmative of the not-me-self confers logical consistency to Mead’s claim when he says: “…the actor never catches sight of himself or herself as ‘I’. The ‘I’ appears in memory; it has already become a ‘me’” (Mead, 1934:171).

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