Author Topic: Kinks to Work Out  (Read 7144 times)

alfadorredux

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #30 on: September 12, 2011, 07:40:45 pm »
(As for that, I also apologize to everyone since I have too been very hurtful at times -- especially you, Alfadoredux.  :( Sorry)

Apology accepted.  Still, I do have to take a bit of the responsibility for what happened in the discussion that I believe you're thinking of on myself--if I'd just kept my hands away from the keyboard, the whole thing would have blown over while I was still only mildly irritated, rather than sending me down the chute into a depressive fit. Normally, I have better control of myself, but in that particular case, your topic touched a nerve--something which you couldn't have been expected to predict.

And, Josh? I'm an example of the sort of person on whom your tactics would actively backfire. Because I'm so damnably emotionally brittle, my response to certain types of personal criticism takes on the aspect of a classic fight-or-flight response. All I want to do is make the pain go away, and so I either sling everything I can think of at the other guy to get him to shut up, or leave the venue. (This is also why I have no debating skills whatsoever--you can't construct a logical argument with a storm going on inside your head!)

I think I'll leave it at that.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #31 on: September 12, 2011, 11:14:44 pm »
Quote
How do I interact with people who get in the way when they really should be valued participants?
(A direct representation of your question more for my own use than any other.)

Josh, had I arrived upon this thread sooner and given a reply then, my advice would be similar to rushingwind's. It still is. It is not out of conformity that I agree with her. If anything, it suggest there is a basis to our claim. Instead of trying to justify your actions try to understand the reasoning behind the claim. If the advice gathered in this thread does not persuade you, then take what you will and be done with it. It is not your obligation to argue, although you are certainly not withheld from doing so; just know that it won't gather you many fans.

You're right, which I think is what Thought meant to point out. I asked for people's opinions, and made the mistake of belaboring some of the points they raised.

Taken together with the grain of the responses I've gotten in the past day, I think I've gotten all I'm going to get out of this thread. I didn't get what I was looking for, but people did raise some good points.

I do not often take part in the Compendium's general discussions. What Thought said is true: It is a daunting task to sit through such immense reading.

That's disappointing!

Speaking of which, it has come to my attention that few Compendiumites, if anyone, know of your philosophy in its entirety.

I will eventually be sharing what I have figured out. I'll be sure to mention it to the Compendium.


~~~ ~~~ ~~~
@ rushingwind: Thanks for your reply. If you care to discuss it further you know where to find me.

@ tush: Don't waste your time on that "proper" reply. What, really, would it accomplish?

@ Ramsus: Your game is wasted on me, and I'm disappointed that you didn't offer serious feedback. You, of all people, are supposed to have the maturity to keep your head clear and get work done in the toughest of settings.


~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Anyhow, I always expected that much of the Compendium had little use for what I have to say. That's how communities work, after all. And I expected that I wouldn't win any popularity contests.

So! It would only be fair to share what I've learned from this acerbic little thread, for those who are interested. I have long used the Compendium as a test ground of sorts (which I have written about here in the past). I have come to respect the capacity to reach people through aggressive tactics, even more so perhaps than through friendly encouragement. I have also come to learn that those same tactics create a big mess if they're not focused and finely crafted. I've generated too much unnecessary ill-will...not because I am wrong about any of my particular views, but because people are seldom mature enough to deal with a challenge to their worldview, and I make the quixotic effort to try and do it anyway, yet I proceed without mastery of the tactics necessary to achieve a clean result. I've had some successes, but failures too.

Takeaways:

    1. Most people won't benefit from a confrontation by you unless you have already given them some kind of value. (So add value if you want to confront.)

    2. Most people simply aren't capable in their present state of receiving criticism outside the circle of friends in whom they have decided they will expose themselves. (So don't criticize unless they let you.)

    3. Most people, despite words to the contrary, care more about a harmonious social experience and receiving tribute from others than they do about the integrity of their views or even their own character. (So let them build their ideas through social exchange as well as through dedicated study and discourse.)

    4. Being nice to such people is not difficult, and should be the default approach for engaging with them in lieu of cause to use a different approach. (So make peace with people's hypocrisy that they love being told things that make them feel important and can't stand the reverse.)

    5. Most people have only a limited intellectual capacity, limited self-confidence, and a limited attention span. (So do what you can with them, and not more. (That's among the hardest of challenges!))

Lost in all of this is my human connection to all of you. Most of you have said in your own ways that you don't like my persona here because I'm not nicer to you. If that is truly your only complaint, then I have no problem with it. I don't make it easy for people here to like me. But for those of you for whom there is more to it than that, I encourage you to participate in some self-reflection, because there is a lot you have need to learn about yourselves.

And that's all! I'll keep the thread open, of course, but I am out of things to say!

Edited for formatting errors.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2011, 11:19:24 pm by Lord J Esq »

Ramsus

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #32 on: September 13, 2011, 12:36:48 am »
I just wanted to note that I was actually being quite serious. By starting a cult you could emulate the process by which many religions spread and come to power, and in a few thousand years, a twisted form of your philosophy could become the dominant worldview. With some luck and some good founding doctrines, it may even remain mostly intact, in which case you can congratulate yourself for changing the world. It would also give you the personal touch that writing lacks, and the members would be more likely to continue actively spreading your ideas.

You can also run for political office and take an active role pushing for policy that promotes your beliefs, but to succeed you'll pretty much have to build a cult around you anyway.

Of course, the alternative is to devote the rest of your life to writing books, essays, and articles, carefully mastering the craft through years of hard work. Then you risk having your ideas completely lost in all of the garbage that's out there, but it could be worse. Television is a lost cause -- you can't compete with all the pundits and talking heads for people's attention anymore, and magazines and newspapers have been dying for a long time. Books are still important though. Just being able to read a book reveals an individual's openness towards approaching a topic and learning about it in some depth. If there's anyone you can influence without making them emotionally dependent on you through social manipulation, it's book readers.


Thought

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2011, 12:43:27 am »
Most people simply aren't capable in their present state of receiving criticism outside the circle of friends in whom they have decided they will expose themselves. (So don't criticize unless they let you.)

This thread is a bit of an object lesson in that, with the caveat that even if people let you, they still aren't always capable of receiving criticism.

Syna

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2011, 12:59:17 am »
J, I think I have some observations to add to this, but it'll take a bit of time. It'll be no long treatise, but whenever I respond to you in depth I have to do some mental calisthenics beforehand, especially when it's clear our goals are rather different. :D

It may or may not be more helpful than what has already been expressed here. You seem to have come to your conclusions, but I figure there's no reason not to contribute. The question of presentation is an intriguing one, and good to think about.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 01:05:34 am by Syna »

FaustWolf

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #35 on: September 13, 2011, 01:05:22 am »
Two questions to ask clarification on two points of your takeaway, J:

Quote
2. Most people simply aren't capable in their present state of receiving criticism outside the circle of friends in whom they have decided they will expose themselves. (So don't criticize unless they let you.)

How can this be balanced with the very real need to call out strangers when they make a sexist, racist, ableist, etc., remark?

I want to get your feedback on that specifically, but I do have a suggestion to make here: maybe the correction has a higher probability of success when the outside critic belongs to the group that's been targeted by whatever "ism" has crept into discussion. I recall one time I made a supposition about how men typically acted around women, because the mode of behavior I was talking about is something that's culturally reinforced in the Midwest, in my experience. You pointed out that there were other possibilities in less sexist environments, and that you hadn't noticed such an effect on your own behavior. I knew less about you at the time than I do nowadays, but your also being male was a clear indicator of your depth of perspective, and that alone gave me pause enough to seriously consider the point you were making.

To offer another example, I was once viciously descended upon for participating in a feminist discussion over at Reddit -- not based on the content of discussion, but because the user had learned that I'm male, participating in a feminist space. Because the language being used led me to believe it was an MRA at hand (MRA drive-bys in the /feminisms/ subreddit have triggered a bit of a Red Scare there for awhile), I curled up into defense mode. Once further argument clarified that a woman and a very hardline brand of radical feminism I'd never been exposed to lay behind the person's username, I took a breather and considered the validity of her point, and I ended up agreeing with her. The possibility of men crowding out women's viewpoints in feminist spaces thus became a very real consideration for me, and a reason why I've tempered my own feminism into something quieter, and hopefully much more useful in the long run. Now, a man could have made the exact same point to me, but I wouldn't have been so naturally inclined to consider it. The man didn't have the perspective of being a woman whose voice had been crowded out before; the woman did.  

Thus, in natural discourse, identity can be a powerful signal -- even though we're working toward a world in which everyone's opinions matter equally. In the current environment, perhaps it alone is enough to break through the barrier of having to consider whether someone "lets" you criticize them, and this is why it is important that people from a range of backgrounds be brought in to a movement. Though I suspect there could be meaning in your use of the word "let" that I'm not picking up on, too.


Quote
3. Most people, despite words to the contrary, care more about a harmonious social experience and receiving tribute from others than they do about the integrity of their views or even their own character. (So let them build their ideas through social exchange as well as through dedicated study and discourse.)

If I could make one guess about you that I'm confident is on the mark, J, it's that you'd be uncomfortable with "paying tribute" to others -- stroking their egos, in other words. Do you draw a distinction between "paying tribute" and "showing respect"? Not respect for the other person's position of course -- just respect for the person. Of all the threads I've interacted with you in, this golden oldie has always stuck out in my mind as an instance where I felt I came away with some goodies for having argued with you. When that exchange had ended I came away with the impression that I was respected in the end, and that made a big difference in achieving some personal evolution, rather than getting turned off from the discussion altogether. Honestly, I can't quite put a finger on what it was that gave me that feeling, but it's worth looking back on as one of your successes, if you would choose to call it that.

EDIT: Hah, I couldn't resist reading through a little of that thread again, and I have to admit that the moderating influences of the other Compendium members who participated played a big role in making the discussion environment respectful without taking out the saucy-ness. It's said that it takes a village to raise a child; and sometimes, maybe it takes a forum!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 01:26:42 am by FaustWolf »

tushantin

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #36 on: September 13, 2011, 03:26:04 am »
@ tush: Don't waste your time on that "proper" reply. What, really, would it accomplish?
The way you put it sounds like there's nothing valuable I have to share, or there's nothing I can accomplish (which is true by 45%). Indeed. XD There are a few points that you mis-attributed towards me (including a compliment towards you that you confused for accusation), but what the hell. It won't serve any purpose. Instead, the most meaningful of them, at least from my accounts, will be shared in another thread with some educational value.

That said, you might wanna get creative in a way. Reason I say this because people just love creativity. Do it in a way they get hooked to on to your meaning rather than get intimidated by it.

I have come to respect the capacity to reach people through aggressive tactics, even more so perhaps than through friendly encouragement.
Provocation will always get the most responses, and you have demonstrated this various times. But will provocation help people consider your point of view? That is the question you need to ask. A friend or comrade will always place his trust in you, but it's different for someone who's trust you break in the first go. Just sayin'.

Being nice to such people is not difficult, and should be the default approach for engaging with them in lieu of cause to use a different approach. (So make peace with people's hypocrisy that they love being told things that make them feel important and can't stand the reverse.)
Aye... *raises a finger, but hesitates* Nevermind. Sheesh, you and your blatant misjudgment...

Most people have only a limited intellectual capacity, limited self-confidence, and a limited attention span. (So do what you can with them, and not more. (That's among the hardest of challenges!))
The hardest challenges can easily be overcome with proper methodology (geez, Josh, we're humans, not barbarians). Here's a penny for your thought: If you want people to build a better home you come to their house, play by their rules and then inspire them to build a better one. You can't show up one day with a bulldozer to demolish their old home and expect them to conform. Face reality, man, things don't work that way.


None of the above statements are valuable to you, apparently, so you can skip them all (but seeing as you're reading this statement, I take it you've already read so far -- yeah, I'm that evil). There is something of value I wanted to give you, something relevant to what Ramsus said and about the medium of distribution, but judging by your volatile logic at the surface of rigid belief factor, I think I'll keep that to myself for now and take a wait and see approach.

ZeaLitY

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #37 on: September 13, 2011, 04:32:58 am »
Quote
Some take it in stride as though you have some sort of dispensary of intelligence they can take like a soda from a vending machine, but most know it's just a waste of quarters on empty cans. ESPECIALLY online.

That is the problem, though. Not that J is anywhere near as mean as TV's Dr. House, but it's kind of like that. Say what you will about House, but he's right. When I made the Compendium, I was a religious conservative sexist privileged shill, who defended Bush on these very forums. I have much of my own independent thought and perhaps environment and potential to thank for my deprogramming, but I have much owed to his posts on these forums. He, along with GrayLensman sometimes, bothered to write well-thought, authoritative, truthful posts that kept religious debates in check and ensured that there would always be an intelligentsia and intellectual elite on this forum, along with the unique culture it brought. This friendly culture and support helped me muster the courage to be skeptical. My deprogramming may have been significantly delayed if the Compendium hadn't been this way.

So this thread is a great endeavor. If the truth can be better communicated, the world will be drastically improved. How frustrated I am that I can't simply force the truth on the world. It's so obvious once you get it. Why, of course religion is a made up, bullshit crock of feel-good lies! Why, of course our civilization is incredibly sexist and demeaning to women, along with tons of other stigmatized classes of people! Why, of course neoliberal economics are becoming no more than instruments of plutocracy in this age of technology! Why, of course knowledge is good, and ignorance is evil, and willful ignorance is the most evil of all! And on, and on. It's like once I get the truth on something, I want to purposely lose the ability to remember why I believed the opposite before. It's horrifying darkness to me. Coupled with my grand impatience, I just fucking suck at engaging. I dream of having a sterile, scientific manner of argument that relies on proven facts and science, but the emotions always override. I want to crush evil and illuminate the world. Life is too fucking short to live in a shitty place like this.

I end up idolizing people like Joseph II of Austria and Jo-gwong Jo, people who made sweeping reforms as enlightened despots that were so beautifully sweeping, they were wholly reversed after their deaths. I love Ahab, dear, tragic Ahab, because he lashed out at what he believed was the essence of human frailty with monomaniacal passion. I wish that were the way to get things done, because I'm damn good at that. Ramsus's cult suggestion would work well for me. Anyone want to restart the Cult of Reason? The most passionate of us need intermediaries.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2011, 04:38:40 am by ZeaLitY »

tushantin

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #38 on: September 13, 2011, 05:14:13 am »
Anyone want to restart the Cult of Reason?
As much as I disagree with half the things you said in that post (and especially that laughable statement that "emotions override logic" -- not that it's wrong in any sense, but the statement is superficial, the way you put it), I'm in.  :)

However, if your idea of Cult of Reason is to oppress, discriminate and throw rocks at other people's views and beliefs like an angry mob of loyal fan-club, I want no part of it...

Synchronization

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2011, 08:51:45 am »
A young man with an intention to change the world. Also a controversial character, enemy to some ally to others but either way he becomes the center of their attention. He can be a bit abrasive in personality but hotheadedness can be useful when you have droves of opponents ready to pick fights with you along your intended path.

Lord J you remind me of my favorite Chrono Trigger character, it seems my time here may not be wasted.  I say if you should happen upon a Leviathan, rather than repeat his dire feat do take seriously Hamlet's most famous words to Horatio.

rushingwind

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #40 on: September 13, 2011, 06:58:33 pm »
I am beginning to sound like a broken record at this point. Josh, I am not telling you that criticism is bad. In fact, I’ve said the opposite: It’s good! Your strong debate skills and criticism of sexism and other ills of the world is a virtue, not a vice. It is doubly good that you are unwavering on these points.

My point has only been that you need not antagonize people to get a point across. Antagonism does not equal criticism. Please do not suggest that antagonism and criticism are the same things. Antagonism is when the argument has devolved into tearing someone apart for the sake of tearing them apart—for hostility’s sake… when it is no longer about making your point. Or, in the case of the example I linked of Mr. Bekkler, when you make a nasty, one-off comment that’s not even remotely related to criticism, but instead serves only to foster ill-will (and for no constructive reason or debate at all!). This isn’t about “caring more for a harmonious social experience than the integrity of your views.” When you have devolved into antagonizing someone, your views are no longer your driving force. As long as you are giving honest criticism and debate, they DO matter!

I feared you might take my words too personally, which is one reason why I do not like (and am not good) at giving criticism. I apologize if I’ve hurt your feelings, but I am being honest as I see it. So what you would have me do as your friend? Shall I keep my mouth shut and not criticize you, for both our comfort’s sake? Or should I try to speak to issue that I’ve observed when you ask the question? Worse, now I’m flustered because I’m not sure you’ve even truly heard me. In your “takeaways” section, you seem to have the idea that I’m suggesting you not criticize people at all, when my whole point has been that antagonization, not criticism, is the bad thing. Debate is good. Hostility is not!

Your views are sound, and strong. You have many good points, and from what I know of it, a good philosophy. I have not suggested otherwise, and I certainly think highly of your many strong stances. Just don’t antagonize people. Debate them, criticize them… but don’t antagonize them unnecessarily. You can be steadfast in your stance without having to be hostile.

Lennis

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #41 on: September 13, 2011, 07:55:32 pm »
I do think antagonizing people is not constructive. Also, I think it's worth noting that criticism shouldn't be confused with antagonism. They are different. To give criticism is to point out flaws, criticize, etc, generally with a level attitude (well, preferably so, anyway). To antagonize is to stir someone to hostility. The former is useful, the latter is rarely so.

From what I have seen of the philosophical battles on the Compendium (and those I have participated in myself), rushingwind nailed it right on the head.  You don't just criticize people, J.  Nor do you just antagonize people.  You do both at the same time.  It may sound simplistic, but the crux of your problem seems to be an inability to separate the two.  Feel free to set the record straight, but I think this difficulty might stem from fear of losing a perfectly reasonable argument to an unreasonable person who presents their less-well-thought-out argument in a more aggressive fashion.  These unreasonable people are effectively using the appeal to authority fallacy to undercut a more thoughtful approach, and that offends you greatly.  (It offends me, too.)  But to continue that thought, this fear has become so strong that you have a tendency to treat any opposing argument as if they were made by unreasonable people using an appeal to authority fallacy.  Perhaps your thinking is that if a reasonable and an unreasonable argument are presented in an equally aggressive fashion, then the reasonable argument (yours) will win on merit.  In practice, it doesn't really work that way.  Overly aggressive arguments degenerate into factionalism, which diminishes the merits of both sides - regardless of which one is closer to the truth.

I would suggest a more neutral approach to presenting arguments.  For the purposes of defeating an opposing argument, attack only the message.  (That's what true philosophers do.)  Do not attack the message AND the messenger.   (That's what politicians do.)

I think what it comes down to is what your real goal is for philosophical discourse.  Do you want to win the argument?  Or do you want to defeat your opponent?  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The true philosopher wins the argument and allows his opponent to defeat himself.

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #42 on: September 13, 2011, 10:56:31 pm »
...but I am out of things to say!
Are you presently hiring for an arch-nemesis?

Lord J Esq

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #43 on: September 14, 2011, 01:58:43 am »
I just wanted to note that I was actually being quite serious.

Serious?! I hate cults! I have spent a lot of time and energy, and will spend more, to protect my philosophy from attracting cult devotees or empowering a cult mentality. It never even occurred to me that you would seriously suggest such a thing. Cults cause a lot of suffering and they are not legitimate.

~~~
Two questions to ask clarification on two points of your takeaway, J:

Quote
2. Most people simply aren't capable in their present state of receiving criticism outside the circle of friends in whom they have decided they will expose themselves. (So don't criticize unless they let you.)

How can this be balanced with the very real need to call out strangers when they make a sexist, racist, ableist, etc., remark?

Social mores, when available, make good tools for reinforcing behavior. Most people are usually sensitive to allegations of violating social mores. That holds less true on forums, but still sometimes works, especially at forums like the Compendium where a more civil atmosphere prevails.

In lieu of social mores, such as for dishonorable behaviors like fat-bashing where not only is there no more against it, but there is actually a more promoting it, your options addressing the offense are pretty much limited to various forms of direct confrontation. One passive-aggressive alternative is to slyly change the conversation and use it to make a point that indirectly but conspicuously shames the offenses committed, and, by extension, the offenders themselves. But I don’t like passive-aggressiveness, so you won’t usually see me take that route.

I took a breather and considered the validity of her point...

If only more people would do that, I wouldn’t have such a load on my shoulders.

The possibility of men crowding out women's viewpoints in feminist spaces thus became a very real consideration for me, and a reason why I've tempered my own feminism into something quieter, and hopefully much more useful in the long run.

On the other hand, your specific example is not one I can agree with. The feminist movement has people who think that certain others shouldn’t be allowed to participate. That’s how it goes with social movements. Thankfully there is plenty of room to ignore that kind of spoiled childishness and get on with the work of sexual equality. Don’t listen to what people tell you. There is always room for you in a social movement, no matter who you are, unless you don’t actually support the core convictions of said movement. One reason I speak often of “sexual equality” rather than “feminism” is that the former recognizes not only that sexism affects all people but also rejects the assertion that we should replace existing sexism with other forms of it.

Real simple test here. There isn’t much that a person’s genitals tells you about them. Don’t make any judgments about their character based on such irrelevant criteria. There are 23 chromosome pairs in the cells of the normal human body. The variances on 22 of them are quantitatively more important, by virtue of size. If you want to talk about genetic differences, males and females have a lot of differences, aye. So too do males and males, and females and females. Most of them are not sex-specific.

The man didn't have the perspective of being a woman whose voice had been crowded out before; the woman did.

This being the crux of your point. That is not a sex-specific genetic condition. That is a social condition. It is not an appropriate basis for sex-specific discrimination, even when the goal is antidiscriminatory. People whose voices are crowded out by the times and the customs often do identify with one or more persecuted classes, but others do not, or they do and you just don’t notice it.

There’s a ruckus going on at Daily Kos right now because the site owner is banning people as part of a campaign of active moderation and it turned out that he was disproportionately banning black people. You could cut the cognitive dissonance with a knife. Some people were screaming the usual “racist” this and “racist” that; others were saying “this is different!”; nobody at all seemed to understand how silly it always is to get caught up in those kinds of politics.

Though I suspect there could be meaning in your use of the word "let" that I'm not picking up on, too.

Ah, I wish I could say you’ve picked up on one of my patented multilayer meanings, but not in this case.

Quote
3. Most people, despite words to the contrary, care more about a harmonious social experience and receiving tribute from others than they do about the integrity of their views or even their own character. (So let them build their ideas through social exchange as well as through dedicated study and discourse.)

If I could make one guess about you that I'm confident is on the mark, J, it's that you'd be uncomfortable with "paying tribute" to others -- stroking their egos, in other words.

Oh, I hate it. I detest it, and yet our species wallows in it and there is no escape. I hate giving tribute and I hate receiving it. If you see me giving it, you can deduce I’ve made the decision that I didn’t have enough respect for that person not to do it.

Do you draw a distinction between "paying tribute" and "showing respect"? Not respect for the other person's position of course -- just respect for the person.

Yes I do, of course. My concept of “respect” is multifaceted and too elaborate to lay out here, but yes.

Of all the threads I've interacted with you in, this golden oldie has always stuck out in my mind as an instance where I felt I came away with some goodies for having argued with you. When that exchange had ended I came away with the impression that I was respected in the end, and that made a big difference in achieving some personal evolution, rather than getting turned off from the discussion altogether. Honestly, I can't quite put a finger on what it was that gave me that feeling, but it's worth looking back on as one of your successes, if you would choose to call it that.

Ah, I remember writing that. I suspect your perception of respect from me came from the fact that you weren’t putting yourself in the way. You were asking an honest question, and I happened to have an answer.

I get tired, you know? I get tired of growing up but the world not growing up with me. People older than me, richer, more experienced, more cultured, more knowledgeable...do the stupidest, pettiest, most childish shit. I’ve worn through a lot of patience and have learned to have short tolerance for such nonsense. That primes my readiness to criticize people. It’s so much easier than starting from scratch, yet again, and cultivating new relationships. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I only have so much patience for that built into my lifetime reservoir.

You know what gets me? It shouldn’t seem like it to third parties, especially here, but I care more about people than they usually care about themselves, let alone me. Building relationships...people are so thoughtless going into that. Being antagonistic...people never stop to consider that it might be anything other than malice. It’s like the Earth is a spoiled kindergarten.

I wish we could have more threads like that one. You’re one of the best people at the Compendium. You’re intelligent like I am but diplomatic like I am not. You add a necessary ingredient to the atmosphere of adult community, just like I do. By human nature, your style gets more popularity points, yet even for you I imagine it must be tiring to continually muster all that patience and restraint. You are to be commended, and that’s not “tribute.”

~~~
@ tush: Don't waste your time on that "proper" reply. What, really, would it accomplish?
The way you put it sounds like there's nothing valuable I have to share...

I said it because you’re repeating yourself and I already understand your position. You can do more productive things with your time. None of this is to say that you don’t have anything valuable to share.

I got (rightly) chided for taking the topic off-course to reply to you in detail, so I’m not going to do that again in this thread. However, the main topic is now over, so I can indulge in a few specific responses.

Provocation will always get the most responses, and you have demonstrated this various times. But will provocation help people consider your point of view? That is the question you need to ask.

Sometimes it won’t and sometimes it will. I don’t claim to be a master of knowing which case fits which category, but I am probably better than anyone else here as well as most people in general. Humanitarians have a good record of not provoking when they shouldn’t provoke, and businesspeople have a good record of provoking when they should provoke, but the reverse is not true.

If only you could appreciate the road not taken!

~~~
How frustrated I am that I can't simply force the truth on the world. It's so obvious once you get it.

Ain’t that the truth! More the second sentence than the first, though. I wonder whether part of the essence of “the truth” entails that it cannot be forced...whether the understanding and acceptance process is one of those things that can’t be shortcut without missing the point...like taking a bike ride even when you could get there in a car in a fraction of the time. If the point is the bike ride itself...

Coupled with my grand impatience, I just fucking suck at engaging. I dream of having a sterile, scientific manner of argument that relies on proven facts and science, but the emotions always override. I want to crush evil and illuminate the world. Life is too fucking short to live in a shitty place like this.

I know. People never fail to be utterly unmoved by good sense. That creates a lot of waste and ruin.

~~~
Lord J you remind me of my favorite Chrono Trigger character, it seems my time here may not be wasted.

And what would you like of me, other than this amusement?


~~~
My point has only been that you need not antagonize people to get a point across. Antagonism does not equal criticism. Please do not suggest that antagonism and criticism are the same things. Antagonism is when the argument has devolved into tearing someone apart for the sake of tearing them apart—for hostility’s sake… when it is no longer about making your point.

We are not using compatible definitions of “antagonism,” perhaps.

Or, in the case of the example I linked of Mr. Bekkler, when you make a nasty, one-off comment that’s not even remotely related to criticism, but instead serves only to foster ill-will (and for no constructive reason or debate at all!).

With regard to that, you either did not understand Mr. Bekkler’s preceding comment or did not understand my reply to it. Who belittled whom? My reply to him was to express my displeasure as much as to make a point, and I am in my rights to be irritated with people when they do stupid things.

So what you would have me do as your friend? Shall I keep my mouth shut and not criticize you, for both our comfort’s sake? Or should I try to speak to issue that I’ve observed when you ask the question? Worse, now I’m flustered because I’m not sure you’ve even truly heard me.

I welcomed comments in this thread and I appreciated yours. That does not oblige me to agree with them in full (or even in part!). If you think I would refuse to consider what you took the time to write, then you do not know me as well as I would like to think you do. Whether I ultimately agree with your viewpoint is irrelevant. Your sharing that viewpoint, is what I am glad for.

In your “takeaways” section, you seem to have the idea that I’m suggesting you not criticize people at all, when my whole point has been that antagonization, not criticism, is the bad thing. Debate is good. Hostility is not!

Again, we seem not to be using compatible definitions. With regard to your usage, I think both debate and hostility are good. Yes, they are not the same thing. They often serve different purposes, even when they go together, or they serve different parts of a common purpose. Hostility, like debate, is not an inherently appropriate choice, but in some contexts it makes sense.

My takeaways were the distillation of what you and others have written in this thread, and represented my attempt to create actionable directives from them, directives with which I would be able to personally comply at least some of the time.

If there is anything you think I am continuing not to understand, then please explain it more clearly.

~~~
You don't just criticize people, J.  Nor do you just antagonize people.  You do both at the same time.  It may sound simplistic, but the crux of your problem seems to be an inability to separate the two.

Incorrect. You would benefit from paying closer attention, perhaps. I can and do distinguish between the two, and demarcate them, and proceed with one and not the other, depending on the circumstances.

Feel free to set the record straight, but I think this difficulty might stem from fear of losing a perfectly reasonable argument to an unreasonable person who presents their less-well-thought-out argument in a more aggressive fashion.

This is exactly the sort of thing that exasperates me. I have nothing against you, Lennis. Nothing whatsoever. But if only you would think a little bit harder about that, or if you would have read more of my posts more closely, you would see that that can’t possibly be why I do things the way I do them. I have directly addressed this, on more than one occasion in more than one topic.

That sort of inconsiderateness is more poisonous to intelligent discourse than any prickly style.

It’s a fair theory you’ve come up with, in that it is plausible. But the actual truth is in plain view. So much energy we waste trying to point things out which are in plain view! That destroys my fallible patience.

However! I at least have enough to acknowledge that your comments are sincere and well-meant, and I appreciate that if not their actual substance.

I would suggest a more neutral approach to presenting arguments.  For the purposes of defeating an opposing argument, attack only the message.  (That's what true philosophers do.)  Do not attack the message AND the messenger.   (That's what politicians do.)

That metaphor is overly simplistic. Sometimes—nay, more often than not—the “messenger” and the “message” are not distinguishable. That is a very difficult and very close-to-the-core secret of human nature.

I think what it comes down to is what your real goal is for philosophical discourse.  Do you want to win the argument?  Or do you want to defeat your opponent?  They are not necessarily the same thing.  The true philosopher wins the argument and allows his opponent to defeat himself.

Oh, I wish. I wish. You would not imagine how many times I’ve made an argument that is decisive, only to realize damn well that I am the only person who is going to know that.

I’ve generally given up on the court of popular opinion. My goal is not to “win” but to improve my skills, hone them, and also leave a mark on the record for those tiny handful of people who may appreciate my work.

~~~
Are you presently hiring for an arch-nemesis?

No. I already have an arch-nemesis.

Ignorance.

Anthropomorphic villainy is a farce better suited for prime time television. You should instead apply to my Committee for People Wishing to Raise an Objection.

Lord J Esq

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Re: Kinks to Work Out
« Reply #44 on: September 14, 2011, 02:08:49 am »
I've done it again, haven't I? Soliciting and then belaboring the points people raise. Unfortunately the alternative is silence, or meaningless thank-yous. I hope you prefer it this way to that...