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R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This is a generic, only half-rhetorical question. I have been involved in several disputes of late, some as a nominally disinterested third party, so this is neither specific to any one of them, nor am I taking sides. It's just been bothering me, so I will give voice to my opinion here. If you recognize your own POV in one of these critiques, please note that the other side's is also represented and reflect a moment before you reply - that's all I ask.

Why do people sometimes get completely entrenched in their own opinions in a debate that they:

  • 1. Become completely unable to grasp why it is, or is not, a substantial issue to the other party? There's an appropriate Chinese aphorism: ni3 bu1 wuo3 xing1li3 de4 hui2chong2, literally "you are not my heartworm", i.e., you are not me and do not know the innermost workings of my heart, so do not presume to judge my intent. If X says to Y that issue I is of substance to X and other interested parties for whom X feels qualified to speak, then for goodness' sake, accomodate X and let him or her have the bully pulpit inasmuch as reason permits, and try not be too persistent in saying "I don't get why is this important to you". Let them tell you and you'll have your answer more quickly and with less perception of defensiveness. If Y tells X that Y could not care less abut I and that he or she does not see why I should be a big deal, then live and let live; consider taking the issue offline, be diplomatic and responsible, and above all be receptive to the substance of answers and not to perceived abrasions.

    At the risk of a resounding cliche: compromise is a two way street. That said, I am personally a big advocate of glasnost: more than just free speech, I think that quelling any discussion is tantamount to declarative disenfranchisement and runs the risk of breaking negotiations (even friendly and collegial ones) down by fiat. I understate myself: those of you who know me well know that I cannot be silenced by fiat and am, in fact, completely irrepressible. In a totalitarian regime, I would have long since been "disappeared" as some of my blood kin in fact were during the Chinese Communist takeover... because you know what? That's the only way to shut my type up, and take my word for it, we go down fighting hard.

  • 2. Get hell-bent on escalation, particularly in delivering a commensurate insult? This is the sort of thing that really wears me out.
    Before I elaborate, here's a brief but relevant story. If you really know me, you've probably discovered that I am somewhat conflict-averse.1 The time was in my youth when I would do just about anything to stay out of a fight (morally speaking, not physically). Now, the thing about Asian families is that we are, for lack of a better term, the Borg. My cousin Melody calls it yi1 gu4 bi2 qong3 chu1 qi4, i.e., breathing through one nostril. I often joke that Chinese-American kids have up to three brains, sometimes more: the child's own brain, his or her parents', and sometimes those of elder ancestors and other relatives. Anyhow, I grew up somewhat torn on confrontations: I was never any sort of craven, but I hated the ugliness of facing a determined opponent who was out to provoke me. Now, people who saw me getting kicked around would shove me back in the ring: "You're not going to take that, are you?" Well, once upon a time, I would have; in fact, it took some twenty-five years before I wised up and my backbone really hardened, but eventually I realized that there was a deterrent value to backing overaggressive people down.

    Fast-forward to the present day. Having seen both the offensive and defensive applications of escalation, I can tell you that it does not look pretty from the sidelines, and pang2 guan1 zhe3 qing1 (things look clearer from the side). "Don't take this the wrong way, but..." This is one of my pet peeves about American culture. We say "I'm not trying to {tick you off | put you down | criticize | etc.}, but..." You know what? We really frelling are. A word to the wise: internationally, we Americans have some of the worst stereotypes vis-a-vis hypocrisy, largely because of this one.

    And we really don't know when to quit. I mean humans in general, now. This is not a Northwest European, or Asian, or Semitic, or Latino, or African, or American Indian, or [your ethnicity here] thing. "Be reasonable." "What? Who are you calling unreasonable?!" "Nobody, I'm just saying be reasonable; don't have a cow." Oh, now I'm having a cow? Kettle much? "What's that supposed to mean?!" et cetera, ad infinitum et ad nauseam.

    Folks, ill will breeds. Seriously; I've learned that the hard way, as much as I've learned not to be blindly trusting. fang2 ren2 zhi1 xing1 bu1 ke3 wu4; hai4 ren2 zhi1 xing1 bu1 ke3 you3 ("One must not have the heart to harm others, but one must not lack the heart to be wary of others"). Impute ill will, behave accordingly, and you're more likely to get some. Sad, but true.

  • 3. Feel the need to impute idiocy, incompetence, or especially immaturity, to the other party? This is a personal pet peeve for me. My favorite teacher in high school was Elizabeth MacCallum, nee Frances, who taught Calc AB. Beth had a hard and fast rule about respect: do not call people stupid. If you did, you were in serious trouble, and she meant business. She was really dogmatic about this, and I heard more than a few disgruntled smarmy teenage whispers.

    You know what? Beth was right. Full stop. Speaking as a person of at least decent intelligence, even if my knowledge is limited, I swear to you on my ancestors' tombs that nothing will lose you my respect faster than putting down other people's intelligence or competence, particuarly out of hubris. I have been called a soft heart for this. To the depths of the nine hells with that attitude. I'll put it simply: just as the genuinely strong people have no need to hold down the weak, the genuinely smart have no need to tear down others and call them dumb. Self-aggrandizement at others' expense is also way uncool in my book, though I'm sure nearly all of us are all guilty of some shameless self-promotion (I know I am). I can't stress this enough.

    As for making fun of perceived intellectual deficiencies (and here I don't mean mental retardation or handicaps): I'm all for a good satire or impression, but poking fun can be mean-spirited sometimes. Laugh with your friends and not at them. As for one's enemies: I can't preach the Christian ideal of loving them without practicing it, but I can tell you truthfully that I've always respected what few enemies I've ever had. To wit, I've underestimated neither their intelligence, abilities, nor knowedge. These are not just words on paper, they are at the least an application of the Golden Rule.

    The last bit was one of my Big Red Buttons growing up. My emotional development was a bit dichotomous; a run-of-the-mill guidance counselor would have called me "intellectually gifted but socially no further advanced that his typical age group". It was actually a bit more complicated than that, but taking it at face value: the quickest way to provoke me as a teen was to imply that I was immature. I would keep cool on the surface but just seethe inside. You know why? Because the people who pretended most often to have detected immaturity on my part were really the people who knew much, much better. They were doing it on purpose. Get me?


All right, that's quite enough pontificating on my part for one night. Thanks for reading, if you did; I wrote this mainly to get it off my chest.

1 This caused me problems galore during my first 2-3 years as a tenure-track faculty member: I simply could not say no to people. Not being able to say no, coupled with a record of procrastination and spotty timeliness, can be disastrous. I finally decided to go clean and promise nothing when I wasn't sure I could deliver, but those of you who are more familiar than I with principles of leadership will have spotted the pitfall here. "Going legit" by promising less (even if the reliability or delivery percentage goes up) tends to trigger some disgruntlement among the first to encounter the meaner, tougher you. Consistency is key, and even perceived self-reform can have a perceived adverse effect on consistency. ("So-and-so got to do this"; "you let so-and-so get away with not turning in that"; etc. That's if they're feeling nice; if they are in an aggressive mood, you'll be tarred with more brushes than jereeza herself has.) I tell you this both as an administrator and an individual teacher. OTOH, as a country song by Aaron Tippin goes: "you have to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything".

--
Banazir

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
kathhazel
Apr. 12th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC)
Wise words that more people should take note of. I hate this sort of situation myself and have learned that even if you are completely non-agressive you can come under attack. I always try to be polite and inpfensive......but don't always succeed I have to admit......but then I am willing to admit my own faults.....which I am assured is well on the way to fixing them lol

THere was a 'pitched battle' going on on a friends lj recently.....the person causing all the trouble went on deliberatley to cause trouble, and then got a bunch of mates to come and join in....why? because they thought had a diferent opinion....but they had no arguments other than'because I said so', so turned to open insults when their opinion made no diference.

I am all for a good debate, but as I said in a recent post of my own....keep it respectful, argue but don't insult....because it is only human nature to respond with an equally insulting comment as a retort.
masteralida
Apr. 12th, 2005 12:22 pm (UTC)

# 1. Become completely unable to grasp why it is, or is not, a substantial issue to the other party?


What about, however, when X seems unable to say why I is an issue for them? If they cannot explain to themselves, much less to Y, what the issue really is, how can Y do anything but continue to ask for clarification?

If X says to Y that issue I is of substance to X and other interested parties for whom X feels qualified to speak, then for goodness' sake, accomodate X and let him or her have the bully pulpit inasmuch as reason permits, and try not be too persistent in saying "I don't get why is this important to you".

X might feel qualified to speak for other parties, but that doesn't mean the other parties want X to speak for them. I've found a few instances lately where the other parties were downright insulted and annoyed when X decided to be their spokesperson, when they hadn't asked for such.

I am privy to a lot of issues (not just online, but IRL), but that doesn't make me any more qualified to speak for others in those situations, only for myself, regardless of how I might feel qualified to do so.

2. Get hell-bent on escalation, particularly in delivering a commensurate insult?

I don't know that people *want* escalation, but frustration certainly does take hold.

At the risk of a resounding cliche: compromise is a two way street. That said, I am personally a big advocate of glasnost: more than just free speech, I think that quelling any discussion is tantamount to declarative disenfranchisement and runs the risk of breaking negotiations (even friendly and collegial ones) down by fiat.

There is free speech, and then there's shouting "FIRE!" in a crowded theater.

Often, I believe, each side believes they are compromising and the other side is not. Or there are situations where compromise is not possible.

3. Feel the need to impute idiocy, incompetence, or especially immaturity, to the other party?

Sometimes difficult to do when the exchanges begin to break down to second grade level insults or threats - it's not so much as imputing immaturity as it is pointing out that what is being said or done smacks of the playground.



Speaking with burkhardt last night, I realized that part of my problem in dealing with people is that IRL, I have never had to really work with or deal with people who are often in need of counseling or who are so deeply affected by things that happened in their past that it comes into play in issues that are totally unrelated. I do not understand people like that. Who knows, perhaps I am someone like that - I really don't know. I only know that trying to understand X's position can be wearying, that escalation is not a good thing and making fun of one's 'opponent' (for lack of a better term when I am not yet caffinated) only leads to more issues in the end.
zengeneral
Apr. 12th, 2005 05:35 pm (UTC)
I see stupid people
they just don't know their stupid... There are clear divisions of intelligence.

I gladly and happily will chide someone for doing something stupid; I risk the same for when I fuck up. In my younger years, I was gifted, but retarded as in far communications goes. I was ridiculed for my speech; they were ridiculed for their lack of ability. Out of the public school system, I gained a strong group of skilled friends and two awesome friends that I talk to on a regular basis.

I offer two perspectives:

- To individuals I have given "encouragement" too, I have always, ALWAYS, been disappointed with their results.
- To individuals I chide, ridicule, insult. I have always (typically) been impressed with their work.

Conflict is the cornerstone of competition!

Ideal case:
Me: “You fucking retard!”
Strong Person: “Hey! I am not a fucking retard!”
Me: “Prove It”
Strong Person: “Here, look at this”
Me: “Hey, that’s neat (maybe not such a retard)”

Alternate case:
Me: “You fucking retard!”
Weak Person: “Hey! I am not a fucking retard!”
Me: “Prove It”
Weak Person: “I can’t”
Me: “Exactly, you fucking retard!”

Counter “Jason” case:
Me: “You fucking retard!”
? Person: “Hey! I am not a fucking retard!”
Me: “Prove It”
? Person: “I can’t”
Me: “Exactly, you fucking retard!”
? Person: “Well? hold on a second”
Me: “Huh?”
? Person: “Check this out, Bam!”
Me: “Wow! (not a retard at all)”

Now, the point is. To insult is to issue a direct challenge.

As far as "mean-spirited" is concerned, is fire nice to steel? People that do not survive big mean people like myself are not going to survive in difficult environments.

“Laugh with your friends and not at them”, Why not? I expect the same from them.

“the genuinely smart have no need to tear down others and call them dumb.”

This only holds if “smart” is a genetic trait in which can only be obtained from birth. I believe this is false since I was not born smart; I was a stupid kid. However, I was put in a high pressure environment. I was called dumb. Did I go cry? no, I went home and pulled my dad’s college textbooks off the wall, and I started to learn. I learned how to actually read which is the tool required to get anywhere in college. It was a slow process, but, by my sophomore year in high-school, I dominated my peers (except for one, who I caught up with).

Genuinely smart people HAVE to tear down others, and if calling them dumb tears down superficially barriers, then by all means, tear them down. It is exactly why you put a stronger fighter up against a weaker fighter; the weaker fighter will learn or die.

sui_degeneris
Apr. 12th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC)
You seem to be describing a competitive model ...
... rather than a cooperative model.

You also assume competitiveness/defensiveness on the part of your counterpart.

In the three examples you give, the initial response to the insult is a denial. What happens when a denial is not given? When the person either says "Sure. Whatever.", or asks you to watch your language, or simply ignores you?

I agree that people need to be challenged. Insults can be challenging, yes, but only if the person cares enough about your opinion or their own sense of worth to take up the challenge. If your opinion isn't important to that person, or if their self-confidence in an area is strong enough, insults are more likely to get you ignored entirely.

Although... Let's see if I've got the logic right here:

If "genuinely smart people" have to tear down people, then the contrapositive is that a person who doesn't need to tear down people is not genuinely smart.

Well, there's your out. According to your standards, I'm not genuinely smart, and you can safely disregard my comments.

Whew! Equilibrium restored!
zengeneral
Apr. 12th, 2005 08:17 pm (UTC)
Re: You seem to be describing a competitive model ...
If "genuinely smart people" have to tear down people, then the contrapositive is that a person who doesn't need to tear down people is not genuinely smart.

no, only "genuinely smart people" can tear down a barrier. The contrapositive is, if you can't tear down a barrier, then you are not "genuinely smart people".

When the person either says "Sure. Whatever."
Then, that person isn't worth talking to on any level
illusio
Apr. 12th, 2005 09:40 pm (UTC)
Re: You seem to be describing a competitive model ...
When the person either says "Sure. Whatever."
Then, that person isn't worth talking to on any level

just because 'someone' doesn't see you fit to judge..?
banazir
Apr. 13th, 2005 06:11 pm (UTC)
Respecting your judges
Well, it's a two-way street, as I said. We (are all in a position to) become judges of ourselves and others, whether we are self-appointed or officially sanctioned, and whether we openly declare it or not.

What gets on my nerves is that people often think themselves entitled to judge others without being judged in return. You can take Matthew 7:1 literally or take its contrapositive ("if you are prepared to be judged, then you may judge") if you are feeling cocky, but you can't have it both ways.

--
Banazir
banazir
Apr. 13th, 2005 03:47 am (UTC)
You have much to learn, my young padawan
no, only "genuinely smart people" can tear down a barrier. The contrapositive is, if you can't tear down a barrier, then you are not "genuinely smart people".
Can't fault the propositional logic, but sui_degeneris was speaking figuratively about tearing down people, not their resistance to being judged.

For the record, I am not saying that everyone is intelligent or that intelligence is subjective and beyond judgement. Some people are objectively stupid. What I'm sayign is that:

1. Judging overall intelligence is a tricky business and you'd better be damn sure you are really qualified to judge. For calibration, I don't hold myself qualified to do more than give grades, review papers, assess job candidates, and kick the occassional ass, and that's saying a lot.

2. In any case, even if you have correctly and aptly deemed someone less intelligent than you are, err on the side of respect. You may be disappointed, but that doesn't mean your good will and forbearance are ill-placed. It might mean that your expectations are too high.

See my rant about CS weaklings from last fall as an example. I expect very little from our graduate students. They've disappointed me time and again, and I've had to kick ass repeatedly. And yet:

1. There are enough "non-retards" as you put it to make my job worth while.
2. There is the occasional student exceptional competence, such as you (don't let it go to your head; remember: suddenly... decapitated...)

Then, that person isn't worth talking to on any level
Talking to by whom?
You'll find, as an instructor, that your opinion (up to and including grades) is not always sought after. Sometimes it's apathy; sometimes willful lack of interest; sometimes resistance to you, personally, being in a position of judgement.

--
Banazir
sui_degeneris
Apr. 13th, 2005 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: You have much to learn, my young padawan
Can't fault the propositional logic, but sui_degeneris was speaking figuratively about tearing down people, not their resistance to being judged.

This is correct. I hadn't realized that "others" had shifted to refer to barriers, rather than people.
For all I know... - banazir - Apr. 13th, 2005 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
kauricat
Apr. 12th, 2005 07:36 pm (UTC)
Re: I see stupid people
Wow. It probably wasn't your intent, but you just reminded me really strongly of the main conflict in Babylon 5.

I have definitely run into people in my life who would prefer to be approached as you evidently prefer to approach them. I have run into more people who would rather not be challenged through insult and conflict. I'm not saying it can't work for some people, but it is probably too much to assume that it would work for all people.

My natural temperment (before I started consciously trying to change myself) left many people feeling that I was cold or stone-hearted. I have had to do a lot of learning and a lot of personal work on how I approach others. My natural inclination was "Well, if they can't or won't learn my way, then they don't deserve my help and I'm not going to waste my time." This opinion, though, is not the best one (for the people I work with OR for myself). It's hard for me to converse with someone who prefers almost exclusive subjective reasoning, but I'm getting better about listening when people tell me how they "feel" rather than "what they think." My change of attitude has really helped me advance my career and my personal relationships are much more fulfilling.

I guess my point is that there are different strokes for different folks, and while your natural preference seems to you to be the best way for everyone, it's important to remember that not everyone will react as you have to opposition and ridicule. In order to help others advance (and I believe that we should always be interested in helping others learn), it's most effective to develop not only your primary approach but also some secondary approaches that are preferred by others.
zengeneral
Apr. 12th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
Re: I see stupid people
"Well, if they can't or won't learn my way, then they don't deserve my help and I'm not going to waste my time."

It isn't my way, but the "way" they choose. If you choose to take a “way”, then you should be prepared to be challenged. If not, then one can never become a master.
banazir
Apr. 23rd, 2005 08:11 am (UTC)
Master of folks by folks mastered
Yoda sez:

If others you seek to lead, first control yourself you must.
Lead, never to dominate, only for enlightenment and guardianship.

Seriously, master of whom?

--
Banazir
yahvah
Apr. 12th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: I see stupid people
This only holds if “smart” is a genetic trait in which can only be obtained from birth.

Einstein's hippocampus was larger than normal.

Genetic trait or was it because he ate lots of sashimi?
banazir
Apr. 12th, 2005 09:41 pm (UTC)
Enlarging the hippocampus
Those of you who know that my TEUNC nickname is "fishie" may not know that it is because I have a trasked hippocampus. (Maybe. At least, my short-term memory is fairly screwed up.)

Einstein's hippocampus was larger than normal.
Genetic trait or was it because he ate lots of sashimi?

He did?
And... you can enlarge your hippocampus with sashimi?
*goes to eat some*

--
Banazir
yahvah
Apr. 12th, 2005 09:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Enlarging the hippocampus
Heh, methinks that the best you can do to your hippocampus with sashimi is make it more resilient to the flow of electricity (by making sure there's plenty of myelin sheath).

Apparently there's still debate as to whether environmental factors or birth factors caused his enlarged parietal lobe and hippocampus.
banazir
Apr. 13th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC)
Sashimi: good for your oligodendrites
Now there's an ad campaign I can get on board with.
(Not that most folks would understand what the frell it means, but hey, I like it.)

Incidentally, my advisor's wife, mother of their two sons, has lived with muscular dystrophy for over 30 years. As you may know, MD is a myelin sheath deficiency. She's a portrait in courage, and I will write an entry in her honor some day.

Apparently there's still debate as to whether environmental factors or birth factors caused his enlarged parietal lobe and hippocampus.
Lord Byron had a 2.24 kg brain (legend has it at up to 10 lbs, which is preposterous, but the truth is still impressive).

--
Banazir
banazir
Apr. 12th, 2005 09:38 pm (UTC)
We're not laughing at you; we're laughing near you - part 1 of 2
I see stupid people
they just don't know their stupid... There are clear divisions of intelligence.

"They're", please. :-P

Seriously: of course there are divisions. If they are clear to you, you are either far more intelligent or far more arrogant than I, or both. Taking these as independent propositions A and I, I would say P(I) == 0.4 and P(A) = 0.98.

As I've often told you: dignity is almost always a virtue; pride, sometimes; arrogance, rarely; and hubris, not at all. banazir's paradox, irritating as it is, is that presuming to know the difference is a sign that you are trending down the spectrum towards hubris and actually don't.

That's actually not my original thinking by a long shot, but a corollary to Socrates. "If I am the wisest man," he said, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing."

I gladly and happily will chide someone for doing something stupid; I risk the same for when I fuck up.
Ever hear "there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers"? Well, there are stupid questions, but it is far more likely to err in imputing stupidity to a question than to be right; I don't care who you are or think you are. Similarly, of course people do stupid things, but they aren't always stupid; sometimes generally intelligent people do stupid things (Jason's actually a good example). And of course there are stupid people, but:

a) what are you going to do about it? (I mean besides killing 6.3B, or trying to and very probably failing)
b) if you take my premise that most people are not, in fact, too stupid to live ("the jury still being out on whether they are a waste of food," says Famine), you have an obligation of forebearance - call it "noblesse oblige".
c) (I claim, applying the Kantian Categorical Imperative) that as a person of putatively superior intelligence, you owe it to society to educate and nurture, or rehabilitate if such is needed. Now your responsibility extends to guardianship. So, again: what are you going to do about it?

Answer when you're done laughing (or cackling) maniacally; I want a serious answer to this.

In my younger years, I was gifted, but retarded as in far communications goes.
Same here; then I decided not to be, and it went away.

I was ridiculed [...]
So, how much ostracism? Were you regularly beaten up or threatened with harm? For me, it was a moderate amount; others of my friends were pells or punching bags growing up.

I offer two perspectives:

- [encouragement]: I have always, ALWAYS, been disappointed with their results.
- [chide, ridicule, insult]: I have always (typically) been impressed with their work.


I offer the Bayesian statistical principle:
Correlation is a necessary but not sufficient condition for causality.

Conflict is the cornerstone of competition!
You have not yet demonstrated that competitive, co-evolutionary, or tournament (of fitness-proportionate) selective pressure is a correct or objectively good model for rational, even sentient, social beings.

Ideal case:
Me: “You fucking retard!”
Strong Person: “Hey! I am not a fucking retard!”
Me: “Prove It”
Strong Person: “Here, look at this”
Me: “Hey, that’s neat (maybe not such a retard)”


It depends on how you first call the person a fucking retard. Some humans are fragile, and perhaps we should not be. Perhaps that which does not kill us can and should make us stronger.

I know that I have learned most when unfairly insulted and put down, and that my greatest successes have been proving the insultor wrong, even putting him or her in his or her place. But I also think that respect is socially useful and that there is an objective ethical good that comes from genuine compassionate recognition of differences in intellect.

1. Pareto optimization: Jane Doe may have more skills than you do at other useful areas.
2. Cooperation: you might strictly dominate John Doe (i.e., be unilaterally superior in all aspects of the mind that are deemed useful), but he can still be an important member of society, useful to it and to you as a servant, even a public one. (Heh. <SARUMAN>You know of what I speak...</SARUMAN>)

(continued)
zengeneral
Apr. 12th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: We're not laughing at you; we're laughing near you - part 1 of 2
"They're", please. :-P
There != They're

... *sigh*...

"If I am the wisest man," he said, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing."
See, I do find it funny quoting an Ancient Greek... I would say the modern version is "it is because I admit of what I do not know"... If wisdom were to actually know nothing, then I fear for the red-necks have the upper hand...

that as a person of putatively superior intelligence, you owe it to society to educate and nurture, or rehabilitate if such is needed. Now your responsibility extends to guardianship. So, again: what are you going to do about it?
It is the job of those with superior intelligence to rule over and dominate; this light and hearty approach to intelligence is the #1 reason the human condition exists. Intelligence is serving the hierarchy rather than being the hierarchy. If all the intelligent people came to power and controlled the resources, then many of the problems with society would fall. Although, new problems would arise, they would falter in comparison.

So, how much ostracism? Were you regularly beaten up or threatened with harm?
violence was brought upon me, yes. My hatred for people is deep... I brought violence upon them with great vengeance! point is, what is done to one needs to be returned with equal or greater force.

rational, even sentient, social beings.
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA
Humans are not rational; most are barely sentient...

Some humans are fragile
Yes, and they need to be removed from the Gene Pool. There are 6.4 billion, why protect the fragile people!

Perhaps that which does not kill us can and should make us stronger.
It should, but, hopefully most will go in the first blow.

I know that I have learned most when unfairly insulted and put down, and that my greatest successes have been proving the insultor wrong, even putting him or her in his or her place.
Exactly!

But I also think that respect is socially useful
respect is earned via trial by fire.
banazir
Apr. 23rd, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
Re: We're not laughing at you; we're laughing near you - part 1 of 2
There != They're
... *sigh*...

LOL, I was referring to the first "there" ("they don't know </b>they are</b> stupid">).

"If I am the wisest man," he said, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing."
See, I do find it funny quoting an Ancient Greek... I would say the modern version is "it is because I admit of what I do not know"... If wisdom were to actually know nothing, then I fear for the red-necks have the upper hand...
Operative concept: "I alone know that I know nothing". That is, I am the only one who knows that my knowledge is finite and my inferential and decision abilitiesa are recursive enumerable, but the entirety of knowledge to be gained is neither.

that as a person of putatively superior intelligence, you owe it to society to educate and nurture, or rehabilitate if such is needed. Now your responsibility extends to guardianship. So, again: what are you going to do about it?
It is the job of those with superior intelligence to rule over and dominate; this light and hearty approach to intelligence is the #1 reason the human condition exists.
Now, that's another ethical question entirely, one for another time, perhaps. But just so I am sure I understand you: are you advocating pure meritocracy over democracy (one voice, one vote)? Are you refuting the humanistic ideal (Mencius) of balancing compassion with fairness, promulgating altruism ("benevolence") over pure Randian self-interest?

Intelligence is serving the hierarchy rather than being the hierarchy. If all the intelligent people came to power and controlled the resources, then many of the problems with society would fall. Although, new problems would arise, they would falter in comparison.
Intelligent by whose standards? Morality may not be relative, but "aptitude" and particularly the assessment thereof can be. Or are you proposing an ideal proving ground? Because the status quo doesn't cut it as proving grounds go.

So, how much ostracism? Were you regularly beaten up or threatened with harm?
violence was brought upon me, yes. My hatred for people is deep... I brought violence upon them with great vengeance! point is, what is done to one needs to be returned with equal or greater force.
How... Sithly.
You're going to enjoy Ep3, particularly the genocide.
I knew that someday my group would give rise to a grad who would cheer for Vader... *snif* ... all growed up and... trasking the galaxy...

rational, even sentient, social beings.
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA
Humans are not rational; most are barely sentient...

LOL. Now you sound like my old classmate and grad school buddy, Jesse.

Some humans are fragile
Yes, and they need to be removed from the Gene Pool. There are 6.4 billion, why protect the fragile people!
Depends. If you assume that we are stuck with Earth for the foreseeable future, then 600M (maximum "naturally supportable" populatin) might be a guess of the optimal number. Why protect? Besides the inherent unethicality of genocide (I know, you don't care... ;-P there are other issues dealing with the long term effects of indifference to resource limitations.

Perhaps that which does not kill us can and should make us stronger.
It should, but, hopefully most will go in the first blow.
LOL

I know that I have learned most when unfairly insulted and put down, and that my greatest successes have been proving the insultor wrong, even putting him or her in his or her place.
Exactly!
Hang on, now. You say that as if undeserved disrespect or dishonor means nothing. What I'm saying is that even if you are like my dad, and believe that only egos that can stand up to the pressures and vagaries of the discipline belong therein, there can be ill effects. Blood will bring blood, as the saying goes.

But I also think that respect is socially useful
respect is earned via trial by fire.
Again, pure meritocracy resuls in a great many people who would like to have a populist representative, even an appointee, having their voices drowned out. IMO there are two species of respect: the (earned) privilege and the (deserved) right.
burkhardt
Apr. 12th, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)
This is one of my pet peeves about American culture. We say "I'm not trying to {tick you off | put you down | criticize | etc.}, but..." You know what? We really frelling are. A word to the wise: internationally, we Americans have some of the worst stereotypes vis-a-vis hypocrisy, largely because of this one.

I agree with this one, but I still do it sometimes. Generally when I do it though it's because I find myself at a loss how to phrase something in a non-offensive way, so I try to preface and state my intent. I realize it generally does little good, but I find there are times when some things need to be said, can't be removed, and I just can't find the words to properly explain. I curse my lack of gramatical profeciency at times.


If you find that I was guilty of any of the above transgressions in discussion please let me know (either here or via private email). I won't get mad (promise), but it should help me improve so the next time something occurs I can make fewer mistakes. Shutting my mouth is not always an option, but opening it and slighting the other party can almost guarantee I won't be heard.
auriam
Apr. 12th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC)
All together now.. because humans have an instinct to compete. A debate, argument, etc, is a competition. Being right = "winning". Being wrong = "losing". Ego and reputation are worth more than the truth to most people.
sze
Apr. 12th, 2005 08:41 pm (UTC)
"Don't take this the wrong way, but..." This is one of my pet peeves about American culture. We say "I'm not trying to {tick you off | put you down | criticize | etc.}, but..." You know what? We really frelling are. A word to the wise: internationally, we Americans have some of the worst stereotypes vis-a-vis hypocrisy, largely because of this one.

oh gosh, you are completely right on about that.
it was a bit of a culture shock for me to hear americans veil their insults by prefix-ing with some sort of counter clause.. as if it completely negates how mean their statement really is!
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 13th, 2005 01:24 am (UTC)
Huh?
Um... say what?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
banazir
Apr. 13th, 2005 02:35 am (UTC)
Taking breaks
Here's the thing: I do when I can, and I also air my concerns (or vent them) when something is bothering me. I don't ask for pity or agreement, and in fact what I'm looking for here is discussion rather than consensus, but just so you know, I can't be taking a vacation just now.

I know you mean well, but my taking a holiday from my worries won't actually resolve them. Not that posting them to LJ necessarily will, but in this case, it's how I choose to cope, and I thank you in advance for respecting it. Okay?

--
Banazir
(Deleted comment)
masteralida
Apr. 13th, 2005 07:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Taking breaks
B: *still does not understand the importance/untouchability of X, but in order to assist A, understanding is vital and should be pursued*

Sometimes A doesn't even try to explain the importance/untouchability of X and that makes it even harder. Another scenario is A thinking that B's request for information/explanation is a challenge and acts accordingly.
grain_king
Apr. 14th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
…nothing will lose you my respect faster than putting down other people's intelligence or competence, particuarly out of hubris.

I find that when someone suggests that another's intelligence is inferior to their own, they are either incorrect (and an egotistical neophyte) or they are correct (and an insufferable bastard).

I hate arguing; it's all just mental wankery to me.
kaladhwen
Apr. 18th, 2005 12:31 pm (UTC)
Stumbled across this randomly, forgot to go back and read the whole thing before but skimmed it now and something occurred to me.

I'm sickenly amused how some people will claim to know that doing some thing is wrong, or mean (or whatever), but...they still do it. And usually convolute the situation in such a way that even if there ended up being conflict, they've still done nothing wrong (in their minds) because it's the other person's fault -- the other person can't communicate, or, the other person has too many issues/problems/etc. Nope, none of this conflict is my fault, I'm just an innocent bystander on what is a 2-way street.

If there's a misunderstanding, there's a misunderstanding on both sides and both need to work on something. Some people would rather not leave their comfort zones and work to understand what someone else is trying to say. That's where the insults and immaturity comes in. And then there are the even more petty people who resort to criticisms, insults, and calling names that have no moral or logical bearing whatsoever on the subject (or anything at all), simply because they get their kicks out of trying to make other people look stupid. Sadly, sometimes, that last part is the only reason some people act they way they do as described in your post.
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