Thought-terminating cliché

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Rami Rustom

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Apr 3, 2013, 8:32:35 AM4/3/13
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http://philosophy.thecastsite.com/readings/anonymous2.html
>
> A thought-terminating cliché is a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.
>
> The term was popularized by Robert Jay Lifton in his 1956 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Lifton said, "The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis."
>
> In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fictional constructed language Newspeak is designed to reduce language entirely to a set of thought-terminating clichés. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World society uses thought-terminating clichés in a more conventional manner, most notably in regard to the drug soma as well as modified versions of real-life platitudes, such as, "A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away."

[End quote.]

For example:

"You don’t always get what you want."

"You win some, you lose some."

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion." (Appeal to ridicule if
said sarcastically)

"It works in theory, but not in practice." (Base rate fallacy)

"It makes sense to me, and that's all that matters."

"It is what it is."

"There you go again."

"Think about it."

Here's one I heard a locally-owned agent (kinda like a franchisee) of
a national company: "A sale's a sale."


The link has lots more.

-- Rami Rustom
http://ramirustom.blogspot.com

Rami Rustom

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Apr 3, 2013, 8:35:59 AM4/3/13
to BoI Infinity
On Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 7:32 AM, Rami Rustom <rom...@gmail.com> wrote:
> http://philosophy.thecastsite.com/readings/anonymous2.html
>>
>> A thought-terminating cliché is a commonly used phrase, sometimes passing as folk wisdom, used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.
>>
>> The term was popularized by Robert Jay Lifton in his 1956 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism. Lifton said, "The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis."
>>
>> In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fictional constructed language Newspeak is designed to reduce language entirely to a set of thought-terminating clichés. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World society uses thought-terminating clichés in a more conventional manner, most notably in regard to the drug soma as well as modified versions of real-life platitudes, such as, "A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away."
>
> [End quote.]


Here's another one:

http://curi.us/1181-parents-as-rulers
>
> Elliot: Parents primarily say things like "that is just how children are" and they say it's natural or genetic. That is a retreat from explanation. They are saying they don't know why, it just is. So they really don't understand their child's motivations very well.

Elliot Temple

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Apr 22, 2013, 4:47:37 PM4/22/13
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Including mistakes:

> "That's a conspiracy theory."

This is a reasonable criticism of conspiracy theories, if one knows what those actually are.

My own example: people attribute stuff to 'human nature' and stop thinking about it or trying to improve it.

-- Elliot Temple
http://elliottemple.com/



Ethan Heims

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Mar 12, 2015, 5:58:08 PM3/12/15
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My parents (as I am only 15) tend to use these- they prefer that I not even begin speaking of why their ideas are bad explanations, so this is the next best thing for them.  They simply resort to threats of punishment if I continue to give them valid criticism.  They refuse to even try reading this book, or to listen to arguments on the nature of explanations. In short, my parents are being preyed upon by an anti-rational meme that has taken hold of them- the meme that children simply cannot know more than parents.  They use the bad explanation (actually, justification) of "Because I said so", which, as the book said, and I agreed, is a phenomenally bad explanation.  Bad explanations actually tend to spawn these clichés.

Rami Rustom

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Mar 12, 2015, 6:15:28 PM3/12/15
to beginning-...@googlegroups.com, fallible-ideas
That really isn't the issue. A child doesn't need to know more than a parent in order for parent to be wrong in a disagreement between them. 


Also I expect that they, like most people, have more anti-rational memes than just that one. 


They use the bad explanation (actually, justification) of "Because I said so", which, as the book said, and I agreed, is a phenomenally bad explanation.  Bad explanations actually tend to spawn these clichés. 

By the way, this group is mostly inactive and the people from here are now active in another group called Fallible Ideas discussion group. We discuss BOI ideas and other stuff. Here's the link to sign up to the group. 


Rami

Elliot Temple

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Mar 12, 2015, 6:28:48 PM3/12/15
to BoI, Elliot Temple curi@curi.us [fallible-ideas]
Suppose that no children know more than their parents.

Or, more realistically, suppose a particular child doesn’t know more than his parents. Or suppose you don’t know more than your parents.

So what?

Their greater knowledge of old TV shows is not relevant to whatever you’re arguing about today.

In any discussion, most of your knowledge isn’t relevant to the current issue. And most of their knowledge isn’t relevant to the current issue.

If you look only at the small amount of knowledge which is actually relevant, then a person with much less total knowledge could easily still win a debate.

This is well known. Plenty of kids know more than their parents about dinosaurs, or about trading food at the school cafeteria at their particular school with their particular classmates, or about what clothing the other school kids will make fun of him for wearing. Plenty of kids know more about how boring their school is, and how mean and stupid their teachers are, than their parents know.

Plenty of kids know more than their parents about how unpleasant it will be for them to be dragged away from the park/store/etc when they aren’t ready to leave yet. Or know more about how they (the kid) negatively emotionally experiences being coerced to do their homework when they don’t want to, and how much that really does matter and how important it is.


BTW did you see Taking Children Seriously? it is a parenting and education philosophy that was started by David Deutsch.

http://web.archive.org/web/20030603223115/http://www.tcs.ac/index.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20081221213205/http://www.takingchildrenseriously.com/

PS

hi

thanks for posting

i’ve actually wanted young posters but don’t really know where to find them. (actually it’s very hard to recruit people of any age).

two minor things.

could you post in plain text mode?

and the BoI group is actually not really used much. we moved to a different one called fallible ideas:

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/fallible-ideas/info

it’s a lot more active with more posts. if you post at BoI i will still read/reply myself, but FI has more stuff for you to read and more discussion.


if you have any questions, problems or complaints at BoI or FI, please let me know.

(FYI I own the BoI and FI email groups, and the BoI website. I also write over 200 pages of edits/comments for BoI while DD was writing it to help make it better, which was a ton of fun.)

Elliot Temple
www.fallibleideas.com
www.curi.us



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