setting sail for the land of nuance

The goal of this blog is to explore nuance in a modern context.  From how it’s used effectively to where it might even be counterproductive due to the time and energy that is required to fully engage the issues in a “nuanced” way.  From the standpoint of large political movements, I’d like to explore how “nuance” is possible when dealing with the “law of averages”.  Hence, as a movement grows in number, it’s members become more “average” and less likely to embrace an intellectual or nuanced position.  But can certain norms be established that at least help the “average” embrace elements of nuance (and critical thinking), even if they wouldn’t otherwise?  I’m going to consider this and look into it, but I’ll also consider the possibility that I am simply hoping for too much.

The way our societies consume information and make decisions is not conducive to nuance.  People primarily are concerned with going about their daily lives, and therefore simply do not have time to sit down and fully consider the position of all sides.  This is reasonable, and in our current age information comes fast and furious, and often times people make quick decisions based on their preconceived notions.  But if we are ever going to make the progress that is necessary to advance to a more livable world for everyone, nuance is going to be necessary.  It will be required that in order to get from here to there, our civilization, our species, must take more consideration of the issues.

I’ll be working off the assumption that the issues are, in fact, nuanced to begin with.  Therefore, I will challenge myself to look deeply into the controversies from multiple perspectives to weed out hints of “the truth”.  Here I define “truth” as something that is more or less “fact”, in the sense that it can be verified.  Although in some cases the facts won’t always be so clear, and in those situations I’ll go off good ole’ fashioned “reason” and philosophical “first principles” to guide my way.

Most importantly, if the facts change, my opinion will have to change.  That’s the “First Rule” of this blog.  However, just because the facts change does not mean I have to redefine “first principles”.  Very rarely do facts ever come into conflict with first principles, and when they do it’s usually because one has not put enough thought into how to redefine their position, without contradicting their most fundamental code of ethics.  For example, the idea that “all people are created equal” is a principled stance, and there are no facts that can override this.