Lt. Staplic wrote:GrahamKennedy wrote:Let me put it this way. Suppose you took a random book you own and burned it right now. You don't even tell anybody else you've done it. Would you think that you had done a bad thing? Why?
I would feel bad yes, but no it wouldn't be an act of evil.
And that's exactly what I'm saying - that makes no sense. If doing it is not bad, why would you feel bad doing it? There's no reason to.
My argument is not and never has been "nobody thinks burning books is bad any more", nor is it "if you burn books there's no possible way anybody could be upset by it", nor "people who burn books usually do it for the sake of sunshine and puppies nowdays." My point is that there's no longer a reason for that particular symbol to have that particular meaning.
A kind of pseudo example I noticed in a movie the other day. Somebody said something "went up like a rocket," then paused and added "Time was, I would have said it went up like a balloon. Times change." A changing world made one phrase obsolete, but people didn't say "well so what, reality has nothing to do with it, the perception is that balloons go up fast so I'm going to keep saying that no matter what," right?
But then that scenario isn't what I'm talking about. There cannot be the context of society on an event you do purposefully in private to avoid such context.
Right, but the conclusion I take from that is that society should change it's views on the subject.
This is not to say that I think society will change it's views just because I tell it to, and society may not change it's views at all. But so what? Society has all sorts of attitudes that I think are wrong, and at the very least I'm always willing to point out that I disagree and say society should change. That's what I was getting at earlier... if you decide that you can't say "hey, this makes no sense" just because everybody thinks otherwise, you've given up on the very idea of individuals participating in and shaping society. Seems weird to me.
The nature of the symbolism is not for the person taking the action; it's for everyone else.
But we've agreed, so it seems to me, that everyone else is wrong. So let's tell them so!
What if you happenned to notice a plume of smoke coming from one of the local churches and upon investigation found that they were burning a pile of evolutionary biology books. Would you simply think, oh their having a good time and wanted to start a fire before it got too dark? Or would you see the symbolism of the action. Obviously they can't destroy the information on evolution; but the fact that they want to and are 'trying' has clear connotations around it.
As I said earlier, my thought would be : "Wow, what a pointless thing to do. These people are badly out of touch with what century they're in."
I wouldn't appreciate the thought behind their action, of course. But as I've said, that's nothing to do with it. I'm simply not addressing the idea that people don't like certain ideas and want them gone, it's a totally different argument. I'm talking merely about the symbol itself.