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  • AndyH-ha
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on social conscience
I would like some insight. Maybe this is about a psychology that no one understands. Maybe, not seeing very clearly, I'm part of a small minority to whom it isn't obvious. Perhaps it should go on some sort of social science website, but audio, an intrinsic part of its subject matter, is part of the life of probably everyone who uses this site.

Its about playing audio: music, television, any personal entertainment, but mostly music, loud enough to intrude on other people. To narrow it sufficiently, we can stick to playing music (or TV, etc.) in a residential neighborhood, in your home or backyard or any part of your property (in contrast to downtown in the business district, on the open highway, etc.), loud enough that the neighbors can not escape it without leaving town.

It seems to me a simple matter of common courtesy that one does not impose his entertainment on other people. The standard isn't "under X dBA," it is "can it be heard by people who don't want to hear it," period.  It is always possible to do it more quietly, or use headphones, so you are not attacking anyone, yet some people will be quite aggressive in their own indulgence, regardless of the effect on anyone else.

Some people might not care, they seem to be able to tune out anything. Some people might enjoy hearing what you are hearing, so those people are less to the point. What reasoning leads people to take the chance, or demand it as a right, that even one person be harmed?

  • sthayashi
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on social conscience
Reply #1
We'll start off real quick.  Who's getting harmed?

  • AndyH-ha
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on social conscience
Reply #2
Is that question really relevant to anything? Do you have some rationalization that if there isn't "harm" according to your definition, you need not consider the results your actions have on someone else, or you just asking for an enlargement of what I wrote?

If someone's music is invading my home, I'm being harmed. I unquestionably don't want it. It interferes with anything I might want to do. I can not relax, read, listen to my own music, or work on anything requiring concentration. It raises stress reactions, which are well documented to cause physiological damage, and like most other stress reactions, they are the same regardless of what one thinks or feels about them.

However, "harm" need not mean actual physiological damage. Suppose someone gives you a small spray of cold water whenever they want. This can happen often, it isn't a special joke being played on you for a special purpose. You have nothing to say about it.

It won't melt you. It isn't carrying anything toxic or any disease organisms. It isn't enough water to interfere with your breathing, except perhaps for an instant of shock. It makes you a little cold but you are healthy, your body can replace the lost heat quickly enough. It often dries before you get the next spray, although there is no guarantee of that. Do all these things it doesn't do make it ok with you?

Take away "harm" if you have difficulty with that. Just acknowledge that it annoys and distracts. There is no refuge in my own home, it is something real, a physical invasion that I have no way to keep out. It is dammed impolite. How is making one person miserable by another justified just for the sake of the completely voluntary act of that other entertaining himself, that is the question posed?

  • scuttle
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on social conscience
Reply #3
We'll start off real quick.  Who's getting harmed?


Well -

- Anyone who wants to sleep who can't do so

- Anyone who wants to concentrate and can't do so

Life is composed of time; being distracted from what you need or want to do is harm.

  • sthayashi
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on social conscience
Reply #4
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but I think the answer is that others do not view your ability to hear it as harm so much as lack of pleasure.  So their thought is, "why should I have to sacrifice my pleasure for yours?  If your home is so poorly insulated that I can't listen to my music, why do *I* have to be the one to change?"

An example of this would be neighbors having an outdoor cookout and you have the windows open.  Why should they shut down their party because you can hear them?

(This assumes of course that the neighbors are in compliance with local noise ordinances.  If they're not, they're breaking the law).

  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
on social conscience
Reply #5
I'm playing a bit of devil's advocate here, but I think the answer is that others do not view your ability to hear it as harm so much as lack of pleasure.  So their thought is, "why should I have to sacrifice my pleasure for yours?  If your home is so poorly insulated that I can't listen to my music, why do *I* have to be the one to change?"
One should not have actively to batten down one’s home simply to avoid unwanted sensory intrusions from someone else’s choice of recreation.

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(This assumes of course that the neighbors are in compliance with local noise ordinances.  If they're not, they're breaking the law).
It also assumes that law enforcement will do anything about it. That may be an overly generous assumption in a significant proportion of cases.

Also, I never like the implication that laws should be the main or even only reason to do or not do things. Sure, in an ideal world, laws are the codified reflection of established and broadly beneficial customs and ‘common’ sense. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and I think all realistic people can agree on that regardless of what their vision of such a world is (many of which are plainly wrong). More importantly, though, I don’t like the idea (generally, not specific to you) that, in cases where the law is correct about what’s wrong, that’s the only reason that people refrain (or should) from doing it.

Back to the first point, yes, there should also be limits on people’s abilities to shut down other people’s fun. But I don’t think that justifies pounding music as being fine and more attributable to a lack of foresight from the sufferer than a lack of consideration from the perpetrator. That smells a bit too much like victim-blaming to me!

  • sthayashi
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on social conscience
Reply #6
One should not have actively to batten down one’s home simply to avoid unwanted sensory intrusions from someone else’s choice of recreation.
Conversely, why should someone else cease recreational activities if one's home is poorly protected?  We're pointing at music being a problem, but other things can also cause a similar problem.  Dogs, babies, children and social events can also cause the same problem.

More importantly, people recreating may not realize that they're causing a disturbance.  Perhaps they've always listened to their music this loudly before and no neighbor has said anything.  Perhaps they're listening to music that properly utilizes the dynamic range given by 16-bits.  Perhaps they're musicians that need to practice, and they *HAVE* made efforts to not disturb others.

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Back to the first point, yes, there should also be limits on people’s abilities to shut down other people’s fun. But I don’t think that justifies pounding music as being fine and more attributable to a lack of foresight from the sufferer than a lack of consideration from the perpetrator. That smells a bit too much like victim-blaming to me!

Yes, it likely is complete lack of consideration from the perpetrator.  Which I think answers the original question.

  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
on social conscience
Reply #7
One should not have actively to batten down one’s home simply to avoid unwanted sensory intrusions from someone else’s choice of recreation.
Conversely, why should someone else cease recreational activities if one's home is poorly protected?  We're pointing at music being a problem, but other things can also cause a similar problem.  Dogs, babies, children and social events can also cause the same problem.
Given that I was specifically responding to that exact point that you have just reiterated, I don’t see how this can end in anything other than endless circles.

I maintain that any form of active insurance against disturbance should not be seen as a requirement of homeowners that makes them culpable for their own inconvenience in its absence. This is based on a ‘gut feeling’, not experience, but you just stating your position (or perhaps it’s just that of the Devil’s advocate) again in different words isn’t enough to sway it.

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More importantly, people recreating may not realize that they're causing a disturbance.  Perhaps they've always listened to their music this loudly before and no neighbor has said anything.
In which case we get onto the subject of people sometimes being far too reluctant to stand up for themselves, complain, etc. I agree that this is a bad mindset that is something of a systemic problem and, while not making people specifically to blame for whatever it is they’re annoyed by, could do with being addressed. But that gives way to the fact that so many things about society are far too passive, and so on, and so forth, and we could all go on for days.

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Yes, it likely is complete lack of consideration from the perpetrator. Which I think answers the original question.
So, we all ultimately agree, somehow, despite the preceding debate?

  • sthayashi
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on social conscience
Reply #8
I maintain that any form of active insurance against disturbance should not be seen as a requirement of homeowners that makes them culpable for their own inconvenience in its absence. This is based on a ‘gut feeling’, not experience, but you just stating your position (or perhaps it’s just that of the Devil’s advocate) again in different words isn’t enough to sway it.
My own personal feelings are that it's not always that clear cut.  For example, if a homeowner can simply shut a window and solve the problem that way, then I think it's incumbent on the homeowner to do so before asking the neighbor to turn it down.

In the cases of townhouses and apartments, it may be the case that there is no acceptable volume of music (i.e. the neighbor is listening to music at a perfectly reasonable volume for listening) and a compromise should be made.  Generally, people go with whatever the local noise ordinance states (since it's precedent and can be enforced by police), but anyone can agree to anything..  But at that point, if the "homeowner" doesn't want to hear the music that he compromised to, it's very much on him/her to engage in active insurance against disturbance.

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In which case we get onto the subject of people sometimes being far too reluctant to stand up for themselves, complain, etc. I agree that this is a bad mindset that is something of a systemic problem and, while not making people specifically to blame for whatever it is they’re annoyed by, could do with being addressed. But that gives way to the fact that so many things about society are far too passive, and so on, and so forth, and we could all go on for days.
I must confess, I initially got this impression from the original poster.

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Yes, it likely is complete lack of consideration from the perpetrator. Which I think answers the original question.
So, we all ultimately agree, somehow, despite the preceding debate?
Generally yes (excepting for those who've actively tried and failed to keep their volume in check).  However, I'm not convinced that it is always reasonable for the perpetrator to turn it down.

  • romor
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on social conscience
Reply #9
Today everything is too load, but IMHO main problem are vain people with zero awareness about it
Car sirens are louder, alarms are louder, everyone has more then enough loud equipment to listen to whatever they think music is, because it's so cheap and affordable, and sadly many think they are god given to earth and rest

others do not view your ability to hear it as harm so much as lack of pleasure.  So their thought is, "why should I have to sacrifice my pleasure for yours?  If your home is so poorly insulated that I can't listen to my music, why do *I* have to be the one to change?"

If you are invading other's peace with your cookout party, then maybe you should ask your neighbor if that's OK, without yelling they should buy new insulated system and shut their house, because you are in a pleasure mood, playing a teenage. You could also invite your neighbor on a barbecue

  • db1989
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on social conscience
Reply #10
Car sirens are louder, alarms are louder
The rest of your post makes great points, but I don’t see what’s wrong with loud alarms: if a crime were being committed, they would increase the likelihood that the victim would be alerted – or even a neighbour or passer-by, though I question whether a significant number of people nowadays would attempt to help in any way.

  • romor
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on social conscience
Reply #11
Car sirens are used frequently without real reason. From my experience (and I'm not even in 30s) many are just abusing it, while sirens are made louder and louder in every new car (especially in something scared city people choose most - suvs, jeeps, minivans). I believe you wouldn't like to be alarmed by such vehicle, passing by.

Whatever car you own, it's probably precious to you and you would buy even China import alarm, just to be like the rest. I hate car alarms. Real car thieves doesn't have problem with it, but just the alarmed surrounding, which - like you noted - would hardly react anyway. In most cases fired alarm is false - thunder strikes, big truck passes by, loud engine (car/motor) passes by, cat was playing around it... If you aren't living in apartment, sharing parking space with others, you may see on it differently, thou.

If I may go meta, and you allow seeing this as a noise, that is violent and disturbing, and a discharge from repetitive mass production, this thread title may be the only answer.
I'm under impression that it will only go worse, until some regulation redirects, and it pops on other side, while human consciousness continues it's dull downhill.

  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
on social conscience
Reply #12
Car sirens are used frequently without real reason. From my experience (and I'm not even in 30s) many are just abusing it, while sirens are made louder and louder in every new car (especially in something scared city people choose most - suvs, jeeps, minivans). I believe you wouldn't like to be alarmed by such vehicle, passing by.
I take it you mean “siren” as alarm, not the sort that the emergency services would use?

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Whatever car you own, it's probably precious to you and you would buy even China import alarm, just to be like the rest. I hate car alarms. Real car thieves doesn't have problem with it, but just the alarmed surrounding, which - like you noted - would hardly react anyway.
I don’t have a car, but yes, I imagine I would probably be tempted to have a ‘good’ alarm, if only for psychological reasons that I acknowledge as not being very accurate in reality. I’ve thought the same thing about my current address since I had a very expensive parcel delivered to neighbours and then stolen from me, but I had to wonder whether, if my door were battered in and everything stolen (which I acknowledge is unlikely), anyone would notice, and if they would care at all if they did.

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In most cases fired alarm is false - thunder strikes, big truck passes by, loud engine (car/motor) passes by, cat was playing around it... If you aren't living in apartment, sharing parking space with others, you may see on it differently, thou.
Now this does sound annoying. I haven’t had much experience of the type of residence that you described, and neither did I realise how sensitive alarms can be, so I can see your point a lot better now.

And yes, if I interpret your last paragraph correctly, I rather share your general pessimism about attitudes and society overall. Not that I’m deluded into thinking there was some golden age in the past, and I do appreciate some of the progress we’re making, but it’s mostly in things that should never have been wrong in the first place, and a lot of the good things are counterbalanced by new stupid things we come up with.

  • romor
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on social conscience
Reply #13
I take it you mean “siren” as alarm, not the sort that the emergency services would use?

By car siren (horn?) I mean about siren that's usually placed near the driving wheel, allowing driver to alarm others in critical traffic situation, instead used as expression of feeling. Is it called differently, or is it just that I used term `alarm` in different contexts?

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I’ve thought the same thing about my current address since I had a very expensive parcel delivered to neighbours and then stolen from me, but I had to wonder whether, if my door were battered in and everything stolen (which I acknowledge is unlikely), anyone would notice, and if they would care at all if they did.

I guess some would, but most wouldn't, if we take out social contents away from your location.
This, let's call it "conscience downhill", probably existed before somewhere, but not until recently appears as global phenomena, and I believe it is forced by media as acceptable behavior. I'm aware that this may sound lame, like every second pop lyrics crying about mass media, but I find it more likely it is media orchestrated process, than random global occurrence, justified by artificially made crisis.

Golden age is fine concept, I only meant to refer to past in a manner that mentioned sirens, alarms, speakers, weren't that loud and easily accessible, as they tend to be today. And I don't see myself as pessimist, unless we see pessimism as base ground on which we can project optimism
  • Last Edit: 24 February, 2013, 01:39:43 PM by romor