rational argument

Read at your peril. This post is a bit on the long side. And long-winded too. And that’s a thoughtful warning–not an apology… There will be a happy ending in the form of some chocolate at the end, though!!!

So: welcome to a lengthy, didactic, and probably downright pedantic addition to points 5 & 6 in the previous post–that is–


5. Have some principles and express them, as being as important to product choice as functionality.

This is a problem with many MUA boards, and with the skin care board in particular.

It’s a basic logical flaw. Right now, it seems to be OK to recommend products not only because they work, but because you like them. And it’s OK for that liking to be based on trust, brand loyalty, and price (be that high or low). But other criteria get bashed: notably, ethics. Bashed, declared off-topic, and sometimes accused of being politics. Though there is a difference.


6. Call a spade a spade: point out the differences between fact, argument, and opinion.

The following things are not the same, identical, interchangeable, equivalent, or equally valid / of value:

  • fact
  • rational argument
  • opinion
  • feeling
  • belief.

Understand this image, and the rest will follow.

(a) You are NOT your products. An attack on your favourite product is not an attack on you. An attack on your view of that product is not an attack on you. It is an attack on a view.
At the very worst, it is an invitation to you–as an intelligent person–to rethink (or maybe, think about for the first time) your view. It is not an attack on your intelligence, but on your use / misuse of it.

(b) Grown-up rational discussion is only possible when the participants act and think like rational grown-ups. Dispassionately: putting to one side beliefs, feelings, sentiments, instincts–everything that is irrational.

(c) For there are only two sorts of epistemologically-admissible truth here:

  • evidence-based FACT–which may include personal and anecdotal experience;
  • proof-based ARGUMENT: that is, a logically-sound statement (with some more backup). This consists of the point itself (ex. looking up and seeing blue sky), stating it (ex. “the sky is blue”), and adding those magic next stages  (ex. “the sky is blue because of Rayleigh scattering”). The product of logical coherent sensible reasoning, expressed in an ordered, organized manner, with the intention of communication, explanation, persuasion–and of course openness to all these oneself, from others.

[UPDATED slightly]

For both sorts, you make a claim / postulate a hypothesis. Then test it. Get results. These results will be of the form TRUE / NOT TRUE / somewhere in between the two / a bit of both. But in order for the truth(-value) of a claim to be found, the claim must be testable. Open to question. Questionable. Verifiable. Refutable.

If it isn’t, then that statement cannot be true. That’s what “verifiable” means, after all–able to be verified–able to be “made/found true.” A statement that cannot be true isn’t necessarily not true: it’s outside the bounds of verifiable truth.

This is the case for statements that depend on adherence to a belief-system (religion, most diets, some sorts of ayurveda, biodynamism, etc.). If you accept the belief, then the statement can be true. But it can be only true within the tenets of that belief. Not otherwise, and not independently true from outside the belief-system. The statement, like the belief, cannot be questioned from outside. It’s closed. A closed system. Can only produce closed-circle (pseudo-)science/reasoning. (Yes, I’m a hard-core extreme Popperian.)

Now, some might call such a belief-system–and statements that are part of it, tied to it, true from inside it–some might call it some kind of higher, absolute truth. Beyond this world–the empirical physical one, the rational mental one. Metaphysical.

Fine. Well and good. Each to their own, YMMV, etc. Now: I’m not knocking an ingredient or product that’s part of such a system: judge it independently and on its own merits.

Here’s an example of the distinction between a thing working and why/how it works. Neem oil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time. It has a huge body of evidence behind its successful use; OK, much is anecdotal, not that much uses scientific methods and systematic data-collection–but that’s the case for any substance whose use antedates scientific method. Neem’s now used in more mainstream / Western medicine for skin conditions like eczema. There’s now a growing body of evidence, and work being done on the mechanisms by which the stuff works. Anecdotally, I’ve used it: I’ve never been able to tolerate the reek long enough to use it neat on my skin, but it’s one of the ingredients in my favourite all-over cleanser.

Neem oil works on my skin. That’s not the same as saying neem oil is “good” and works because it’s Ayurvedic. Nor that it working is proof that all Aryurvedic medicine works. Nor that it shows that Ayurveda and Hinduism are “right” and The True Path. Science and belief are not interchangeable. Science is not another kind of religion. Even though, in some areas, it may feel like I’m accepting someone else’s word for how they things are, because cutting-edge physics has moved so far beyond my own basic level (high-school way back then, probably around about 2nd year undergrad these days). That’s not a matter of blind faith: it’s a matter of deciding to trust someone (a friend, a journal, an encyclopaedia, a blog, etc.) when, after weighing them up, I rationally decide to consider them authoritative.

Part of that process is asking questions. I’ll continue to ask questions (even just Googling stuff), because that’s how I learn; and I’ll continue to question that source, and their authority; continue to monitor how they answer questions, as much as what they answer; I’ll also consult others; and I’ll keep weighing them all up. That “weighing” and dynamic balancing act is the same weighing of things in scales that provides the figurative models for justice and criticism: add in scepticism and you have my personal ethical Holy Trinity.

So: Any statement about neem oil being “good,” so as to be at least intellectually honest, must make it clear whether it’s belief-based or not.

For another recent example–scientific testing of a Chinese traditional medicament here–see this news item about ursodeoxycholic acid c/o Chinese bear bile (BBC News, 2011-08-01)

(screenshot: don’t worry, I’m not linking to a shop let alone betraying other principles…)

And that whole “open to being questioned / tested / refuted” business is why, ladies and gentlemen, it’s important to separate one’s self from one’s making of statements. I can think what I like, privately, to myself. There’s no reason or need to share it. But that all changes the minute I open my mouth (or put pen to paper, or type on a keyboard/touchscreen). Then I’m turning that thought into words: translating it from that raw material inside, shaping it for the outside world, preparing it for public consumption. I’m opening my private ideas up, they’re entering the public domain. That’s the point of self-expression: it’s not a grand unilateral final declaration. It’s to communicate, to share, to open up. I don’t mean that in a hippy-dippy soppy way: but in a completely unselfish and very very scary sense:

Performing an utterance is the start of a conversation, where that statement invites question and incites discussion.


hypothesis: what happens when you give in to the forces of irrationality and unreason

(d) This “argument” isn’t that thing that gets called “an argument” that runs “I’m right.”–“No, you’re wrong.”–“No, you‘re wrong.”–“No, I‘m right, so you must be wrong.”–“No, you’re wrong.” Etc. Circular. Not going anywhere for anybody. Really boring for bystanders…
A proper discussion, with arguments and all, should be entertaining for bystanders and enjoyable for participants. It’s a sport. It’s not personal. It’s healthy. Good exercise for all concerned. Good exercise for the brain, too–educational / the learning and teaching process–and thus helping that whole anti-ageing process.

(e) It’s very very very massively important to separate out these different kinds of thought. Not just because it makes pernickety anal-retentive pedants like me happy. It’s in your interests. It’s in everyone’s interests.

Quoting from another bit of recent MUA correspondence, here’s why–also, an example of that marvellous thing I’m calling “discussion,” that uses “arguments” and deploys “reasoning” to produce “reasons,” and is all done (mostly kinda) “rationally.” Some bits have been highlighted by me in bold:

It all started with this discussion (Skin Care Board, 7/27/2011 12:38PM):

“I think a lot of people judge high end products when these can offer superior results i mean its really rude to project your financial situation on others we should have more respect for those who choose to use high end products all the posts here are about bragging when you use cheaper products. i use whats best for me and that typically happens to be higher end products is anyone else having this experience.”

… spot that whole reasoning business? Now: it might or might not have been posted by A TROLL, as an act of deliberate shit-stirring… for lo! then the shit flew… My own basic answer was, and remains:

[“Vanessa”: 7/27/2011 12:50PM] I would pay $1000.00 for a cream that did everything I wanted it to do; it’s the expensive ones that have scientifically proven irritants and fragrances that are problematic for many consumers that I have issues with.
And many of those products are made in sweat shops. Don’t even get me started.

[Ginger: 7/27/2011 1:02PM] 2nd: against hypocrisy, fear-mongering, ripping people off, greenwash, pseudoscience, lies

[Ginger: 7/27/2011 1:04PM] but basically I agree: distinguishing the facts of the matter–does it work? do what it says on the tin–from all other properties & considerations (belief, opinion, feeling, PR/BS, ethics, cost, access)

Which led to this post: pointing out the hypocrisy of using expensive computers made in ethically-dubious conditions–and the dramatic irony of the situation, as MUAers were reading and responding to this on said guilt-inducing machines–yet slagging someone off for deciding to use an expensive face-cream. Asking where one drew the line, between indulgences/luxuries and necessities. Which was, according to all the rules, off-topic for the skincare board; it was flagged; I was amongst those who commented on its off-topic-ness. Here’s the bit of discussion where I left to do some work (as you do…), returned, and found my departure had been misinterpreted. I felt a need to respond: partly to clear up misunderstanding, partly to make it clear to others involved in that discussion that there this was not (just, mere, ordinary, everyday) trolling: there was something serious, substantial, and sincere (hence raging) going on. Here’s the relevant bit of board discussion:

7/27/2011 2:31PM [GINGER] OFFS: silly, OT, contravening MUA rules. Suggest move this to café–I’m off back to work post-coffee


7/27/2011 4:24PM [“SUZIE”–not her real name, nor her MUA-name] I make a logical argument and you leaving? Nice. Thanks!


7/27/2011 4:54PM [GINGER] –sorry–back now, checking in state of argument for 1 min while checking email. Apologies–went back to work, now finished that bit of work, back on here for a couple of minutes, then off to lunch. Sorry: I didn’t leave because of anything you said!!!

1. Agreed: logical argument, taking a point to its logical conclusion.

2. Agreed: it’s an important point.

3. Agreed: it’s interesting to see where people draw the line in their ethical shopping and consumption. When that line is, let’s be honest, usually haphazard at best, irrational or hypocritical or simply never even thought about at worst.

But here’s where I’d disagree:

1. appropriateness of this discussion to the skin-care board. MUA has rules, for a reason. And other boards where this topic would be more at home: café–also the green board. On reflection, especially the latter.

2. difference between beauty products and other bought goods: purpose and utility (as [two other MUAers] were saying). Even within the category of beauty stuff, there’s a distinction between the purely cosmetic and the more medically necessary (which would include psychological health too). Spending money on the purely cosmetic = committing the sin of vanity. Though vanity’s not going to be exclusive to one’s face–applies to everything to do with appearances and impressing other people…
Again though, this is moving away from strict SCB topics. I’ve been knocked, ripped into, and even just gently ticked off for mentioning what I think of as “the e-word” on here (= ethics). So I’ll often put in a tempering clause… and that’s also why I replied as I did (first response, “basically I agree…”) to the original post.

3. We’re all human. With weaknesses and foibles. Not perfect. You’re right, completely within your rights, undeniably!!! to get angry about people being defensive–ITA here–and there’s probably no-one on here who’s an ethical paragon (I know for sure I’m not, anyway). But that’s not going to change people’s minds. Especially people who’ve never thought about ethics, or have and are living in guilt. It’ll just make them irritated, angry, and mean. It’s normal and natural: such argument seems like a personal attack. I know, it should be possible to distinguish the personal from the impersonal, objective, abstracted. But that doesn’t always happen, when emotions come into play. Though, abstractedly, I find it fascinating how people identify with their products so strongly–the products become part of them, they are their products. I know I do it too–I get all het up about some of my favourites. Lovers of CDLM too, exactly the same way, no difference between us there…
It is all most unfortunate. I’m sorry it all got a bit out of hand.


7/27/2011 5:47PM [SUZIE] I think we are on the same page here:
1) yes I posted something totally OT

2) you are right. Spending this kind of money is sinful and I would dump that cream in a minute. But i have an extremely fussy skin and this has worked for me so I have no inclination to mess with what’s worked. If aint broke don’t fix it right?

3) I see a general theme here — products that are expensive are held to higher standards and rightfully so. Million dollar houses are expected to have granite and steel appliances.

The problem with I have here is the ethics. I will have to stop living my life if I look at everything that I use and think about the people that worked in sweatshops to make that product.

Another thing is I am from [a certain developing country]. Have you seen 15 year old girls carrying 2-3 year old kids begging in the streets? With torn clothes and flies on their mouth? Do you know what it is like to crap by the side of the street and wash yourself with gutter water (and I don’t mean this in insulting way at all)? Do you know what it is like to drink water from a river where other people are washing clothes and doing dishes?

Would you give a job to that 15 year old if she could get off the street and feed her kids and get clean water, maybe have a bathroom to use instead of street to do her business? I am sorry but I would. I would do it million times. Our perspective is based on our life experiences and I have had a completely different childhood than most Westerners. Poverty is a horrific crime and if my product purchase puts food in someone’s mouth I will do it. When you have seen poverty in your face like I have then you’d probably have a different mindset.

I guess I was ticked off by your sarcasm. No hard feelings tho. I would want this board to be vibrant with different perspectives and I am sure you will succeed in changing business practices of unethical businesses by buying organic/sustainable products. I just have no faith in that possibility.


[GINGER: picking up comments from that discussion, responding more fully: having reckoned it would be more appropriate to do so in an off-board message, rather than on the board. Where such chat between to people might be flagged up as inappropriate, off-topic, etc.; see this post re. MUA rules…] 7/27/2011 6:52:46 &  7:17:47 PM

[SUZIE] yes I posted something totally OT

[GINGER] you and me both, and others too. Also: thank you for posting something on SCB that showed thought. It’s a welcome change. However OT…

[SUZIE] you are right. Spending this kind of money is sinful and I would dump that cream in a minute. But i have an extremely fussy skin and this has worked for me so I have no inclination to mess with what’s worked. If aint broke don’t fix it right?

[GINGER] ITA. If it works for you, it works. And spending on [Crème De La Mer] when it works is cheaper than spending more on trying out more products that don’t.

[SUZIE] I see a general theme here — products that are expensive are held to higher standards and rightfully so. Million dollar houses are expected to have granite and steel appliances.

[GINGER] ITA. Then again, all products should be held up to the same–skincare–standard: do they work or not? I’m as likely to diss something that’s cheap and doesn’t work on me, as something that’s expensive. Both are fails.

[SUZIE] The problem with I have here is the ethics. I will have to stop living my life if I look at everything that I use and think about the people that worked in sweatshops to make that product.

[GINGER] some compromise *is* possible, I’ve been doing it for years–also the way I was brought up. Especially separating out decorative vain frippery vs. necessaries vs. things that have become an integral part of 21st-c life (like [a certain expensive smartphone]. I love mine too.) One of my compromises is donating part of my income to charity; regular monthly payments plus, on top, if I buy a vanity-thing that’s more than $20, I donate the same sum. On [a certain expensive computer manufacturer, with serious ethical-labour issues right now] and suchlike, I write and campaign. Two sizeable parts of my job are writing and researching–been doing them for years, so fast, so can now knock off protest emails and suchlike very fast; also, I’d never be able to spend time on MUA & respond properly there–but, again, you’re right and wise: there’s no way you can think about every single thing in every moment of every day. You’d never get anything else done. You’d probably also go mad. Well, I’m sure I would anyway…

[SUZIE] Another thing is I am from [developing-world country]. Have you seen 15 year old girls carrying 2-3 year old kids begging in the streets? With torn clothes and flies on their mouth? Do you know what it is like to crap by the side of the street and wash yourself with gutter water (and I don’t mean this in insulting way at all)? Do you know what it is like to drink water from a river where other people are washing clothes and doing dishes?

[GINGER] ITA: most people on MUA have never seen other worlds. Heck, most of them are from those part of the Midwest where you never see a non-white person, never hear another language being spoken, and Chicago’s a foreign country (let alone the coasts or further afield).

Though yes, I’ve seen 15-year-olds carrying small kids, some of them begging. In various places, including [some deprived areas in first-world countries]. I’ve never been that poor, but I have been poor. And, yes, washed etc. like that when travelling (and indeed hiking in the backwoods here). But never through necessity: utterly different situation.

I would also like to think that, like any other intelligent person, I have enough imagination to at least make some attempt to put myself in their shoes (again, though I can’t disclose exact off-MUA real-world activity: I do that sort of imaginative thing every day in work). But: I applaud you for forcibly pushing these realities in MUAers’ faces!!! Shock might make people think. And be better people for it: more considerate, more compassionate, less selfish, thinking more of consequences and other perspectives and the bigger picture.

[SUZIE] Would you give a job to that 15 year old if she could get off the street and feed her kids and get clean water, maybe have a bathroom to use instead of street to do her business? I am sorry but I would. I would do it million times.

[GINGER] yes yes yes: ITA. That’s where the fair trade movement is so important. Sorry to bang on about it, but I’ve been involved in it my whole life, and some of my family since it started, & with [a certain charity] back to the 1940s.

[SUZIE] Our perspective is based on our life experiences and I have had a completely different childhood than most Westerners. Poverty is a horrific crime and if my product purchase puts food in someone’s mouth I will do it. When you have seen poverty in your face like I have then you’d probably have a different mindset.

[GINGER] my family involvement, and the way this was a central part of my life, are for a reason. […removed bio stuff] lived those kinds of lives until the 1930s. Landless labourers. Coal-miners (mostly). Massive deprivation. Marxist-Historicist, but: there are Western parallels. Older family members make a point of telling these stories, keeping that knowledge alive, not letting us forget where we came from. And could return. What next varies: my family includes Quakers, Catholics, Jews, Communists,…

Good to talk!


[SUZIE] 7/27/2011 8:29:49 PM

I appreciate your thoughtful email. I had written you off as a sarcastic bully because of you bashed me for my [expensive smartphone]. Sorry I am being honest 😦

[Ed.–I should add here: This made me feel really sad. I wasn’t being sarcastic at all–believe you me, Ginger sarcasm is hard to misconstrue.]

I saw your past posts and you thoroughly care for those causes, you have had a non-traditional childhood and you are passionate enough to make this your life. So you are credible vs. all others on the board.

If you see other people’s comments like [“Teresa”] — she has issues with companies making obscene profits. I don’t. I’d like to know if she owns any stocks. [“Ursula”] has repeatedly posted that spending money on luxuries (like a $100 cream) is unethical because it is someone else’s (in China) monthly salary. I am sorry but where do we draw this line? An expensive dinner, a designer dress, a nicer car an [expensive smartphone]   vs a dumbphone?? Where do we draw the line? How can we draw the line for others?

You are an exception to live so thoughtfully and donate equal money to charity that you spend on luxury. Do you think all these people who were jumping on me live like that? They sure will get on their moral high horse and bash me for a cream in a heart beat.

[“Vanessa”] will recommend [a certain very cheap ingredient] to every person she can and look at how many people are having reaction to it. So it’s OK to recommend [that stuff] to people but not [a certain pricey cream] because it’s expensive? Is [that cheap thing] produced in an environmentally responsible way? I am asking, I don’t know. I am sure you know more than I do.

Did you see the post on someone commenting on Jaycee Lee Dugard’s skin looking pretty because she stayed out of sun. At least 5 members jumped on her for being callous. No she was not suggesting how lucky JLD was or how everybody should get locked away and raped for 20 years for good skin. No she just commented on her skin and the scb roasted her. Literally!

SCB is a holier-than-thou, sanctimonious board where you get bullied over simple things. I have a problem with these people. YOU are an exception, because you are living a very conscious life these people are not. I have no problem you whipping me for being irresponsible…. I will come to you when I want to be fired up about this stuff…. believe me at one point I was too. But having a very demanding job, 2 kids and a less than perfect marriage forces you to reorganize your priorities. What is easier for me? To go to whole foods (that’s 15 miles away) and buy ethical products or to go to the nearest Walmart and buy products made in sweatshops and sold by a company that is known to engage in unethical practices. And the cost is an issue. I can get cartfull of food for $50 at my local grocery store and that same $50 won’t buy me more than 1-2 handbags of food at WF. My husband makes budgeting decisions so I have no control over it. I have done the math. Feeding a family of 4 with elastoresistance products will cost me at least 3-4 times more.

If I think of more, I will write more. But I gotta fix dinner. It was great talking to you. Some member emailed me and suggested that I leave the scb. I am getting there.


[GINGER] 7/27/2011 8:57:42 PM

Hi there–

I know. SCB often sucks. Feel free to drop me a line any time it all gets a bit much–you wouldn’t be the only one 🙂

Well, to be fair, my own actual childhood was privileged; any non-privileged phases were my own decision (or, sometimes, bad luck or poor choice). But all the way along, I had these stories from relatives–still do–and this sense of support, and of not taking anything for granted.

On specific SCBers and single-track advice: I’d suggest ignoring them, or else comment with a “2nd and how about maybe also trying [x]…” plus the usual YMMV warnings. I know how tempting it is to say “no, that’s wrong” or “be careful”–people do snap! All I can say is, I know how hard it is, but sometimes just don’t respond.

Or don’t respond (or be very diplomatic) on the boards, but PM the person who asked in the first place–especially if they’re new or newish–just to say “there are other options, even though that person sounded really emphatic, that doesn’t make what they said any more true–it’s still just one option out of several available.” Etc. A lot of this stuff is easier dealt with in messages than on the boards.

Sadly, that includes a lot of what I’d reckon to be actual comment and discussion. You too, by the sound of things.

I completely agree, though, on [that cheap thing] vs [that pricey one]. There’s no reason–only force, which isn’t reason–why one opinion of a product should be worth more than another: if all we’re talking (which is most of the time) is opinions. Same goes for one individual user’s experimental experience. My skin is cool with [both the cheap thing and the pricey one], except the scent made me sneeze. But the same is true of lots of other things if I put them on my face (including Nivea in the blue tin). And doesn’t change the fact that [the pricey stuff] was, on my skin, a good moisturiser. That fact is completely separate from its irritating my nose, or from my liking/disliking the company, packaging, ingredient sourcing, research methods, price, marketing, … If it works, it works. If it works on you, you love it, and you’re the person working for and paying for it, that’s the end of that.

It’s this weird MUA philosophy: being on a quest for the Holy Grail is taken as being the default status, and that’s fine. But as soon as someone finds their HG, that’s where the problems start… and often where they’re seen as (might be) a threat, and their MUA existence is threatened and may come to an end. Ulp.

Ignore anyone who suggests leaving. I say stay: sometimes keep your distance.

And you do sound like you have more than your fair share of things to juggle. Small wonder this sort of business would bug you! I do sometimes wonder how many MUAers are teenagers or stay-at-home housewives or otherwise people who have nothing else to do with their lives. (I’m lucky–really lucky–and I don’t forget it, in job and DH and where I live, and having access to good food, inc. cheap markets.)

Look after yourself & hope you had a good dinner, meanwhile!


[SUZIE] 7/27/2011 9:58:07 PM

I guess I a very combative person and I feel like I shouldn’t have to apologize for my product suggestions and like everybody else I should be free to recommend products that worked for me. I don’t assume anything about the asker — their belief system, economic status etc. To me products that work for you are worth making adjustments for. I own a [expensive computer] and I stopped drinking [expensive coffee] to justify the 2K price tag.

The problem with SCB is that you are not allowed to make product suggestions based on arbitrary standards set by some people. If [the original poster] asks for a product rec for moisturizer then all of us should be able to give suggestions. If OP asks for “how does the board feel about xyz” then we can all argue about what’s best.

People get pounded on for recommending [a certain] brand. Because the board has decided that it’s a bad product. IDK why, I have never used it myself. It’s not even expensive but the board hates it.

I hate the HG philosophy. I don’t count [maker of a certain pricy face cream] as my HG. I am EO product whore. I will dump any product in a heat beat if I find something better and cheaper. Things that we own — end up owning us. And I am well aware of that pitfall in life. I’d just appreciate these people getting off their moral high horse.

I was just ticked off by [Vanessa]’s “not even sweatshops?” question. Really? I will show her slums and I will show her sweatshops and ask her what she prefers for others. And I’d like to ask [Teresa] if she prefers to put her retirement money in companies that make obscene profit or the ones that make marginal profits.

Anyway. I know I am ranting. Pardon me. I need to take a break. I am going to [a country in the developing world] in less than a week so I know I will be away….which is a good thing. I need it.


7/28/2011 12:58:12 AM
Nothing to apologize for: your product suggestions, like anyone else’s. The internet is supposed to be a free world. Ranting welcome any time. Seriously. If it helps–great. I don’t mind, I like reading stuff, and some of my job involves listening to people rant (heck, and the mediation end too). I rant too. Come to think of it, pretty much everyone I know does. Maybe it’s–shudder–normal?

elf_107 and claredoll77 [I’ve left their MUA monickers in here, for what should be obvious reasons…] are also really good to talk to, and good listeners.

I’m with you on the SCB issue. I’ll be more careful myself in future, too: make it clear if I suggest s/thing that that’s all it is: a suggestion. And hint however discreetly that has to be that that’s all that other people’s responses have been too…

HGs: I had to chuckle. What you said about CDLM is one of the most concise things I’ve seen in quite a while about the scientific / experimental method as applied to skincare. “Things that we own – end up owning us” is really nicely put. I like it.

I *think* one of the problems with MUA is that, while there’s a ban on talking religion–I guess so as not to have missionaries preaching, or even more individual-bashing than usual–that’s taken the wrong angle to freedom of expression: it’s ended up enforcing intolerance rather than tolerance. Excluding all that is private–what people believe, feel, etc.–in combination with making everything public. If things that are private can’t be spoken, and all that is spoken in public, then there’s no more private–and no space for respect for it. Ironically, through trying to protect it. (I’m not sure that was very well expressed. Dinner coming up for me soon.)

So the private/public, personal/not personal stuff ends up being mixed up. Even more so than usual, when it’s so commonplace for beliefs and opinions to be mixed up with arguments and facts. It can be well-nigh impossible to have a grown-up rational discussion without that being seen as a fight, and indeed becoming one: all attacks misunderstood as being personal. “Argument” becomes a negatively-loaded word, rather than straight-up neutral debate about ideas.

I’m not pardoning you as there’s nothing to pardon! Bloody hell, in your shoes, going to India in under a week, I’d be really pissed off with MUA too. But enjoy your time away, I hope it provides rest and respite! And feel free to drop me a line when you get back.


7/28/2011 1:01:40 PM
[Ginger said…] “If things that are private can’t be spoken, and all that is spoken in public, then there’s no more private–and no space for respect for it.

Agree with it 100%

Also just like in real life we must make an effort to “politely” disagree with anybody. It is a longer response to type and more work but it needs to be done — that is note to myself of course.

Anyway I am going to try to word my responses better so that I am helpful without offending anybody.


See? A proper discussion. That resulted in some really good statements (which are in bold). As the BT ads said, “it’s good to talk.” Not what we could have gone into on the MUA Skin Care Board, as it would have been off-topic.

But what’s one man’s off-topic is another’s really rather interesting discussion. Which might have been interesting for other people too, you know, as a spectator-sport. Gone are the days, for the most part, where public lectures and debates were hot tickets in town for an evening’s entertainment. No: instead, we get different entertainments that must absolutely must, darling, be more advanced and sophisticated, and better, and higher quality. Because they cost more.

And we all know that price = value = worth.



That was probably all a bit much. I should end on a more upbeat note. Here’s some rather more uplifting images, of happy over-consumption:

Image at top: Christ Net (Swiss; left-leaning Christian forum for the discussion of social and economic issues, the environment, culture, and development)

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