virus: agitation, encouragement, and feedback
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 15:49:09 EST

In a message dated 2/12/99 10:14:36 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

<< Jake wrote:

>I am here for intelligent discussion.

That's great! So'm I.

>Any time he wants to actually discuss faith in a conceptual/cultural
>I am more than ready and capable to cut the crap. Assuming that I am still
>around to do so.

I've tried to bring up the subject of the bio-chemical processes that might lead to religous experience in the brain, and I've questioned their role in the creation of culture twice now recently, but no one was interested in responding. Pot-shots, however, always prompt a quick reply.

If you look at this list as a dynamic system and replies as part of the feedback loop, which technique would you adopt to best effect the system? And why?

-Prof. Tim>>

It depends on what you want to talk about.

You have to be ready to try a wider variety of attitudinal stimulus in cyberspace, than you would IRL. You have a lot more bandwidth to compete with, and more limited ways in which to do so. If you stick to the same attitudinal modes as you do IRL, you aren't going to get as far.

Pot Shots work sometimes - but you have to be ready to shift gears into engagement should the target respond. "Arrogance" is something that I have experimented with lately. People tend to want to knock you down or pull out their PC cards when you do that. That can make for some interesting discussions. Once again, you need to be ready to shift into real engagement. Arrogance, and Pot shots alone are usually only going to get a brief response without a more thoughtful follow up. In any case you also have to keep in mind the limits of offensiveness. You get too nasty, and more people will tune you out.

"Acting mystical" is another one that I have seen used. It tends to either suggest that you have some deeper wisdom that you are teasing people with, or it inspires others to tell you that you are full of shit (that's my usual response). My version of "acting mystical" is "speaking minimalistically", where I use the fewest number of words to convey as much meaning as possible with the fewest number of supporting explanations. If the other person "gets it", even partially, I can unfold it completely later. If they don't "get it" at all, then we probably had nothing to talk about in the first place. (and they will probably tell m

BTW, your talk about biochemical processes and religious experience prompted this from me:

My father had a "religious" LSD experience way back in the sixties that he still gets worked up over even today. When he talks about it, it sounds kind of nhilistic - which doesn't set off any "profoundness" responses in me. But for him in those days, perhaps that was profound. I wonder whether the experience would be different for me since I find nhilism to be boring and people don't usually talk about their trips as being boring.

I have never really sought out intense religious experiences, but for long term mental conversions, I have found philosophy to be fairly "trippy". I certainly don't get the intense sensory experiences, but I have gone through extended periods (days-weeks) of agitation, and distraction, accompanied with waves of intuitions (some of them even resilient to rational criticism). And since they aren't drug induced, they tend to flow through slow enough that I actually have time to articulate some of it and hopefully retain some of the insights.

To me, I don't understand the point of a "religious" experience, if I can't later talk about it to other people and make some sense. That is what I have generally thought of a lot of "religious experiences" (drug induced and otherwise) that I have heard others talk about. But that never seems to bother some people. In fact some people hold out inarticulability as proof that the "religious" experience was indeed religious. To me, that is just proof that you "blew you mind". Big whoop. Crackheads do it every day.

Another way to encourage feedback is to oblige somebody on a topic that they want to discuss.