Greetings from the other side of the World Wide Web

Hello. I am an anonymous (lower case “a”) web surfer who is always on the lookout for stimulating, respectful online conversation. I was in a bar the other day and on the wall there was a plaque hanging that said something humorous about not discussing religion or politics in the bar. I discuss these topics quite candidly with persons very close to me, but it makes sense not to discuss them with anyone or everyone who comes along in a bar. Certainly not in a world of fatwas. And, for better or for worse, the internet is a great place to be anonymous. I find the internet to be a great place to test out ideas that don’t make for the easiest of casual conversation, and to get perspectives and reactions that differ from those most immediately around me offline.
I identify as a naturalist and a humanist. Theists sometimes describe me as an atheist. Other say that I’m agnostic, spiritual or searching. There is a lot to the matter of semantics, in my experience. Generally, I think of religion as a social structure first, and a commitment to a set of beliefs second. So I am much more interested in the anthropology and sociology of religion then I am in scientific skepticism.
The name “Other Quadrant” is a reference to the underrepresented corner of the political compass. We have all heard of liberals and progressives on the left, social conservatives on the right, and libertarians who say that they are socially liberal/fiscally conservative. But what about persons who are fiscally progressive/socially conservative? Well I’m really quite a bit more socially moderate then I am conservative, but I also don’t fit well into the three main political quadrants. I definitely belong in some sort of other place.
I am also quite interested in race for the same reason that I am interested in making sense of religion and other forms of tribalism. Namely, because I don’t identify with one but live in a world where a lot of people do. I am many races, or mixed race, or my own sort of race or not a race. I aspire to racial transcendence. I am frustrated that so many others don’t.
I hope that I can find a welcome place here.

Welcome Other Quadrant. You’ll find some interesting ideas here I’m sure. I am also more interested in those unpopular topics for discussion than the science and skepticism angle. When you say you aspire to racial trancendance, what do you mean exactly?

Thanks for the welcome Handydan! I guess that my reference to racial transcendence has much to do with my thoughts about religious transcendence. Races and religions are both, in my mind, based on group identities for which I have no place. They are both based on pseudoscience.

I agree with you. These identities are based on poor logic and pseudoscience. They are however, very real identities for the people who claim them for themselves and assign them to others. It is one thing to trancend them for ourselves but, how would you propose to introduce trancendence of these identities to people deeply invested in them? Or, is that a hopeless pursuit?

OQ, Welcome. I hope that you post frequently.

Thanks TimB.
Handyden, yes it is true that other people value these sorts of identities. Clearly, most people in the world do. I can live with that, accept for the fact that many of the people who value such identities can’t live with me. And while it effects me less, it also makes me sad when I see such people not being able to live with each other.
I can’t say that I’ve worked out how to fully introduce transcendence to such people. I think that some part of it might be in their natures, and that to some degree more enlightened sensibilities can be cultivated through nurturing. It is certainly possible for people to learn all sorts of things. Even things that do not come naturally to them.

Welcome OQ. I hope we hear more from you in the near future.

Hello and welcome OQ. Interesting concept, racial and religious transcendence. What are your thoughts on “national” transcendence? Do you consider yourself a citizen of the World as well or loyal to a particular political philosophy?
Cap’t Jack

Thanks deros and Thevillageatheist.
I embrace/reject particular values that races, religions, AND NATIONS, etc. value, based on my own sense of critical scrutiny and without regard for any need to conform to group norms. I am not for or against any particular race, religion, NATION, etc. but I am very much against the sorts of boundaries and constraints that such groups impose. I also see no problem in disagreeing with certain specific values that groups hold dear. That is, apart from the possible political consequences of saying so.
On the other hand, I do see a practical role for government that stands apart from the shared group values that are associated with particular national identities. And I do not see such a useful role as being present in the case of races or religions.
Regarding group values, a nation’s values can be exceptional to the degree that those values are cosmopolitan (embracing of the best ideas of any and all other nations) and humanistic (grounded in reason and a concern for humanity). There is no such possibility for a race or a religion.