Sunday, May 22, 2011

MWBOT11 - Inertia and Saving Face

Online it is difficult to tell the difference between a person who is an indefatigable advocate, giving no ground for tactical reasons even when he knows he is wrong, and someone who simply doesn’t know when he is beaten. The former is annoying in a forum that is supposed to be for discussion, but it is the latter that is pathological.

Or perhaps there is no difference, and pathological types have found ways to get by in life by gravitating to situations where the former is functional.

In discussion, even rude people can be expected to give some minor ground – clarifying a term, making a distinction, acknowledging that there are also extremes in the other direction. Such acknowledgements may be tiny, yet they are crucial. An opponent who states “well, certainly, there are people actually missing a limb – I wasn’t talking about that” may go on to be quite obtuse in the discussion, but there seems a significant difference between that and one who twists your words into “so you think not wanting to work is as good an excuse as being an amputee, then.” No, you bufflehead. Don’t twist my words.

Anger or irritation can get any of our backs up, and we might dig in our heels unnecessarily, becoming more obtuse than we need. Yet I think this is something different.

Criminals deny guilt, and are remarkably resourceful in finding others to blame.

How much of our not changing our minds is unwillingness, because we want to save face, and how much is inability. The inertia of our ideas would seem to be somewhere in between, but which camp does it fall into?


Sam L. said...

About 40 years ago I was in a discussion that heated up. After a while, I suddenly listened and HEARD what he was saying--and we were actually in agreement.

One of those experiences one doesn't forget. (His name, I have. But I can tell you what he was doing and where we were at the time.)

Ymarsakar said...

With hypnotism, willingness can become capability or incapability.

james said...

I've been in many a meeting that wrangled just that way. The story of the tower of Babel is recapitulated in committee meetings every day...