Al-Ma'arri famously replied: The dog is the one who does not know 70 different words for "dog".
And that, my friends, is the challenge or insult of al-ma'arri, as it's widely known in arabic, ma'arra al-ma'arri.
As-Suyuti, the incredible polymath, wanted to disassociate from this insult, and collected all the names he knew of "dog", in rhyme, and called it "the disassociation from the insult of al-ma'arri", or in arabic, tabarri min ma'arra al-ma'arri.
Here's a recitation of it on yt: https://youtu.be/wbS6es1lOxU
I believe he only collected something like 65, though.
An academic recently did a doctorate (I believe) and collected all the words he could find for "dog", having access to vastly more literature from both the aravian west and east.
I believe he got 67.
Humphrey Bogart wore a fedora.
Cultural historical differences be damned; while types of comedy and speech have changed over time, real wit has always been a part of modern human behavior, and putting someone down in the name of comedy has always been a slight. I especially agree with the call out about basically esoteric trivia; it sounds like something I would have said when I was 17, thinking I was above everyone, and just making everyone else around me feel extremely awkward.
If anyone of us is a dog, then, indeed it should be the one least learned.
It's better to deal with such a comment by posting a substantive reply, which I'm glad to see that you did above. I'm particularly glad that you did it politely and with a light touch; that's not always easy when a comment has produced irritation.
in this case there is a dead comment that further sheds light on the nuance ("The bite of the comeback gets lost in translation. It was pretty good given the context and the language."). why is it dead? what is offensive about that? you encourage this kind of downvoting behavior.
there is another comment (i can't see the score but i'd bet that it's high - as high as the first smug comment's) that responds to the smug comment and concurs.
your pretense to idealism simply biases comments towards articulate arrogance/smugness rather than actual curiousity. imagine being the person that posted the root of this thread (the apocryphal story) and their reaction to the lovingly posted insight into their culture (aliswe - ali swe). why would you ever share here again? and it's such an interesting comment too, something that neither of us would ever discover on our own since we're not arabic speakers. you should have come to this person's defense, not the smug person's. this is not unlike what we see today socially - intolerance of intolerance is more strictly punished than the intolerance.
Actually, you're expecting several impossibles. Here are two others: that a large public forum can be remotely free of mediocre, uncharitable comments; and that human beings en masse can do anything other than reflect human nature. That's the source of what you're upset about, not this or that industry. Individuals can vary, but once you get to statistically significant quantities, the patterns are mechanical and don't change. If you want change, I know of only one thing that works: observe in yourself how you do the very things you object to in others.
> if you look at my comment history you can find so many of these that i've debated against just over the last few weeks
I looked at your comment history and unfortunately found many instances where you've violated the site guidelines in arguments. That's not ok, and we need you not to do that if you want to keep commenting here. It also adds more than your share of the things you're complaining about on HN, so that would also be a good reason not to do it.
no now you're playing strawman here. i stated very clearly, by way of case in point, what i expect. you're the moderator, i'm expecting you to moderate according to your sensibilities. you recognized the smug comment and said nothing. you also recognized the unsubstantive comment and did say something. simply say something in both instances.
>not this or that industry. Individuals can vary, but once you get to statistically significant quantities, the patterns are mechanical and don't change.
that's like saying that voat.co or a jail or a bank just reflects population.
>I looked at your comment history and unfortunately found many instances where you've violated the site guidelines in arguments.
lol. that that's exactly what's at issue here. you think pointing out where someone is vile is a violation of the guidelines rather than being vile in the first place. in fact it might well be but i don't see myself ever not making comments like these
and the mother of them all
none of the comments that i respond to in these got any moderation from you. all of them are worthless and some had you elsewhere in the comments.
Another reason is quantity. Most random walks you take through HN will be moderated non-uniformly because we can't come close to seeing all the posts. I realize it's tempting to conclude that moderators are failing and probably of bad character, but this rests on mistaken assumptions. We care about this at least as much as you do and work hard, sometimes almost to the point of burnout, to take care of the site. It's a mistake to conclude that we must think a comment is ok if you didn't see it get moderated.
Since you're concerned about the worst comments on HN, why aren't you flagging them? That's a way you can actually help us do better. Emailing email@example.com in egregious cases is also helpful, because then we're guaranteed to know about it.
Some of the comments in your list were flagkilled by users, some were penalized by moderators, and some we just didn't see. I agree with you about most of those cases, though not always with how you responded.
It's great if you want to defend others against unfair criticism, as long as you do it thoughtfully and respectfully. Your comments have been doing that sometimes, but other times you've been adding to the problem by breaking the guidelines yourself. Please stop doing that—it helps nothing, and you lose the high ground when you do it. You've been doing it in your replies to me here, in fact. Your argument becomes less convincing when you do the things you're complaining about.
The encyclopedia is rather very central to Ismaili sect of Shi'a Islam, and has refreshingly liberal and unorthodox views esposuing Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, Mysticism, Hermeticism, and Eclecticism. I think, Avicenna (father of Modern Medicine) was a follower of the philosophy embed in these books.
The quote I like the most (also highlighted in the Wikipedia article):
> "...to shun no science, scorn any book, or to cling fanatically to no single creed. For [their] own creed encompasses all the others and comprehends all the sciences generally. This creed is the consideration of all existing things, both sensible and intelligible, from beginning to end, whether hidden or overt, manifest or obscure... in so far as they all derive from a single principle, a single cause, a single world, and a single Soul."
For the curious, I highly recommend this concise treatment of the gist of what's a 52 (some claim 53) book encyclopedia on Math, Science, Philosophy, and Theology: https://www.al-islam.org/history-muslim-philosophy-volume-1-...
For a fun take on him see
He then became a meme shorthand for a very pessimistic thinker. Antinatalism itself has recently grow more popular, and even been represented in some popular media.
Sounds like he'd fit in with your average Reddit r/atheism internet edgelord.
If existence is a harm in itself, then it immediately follows that giving birth is unethical, unless you reject any notion of free will.
If you do the latter, then antinatalism and pretty much any other school of philisophy becomes moot since there are no agents around that can make decisions or change their thoughts.
To give a closer analogy, it's like saying that circumcision is a barbaric practice. It follows that you are implictly declaring that people who circumcize their kids have done something bad (doesn't mean you think they were solely responsible, or that the act was inexcusable/irrational on their part). If you deny this, then your initial statement was meaningless. Whether or not someone then takes offense is a different matter altogether.
The world is full of people with opinions that disagree with those you may hold closest. On a basic level, I don't understand why you'd be offended by someone else's opinion as long as they're not forcing it upon you/being a dick about it.
That said, my original point before I got lost in the details is just that I found it intriguing that you expected antinatalism to be so neutral a statement that it shouldn't warrant a response from others.
>The world is full of people with opinions that disagree with those you may hold closest. On a basic level, I don't understand why you'd be offended by someone else's opinion as long as they're not forcing it upon you/being a dick about it.
On a more complex level, the "you do you" approach is a denial of choice. Since the status quo is a certain way, and has certain consequences, then passiveness is in fact a deliberate and non-neutral action. That's not to say that you should conspire to offend and feel offended at every turn, just that moral relativism as a way of evading the responsibilities of free will is a fantasy.
To give an extreme example to illustrate this, let's say we replace the word circumcision above with a far graver issue: "Slavery, in my opinion, is a barbaric and silly practice, but why should that matter to you if you chose to sell your kid into slavery? You're you, and I'm me. We can think about things differently."
>Overpopulation is a meme. Many first-world countries today are literally seeking to import more immigrants because of under-population.
Their being a need for more humans to meet human ends is not surprising, but it certainly doesn't make an argument for the necessity of more humans from any ecological perspective.
> Besides, humans are natural too. It's not like we're built in factories and have smokestacks on our heads. We ARE part of that world which you think is beautiful, and to end human reproduction would be to partly destroy this world.
This logic doesn't compute for me. Is your perspective that, by definition, anything humans do is natural? If so, I think we have a fundamental disagreement on the definition of "natural". I don't think that packing the Earth to the gills with humans at the expense of other species survival is in any way a positive development.
Isn't it also selfish to prevent your children from experiencing its beauty? To smell a flower, to touch and be touched, to experience love, to feel the joy of truly understanding something - the list is truly endless!
Besides, our primary job is to ensure the continued existence of the human race, and the first and most important step in that process is to bring new humans into this world.
Yes, I agree: there are other factors to consider when making this decision, and honestly, I don't judge you either way.
The way I look it is that if we cease to give birth to new humans, we are guaranteed to go extinct, but there is no guarantee (yet!) that overpopulation or environmental abuse will cause a world ending event. The earth has gone through far more destructive eras and yet here we are!
Ultimately, it is indeed a philosophical argument: does the risk of potential suffering outweigh the joys of experiencing life? I don't think so, at least not yet.
Overpopulation is a meme. Many first-world countries today are literally seeking to import more immigrants because of under-population.
Besides, humans are natural too. It's not like we're built in factories and have smokestacks on our heads. We ARE part of that world which you think is beautiful, and to end human reproduction would be to partly destroy this world.
That said, are you claiming that life only has value if there exists some "ecological necessity" for it? Because I just don't see enough consistency in any definition of "ecological necessity" to make it a meaningful term. Ecology has shifted dramatically throughout earth's history - any species you could have called "ecological necessary" in the jurassic era doesn't seem so necessary in the long-run judging by the multitude of life that continued after extinction events.
I'm claiming that humanity should not be held so supremely important that in the name of blind procreation we should be displacing and bringing to extinction other forms of life and potentially bringing the habitability of the planet for all life into question.
I think some people (including myself) might have the knee-jerk reaction that the main difference between antinatalism vs. just vanilla opting-out-of-parenthood, is that the former offers you a way to feel smug/holier-than-thou. What would you say in response to that knee-jerk reaction?