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Eh Steve

The futility of impersonal debate.

People don't hold their beliefs for random reasons.  It reflects something in their emotional system that this belief "makes sense" to them.  And arguing intellectually isn't going to change that inner sense of "it just makes sense to me".  Usually in my experience being intellectual the best I can do is validate a truth someone has been unable to speak safely.  In that case people usually just go "thank god someone finally said it."  If there is resistance or disagreement it is often on an emotional level and debating is just going to bounce right off that shield.  You can very rarely if ever change the notion that something "feels right" to someone.  And that is the actual nature of most debates.  You can not argue someone out of the deeply held feeling that something feels right to them.

 

If you want to debate people...my advice would be try to figure out why people believe what they believe.  And if you feel that something they believe is making them unhappy, you should show concern or compassion for that person.  They can't just snap their fingers and stop believing what they believe.  Even if they consciously agree that what they believe is irrational, it is highly likely that the emotional compelling reasons for them to believe it will persist well beyond your debate. They need to examine the emotional roots of their beliefs as to why it "feels right" to them.  And having a sympathetic person can be very useful for that.  

 

People's actions and beliefs, no matter how negative they seem, often exist for deeply important emotional reasons to them.  Emotionally it is basically a matter of survival.  And survival trumps logic for people 99% of the time.  Even people who are flexible to using logic and empiricism to change their beliefs, largely due so because they feel it is advantageous to their survival. 

 

 If we look at politics for example... the implications are tremendous!  Trying to get someone to change their mind can mean being in conflict with everyone around them, important family figures, possibly their career, and fundamentally it will be having them question the authoritarian nature of their own minds and personalities.  It challenges every justification they have for their society, it challenges their entire childhood, it challenges very likely their own raising of their children, their own relationships with their spouses, their parents, themselves.  It isn't at all as simple as taxation = theft to these people.  The implications and the costs to people are so tremendous that if they don't respond with an immediate "oh thank god someone said it", you're in for a huuuuge emotional debate to actually help someone change their mind.

 

So with debate... If you recognize the problems beliefs are causing in someones life.  If you recognize the consequences of behaviors in someones life.  You damn well better care about that person if you actually want to change their mind.  Because if they don't change it on a simple conversation, it's going to be massive emotional overhaul to do so.  And I feel like missing that, and debating people aggressively, is really fundamentally missing the reason people believe what they believe.  And to me it just comes off as an excuse to fight.  And an attempt at dominance.  Which fundamentally isn't the peaceful way I prefer to live.

 

So if you're wondering why people do what they do.  Or your find yourself compelled to debate irrational people.  Understand you're dealing with emotional reactions in others.  They aren't just bad at logic usually.  They have deeply compelling emotional reasons to believe what they believe.  And if you find yourself driven to fight with people in such a futile manner it may be worth examining in yourself why you find it compelling.

 

In my experience debating basically anything with people on an intellectual level was the same as having a fight.  And that was the fundamental reason I did it.  That I wanted to lash out at irrational people and make fools of them.  To prove my superiority.  Unfortunately...this isn't a coherent way to live if you're opposed to dominance in relationships.  If I value curiosity, honesty, depth, and compassion for suffering... I avoid purely intellectual debates.

 

I fundamentally have seen very little evidence that peoples intellectual beliefs are at all chosen, are very very rarely based on any sort of empirical data (and often there is enough to cherry pick whatever you want), and that fundamentally people respond solely to emotional insights.  That I've found very little reason to operate on intellect in confrontation.  And that in my own life I've found fundamentally my emotions are largely the drivers of my behaviors rather than whatever intellectual ideas I profess or claim to believe.

 

I will leave one caveat here.  Having a debate publicly which can influence people besides the person you are debating is very different from a one on one debate.  That is an important thing to note when it comes to debate and the implications of what to expect and what effect you will have.

 

 

I'm happy to hear thoughts or opinions :)  I understand this is more of a rant for me without much inquisition involved so if anyone has personal experiences or just opinions I'd be happy to hear them even if the nature of the post was very one sided :D

 

 

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I disagree with your first point. I know I used to operate in that exact fashion. However, one of the first things Stef's Introduction to Philosophy series did for me was to help me understand my own capacity for error. This allowed me to identify my biases and rise above my initial programming that failure is not an option. As such, I've been able to embrace the ways in which I can flat out SEE SOMETHING and it not actually be there--think a stick in a glass of water being "severed" at the surface. I think it's fair to say that in this dysfunctional world, what you've said is true in most instances. But it is not absolute as you have penned it.

 

On to your second point. I agree with this to a point. Some people will demonstrate right away that they are closed-minded and/or not curious at all. In these cases, compassion will not accomplish anything except waste your time. In fact, one of the benefits of accepting that so many people hold the conclusions they do for reasons other than logic, reason, and evidence is that it helps you to identify when you should stop since there is no potential for forward progress because they simply refuse it. In fact, I think this is a great test before starting a debate anyways. Is the debate going to be to hash out the truth? Or just take turns slamming a summary down each others' throats to practice it for ourselves.

 

In fact, that is the danger in debating somebody who is not interested in the truth, curious, accepting of their own capacity for error, etc: That you will accidentally galvanize their resolve instead of challenge it. Stef's Bomb in the Brain series does a great job of explaining how/why this is.

 

I also agree that public discourse is different from one on one. It allows you to plant seeds not just in the person you're speaking with hopefully, but also those who can read it. In fact, I rather enjoy that form of discourse because you can also critique the methodology in addition to the conclusions. It can help others who ARE curious to identify those patterns in themselves and people who are abusing them that they didn't realize. It's very powerful stuff.

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People don't hold their beliefs for random reasons.  It reflects something in their emotional system that this belief "makes sense" to them.  And arguing intellectually isn't going to change that inner sense of "it just makes sense to me".  Usually in my experience being intellectual the best I can do is validate a truth someone has been unable to speak safely.  In that case people usually just go "thank god someone finally said it."  If there is resistance or disagreement it is often on an emotional level and debating is just going to bounce right off that shield.  You can very rarely if ever change the notion that something "feels right" to someone.  And that is the actual nature of most debates.  You can not argue someone out of the deeply held feeling that something feels right to them.

 

If you want to debate people...my advice would be try to figure out why people believe what they believe.  And if you feel that something they believe is making them unhappy, you should show concern or compassion for that person.  They can't just snap their fingers and stop believing what they believe.  Even if they consciously agree that what they believe is irrational, it is highly likely that the emotional compelling reasons for them to believe it will persist well beyond your debate. They need to examine the emotional roots of their beliefs as to why it "feels right" to them.  And having a sympathetic person can be very useful for that.  

 

People's actions and beliefs, no matter how negative they seem, often exist for deeply important emotional reasons to them.  Emotionally it is basically a matter of survival.  And survival trumps logic for people 99% of the time.  Even people who are flexible to using logic and empiricism to change their beliefs, largely due so because they feel it is advantageous to their survival. 

 

 If we look at politics for example... the implications are tremendous!  Trying to get someone to change their mind can mean being in conflict with everyone around them, important family figures, possibly their career, and fundamentally it will be having them question the authoritarian nature of their own minds and personalities.  It challenges every justification they have for their society, it challenges their entire childhood, it challenges very likely their own raising of their children, their own relationships with their spouses, their parents, themselves.  It isn't at all as simple as taxation = theft to these people.  The implications and the costs to people are so tremendous that if they don't respond with an immediate "oh thank god someone said it", you're in for a huuuuge emotional debate to actually help someone change their mind.

 

So with debate... If you recognize the problems beliefs are causing in someones life.  If you recognize the consequences of behaviors in someones life.  You damn well better care about that person if you actually want to change their mind.  Because if they don't change it on a simple conversation, it's going to be massive emotional overhaul to do so.  And I feel like missing that, and debating people aggressively, is really fundamentally missing the reason people believe what they believe.  And to me it just comes off as an excuse to fight.  And an attempt at dominance.  Which fundamentally isn't the peaceful way I prefer to live.

 

So if you're wondering why people do what they do.  Or your find yourself compelled to debate irrational people.  Understand you're dealing with emotional reactions in others.  They aren't just bad at logic usually.  They have deeply compelling emotional reasons to believe what they believe.  And if you find yourself driven to fight with people in such a futile manner it may be worth examining in yourself why you find it compelling.

 

In my experience debating basically anything with people on an intellectual level was the same as having a fight.  And that was the fundamental reason I did it.  That I wanted to lash out at irrational people and make fools of them.  To prove my superiority.  Unfortunately...this isn't a coherent way to live if you're opposed to dominance in relationships.  If I value curiosity, honesty, depth, and compassion for suffering... I avoid purely intellectual debates.

 

I fundamentally have seen very little evidence that peoples intellectual beliefs are at all chosen, are very very rarely based on any sort of empirical data (and often there is enough to cherry pick whatever you want), and that fundamentally people respond solely to emotional insights.  That I've found very little reason to operate on intellect in confrontation.  And that in my own life I've found fundamentally my emotions are largely the drivers of my behaviors rather than whatever intellectual ideas I profess or claim to believe.

 

I will leave one caveat here.  Having a debate publicly which can influence people besides the person you are debating is very different from a one on one debate.  That is an important thing to note when it comes to debate and the implications of what to expect and what effect you will have.

 

 

I'm happy to hear thoughts or opinions :)  I understand this is more of a rant for me without much inquisition involved so if anyone has personal experiences or just opinions I'd be happy to hear them even if the nature of the post was very one sided :D

 

Alice Miller has written in her later books (The Truth Will Set You Free/ Free From Lies) about "mind blocks" caused by lesions in the brain, which are caused by child abuse and are observable by brain scans. It seems that these lesions serve the purpose of upholding that person's emotional repression of their child hood history and the abuse they suffered. 

 

So she argues that this is why no amount of intellectual information will convince someone to do what they have feared from the earliest years of their lives, which is to see the truth about themselves and their reality at an emotional level, because their parents have beaten this fear into them in order to gain their children's obedience. Children will emotionally deny that they are being abused by their parents since they are dependent on them for survival and want to be loved.

 

So I guess until these people face this fear emotionally and realise there is no danger in being conscious of it, that there is no danger of their parent's (or society's punishment), all avoidance of truth, reason and evidence is essentially the avoidance of this fear, the fear of being punished for seeing/speaking the truth. As Alice Miller calls it "the fear of the next blow"

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In my experience debating basically anything with people on an intellectual level was the same as having a fight.  And that was the fundamental reason I did it.  That I wanted to lash out at irrational people and make fools of them.  To prove my superiority.  Unfortunately...this isn't a coherent way to live if you're opposed to dominance in relationships.  If I value curiosity, honesty, depth, and compassion for suffering... I avoid purely intellectual debates.

"Fight" and "dominance" here are loaded terms with alternatives that have more positive or neutral connotations. The implication is clearly that this behavior is dysfunctional, but it is only implied through adjective, and not reason.

 

Let's say, for sake of argument, that it is a fight, and that it is an exercise in dominance. I won't speak on your behalf, and I'd invite you not to speak on mine. But I fight bad ideas, and that's an important thing to do. I use snarky language, pointed language, and I do dominate in some debates. You can call it "aggressive," if you like, but that's not the same thing as showing that it's bad.

 

If you take a single online debate in isolation, you are missing the point. People, insofar as they have any integrity (and everyone has a little), have their bad ideas eroded away against the storms of disagreement, intellectual debates, and even hostility. I speak from direct experience. I've been made humble by hundreds of random people on the internet pushing back against nonsense things that I believed. I am incredibly grateful to all the people who let me know that I was wrong. In the moment I cared if they were mean, but I couldn't care less now. In the moment I let my compromised morals dictate my actions, but later I accepted the truth.

 

Some people lack the ego strength to survive a belief they hold being proven wrong, but that's not an argument for them being coddled. I treat people with respect enough to know that some pointed language isn't going to crush their souls. It's the ideas that are so fowl, not the people holding them, except insofar as they have become a hollowed out person, filled only with that propaganda. Ideas are worthy of ridicule. If I say something stupid, I want it to be laughed at! And if a person is a total false self, then it's not personal to fight them as a person either, because there's no them left.

 

There's nothing wrong with fighting and dominance by themselves. When bullies dominate defenseless victims, it's not the dominance that is the problem, but the violence, vile cowardice, and grandiosity. Fighting bad ideas is necessary.

 

Not everyone is like you (were?). Not everyone who engages in intellectual debate is trying to hurt other people.

 

 

That's not to say that there is no room for your strategy. Tell us about your success using this approach. What did you convince people of? Did it stick beyond that one interaction? What was their emotional block that you were able to navigate around?

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I fight bad ideas... Ideas are worthy of ridicule.

Indeed. When I came to accept my own capacity for error, it humbled me tremendously internally. Externally, it allowed me to focus on ideas rather than people. I ENJOY being corrected, especially when they're correct and I adore the people who have the courage to offer those challenges in a PC world. It, and a willingness to accept such challenges are actually requisites I hold for the people in my life.

 

In fact, the only time I address people is when they're engaging in logical fallacies, deflection, and other sub-integrity maneuvers. It's meant as an integrity check. If they respond with emotion, doubling down, ad hominem, etc then I know that the disconnect came from a lack of curiosity and/or willingness to yield to the real world. Sometimes, the respond with

 

Ugh, I feel frustrated. You are right, to say "feel the need" in my pretension is poisoning the well. The reason I feel frustrated is because I try really hard to stay as objective as possible and not let my biases creep in, but sometimes I fail. It is something I am working on so I really appreciate you pointing it out because I honestly didn't even notice I did it

That's when the real magic begins! :)

SgVufej.png

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I'm taking some time to assess my original post and clarify my thoughts.

 

My question does boil down to efficacy and intention in non-committed interactions.  I've found personally when people are more "within my tribe" or friends of mine I have much more success in helping them.  But my more empathetic non-intellectual approach may be fairly ineffective when I am dealing with people without that bond.

 

I've tried my approach largely with people in my environment.  So a few girls at the local coffee shop and cashiers at the local gas station so far.  And what I've found is that my effect on them could be fairly neglible.  It is hard to say.  One of the women got her daughter into counseling to deal with some depression, but I can't say how much my influence really factored into that.  Another I had conversations about her relationship with her boyfriend and she made some progress in that, but again I can't say how much my conversation influenced her.  Another had issues with her sons that have happily been resolved and communication has improved significantly, but I can't say how much my influence was a factor.  And then there are a few more where I have talked with them at some length but have noticed very little influence or change on them.  I've had a few other brief interactions but they all follow that trend of, even if the person does improve their life, I can't really say to what extent my interaction with them was a factor.

 

I have found when I have interacted with a few close friends I generally have had a very positive influence.  But I focus mostly on relationships rather than anything intellectually they might be thinking.  And my approach is usually non-contradictory, but I focus heavily on validating negativity towards abuse, validating complaints about life, and particularly lately I've found adding a significantly stronger amount of "what could be, what if you woke up happy, etc. etc."  has been very very effective.

 

But my question does boil down largely to, what is the point of minor interactions.  And whether they are futile, and what it is I look to get out of them.  And to what extent I need to become more than random stranger to have an effect on anyone.

 

So far my approach usually can be boiled down to:  1. Empathize / listen / validate   2. Encourage them to enter therapy.  3. Encourage people who are already in therapy extensively :P

 

Usually I do this I think because I do feel my minor interactions with people aren't going to have much of a permanent change on them.  And I think if I accept this more strongly, this sense of futility, I may become a bit more blunt though in my usual sweethearted way, and really question my ability to make an influence in a small interaction.  If I question my effectiveness I may need to change my approach and give a bit more of the "you are fucked if you don't get more significant help" message into my interactions.

 

How would you break down your approach to interactions in theses small doses with people?  And do you find it to be effective?  What is your intention and how well does it work for you?  Certainly our approaches are pretty different and if yours is more effective I'd be interested to incorporate some of it within my own communication with people.

 

Genuinely it's quite a struggle for me to figure out exactly what I should do in terms of interacting briefly with people to have a positive influence and feel like I'm being effective.  And to find out how to balance the sort of shotgun / timely nature of brief interactions versus the more in depth getting to know someone interactions.  How to get the most bang for my buck if I'm going to be interacting with strangers briefly.

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Indeed. When I came to accept my own capacity for error, it humbled me tremendously internally.

Interesting. The humbling does not seem to have lasted. Humble is definitely NOT a word I, or likely anyone reading your comments on this message borard would use to describe you.

Externally, it allowed me to focus on ideas rather than people. I ENJOY being corrected, especially when they're correct and I adore the people who have the courage to offer those challenges in a PC world.

I believe you're self-deluded. YOU might believe you enjoy being corrected because that's how a humble person would feel but you demonstrate time and time again that you don't enjoy it, especially when you believe the person doing it is wrong, and you get irritated when people do it to the point that you cannot allow the arguments you consider to be wrong or mistaken to stand or fall on their own merit, and instead insist upon attacking the person's reputation with the intent of eventually muffling or silencing the person that is challenging your worldview, including your self-conception.

It, and a willingness to accept such challenges are actually requisites I hold for the people in my life.

Then you'd do well to work on holding it for yourself. Otherwise such people will flee from your hypocritical inconsistency of demandiing from others what you are unwilling to do yourself.

In fact, the only time I address people is when they're engaging in logical fallacies, deflection, and other sub-integrity maneuvers. It's meant as an integrity check. If they respond with emotion, doubling down, ad hominem, etc then I know that the disconnect came from a lack of curiosity and/or willingness to yield to the real world.

I'm sure you see it that way, but in reality, you address people when they're challenging your world-view, or when they are judging your behavior by the same yardstick that you arrogantly judge others with. What you consider to be "sub-integrity maneuvers" you engage in yourself, responding in the same reactionary way with emotion, doubling down, etc that you see others do which demonstrates your own pridefully hypocritical lack of curiosity or devotion to truth.

 

I didn't read any of this because I value my time.

2<3

No, you didn't read any of it because you're a self-deluded hypocrite and a liar. And hopefully the rest of the people on this board will come to see that too and neg your reputation the way you do others who disagree with you.
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Humble is definitely NOT a word I, or likely anyone reading your comments on this message borard would use to describe you.

Is it humble to purport to speak for other people? Or try to make your opinion seem factual?

neg your reputation the way you do others who disagree with you.

*fail to demonstrate basic integrity. You know, like preaching humility while pretending to speak for more than yourself?

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Is it humble to purport to speak for other people? Or try to make your opinion seem factual?

Strawman - claiming I am purporting to speak for others or attempting to make my opinion seem factual when I am not.

 

I merely stated my opinion that I do not consider you to be humble, and my speculation that others on this board likely share this opinion.

 

*fail to demonstrate basic integrity. You know, like preaching humility while pretending to speak for more than yourself?

Strawman - attributing an argument made by oneself to others. I did not preach humility, I merely pointed out a claim that I judged to be at odds with demonstrated behavior; you know, like claiming to be humbled while not demonstrating humility or any of the other qualities of character you claimed or attributed to yourself--acting self-defensive over someone challenging the claim of humility and projecting your own behavior onto them rather than enjoying the correction and adoring the people who do it for example.

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I don't debate with people I don't care about or plan to care about. If the point is to help change people's minds, I guage to see if they would even be useful allies. If they're not, then I don't bother because I think it's futile to just debate out of sport and to have an antagonist.

 

Sure you can sharpen your skills that way, but I'm starting to a see tendancy in professional contrarians disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreeing with me. It has nothing to do with educating me or helping me improve my reasoning, rather it's more grandstanding that I...cannot stand :P

 

There was a time where I would debate just about anybody on anything because I was so inspired with all of this philosophical knowledge, but after enacting the ego trip of simply being intellectually superior over others, and then experiencing the other side of it from people far worse than I used to be--that time had to end.

 

I have better things to do with my life.

 

Thanks for the post, I agree with everything you've said, Steve, but you already know that from all the conversations we've had.

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People don't hold their beliefs for random reasons.  It reflects something in their emotional system that this belief "makes sense" to them.  And arguing intellectually isn't going to change that inner sense of "it just makes sense to me".  Usually in my experience being intellectual the best I can do is validate a truth someone has been unable to speak safely.  In that case people usually just go "thank god someone finally said it."  If there is resistance or disagreement it is often on an emotional level and debating is just going to bounce right off that shield.  You can very rarely if ever change the notion that something "feels right" to someone.  And that is the actual nature of most debates.  You can not argue someone out of the deeply held feeling that something feels right to them.

 

If you want to debate people...my advice would be try to figure out why people believe what they believe.  And if you feel that something they believe is making them unhappy, you should show concern or compassion for that person.  They can't just snap their fingers and stop believing what they believe.  Even if they consciously agree that what they believe is irrational, it is highly likely that the emotional compelling reasons for them to believe it will persist well beyond your debate. They need to examine the emotional roots of their beliefs as to why it "feels right" to them.  And having a sympathetic person can be very useful for that.  

 

So with debate... If you recognize the problems beliefs are causing in someones life.  If you recognize the consequences of behaviors in someones life.  You damn well better care about that person if you actually want to change their mind.  Because if they don't change it on a simple conversation, it's going to be massive emotional overhaul to do so.  And I feel like missing that, and debating people aggressively, is really fundamentally missing the reason people believe what they believe.  And to me it just comes off as an excuse to fight.  And an attempt at dominance.  Which fundamentally isn't the peaceful way I prefer to live.

 

In my experience debating basically anything with people on an intellectual level was the same as having a fight.  And that was the fundamental reason I did it.  That I wanted to lash out at irrational people and make fools of them.  To prove my superiority.  Unfortunately...this isn't a coherent way to live if you're opposed to dominance in relationships.  If I value curiosity, honesty, depth, and compassion for suffering... I avoid purely intellectual debates.

 

I fundamentally have seen very little evidence that peoples intellectual beliefs are at all chosen, are very very rarely based on any sort of empirical data (and often there is enough to cherry pick whatever you want), and that fundamentally people respond solely to emotional insights.  That I've found very little reason to operate on intellect in confrontation.  And that in my own life I've found fundamentally my emotions are largely the drivers of my behaviors rather than whatever intellectual ideas I profess or claim to believe.

 

I will leave one caveat here.  Having a debate publicly which can influence people besides the person you are debating is very different from a one on one debate.  That is an important thing to note when it comes to debate and the implications of what to expect and what effect you will have.

 

 

I'm happy to hear thoughts or opinions :)  I understand this is more of a rant for me without much inquisition involved so if anyone has personal experiences or just opinions I'd be happy to hear them even if the nature of the post was very one sided :D

 

I definitely agree that the emotions have a huge influence on the beliefs of an individual. I know that this applies to myself as well, where I would hold a belief because I wanted it to be true or because it felt good. Everybody does it. I think that a huge factor in why this happens so much is the trauma that we all experience when growing up. A lot of our parents do not use rational arguments for why we should do things as children. We learn to obey because of emotional reasons--our parents are angry at us, and we are scared. There is an emotional investment in these beliefs, because if they are not true, that may be tragic, horrible things about us, our parents, and our childhoods.

 

I think that the more healthy and connected an individual is, the less there is a debate and the more there is a discussion. When I interact with people who might disagree with me on an issue who are fairly mentally healthy, I do not often experience them as having an emotional investment in some of the ideas that we talk about. Of course, they might be aware that they have an emotional investment and can deal with that accordingly on their own time or set it aside to continue and refine the discussion.

 

To challenge a belief of this nature, as you mentioned, is really destabilizing to an individual. I know that my life was an absolute wreck while I was fundamentally challenging what I had been taught and what I believe. Not everyone is willing to face that, for sure. Not everyone can "survive" that.

 

"Fight" and "dominance" here are loaded terms with alternatives that have more positive or neutral connotations. The implication is clearly that this behavior is dysfunctional, but it is only implied through adjective, and not reason.

 

Let's say, for sake of argument, that it is a fight, and that it is an exercise in dominance. I won't speak on your behalf, and I'd invite you not to speak on mine. But I fight bad ideas, and that's an important thing to do. I use snarky language, pointed language, and I do dominate in some debates. You can call it "aggressive," if you like, but that's not the same thing as showing that it's bad.

 

Some people lack the ego strength to survive a belief they hold being proven wrong, but that's not an argument for them being coddled. I treat people with respect enough to know that some pointed language isn't going to crush their souls. It's the ideas that are so fowl, not the people holding them, except insofar as they have become a hollowed out person, filled only with that propaganda. Ideas are worthy of ridicule. If I say something stupid, I want it to be laughed at! And if a person is a total false self, then it's not personal to fight them as a person either, because there's no them left.

 

My perspectives on fighting have shifted dramatically throughout the years. I used to be opposed to fighting, but now I do see some value in it. I used to think that being in a fight means that I have failed in some capacity, and that fights should be avoided. I still try to attempt to avoid fights simply because I do not have anything to gain by them, and a fight is likely to entrench someone further. But I would have no qualms about emotionally/intellectually crushing someone if they pushed things far enough, and physically too if they were threatening my life. Fight in my mind has become a very neutral term. When human beings hunted, they were fighting against animals. Living is a fight against the elements and rigors and demands of reality. In several ways, it is a good thing to fight.

 

I also mock and ridicule ideas, but when someone I care about holds a belief that I would mock, I hold off on doing that. This person is important to me, and this idea is important to them, and therefore I would be able to gain a better understanding and connect with this person if I were to listen and to understand to the reasoning behind the belief. If it is someone that I do not respect or care about, I tend not to mock the idea either and simply just leave the conversation because I don't see anything to gain from engaging further.

 

I definitely agree with you that someone people just cannot handle the truth, and that being forced to accept it would fundamentally destroy their lives as they know it. I leave these people alone and let them live their fantasies, simply because they might lash out at me, I have nothing to gain from it, and because reality always wins out, and these people will experience the consequences of their beliefs with or without my intervention.

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I still try to attempt to avoid fights simply because I do not have anything to gain by them [...] If it is someone that I do not respect or care about, I tend not to mock the idea either and simply just leave the conversation because I don't see anything to gain from engaging further. [...] I leave these people alone and let them live their fantasies, simply because they might lash out at me, I have nothing to gain from it

If someone is trying to do it for their own gain, then yes, I don't think they should do it either. My own gain isn't my only, or even primary motivation in these cases, though.

 

I would infinitely prefer people to tell me when I've got boogers hanging down, and be embarrassed than to walk around with those boogers any longer. Bad ideas are like boogers in that way.

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If someone is trying to do it for their own gain, then yes, I don't think they should do it either. My own gain isn't my only, or even primary motivation in these cases, though.

 

I would infinitely prefer people to tell me when I've got boogers hanging down, and be embarrassed than to walk around with those boogers any longer. Bad ideas are like boogers in that way.

 

For sure. I think that we understand each other. Personally, I am only going to listen to someone attempting to correct an idea of mine if I respect them, and if they do it in a considerate way, just to touch the parent topic.

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For sure. I think that we understand each other. Personally, I am only going to listen to someone attempting to correct an idea of mine if I respect them, and if they do it in a considerate way, just to touch the parent topic.

 

What if someone really abrasive and aggressive was dropping some valid truth bombs on you? 

 

Not that I condone having my intelligence or my dignity insulted when someone tries to correct me, just want to know what you think.

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What if someone really abrasive and aggressive was dropping some valid truth bombs on you? 

 

Not that I condone having my intelligence or my dignity insulted when someone tries to correct me, just want to know what you think.

 

If they're attacking me, the best that I can hope for is that there would be some degree of restitution for the attack. Of course, any skilled abuser would want to convince another person that they actually have something to offer despite the attack to keep the victim open and vulnerable. So very rarely is that true, and so very rarely does the abuser have a monopoly or exclusivity towards that knowledge, even if they do have something unique to offer.

 

A person cannot be improved by being attacked. I cannot become richer by having my money stolen. Your inner wealth cannot be increased if it is pillaged.

 

That said, if I there is something that I can gain from the interaction--such as figuring out which of their comments hurt me the most, whatever truths they shared--I'll definitely use them, but listen to the abrasive person no more.

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 A person cannot be improved by being attacked. I cannot become richer by having my money stolen. Your inner wealth cannot be increased if it is pillaged.

 

Damn. Well said!

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A person cannot be improved by being attacked. I cannot become richer by having my money stolen. Your inner wealth cannot be increased if it is pillaged.

It's clever, and it's true in a narrow sense, but people's quality of life is improved in all sorts of situations that get called "attacks." Clever people use attacks from other people to their advantage regularly (e.x. the "useful idiot"). Trump's wife stealing her speech, and getting attacked for it is almost certainly going to help Trump's campaign.

 

I get that this is not the sense in which "attack" is supposed to be harmful here, but it's also true that "attacks" (insofar as words on the internet would qualify) can be helpful here. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that provoking people's shame can be more useful to them than gentle prodding, empathetic / caring witness kind of communication. (source: http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/05/fat-shaming-is-good-science/).Obviously, pushing people's "shame buttons" can do damage; I'm just saying that it's more complicated than the OP and you're suggesting.

 

I think it's worth repeating that I've been helped by all kinds of antagonistic people. My embarrassment was temporary, but the insight was permanent.

 

It's worth making the distinction that interactions with intimate relationships are of a completely different class than ones with people on the internet. The opportunities and challenges of each are different.

 

I would be deeply hurt if my fiancée ridiculed me, but that's not true for strangers on the internet, unless there was some existing historical shame they were touching on. If I, or my parents installed shame, guilt, ignorance, and fear buttons in me, then it's not really the stranger on the internet who's at fault; it was me or my parents (or some other dependent relationship) that did that – who really caused that shame.

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It's clever, and it's true in a narrow sense, but people's quality of life is improved in all sorts of situations that get called "attacks." Clever people use attacks from other people to their advantage regularly (e.x. the "useful idiot"). Trump's wife stealing her speech, and getting attacked for it is almost certainly going to help Trump's campaign.

 

I get that this is not the sense in which "attack" is supposed to be harmful here, but it's also true that "attacks" (insofar as words on the internet would qualify) can be helpful here. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that provoking people's shame can be more useful to them than gentle prodding, empathetic / caring witness kind of communication. (source: http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/07/05/fat-shaming-is-good-science/).Obviously, pushing people's "shame buttons" can do damage; I'm just saying that it's more complicated than the OP and you're suggesting.

 

I think it's worth repeating that I've been helped by all kinds of antagonistic people. My embarrassment was temporary, but the insight was permanent.

 

It's worth making the distinction that interactions with intimate relationships are of a completely different class than ones with people on the internet. The opportunities and challenges of each are different.

 

I would be deeply hurt if my fiancée ridiculed me, but that's not true for strangers on the internet, unless there was some existing historical shame they were touching on. If I, or my parents installed shame, guilt, ignorance, and fear buttons in me, then it's not really the stranger on the internet who's at fault; it was me or my parents (or some other dependent relationship) that did that – who really caused that shame.

 

I definitely hear what you are saying. The parent to what I had said was talking about my own experience. I did start to universalize it, and maybe that was inappropriate. I know that I also have gained from people exhibiting that kind of behavior towards me, though in general my perspective is that I grew in spite of the attack, as opposed to inspired by the attack.

 

To say something that evokes shame in another person is not necessarily an attack, though it is a commonly used attack tactic.

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I would be deeply hurt if my fiancée ridiculed me

Congratulations on your engagement. I am VERY happy for you both!

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To say something that evokes shame in another person is not necessarily an attack, though it is a commonly used attack tactic.

Well, it can be an attack in the same sense that bullets ricochet off of superman's chest. I'm just saying that people bear some responsibility for managing their own shame and making themselves resilient in the face of antagonists online (within reason).

 

The danger I see is the whole "I'm triggered" SJW thing. They are the extreme form of externalizing, granted, but if that virus were to infect the boards, I would be disappointed, to say the least.

 

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse. It feels important to me, as you can tell.

 

Congratulations on your engagement. I am VERY happy for you both!

Thanks! I appreciate it :)

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Well, it can be an attack in the same sense that bullets ricochet off of superman's chest. I'm just saying that people bear some responsibility for managing their own shame and making themselves resilient in the face of antagonists online (within reason).

 

The danger I see is the whole "I'm triggered" SJW thing. They are the extreme form of externalizing, granted, but if that virus were to infect the boards, I would be disappointed, to say the least.

 

Maybe I'm beating a dead horse. It feels important to me, as you can tell.

 

 

 

 

Right. I can understand that. To say something that brings up uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings for another person is not an attack. It definitely can be used as a form of attack, though, and many attacks do trigger such feelings. But, to call it attack--when it is not--and then retaliate is the initiation of an attack, like what these SJWs are doing.

 

I don't think that comments such as "kill yourself" and name-calling are appropriate in a conversation. Those are clearly attack.

 

Saying, "spanking is child abuse" and having someone who spanks their children hear that is not attack.

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To say something that brings up uncomfortable or unpleasant feelings for another person is not an attack. It definitely can be used as a form of attack, though, and many attacks do trigger such feelings. But, to call it attack--when it is not--and then retaliate is the initiation of an attack, like what these SJWs are doing.

 

This part was very well-stated and resonated with me. I think you've clarified and provided nuance to the problem. Thank you.

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