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October 02, 2008


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Dear Brian,

What? You mean that the call/demand for providing the service of jury duty is not an "existential blunder..."?

Robert Paul Howard

Last place I worked (consulted) for, I was amazed at how low the salaries were. My consulting fee was very good. I could easily and fully fund my sep-ira. The company, I consulted for, 156 employees, only 10 had a 401k retirement account. I discussed this with the VP of Sales, he gave me the numbers. In conversations, with employees at the various plant sites, I was informed that, just basic monthly expenses, ate up all their salary. No money left for savings. WOW, I felt rather sad, so many that could not put some money away. So, only a privileged few are in a position to save in a 401k program.

Last few weeks, I have been thinking, "Life is not fair." Half of my diversified mutual funds are losing value, up to 7 per cent.

Now, I'm thinking of all those friends at work that never had a chance to save. I'm feeling kinda selfish, right now.

Robert, discernible problems aren't existential blunders. Anything you can sense, that's a problem. Anything conceptualized, assumed, founded on metaphysics, philosophy, or theology -- that's what I call an "existential blunder."

Jury duty simply is something to be dealt with. What I was challenging is the notion that above and beyond the evident issues that have to be handled is an extra level of problem-ness woven into the very fabric of existence.

Such as original sin, karma, fall from grace, that sort of stuff.

Dear Brian,

Perhaps like "[p]ermanent panels of judges [who] manage to render verdicts competently"? Such does sound like something wholly "conceptualized, [and] assumed...."

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, you seem to be a bit obsessed with the virtues of juries -- which is keeping you from understanding what I'm saying.

Judges and juries are observable. It's possible to draw conclusions about them, interact with them, describe them, experience them in a shared reality.

Original sin... karma from past lives... exclusion from paradise... existence of Satan or a "negative power."

These are unobservable theological or metaphysical concepts. They aren't in the same reality ballpark as things that can be sensed.

Yes, being humans we're able to use language to describe what is sensed. But this conceptualization is a whole different order from concepts based on thoughts or other concepts, lacking a foundation in physical reality.

Do you see the difference? Do you think there is a difference?

Dear Brian,

Yes. I see and acknowledge the difference.

And thanks for your ad hominum attack/judgment that I am "obsessed with the virtues of juries..." - and also for your demonstrating your presumed power of being able to read my mind so as to tell me what is "keeping...[me] from understanding what...[you were] saying." It is amazing that you (think you) have the power to do this. I am more inclined to see this as just more "self-centered grandiosity" on your part. While I'm sure that I could be accused of the same, this seems to be just another example of your being "still as full of...[your]self as ever."

Although some might dismiss such egotism as just an "unobservable theological or metaphysical concept...," it appears to me to be "in the same reality ballpark as things that can be sensed" in my world of experience.

I still assert that: "'[p]ermanent panels of judges [who] manage to render verdicts competently'...sound[s] like something wholly 'conceptualized, [and] assumed...'" - even if in the social/political(/judicial) sphere, rather than in the sphere of "metaphysics, philosophy, or theology." (Cf. the Supreme Court's 2000 determination about the Bush/Gore election.)

Bitch as you so choose about how the jury system "sucks," is "un-American," and is "stupid," I have no particular faith that your proposed alternative(s) will be any more just in its functioning (even if less inconvenient to you).

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, all we're doing here -- or anywhere -- is relating to each other from our own point of view.

You don't see me as I am; you see me from your point of view. I do the same. Sometimes we're honest about this, as when I said (in effect) "This is how I see you."

Then, you're free to do the same. Every disagreement, really, is sort of an "ad hominem" attack, because thoughts don't come out of nowhere, but out of someone's mind.

When I try to express some thought, and I have a sense of why another person isn't registering what I'm trying to say, it seems reasonable to point that out to the other person.

We all have blind spots. That might be all we are, in fact, one big blind spot. I've benefited a lot from having people speak to me frankly and directly about what they see me as not seeing.

Whether it's the pluses and minuses of jury duty, or anything else, we all tend to be rather rigid and closed to fresh perspectives. What I enjoy doing on my blogs is sharing how I feel about something, and then seeing how others react.

It's the process that is most interesting and entertaining, not getting to any ultimate truth.

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