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Thread: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

  1. #1
    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    Hello people.
    I am watching this old video and the phrase came up.
    My questions:
    Can the title phrase be considered a "thought-terminating cliché", or is it something different, perhaps something valid to begin with?
    Is it acceptable to demand consideration at the expense of intellectual rigor, or is the claim valid that the pursuit of intellectual rigor can be used as an alibi for oppression and/or domination?

    (I was not certain whether this is the right forum for debating this, if this thread needs to be transferred that's fine by me.)

    Anyway, what do you think?


  2. #2

    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    You need a contextual example of its usage, such as:

    @netflix I subscribed to your service since 2014 but after you allowed Dave Chappelle to harass, harm and stigmatize the trans community in the Closer I began to self harm by cutting my chest and taking a full bottle of my sleeping medication in an attempt to commit suicide...

    You've harmed this trans person and many others like me, congrats. From one human having a human experience to another, you have invalidated my existence as a human being. You have underplayed the suffering of trans people in an attempt to make black lives seem more valid than trans lives, without even acknowledging the very real harm you are doing to not just the trans community but the trans community of colour. When you make our existence less valid than others you encourage people to see us as less than human.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    So this one person's existence as a human being is only valid if... what exactly?
    Nobody ever tells them that there are different ways of understanding things?
    And nobody can discuss it?
    So, can we add the accusation of existence invalidation in the category of thought terminating clichés, or it "just" a debate terminating cliché?

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    chriscase's Avatar Chairman Miao
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    I think there are historical instances where marginalized groups remained effectively invisible, and the social constraints experienced by these groups existed at least in part in tandem with this kind of invisibility. For instance the phenomenon of "Passing" in U.S. society in the early 20th century, where "blackness" could be covered up. A person of African descent might live a public life as a White citizen, given a caucasian-enough appearance and willingness/ability to enhance that appearance using makeup and other artifice.

    Or take the life of an extraordinary individual such as Alan Turing, whose enjoyment of his accomplishments seems to have relied tragically on the suppression or concealment of significant areas of his sexual identity.

    So certainly I think there is a basis for seeing the repression of marginalized groups in a tragic light in the past. And certainly there are places in the present day where matters are much the same as they were in the U.S. or the U.K a century or more ago. However, given that there are entire departments in the halls of academia dedicated to making formerly marginalized groups welcome, it's hard to see such a statement coming from a student today as anything much beyond a naive, even maudlin attempt to sit at the table of the aggrieved.

    Why is it that mysteries are always about something bad? You never hear there's a mystery, and then it's like, "Who made cookies?"
    - Demetri Martin

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    paleologos's Avatar You need burrito love!!
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    Indeed, that seems to be my understanding as well, though I would use more intense language for the loss of the contributions Turing would have made had he not been "made invisible".

    However, the aim of this thread was to discuss the effects the accusation and to that end we need to understand the explicit and implicit meanings of the accusation.
    What does it mean to "invalidate someone's existence"?
    Is it not integral to the foundations of western civilization that the validity of one's existence is self-evident?
    Does the accusation simply mean that I am placing myself on the "wrong side of history" simply by nudging someone else to challenge their prior convictions?
    And what effects does it have on our ability to converse?
    Last edited by paleologos; June 26, 2022 at 05:28 AM.

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    chriscase's Avatar Chairman Miao
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    Well I suppose one could ask someone who is gay in Uganda what that's like.

    But in the context of the lecture in the OP it's an entirely different situation as far as I can tell. Freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas means the obligation to attack any and all ideas vigorously. The inability to tolerate honest inquiry regarding one's ideas, however closely they are held, is simple intellectual immaturity. Frankly it's a common defect and arguably one of the principal ailments a proper education aims to cure.

    Why is it that mysteries are always about something bad? You never hear there's a mystery, and then it's like, "Who made cookies?"
    - Demetri Martin

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    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    I would call it a right more than an obligation. If everybody attacks everything all the time there is no consensus and no progress.
    Under the patronage of Pie the Inkster Click here to find a hidden gem on the forum!


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    chriscase's Avatar Chairman Miao
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    Yet if a particular idea is exempt from criticism we lose something important, wouldn’t you agree?

    Why is it that mysteries are always about something bad? You never hear there's a mystery, and then it's like, "Who made cookies?"
    - Demetri Martin

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    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    And yet we live in a society where 99%+ of the ideas we hold are explicitly not criticisable because they have been proven to be axiomatic. You would not attack the idea that continents exist, or that the earth is round or that obesity leads to diabetes, would you? Well, that is exactly what the "obligation to attack any and all ideas vigorously" demands. You accept nothing as true and doubt everything all the time.

    Yes, not criticising anything is just as bad as criticising everything, which is why one has the right to engage in constructive criticism not the obligation to attack everything. The difference lies in the fact that constructive criticism stops when idea is proven to have merit.
    Under the patronage of Pie the Inkster Click here to find a hidden gem on the forum!


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    chriscase's Avatar Chairman Miao
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    Default Re: "This invalidates my existance" - Or Does it?

    And yet many profound changes in our understanding of the world have originated in questioning assumptions previously held to be self-evident. I do agree that at some point we have to agree on some axioms - otherwise we endlessly question without ever producing anything to evaluate. But even those kinds of axioms can and should be evaluated closely. Every one of your examples is pretty amenable to examination. I'm sure we could come up with others that make your point though.

    Why is it that mysteries are always about something bad? You never hear there's a mystery, and then it's like, "Who made cookies?"
    - Demetri Martin

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