Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"But There Are Two Sides to Every Coin".

Have you ever noticed that almost none of the things that are inevitably talked about following the utterance of this facile observation are the least bit like coins?

Usually, the things under discussion are much more like ecologies than coins. And so the gesture of "openness" presumably signaled by the insistence on the two-sidedness of the coin functions in fact to police the actual diversity of perspectives occasioned by a topic, to arrest discourse while pretending to mobilize it.

And this fails even to mention the contrary problem that the figuration of a problem as a two-sided coin is also often used to create the false impression that instrumental questions that have achieved a warranted consensus are in fact under contest when they are not (the contingency and hence non-finality of instrumental belief is different from the question whether it has achieved warranted consensus or not), usually in the service of fraudulent misinformation campaigns that benefit incumbent interests... "safe cigarettes"; "clean coal" and "Green Nukes"; climate change denial; "intelligent design"; abstinence-only education; free markets as spontaneous orders; capital punishment as deterrent; the list goes on and on.

6 comments:

Martin said...

And 12 sides to every dodecahedron, which is perhaps a better reflection of the perspectives in any problemspace.

Dale Carrico said...

Actually my first impulse was to speak of multisided dice, especially in light of Gary Gygax's tragically early eclipse, but then I thought "ecology" captured both multi-facetedness and dynamism better. Funny though you should go there, too.

Anonymous said...

Very keen observation, wish more people thought like that... /irony mode on/ But it seems our poor human minds can only understand two sides, preferably expressed in monetary values determined by Holy Spontaneously-Ordered Free Market!
Everything is accfelerating, we have no time for anything else, don't you see! That sort of thinking is reserved for Shiny Robot Gods!

/irony mode off./

giulio said...

It is evident that you wish every coin had just one side: yours.

But wishing it won't make it true.

Dale Carrico said...

If it's so evident, jackass, show us the evidence.

Anonymous said...

looks like dale just rolled a 20 for burn