Friday, April 06, 2007

Intellectual Dishonesty Part 2 (aka a rant)

I seem to have been causing problems again.

I got a private message on one of my boards asking why I had a problem with one of the other posters and why I'm always picking fights.

It made me confused, frustrated, and a bit angry.

It seems that in the name of "playing nice" I'm supposed to keep my mouth shut. It seems people would rather I just smile and wave and then talk about what I disagree with behind someone's back, or else be so ambiguous about what I say that you can't really tell if I agree or disagree.

I'm sorry, but that isn't going to happen.

Silence is agreement. If there is a topic being discussed that I have an oppinion about, I will give my opinion. I will even word it strongly. And I will make it sound like I think I'm right. I don't think that makes me mean, I think it makes me direct, and honest. I don't want there to be any question about where I stand. And if I didn't think my opinion was right I'd be out looking for a different one.

I'm not a mean person. I am direct. I am even blunt. Some people don't know what to do with it, but others appriciate it in me. My intention is always to help and to inform. I know that I myself have a habit of getting trapped in my emotions and being unable to see beyond my own ideas, and in those times I appriciate another voice to help me see things from a different perspective. If everyone around me agreed with everything I did or said I'd be a much different person, and not in a good way.

Online, I'm even more direct than in person. In a real conversation there's time to clarify, there's things said through inflection and body language. Unable to rely on those subtle cues, I try to make things as easy to understand as possible. There are no hidden meanings or agendas. If you look for something underlying what I type, I'm sure you'll find something, but it will be your creation, not mine. At the same time, I try to give the benefit of the doubt to others in the same way - if my understanding of something isn't quite the direct meaning of what's being said, I either assume I'm reading too much into something or ask for clarification, just in case.

I'm able to admit when I'm wrong, and willing to apologize. Not those fake "I'm sorry if you're upset" apologies - if I wasn't upset, why would I be needing an apology? but a real, honest, "I'm sorry it came across that way, that's not what I ment but I understand why you took it that way, let me rephrase it so you can see what I meant" apologies.

My identity and beliefs are not tied up in the opinions of those around me. I'm ok with people disagreeing with me, in fact, I seek them out. I'm not hurt, offended, or insecure when someone points out flaws in my thinking or other ways of seeing/doing something. It helps me grow. I do get offended when someone makes an attack on me, on my family, or makes it sound like I'm a complete idiot. Take issue with my position, not with who I am thankyouverymuch.

Also, I understand that my beliefs do not change reality. Wheather I agree with them or not, certain things will not change. People will go to war. Raceism will happen. People will abuse other people. I can pretend it's not real, I can say it's not right, but the facts don't change. Just because I do not like that something is true does not mean it isn't, or that I should take issue with the person pointing it out.

On the same line, just because someone believes one thing doesn't mean they shouldn't be exposed to something else. There are people in the world who sincerely believe the holocost didn't happen, that Elvis is alive, and that formula is just as good as breastmilk. Their beliefs, however, don't change what is true.

On truth, virtually anything taken to the extreme is not true. That's the nature of our world, there is an exception to every rule. No matter what fact you come up with there will be something that will go against it. However, that fact doesn't make general statements completely invalid. If we all qualified every statement we made nothing would ever get said (as anyone who has ever been in a McMillen class is well aware of....). Just because rotweiller doesn't follow the "i before e except after c" rule doesn't mean that the rule is completely useless and should never be said.

And so to recap, I'm not a mean person, I don't pick fights, and I won't keep my mouth shut when I have something to say. If you have a problem with that, that's fine, I don't expect you to keep your mouth shut either.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Steph. Be honest, say what you believe, but do it with tact. North America has become so PC, it's ridiculous. I'm behind you. Even if I don't agree with your belief on a subject, I totally respect your honesty in saying what you believe.
Dena (it won't me sign in)

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glo said...

It is hard to be opinunated. the word simply means to have an opinioun, but it becoems a dirty word just because people only want to hear opinions that agree with them.

Lindy said...

Steph- I think you're fine, especially online. One of the reason I like my message boards is because I can work out stuff without worrying about maintaining a relationship with these people- they live far away and don't really know me. If people are getting that controling maybe you should consider finding a new forum.