Inspiration Begins in Curiousity

Wisdom Begins in Wonder ~Socrates

  • 19th January
    2011
  • 19

The Art of War

I’ve contemplated writing about this for a long time. I’m rather hesitant about these things as I feel it appears that I am placing myself on a form of pedestal… as if I were speaking as a voice of authority.

I would like to clarify that I do not presume to be any voice of authority, nor that I never make blunders of my own. However it is something that is on my mind a lot, and rather bothers me, so I am going to take the time to express my personal opinion on the art of war disagreeing.

It has come to my attention over the past eight years of xanga, that many people are dubbed “troll” simply for expressing their personal opinion of disagreement on a subject. The back and forth can look something like this:

“Ehh, I see where you’re coming from. But honestly I cannot condone telling my children that Santa Clause exists.”
“Are you telling me I am a bad mother? You sound rather uppity to me.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I simply mean that I can understand your point, but disagree with it.”
“Well if you don’t like it, then why read my blog?! God if you disagree with me you don’t have to come all over my site and badger me with it! Ever hear of the X button? At the top right of your screen? Eff you!”

I see this far too often. It will even escalate to a rabid cursing back and forth, with blogs dedicated to the other for the sole purpose of calling them the crudest and most absurd things, where a taking of sides is practically demanded by both parties.

I think that most of these situations could be avoided if just a few things were regarded when you see someone either disagreeing with you, or when you disagree with someone.

For one, reflect upon motiveWhy are you disagreeing with them? Why are you expressing your disagreement? Are you doing so because their opinion angers you, and you feel they are stupid, conceited, biased, etc.? Or do you simply wish to contribute your own personal opinion to a post, whose author holds a different viewpoint from yours? Hinase often disagrees with my assertations, but she does so in a manner that contributes to the discussion and feedback on my post. I am allowed to see things from a different perspective, and from the mind of someone who feels differently. I greatly value her opinion and the way she expresses herself. She may disagree with me, but her motif is not calling me out as a lesser human being. Sometimes people just wish to express their opinion, and sometimes it may differ from yours.

For another, never assume. My dad would often tell me that in the Marine Corp. they were told “ASSUME?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DO WHEN YOU ASSUME?! YOU MAKE AN ASS OUT OF U AND ME!” Sure, really funny actually. But when you think about it, there is so much truth to that. Assuming that the person disagreeing with you thinks less of you, can lead you to make a great ass of yourself. If you are in doubt of a person’s motive, simply ask them to explain what they mean. Add that you hope they do not think badly of you for this opinion, as their words give you that impression.

Of course, in some cases people are just trying to be mean. They may truly just want to take you down a few notches because they think you are annoying and conceited. But you know, occasionally it wouldn’t hurt you to look at their words again to see if maybe they have a point. I was once called out viciously for being absolutely conceited about my writing. I was insulted. I was angry. But I had to think about it and, yes… my post was VERY conceited. I was up on a very high horse and I’m glad he pushed me down. Sure, he could have done so in a nicer way… but just because he addressed my faults in a faulty manner, does not make my faults any less a fault.

Also, apologize now and then. Be willing to retract a statement that was ill thoughtout and badly expressed. Apologize if you expressed something in anger. I have often called people annoying, whether at work or on xanga or facebook. I have often called them out somewhat angrily as acting absolutely childish, just as I have been called out by them. But the point is to apologize for the way you expressed your disdain. You don’t have to apologize for what you said, if indeed you were right… but for how you said it.

There are many bloggers I love, who occasionally go through phases in which I cannot bear to read their blogs as every word they utter, whether true or not, just annoys me in entirety. If I feel it is bad enough, I will message them. For privacy is another aspect. If things seem to be escalating, move the discussion to a message. It is no one else’s business but yours. And messaging usually implies that you are trying to work things out, rather than attempting to make a big explosion out of the matter. It further expresses your intent.

Finally, be up front. Chick flick, I know, but look at Mean Girls. Honestly… if people just saidwhat they felt before their disdain got out of hand, these things would not happen. Learn to appreciate critique and accept it, regardless of how it was expressed. Be more forgiving and less thin-skinned.

  1. empathyandreason posted this