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Promethean or Epimethean
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1386

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A physical fight is not a good analogy for politics. Political action allows TIME for careful thought, and negative consequences penalize lack of thought much more than they penalize quick reactions.
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Sterling_95



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
A physical fight is not a good analogy for politics. Political action allows TIME for careful thought, and negative consequences penalize lack of thought much more than they penalize quick reactions.


Unfortunately, crises are ungracious sorts and are known to not allow time to sit, investigate and react.

Neville Chamberlain has been excoriated by history for his role of appeasement, which is now seen as delaying the inevitable and caving into aggressors. However, Chamberlain's reasoning was extremely Promethean in structure. He believed that time was needed by both sides to negotiate, build up military force and obtain more information. He worked carefully on diplomacy and negotiation, hours were spent on discussions of each clause of draft agreements. He considered the will of the British people, as well as the rights of the Germans, French and Italians. Would you say that he was Promethean or Epimethean?

George W. Bush's initial response to September 11 - to sit there and continue reading 'My Pet Goat' - wasn't exactly seen as a demonstration of his leadership skills.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1386

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your description of Chamberlain's actions sounds like an inadequate attempt to be Promethean, which led to failure through either incomplete research or false assumptions (that the Nazis would obey gentlemanly rules). Remember, even careful thought produces poor results if it is based on incomplete or false data.
Dubya was unquestionably Epimethean--stupefied inaction in response to a surprise.
This is not a topic that can be settled in short posts. If I understand the mentions I've seen, there are recent competing books (I haven't read them, so I may have misunderstood): Blink! arguing for quick responses and Think! arguing for research and reason.
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Sterling_95



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 212

PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
Your description of Chamberlain's actions sounds like an inadequate attempt to be Promethean, which led to failure through either incomplete research or false assumptions (that the Nazis would obey gentlemanly rules). Remember, even careful thought produces poor results if it is based on incomplete or false data.


Mark, this is correct, but as none of us are the anthropomorphic personification of foresight, then none of us are Promethean and to aspire to be Promethean is then a fool's errand, as it rests upon the assumption of omniscience. Any of the instances where you listed Promethean vs. Epimethean then can easily swap places depending on a future outcome or outdated/false data, if global warming is a hoax or not influenced by man, if the current violence proves to be a blessing in culling overpopulation, etc, etc. We should also consider that while foresight is fixed, hindsight is Protean or even Procrustean, changing to fit the times and sensibilities of the different ages.
Quote:

This is not a topic that can be settled in short posts. If I understand the mentions I've seen, there are recent competing books (I haven't read them, so I may have misunderstood): Blink! arguing for quick responses and Think! arguing for research and reason.


Yes, I would heartily agree with that. As with most complicated issues, I would say that it's a mix of both instead of an either/or dichotomy.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1386

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The point is that effortful thought with research into facts and awareness of complexity can potentially approach decisions based on full knowledge, while snap decisions or accepting slogans never can.
Evidence for anthropogenic climate change continues piling on despite the efforts of deniers.
The doctor who started the whole anti-vaccine movement of the last decade as a sneaky attempt to market his own product has been totally discredited.
Paying attention to science or other sources of verifiable facts is vital to modern civilization.
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