Sunday, January 15, 2017

How much should we care about the messenger?

I am struggling with how much I need to care about the messenger. It often seems like whenever I find a person I admire, they then go on to say something completely stupid or hateful and I feel like I should not admire them anymore. This doesn't inherently erase all of the good things they have said, but it does make me see them in a different light and make me less willing to listen to them. Is this fair? Should we really care about the messenger that much? Should we be able to treat people's ideas like a salad bar where we just take the ones we like and leave the ones we don't? Is it a matter of how often they are terrible? Should there be some sort of scale we use? For example, when Sam Harris says brilliant things 90% of the time but then he said something stupid or bigoted 10% of the time do we not worry about the 10%? Do we call to his attention the 10% and see if he keeps doing it and then ignore the 90%? On the other hand, if Donald Trump says something brilliant 1% of the time should we care? Should we still take the message and say that it was brilliant and hope for more or should we just ignore it?

It's really a struggle to know… Look at it this way, Sir Isaac Newton believe in astrology and alternative medicine and all kinds of stupid shit. We don't get to throw away his contributions to science and math just because he believed and stupid shit. Nearly every mail historical figure has been sexist as fuck, especially the ancient Greek philosophers upon whom we base a big chunk of our culture. Do we get to throw away all of their contributions because of their stupid attitudes towards women?

  How do we strike a balance between the message and the messenger? Pin It

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