virus: Being uncomfortable isn't always bad

Reed Konsler (
Sun, 7 Feb 1999 14:35:27 -0500

>Date: Sat, 06 Feb 1999 07:20:06 -0600
>From: Zloduska <>
>Subject: Re: virus: Being uncomfortable isn't always bad

>But see, I think RB meant "enlightened" in a 'my mind is superior to yours'
>sort of way. I have nothing against "enlightenment", per se, but there are
>certain kinds that bother me. Like, I think enlightenment in an academic
>sense is a lie, and foolish, however it's often perceived. Know what I
>mean? I'm referring to thinking you're infinitely wiser and more
>'enlightened' than someone because you have read more books than them, or
>have more college degrees.

I agree on both accounts. But, look at it from RB's perspective: He _honestly_ thinks that his is the "higher mind"...and mine too, I suppose (though he might change his mind never know with RB ;-) ). Isn't it refreshing that he says so...straight, no chaser? Later on you criticise me for "using 'nice' words to relay a not-so-nice message". By that criteria, he's more enlightened still...becuase he says it like he sees it...even when he knows it will raise hackles.

Can you understand his strategy? He wants to be seen as a leader, as superior, as a person worthy of respect and deference in order that he might more effectively communicate his message. Unlike so many other people, though, to find out what he wants you just have to ask him.

The meaning of words is best understood in the context of their purpose.

>See, but once a list becomes polarized over a certain issue (like Oprah),
>communication breaks down to the level of children on a playground,
>fighting with each other. It doesn't matter whose "side" you're on. After
>all, you can't really tell what everyone on the list is thinking, and esp.
>not all the lurkers I'm sure have witnessed this little debate. What
>bothered me about Richard's post is that he assumed he knew that "most"
>people on the list agreed with him that I was on a lower 'plane' than you,
>whatever that means.

Richard wasn't "assuming", he was TELLING people what they were to think. Haven't you read his book? His purpose was to instruct whomever was on the fence what the truth was. Then you made a frankly irrational move by AGREEING with him that everyone on this list thought you were...well, the exact words escape me becuase I'm not THAT easily programmed...but let's recall that they were "bad" words. You were telling anyone who might be listening that you were a "bad" person and Richard was telling everyone that I was a "good" (enlightened, whatever...) person (and also implying that HE was a suitable authority to judge the difference). Given that I'm not, by nature, much interested in achieving a false sense of closure my only recourse was to turn around a TELL people that they ought to be suspicious of me. Plus I had to get into a side tangle with Richard about who knew better what the most effective methods of persuasion were...quite a cognitive backflip.

Although, I guess I do come here for the exercise, so I'm not complaining.

It is easier to tell people what to think than to tell what people are thinking.

>Just curious, why do you think I have turned anger onto myself? Uh, *do*
>you think that in the first place, and when? They are not the only ones
>who are puzzled. ;-)

It was the most plausible reason that you would tell everyone on the list to see you as a "bad" person, based on my experience. If you disagree with my conclusion, could you tell me why you made those negative statements about yourself?

>>But if YOU think THEY think you're an "X" sort of person then
>>that makes you feel a certian way. Everyone is like that...we
>>all care what people think.
>Oh, I agree with this. When I said "I don't care what people think" I
>meant more along the lines of the general public. On the CoV list, I give
>input, so obviously I care about some kind of feedback, or I wouldn't be
>wasting my time.

That's true of the rest of the world, to a lesser extent, as well. Sure, there are people and groups to whom you are more closely attentive. But, to claim you aren't part of the "general public" would be elitist.

We are all part of the public.

>I think you're using "nice" words to relay a not-so-nice
>message. You should be straightforward. I think you're using all these
>terms to mask saying, "The truth hurts- don't it?" And I would disagree
>about what the truth is.

If you reread my post in it's entirety, you will find that I said something like:

"If you think deeply about the issue, you will arive at the correct conclusion...which may not be mine."

I don't care for your agreement. I want you to think about it logically.

>Also, when I said "dreaded chore", I meant
>investing all this time sitting at the computer, having to attempt to
>defend myself against an onslaught of pro-Oprah posts. It was swallowing up
>my motivation to post and making CoV a very lackluster affair.

Why? Look, you can easily ignore me. As far as you are concerned, I'm just words on a screen, to be deleted at your whim. Don't try to sell me on the fact that you "had to reply" in order to defend your honor or something...that's ludicrous. Whatever is forcing you to continue this discourse is in your head, not mine.

You chose to pay attention...try to get the return on your investment.

>>Two things can happen.
>>1) Your present way of thinking overcomes reason and you
>>become more resistant to change. For instance, you will begin
>>to automatically discount anything Richard or I say...perhaps you
>>will log off COV to avoid further input along these lines.
>>2) Your present way of thinking will be overcome and your mind
>>will assemble a new way of thinking accomodating your new
>Again, I think you're trying to pick my mind apart a bit too much.

In what sense...beyond your comfort? beyond my abilities? beyond what is appropriate? beyond reason? ;-)

>You seem to think there is always something more complex and
>entirely different in my words, when in fact I meant simply one
>thing only, or else something completely different.

Alternatively, you are not conscious of the deeper meaning in everything you say. As a result, your words often betray you. Do you feel like you "really" understand most people and can help them "really" understand you? Do you feel a deep connection to the public, one which makes you happy to be a fellow human being?

Or not?

We are all telling stories to each other about who we are and what we think...all the time. I tell you what to think and you tell me. Round and round. But you sound a little you are the only one who has the right to define yourself. That's crap, and everyone knows it. Nothing is off-limits in this game...not in the sense that I have the "right" to tell you who you are...but in that we cannot avoid making such statements about each other.

So, go ahead, tell me...who am I? The best I've heard so far was "sanctimonious"...but that didn't last more than a day or two. If you're uncomfortable talking in your turf, then we can talk in mine. It all the same in the end, anyway.


  Reed Konsler