Wednesday, November 10, 2010

(aborted) RANT ALERT: To Those Who Don't Get It

Don't ask for whom the griefer label fits, it fits for thee.

When you say, I don't get why you people do/think/believe/want that, I get it:
  • I get that you haven't made a sincere effort to try to understand
  • I get that you freely misrepresent the "other side" to make your points
  • I get that you are interested in advocating your viewpoint, not discerning greater truth
And I get that I do the same damn thing.

The more I think about the question of griefers and trolls, the more I'm becoming sensitized to the way we all suffer internally from the very same qualities we disdain in others. 

We express it publicly in blogs and social networks when we respond to others' thoughts in order to attack rather than to understand. We express it privately in conversations when we smugly point out the stupidity, immorality, wrong-headedness or other undesirable qualities of another group or individual. 

As a matter of fact, I'm doing it right now. So, I'll shut up and leave you with St. Francis' prayer of peace:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.



Cisop Sixpence said...

Wow, not only do I get it, I agree with it. :)

Scarp Godenot said...

An intellectual discussion can ONLY be had if the parties are both searching for a truth or an understanding and haven't fixed their final opinions.

Otherwise it is just talking and grandstanding.

Anonymous said...

I really like this. Polarization seems to be the way these days, increasingly so. I look at the government campaigns and get really tired of everything being treated like a football game. Where the only thing that seems to be important these days is winning for the sake of winning. Which means defeating everyone else. Either/or is pretty cheap and easy. And is always much much much more difficult.

Anonymous said...

Meant to have quotes around "Either/or" and "And" to make the distinction...

"Either/or" is pretty cheap and easy. "And" is always much much much more difficult.

Unknown said...

Stow it, botqirl. You keep imagining you can just "bring people around" to your point of view and prevail. You can't.

An intellectual discussion is not about a touchy feel-good, Scarp. It's *ok* to have an opinion, defend it, and *keep it*.

You seem to believe that debate is merely "democratic centralism". That you can discuss different opinions, but only for the purpose of collectivizing them in the end, having one prevail, and stamping the others out. They can't be "fixed".

Let's take some of your ardent liberal views (some of which I share).

Do you think you shouldn't keep your fixed view that gay marriage should be legalized? That it is "talking and grandstanding" to line up the answers to defend this point of view *and keep it*?

Or do you think only those who oppose gay marriage should be "brought round" and not allowed to have their ideas fixed, and should be changing them under the induction of logic and reason?

See, you can't have an open society with true intellectual freedom if that's what you believe -- that only the process of working out political correctness entitles one to a debate, then they have to shut up.

These Gender Politburo types who insist that if you are not transgendered in real life you aren't in SL just have to go -- they are totalitarians and have no place in a free world. Let them hammer away with their conviction, let them not imagine I will be changing mine.

Botqirl keeps exonerating himself -- sorry, unpersuaded. And I will remain with that. It's not "griefing and trolling" to stick to your opinion. If you believe it to be the truth, and you have heard the other options and not been persuaded, then it's more than fine not to be "brought round".

Again, think of the examine of a viewpoint you *like* -- you wouldn't want that to be subject to invalidity if others with a majority point of view wanted you to "come round".

Your problem, like so many of the mediocrities of SL, is that you can't grasp "the right to be wrong". You can't grasp what real openness and freedom is. You think we should merely be a process whereby a few "thought leaders" prevail.

Botgirl Questi said...

Cisop: Thanks. I like it when people agree with me!

Scarp: I think that if someone is advocating for an issue then your purpose is not understanding but persuasion. I just wish when someone is doing that they'd just admit that it doesn't matter what I say because they've made up their mind and won't listen. Funny thing, the only chance they have in changing my mind is to at least take in what I'm saying enough to address the content rather than arguing with a Straw Man.

Michele: I can't even watch political news shows because it's all people on soapboxes and no real dialogue.

Prokofy: I'm all for having a strong opinion and defending it. But what bugs the crap out of me is when the other party doesn't try to refute what I actually communicate and instead puts words in my mouth (and motivations in my heart) and refutes their own Straw Man.

For instance, I never talked about "democratic centralism" and I don't believe that discussion of multiple viewpoints is only "for the purpose of collectivizing them in the end, having one prevail, and stamping the others out."

My intention is mutual understanding. Understanding, not agreement. So at the end of our conversation I can give a fair and untwisted recounting of your viewpoint and you can do the same. We will likely still disagree, but at least we aren't demonizing each other. Or putting words in each other's mouth.

For instance you wrote, "You think we should merely be a process whereby a few "thought leaders" prevail." I definitely do not think that. I don't even know what prevailing would mean. Even in the small circle of Second Life, I don't think the conversations we have make more than a tiny, temporary ripple. I think that mostly we preach the choir. And that's okay.

Miso Susanowa said...

There's no arguing with a troll, Botgirl, this is carven in stone on the earliest gates of teh innertubez.

That is why Goddess in her wisdom created the Mute button :)

Botgirl Questi said...

Ain't no trolls here!

Anonymous said...


I think you misunderstand the term "democratic centralism".

"Democratic" in this context does not mean an adversarial debate where one side triumphs over the other, but rather a dialectic where the opposites and contradictions of a given situation are synthesised into a greater understanding.

In any case the concept is only really germane to a discussion of how to organise a revolutionary party, which I don't think is really the question being addressed here. As I read it, Botgirl is merely suggesting that we be a bit nicer to one another when conversing on the interwebs, a sentiment I'm sure we all can agree with.

Miso Susanowa said...

@Johnny: what? Botgirl isn't forming a revolutionary party? :(

*is left standing holding a balloon which reads "Botgirl for Empress!" gradually going limp from helium release*