Symbolism Isn’t About Secret Decoder Rings

In this video I look at what symbolism isn’t—a secret code for a simple message that could have just been said in a sentence or two—and what it is—the structure of reality presented in a simplified form to make it easier to grasp. Symbolism isn’t a code or a cipher, it’s not about hiding a simple message where clever people will find it. Symbolism is about what makes stories good—it’s about reflecting the structure of reality.

The Problem With Ex-Hominem Arguments

In this video I talk about the problem of ex-hominem arguments, that is, arguments “from the man”. These are arguments in which the person making the argument uses himself (or, more often, some trait of his) as a premise in his argument. The classic example is “I did X as a kid and I turned out all right” but it’s surprisingly common once you watch out for it. It’s not invalid to do, but it does cause some problems when a person does it, namely, that an ad-hominem argument becomes a necessary and valid response. In the example above, if the guy didn’t actually turn out OK, then how he turned out is not proof that the X was fine to do as a kid.