Active Thinking Topic 57   There Are Two Kinds of People in the World (??)

Saturday 13 May 2023, 1:30 to 3:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer -

Venue: Zoom online

Note that this topic is also running live on Wednesday 9 May 2023, 6:30 pm at The Elephant British Pub, Adelaide CBD. In that venue it will be a topic for Adelaide Shallow Thinkers (  ). Register separately for this. Shallow Thinkers topics are for free conversation. They do not have talking points or a reading list in the 'comments' section] .

Talking Points:

1. There Are Two Kinds of People in the World ... think of some endings for that :)

2. When are you going to say something like that?

3. How useful/interesting would it be to have fewer kinds of people in the world?

4. Once I worked in a TAFE where my boss was a charming old lady. Once in a moment of (what she thought was ) bleak honesty she said, "There are just too many people in the world. We are going to have to nuke places like Africa". How would you answer that proposition (diplomatically - she is your boss ..)?

5. Up until World War II Australia was almost a monoculture. In 1947 the Australian Foreign Minister said that Australia must 'populate or perish'. The country then had 7.5 million people. Now there are roughly 300 cultures in Australia. What has been lost, and what has been gained since that time?

7. Are there two kinds of countries? What could such a question mean? We often hear such an assertion in politics. What is the reality?

8. In workplaces, public spaces, and even marriages people often find themselves having to deal with people who "are not my kind of person". Think of some strategies for handling this kind of situation.

9. Changing cultural and legal pressures may force many people and companies to put on a public face that is radically different from their private opinions. Think for example of racism, sexual harrassment, off-colour jokes, environmentalism, welfare ... and so on. The outcome tends to be personal and commercial hypocrisy (e.g. greenwashing), and media culture wars. Not everyone will ever be an angel. How do we keep this brew from getting too toxic?

10. Think of three jobs you would hate to do. Someone has to do the jobs. What kinds of people would you expect to like these jobs? How can you bring yourself to respect them?

Extra Reading

Emma Brockes (Thu 13 Apr 2023) "The BBC gazed into the yawning chasm of Elon Musk’s sense of humour – and didn’t find much to envy - ‘I keep telling you I’m not the CEO of Twitter, my dog is the CEO of Twitter,’ he said. It truly was no-holds-barred stuff". The Guardian @ 

Timothy Bella (April 28, 2023) "Brawls, sex, and real people: How Jerry Springer took on Oprah". The Age @ 

Thor May (2015) "Probing the Limits of Tolerance". Passionate Skeptic website @  [Quote: "In those dull places where no demagogue offers permission to hate the neighbours, we might do our best not to draw lines in the sand, not to warn off intruders with a threat. Sooner or later though some threshold, hidden even to our conscious selves, will surely be crossed. We lose our temper, act impulsively, do something we regret in cooler moments, but it is already too late".]

Thor May (2015) "The Unexpected Power of Stupidity". The Passionate Skeptic website @  [ Quote: "Stupidity turns out to be complicated. Stupidity in its many guises does more damage on a daily basis than generations of clever ideas have ever been able to cope with. Human stupidity ranges all the way from planetary destruction to self mutilation by vengeful individuals cutting off their own nose to spite their face. Given the scale of stupidity’s ravages, it is a matter of wonder that it attracts so little systematic public research under its own name".]

Thor May (2015) " So You Love Humanity But Can’t Stand People?" The Passionate Skeptic website @  [Quote: "Humanity, when assembled as a state, also finds it hard to tolerate the individual. When should collective interests (e.g. those of a state) override the interests of individuals? Example: "Many Americans see “the right to bear arms” as a triumph of individual rights over the collective rights of the state".]

Thor May (2014) "Multicultures – communities of familiar strangers". The Passionate Skeptic Website @  [Quote: "When a stranger asks “what do you do”, as he fishes for the right stereotype to pin on my chest as a mark of admiration or secret contempt, I am at a loss to answer. That is, I am a man of my age, a chameleon creature accustomed to slipping amongst a kaleidoscope of roles. This plurality of role plays does not mean that I am "values free". I don't care if you wear a hijab or burn incense in a Buddhist temple. I do care for a marker such as "above all, do no harm" - not always achievable perhaps, but at least a navigation beacon. It is of central importance to the discussion in this article that my way is not everyone’s way. We all make sense of the world as best we can, then have a habit of projecting our understanding as universal truths. The article attempts is explicit about the writer's own experience, but tries also to establish a context for other, more various ways in which multicultures have been interpreted, especially in Australia".]


There Are Two Kinds of People in the World (??)  (c) Thor May 2023

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