Yet More on Ambiguity

Have I hammered this topic enough?  Probably not, because I keep missing.  But not by a lot.

Last month G at Jr. Ganymede wrote an essay that spoke of vices as distorted virtues.

The diagram explains the relationship better than I can in words, so I will simply steal it, and throw myself upon the mercy of the Court.:

and another:

and another:

(The “Virtue That Has No Name” is the quality of advocating standards that you do not meet—not to seem holy, but because the standard must be advocated.  More here.)

The point of this post is not to highlight the relationships between the specific virtues and vices, but to show that this kind of relationship exists and is in fact general.  Pick one of those cycles above and try and put it in a soundbite.  It won’t fit.

“Nell,” the Constable continued, indicating through his tone of voice that the lesson was concluding, “the difference between ignorant and educated people is that the latter know more facts. But that has nothing to do with whether they are stupid or intelligent. The difference between stupid and intelligent people—and this is true whether or not they are well-educated—is that intelligent people can handle subtlety. They are not baffled by ambiguous or even contradictory situations—in fact, they expect them and are apt to become suspicious when things seem overly straightforward.”

~Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

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9 comments on “Yet More on Ambiguity

  1. Adam G. says:

    Each virtue or vice fits into a soundbite quite nicely. It’s only when you put them side by side that you see that distinguishing them is very difficult. I think it can be done, rationally, but when you are trying to apply the difference in life rationality isn’t enough. Then you need wisdom.

  2. […] Calculated Bravery, an extremely important discussion that addresses hypocrisy, one of the primary crimes of […]

  3. […] Calculated Bravery, an extremely important discussion that addresses hypocrisy, one of the primary crimes of […]

  4. […] the Virtue that Has No Name post. (Both links were from interesting essays in their own right. See here and here.) One of the links came from a blog I’m not familiar with, so I scrolled down a little. […]

  5. […] Have I hammered this topic enough? Probably not, because I keep missing. But not by a lot. Last month G at Jr. Ganymede wrote an essay that spoke of vices as distorted virtues.  […]

  6. […] Dropit delves into the nature of Ambiguity. […]

  7. […] this blog I’ve aired my frustrations with ambiguity.  When you stop to think how many different factors are present in any given situation (as […]

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