RE: virus: Re: Social Metaphysics

Tadeusz Niwinski (
Fri, 03 Oct 1997 17:00:02 -0700

Tim wrote:
>I know how Richard feels. Haven't you ever had a student that /almost/
>grasp a concept, but just couldn't get it, Tad?

Who is teaching whom? The way I see it, it is David (and recently Eric) who
are teaching Richard. I can understand what they feel as well as what
Richard feels. Each coin has two sides. This is not a university (thank
God), where teachers are those who are paid, and students are those who are
tortured with exams. Can you "flex your memespace" and assume for a while
that it is Richard who is the student here?

I like you, Tim, for picking important points. It is a very good point:
what can a teacher do if a student wants to learn and does not seem to be
able to? The question is worth exploring and here is my take at it.

The first thing I do when I believe a student is not capable of grasping a
concept is to determine if s/he is *willing* to grasp it. There is a very
simple method. I call it the Honesty Test (don't confuse it with the MS
Honesty(tm), please).

I once offered a student $50 for pointing out where in my handouts I said
something the student claimed I did.

A very simple test: he is either willing to support his claim with facts --
and get a $50 award for it -- or say "sorry, I was wrong".

A fact is a fact: I either printed it in my handouts or not. "A=A". "A"
cannot be "A" and "not A" at the same time. Seems like a very simple situation.

You know, what he answered? He said: <<No, thank you. Although I could use
the $50, I'd rather not look through all my notes for material for further
fights (we'll have plenty of them in the future without that help, I'm
sure). I like the "Tad" that rolled out of bed this morning, for whatever
reason (even if he still is a bloody Objectivist :) ).>>

If you think I am making up a totally unrealistic example, this is based on
a situation which really happened to me. Note the amount of words, the
provocative labels, the mental fog, this student was using to avoid reality
as a judge. Reality is not a respected source of knowledge in "Social
Metaphysics". What others think, the emotions one can bring up -- are more

It was pretty obvious to me that this person had a severe case of MAIDS, a
disease which seems to have no remedy yet. The test was practically over. I
knew he was not *willing* to learn. I did go further, though, in an attempt
to demonstrate how far a "social metaphysician" can go to avoid reality.

I asked him: "$100 ?", to which he replied: <<Make it $500 and I can call it
a "research grant" and it'll be worth the time.>>

Of course he never supported his claim and never apologized for lying.

The Honesty Test is a good start in any communication between people,
although it may cause a strong reaction from the sick person.

Do you think of any other tests to find out if the other person is sincere
and honest in your communication?

Regards, Tadeusz (Tad) Niwinski from planet TeTa (604) 985-4159