Moab Truth

“But if at this stage of the game, given what we know about how social media work and about the incentives of the people who make TV, you’re still getting your dopamine rush by recycling TV-news clips and shouting at people on the Internet, you’re about as close to beyond hope as a human being gets. There is no point talking to you, trying to reason with you, giving you facts and the sources of those facts. You have made yourself invulnerable to reason and evidence. You’re a Moab truther in the making. So, though I do not in theory write anyone off, in practice I do. It’s time to give you up as a lost cause and start figuring out how to prevent the next generation from becoming like you.”

—Alan Jacobs, “on lost causes.” Snakes and Ladders. November 12, 2019

3 thoughts on “Moab Truth

  1. I really liked this piece. It put into words this feeling I have had for a year or more now ….the feeling that I could hardly put into words but was floating around me like a image you could just about see but when you finally caught a glimpse it was gone.
    Probably because you didn’t really want to see or believe it was there.

    “So though I do not in theory write anyone off, in practice I do.” I love that line. Another line I loved when I heard it “Yes, sure it works in real life, but does it work in theory?”:)

    I wrote something on my blog a few days ago that I think was trying to articulate the feeling
    he describes. So in Theory I guess I hope that we are not a lost cause although our present reality would say differently.

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    1. I had a teacher once that used to say, “There is nothing more practical than theory.” Without some kind of theory, or mental model, about how the world, a subject, other people, etc. work, it’s impossible to understand them. Even with theory, you are dealing with a level of abstraction that doesn’t capture the whole thing, i.e., the map is not the territory.

      I struggle with this issue. On one hand, some relationships simply need to be written off. Some people find it helpful to think of it in individual terms, that this person may be wonderful for other people, but they aren’t good for you. Then, there are people that are bad but might turn around with a little love, or a lot of it. We all want to believe that “nobody is beyond hope,” because it is tacit knowledge that we might be the one beyond hope one day. We could descend down the dark hole of addiction, dementia, or worse and might get to a place where our lives are of questionable value.

      But, of course, that’s also nonsense. Because it’s how we treat people in those situations that define us as a people and as a society. The difficult people, the assholes, the Other are how we find our own limits and grow past them. At the same time, some types of growth is cancerous. Navigating this tension is one of the principle problems of life.

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      1. Will ponder on this as I go through my day,
        might be an interesting discussion. The struggle with “Relationship” “Others” is universal for sure. The “assholes” I am finding are useful in a myriad of ways that I was not ready to consider in the past……..

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