The curse of blanket assumptions

Blood overcomes flesh
Sulphur overcomes silver
Strictness kills mercy,
And fire overcomes earth
And when the sun sets,
It’s red, you see
An Omen for when the final dusk comes

-Condemner, Omens of Perdition

Sometimes, generalizations are made to serve a greater purpose and help us cut to the chase by eliminating from a contention that which is obvious. In doing so, we arrive closer to the essence of the contention, to the real difference between two things set in contrast; we separate the wheat from the chaff. For example, I may assert that traditionally mercantile communities rarely indulge unpredicatedly, with any degree of true passion, in vocations pleasing to the higher intellect. My justification would be that if one is raised in an environment where material concern forms the overwhelming bulk of one’s idea of a happy life, then it stands to reason that that part of the thinking faculty stimulated by art and other subtle, idealistic musings will remain in an obscured state.

Generalization, though a statistically-oriented exercise, is ultimately speculative in nature, and therefore prone to the odd anomaly. But in this case, the anomaly, rather than upending the original generalization, ends up reinforcing it; in common parlance, this means that the exception proves the rule. If one out of ten people is homosexually inclined, then, leaving out all debate about freedom of choice, the homosexual individual still represents a natural aberration in that sample demographic. Any attempt at converting this state of being into an example of normative behavior, however charitable the reasoning behind it may be, is self-serving and a distortion of reality.

Generalizations or blanket statements can be extended to all sorts of phenomena, including heavy metal, provided the intention behind them is pure and based on accumulated experience. Unfortunately, blanket assumptions are often made because their prosecutor is too lazy to refer to that bank of experience; more damnedly, he might not even have gathered the requisite experience to make said generalization. In such a case, the generalization is an easy way for its prosecutor to leap to a premeditated and, in all likelihood, prejudiced conclusion. This does nobody any favors; not only is it dishonest behavior, but it also dilutes any element of truth that may have perchance existed in the premise behind the original generalization.

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5 Responses to The curse of blanket assumptions

  1. verber says:

    Are you serious about mercantilism?

    • Mercantile as a way of life, not mercantilism as economic philosophy. Where I come from, there are certain communities which have traditionally been involved with commerce only; I refer more to them.

      • verber says:

        I really don’t see your point. Humans would never have the luxury to contemplate the meaning of life and think about abstract philosophical questions without “mercantile” activity providing them with enough wealth to engage in these activities in the first place. You need a food merchant to sell you food so you don’t have to grow it yourself, a clothes merchant to sell you clothes so you don’t have to make them yourself, a laptop merchant to sell you the laptop you’re using to write this blog so you don’t have to make one yourself and so on. Say what you will about merchants and those specialized in trade, but you need these people to have functioning society, and more often than not, it is those very people who end up accumulating enough wealth to have the liesure of writing your favorite philosophy books (hence why Jews are so disproportionately overrepresented in intellectual circles).

        Again, there’s no way an ordinary human being would indulge in “vocations pleasing to the higher intellect” without accumulating enough material wealth to have the luxury of doing so. If you know of some other way of accumulating wealth other than trade and mercantile activity, then please tell me about it.

  2. BlackPhillip says:

    @verber In the book The Genius Famine, Bruce Charlton explains that highly intelligent individuals and geniuses often have no use for work and making profit, even profit that might be a result of their obsessions. They would rather dedicate themselves completely to their work, whether they get rich from it or not. The ones who do not die poor, alone, and unrecognized usually had someone to provide for them. Lovecraft is a good example of a genius who died poor and alone. He would not compromise his aristic integrity; instead he wrote rejected stories and maintained relations via correspondence. These types of people have contributed greatly to the arts, philosophy, science etc without materialist pursuits.

  3. Rager says:

    @verber – In Evola’s words, “In every normal civilization, a purely economic man – that is, a man who sees the economy not as a means to an end but as the end itself – was always regarded as a man of lower social extraction. Lower in a spiritual sense, and in a social or political sense, too.”
    This is what ODB means here. Also, to adapt Wilde’s definition of a cynic to this: a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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