Re: What does a disinformation artist do?
Apr 18, 2006 05:35 PM
My argument was broad and unnuanced admittedly. Nevertheless, my
argument approached the matter a little differently than what you are
suggesting. I argued: "If you introduce x into Y because you think
it is true then that seems forgiveable. But what does it mean when
you say that you believe x to be a lie and you introduce it anyway?
What does that mean? How does this clarify things?" In this case
someone agrees that x is false and combines it with a number of
truths. Whether x is true or not is irrelevant, we are asking what
intent would motivate someone to put x into the mix believing it to be
My background is philosophy and I sat through many a symbolic logic
course so let's look at this a little differently. We have some set
of beliefs X that includes (x1, x2, x3, . . . , xn, ~x1). Logically,
from this set that includes both x1 and ~x1 (not x1), we can deduce
anything. That is we can introduce nonsense and prove that it is true
on the basis that X1 and its negation are both true. This is because
you negate the rules of logic by establishing x1=True and ~x1=True.
Certainly, this is not a desireable thing. Most organizations get
around this by creating a common set of beliefs, a creed.
Unfortunately, the Theosophical Movement has no creeds so it had to do
things differently. The Movement was designed to encourage people to
think for themselves and creeds would interfere with such a process.
Even the Theosophical Movement needs logic, hence its motto: "There is
no religion higher than Truth." This establishes logic. Theosophy
acknowledges logical discourse. Theosophists also adopt certain
objects, the first being "To form a nucleus of the Universal
Brotherhood of Humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex,
caste, or color." The Movement's intention was to create a nucleus of
people working together. The second object is "To encourage the study
of comparative religion, science, and philosophy." This gives
theosophists a field of discourse, the comparison of the above creeds.
In a sense it provides action to the group that we have created. The
third object is "To investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the
powers latent in man." This gives us the means to go beyond the
discourse of the past and investigate man and Nature directly.
Within this group there can be no friction as everyone is responsible
for his own set X. Different people may believe different things, but
the group as a whole is beholden to the beliefs of none except for
what has been explained above, logic, brotherhood, and the importance
of the various fields of study. Any effort to limit this will be met
with force by the group.
Within Theosophy-talk people can believe what they want. Any effort
to limit the field of discourse or the beliefs of others is met with
resistance. That is why members of this group get upset when an
attack on a member seems to get personal. They perceive an effort to
undermine the freedoms guaranteed by theosophy. We are not
responsible for the beliefs of others. If you attack another member
and try to make him believe x or ~x then you are a danger to the
group. A personal attack cannot be tolerated. This is to say that
personal attacks against anyone are not tolerated. That is the rule.
If someone tries to introduce a set of statements Y whose logical
deduction is that Vincent is a liar, then it is incumbent upon me to
defend Vincent if Y cannot be proven to be True. That is the only way
I can defend the set of theosophical values outlined above.
Certainly, evil people may try to infiltrate the group, and we may
believe they are evil, however, if we cannot prove it then they must
be tolerated for the time being. In time they will show themselves
for what they are. If they have an agenda, they will want others to
adopt their agenda, and they will trip themselves up in their attempts
to do this.
This then is where we are at. Does repeating the unproven allegations
of people like the Coulombs threaten theosophy itself? The Coulombs,
who want to make of H.P. Blavatsky a liar, are they undermining
Universal Brotherhood? Should theosophists stand up for HPB and repel
these allegations? Put up or shut up. It is argued that people are
upset at Carlos for standing up to Daniel in his defense of HPB for
precisely the reason that Carlos is standing up for HPB. People think
Daniel should be able to put forward his beliefs without loss of
reputation. Similarly, others think that HPB should be able to put
forward her beliefs without fear of loss of reputation. This is
because since theosophy has no creeds all theosophists should be able
to put forward their case without fear of personal attack. The
arguments are not insignificant. They are about the very principles
that we as theosophists espouse.
--- In email@example.com, "Vincent" <vblaz2004@...> wrote:
> Is there necessarily always a fine line between knowing that
> something is true versus knowing that it is untrue? I believe that
> it is extremely common for people to insert 'halftruths' into a
> greater body of truth (99% truth and 1% falsity). In fact, I
> generally expect this to happen whenever people open their mouths in
> virtually any context. Oftentimes we make incorrect statements
> (more frequently than we realize), and we only catch them, if
> someone else ventures to scrutinize them. Even though we may have
> formerly felt confident about the truth of an issue, we actually may
> find ourselves a bit confused about it when challenged concerning
> it's veracity.
> In this context, I find that it is infinitely more constructive to
> challenge the veracity of a particular statement made, versus
> leveling indictments against a person's character, insofar as
> leveling indictments is inherently devisive all on it's own. If
> afterward they still assert that an item is true after it has been
> proven false, then, and only then, will I call them a liar. But
> beyond that specific scenario, I will just consider them to be
> confused on an issue, making unverified statements, as we all do at
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "robert_b_macd"
> <robert.b.macdonald@> wrote:
> > It seems that this moral debate can be looked at in terms of the
> > of disinformation. Correct me if I am wrong, but do not those
> > in disinformation present as much of the truth as they can while at
> > the same time slipping in misinformation because it is more likely
> > be taken as truth when surrounded by other truths? If you want
> > enemies to believe x, then take a body of truths Y and slip in your
> > disinformation. This is simple and straight forward.
> > What does it mean then when a member of your own team behaves in
> > way? Certainly intent is important. If you introduce x into Y
> > because you think it is true then that seems forgiveable. But what
> > does it mean when you say that you believe x to be a lie and you
> > introduce it anyway? What does that mean? How does this clarify
> > It is not important to have everyone believe x, but if enough do
> > you have, inadvertantly or not, sown the seeds of division among a
> > group. It is not surprising that those interested in defending the
> > group want to stop this type of behavior regardless of why it is
> > conducted. It is also understandable why those who do not identify
> > with the group find this behavior unproblematic. As individualists
> > they will believe what they want. I only hope that the
> > can bite their tongue and allow those moved by duty to defend the
> > Movement.
> > Sincerely,
> > Bruce
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