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Jun 11, 2019 04:16:40


by @vickenstein | 206 words | 🐣 | 218💌

Victoria Maung

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I imagine that there's a dichotomy between being principled and practical (although being practical can definitely be a principle). But maybe this is only when someone does something that is so wildly unpractical (at least to me), that I can only justify it as being strongly principled. 

For instance, in a democracy, it might be hard to feel as if your single vote (especially if you live in a predominantly blue state) makes a difference in the outcome, and perhaps that's why many people never become civically engaged. But the principle of democracy is that authority is validated by the collective decision of the populace, so people should vote, if not for the outcome, but out of principle. 

I've also wondered if there's any relationship between STEM majors and, for example, politicians. STEM majors might be more pragmatic and less sympathetic to living according to abstract principles, like social constructs of bureaucracy, politics, or even sports. On the other hand, politicians might be regarded, on the other hand, as purely principled, prejudiced towards sentiment, power, and the devotion of many in the pursuit of a better world for her or his citizens. I'm sure that in reality all people are cut from different cuts of cloth.

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    @vickenstein "in reality all people are cut from different cuts of cloth." I heard somewhere that we are all basically born with out personalities. We learn things along the way, adapt and so on, but personality is what makes us do certain things repeatedly.

    Gabriel Greco avatar Gabriel Greco | Jun 12, 2019 00:07:31
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      @gabrielgreco I certainly agree with that idea that personality starts out like a clean slate, a la tabula rasa, but that also implies that personality could be dynamic! In every moment in life, we might have preferences according to the mood or goals of the time...

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Jun 12, 2019 04:16:44
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      @vickenstein The difference a letter makes! I wanted to write "with OUR" personality...this is what happens when you don't proof :)
      So yeah, not actually the tabula rasa situation at all, more of a predisposition or tendency towards something or other given our genes.

      Gabriel Greco avatar Gabriel Greco | Jun 12, 2019 09:46:22
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      @gabrielgreco Oh, that's a big difference then, haha. I'm sure that genetics also play a predisposition to things like whether we're more risk averse, more keenly sensing, etc.

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Jun 13, 2019 04:35:29
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      @vickenstein Yeah sorry about the confusion and yeah I don't think it's the set in stone type of predisposition, more of an underlying current which we tend to flow with.

      Gabriel Greco avatar Gabriel Greco | Jun 13, 2019 16:04:19
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    I feel like principles that aren't practical aren't principles at all and are something else entirely. I think the best principles are actually practical.

    Abe avatar Abe | Jun 11, 2019 23:27:34
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      @abrahamKim I guess if you define principle as per dictionary definition, "a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning," or in other words "ground truth," it's likely practical. After all, if the principle exists today, then it was probably practical.

      I guess as I was writing this, I was thinking of "principle" loosely defined, like a belief a person chooses to arbitrarily follow, such as the vegan with the principle to do no harm to livestock

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Jun 12, 2019 04:20:32
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      Lol I love that you brought up the 'dictionary def'. I was actually thinking about principle similarly to you. More like ethics -- aka standards an individual sets for themselves.

      There's a quote. "We don't arise to our ambitions. We stoop to our principles/ethics."

      And this is why I thought of principles as something that aspires to be practical. Because it basically is like the fail-threshold of how one ought to live -- according to the individualized narratives we tell ourselves.

      Abe avatar Abe | Jun 12, 2019 13:51:46
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      @abrahamKim That quote is excellent!

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Jun 13, 2019 04:35:59
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    @vickenstein A decision can be principled and practical at the same time. But it's more difficult if you are addressing a question from a political point of view. Politics is a team sport. And like similar contests, winning is what counts. That's when principle and practical often diverge.

    Mike Byrnes avatar Mike Byrnes | Jun 11, 2019 13:38:36
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      @mikebyrnes Hm, you're right. However, I guess there may be circumstances where you might have to sacrifice principle in favor of practicality? For instance, if a liberal idealist's principle is to provide universal access to affordable healthcare, the ACA was definitely a practical compromise as the most politically feasible reform package.

      Victoria Maung avatar Victoria Maung | Jun 12, 2019 04:32:14
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