I have a real problem with being overly argumentative. I am in fact horrible at conveying messages to a crowds which are not predisposed to liking what I have to say. This is a real problem for me because I think I have some good shit to say. At the very least I have some less cancerous shit to say than some people I know, all things being relative. The most glaring manifestation of this argumentativeness and poor communication is my tendency to get embroiled in Facebook threads which devolve into flame wars real quick. Its not because I hate the person, or so much that I object so much to their initial comments or posts (well, sometimes its that), but very often its how people rationalize their opinions when challenged (and I use rationalize
in the loosest sense possible). I think it bothers me when people don’t do thought experiments with their opinions, extrapolating premises out to the nth degree to see if they still hold water, or attempting to rationalize these ideas within a larger global picture. And when you try and have a discussion with someone who is in a box like this, their truncated frames of reference and ideologies invariably lead to misgivings and resentment.
So yeah, this cognitive dissonance is a very real problem for me, someone who operates on the foundational premise that that the more logical argument should prevail. But in a slow, stubborn way I am becoming more and more aware that such arguments shant prevail if one is sufficiently determined not to be swayed
“Traditional sentiment is constantly in conflict with emergent knowledge” -Peter Joseph, “Defining Peace”
I don’t want to pull punches because if I can’t be brutally honest here then I can’t be honest anywhere, so I will say that as of late most of the head-butting I have been doing has been with buddies of mine from the army who post some super-moto, gung-ho shit, jingoistic tripe about Canadian pride, or bellyaching about how veterans don’t get enough respect. I can’t stand shit like this but then I can’t stand a lot of things. Interestingly though I see myself in the position of being able to call them out on their bullshit while being able to take their main bullet out of the chamber with regard to a rebuttal: “Yeah, well why don’t you try doing a tour of duty and then come say that.”
Lol, been there done that and I’m still calling you out. And just when I think that my street cred might actually mean something to them and that they might take my point of view seriously because I have gone through what they have gone through, they find some other ad hominem attack to go with which invalidates my points of view in their eyes. Its very frustrating, but its a lesson which more or less jives with my view that you should consider the message absent the messenger; frankly I wouldn’t want someone to consider my views simply because I have shared a certain struggle with them, or because I have a certain credential in their eyes. This type of selective attention seems to be the primary way in which we go about things today and its effects are mostly negative. Don’t get me wrong, credentials have importance in many regards, but they should only serve as the cherry on top of a soundly-reasoned hypothesis-sundae, not the sundae itself.
So anyway, I have as usual gone on a tangent. My intent here is not to do a critique of the way knowledge is done (I find I do that far too often as it is), but to explain the way I am handling the inane bullshit and drivel I frequently encounter on the Facebooks.
But first, a brief outline of the things which either cause me to comment rashly, face-palm hard, or ask myself, “Why am I friends with this person?”
1. Super gung-ho army shit, jingoistic fervor and the aforementioned bellyaching that veterans don’t get respect. While I do believe that the state entity is entirely responsible for taking care of any wounded (phsysically or mentally) solider and his family, I am more talking about this idea that John Q. Public doesn’t give a fuck about the military. I am not sure where this comes from; maybe some people saw a disenfranchised Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump and feel his pain a little too acutely, but I can say that in 9 years of service I never had anyone say a sideways thing to me. In fact they were all smiles and Hallmark cards, thanking me on the street, telling me how brave I was, etc. I can’t speak for other countries but at least here where I’m at, the veteran is more or less revered.
2. People who post the most pathetic and desperate aspects of their daily lives for….I don’t know, pity maybe? This shit gets old but there’s not really much you can say to someone who is complaining about how sick they are all the time, how exhausted they are, how much their kids cost, how tight money is, etc… These are touchy subjects and unlike people with dumb opinions I don’t see any glimmer of hope with regard to helping these people come around. As such, I never really comment on these posts, I just kind of cringe to myself.
3. People who make too much of politics. Perhaps this one baffles me more than it should. After all, I voted in the last federal election. But hey, we all do stupid things when we’re young. I get that it takes time for some people to realize that non-participation is the best route to meaningful change, and not established processes like voting, and many others never realize this at all, but knowing this still has not afforded me the patience I should have. When someone posts something about how the Liberals are really shitting the bed and how the Conservatives would handle things better I will typically ask the poster something like “Do you think who’s in office really matters?” assuming that like me, they will look back to the chain of contrived causality which leads to a partisan system, various offices and of course the media circus which ostensibly handles things with the highest journalistic integrity (wink wink). But no, they take my question at face value and respond, “Of course it matters….”
4. Championing minority rights, a particular disease’s cure or the plight of a small nation by advocating the use of established, in-the-box resolution methods and not considering the root cause which lead to these problems. With regard to minority rights, I think helping the black man is great, but if you try to help the black man by trying to help the black man you’re only going to piss off the white man, the brown man and the yellow man. There are no minority problems, there are human problems. We gotta start implementing solutions that help everyone and this might mean trying some new things and abandoning others. This same logic applies to curing diseases. I think a lot of people don’t really know how disease and addiction are fomented and thus believe there is a way to handle each related problem on a case by case basis. Or even trying to “help” a country without giving it the means to help itself. All of our solutions are not solutions at all, but ways of stroking ourselves to make us think we aren’t part of the problem.
So anyhow, these are just a few of my favourite things. And my master plan to avoid the frustration and rage that comes from being subjected to these inane ramblings every time I log onto the Facebooks?
Unsubscribe. This shouldn’t be that revolutionary to me because I have indeed directed friends of mine to unsubscribe from me when they complained of how their own news-feeds were full of updates whatever flame war I was embroiled in. But I can actually feel waves of relief over me when I do this. Its so satisfying to scroll through your news-feed and repeatedly lament the absence of a dislike or downvote button.
To be clear I haven’t unfriended these people as in most…all cases I still like them. I just don’t wanna hear their stupid, tired, unrationalized bullshit every time I log on.