Off-Topic Thread vol. 2

Emotion’s honest. It’s sincere. The accusations made in the grip of that emotion may be wrong, but the emotion itself is honest.

The language being used right now is plenty sophisticated enough to achieve that. It’s just in how you use it. It’s the difference between ‘I’m mad at you’ and ‘I feel angry, and that anger is directed at you, because from my perspective, I feel like the things you are doing are hurtful and thoughtless. I know I’m not perfect or omniscient, though, and I want to believe that you have reasons for the things you are doing, so it might help me feel better if you were to explain why you’ve been doing these things.’

The lack of sophistication lies not in the language, but in the application of it.

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There is no real way to express this without putting yourself at a significant disadvantage if the argument turns ugly. Speaking to someone in this manner renders yourself very vulnerable. I would only approach in this manner if I was 100% sure the person in question was either a saint or kindred spirit. Unfortunately the world is not like this and for everyone else there is only imprecision and confrontation. I often see such matters as not dissimilar to fighting a duel with both participants being blind and deaf.

But that’s not a failure of the language.

There is no way to present complete and complex emotional honesty without vulnerability. It doesn’t matter how you seek to to present it, the simple process of doing so exposes those vulnerabilities, because those vulnerabilities are themselves part and parcel of that emotional honesty.

There is nothing inherently honest or vulnerable about stating what is obvious to you. They are hurting your feelings, and they have to stop. The language does not allow for you to get this across without baring your neck. A better one would be quite capable of conveying this without making it look like weakness to exploit, or without aggressive confrontation and harsh words. To use a crude analogy if someone is whacking you on the head and they don’t realize its hurting you can obviously tell them what the problem is without rendering yourself vulnerable. This is not the case with emotional topics.

No, it would not, because the very fact that they are hurting your feelings is the vulnerability you expose. So there is no way to be honest about your emotional state without exposing it. To use your analogy, if someone is hitting you on the head and doesn’t realize it’s hurting you, then by telling them what the problem is (‘that hurts’), you are exposing a vulnerability: your head is not impervious to being whacked.

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I have to admit that it comes across as somewhat odd, whenever a Caldari or Caldari-adjacent person comes out with statements like this, attacking the concept of “freedom”.

Since, you know, the whole Caldari Independence War thing was about the freedom to be Caldari, and to live in a way they desired, rather than have a lifestyle imposed upon them by government.

I don’t think it’s purely a translation issue.

But well, my speciality is studying dead civilisations, not living ones, so maybe I’m not seeing something.

I suppose I can look forward to becoming an expert on Gallente and Caldari culture.

In this case I’d describe it as a willful translation issue. Believing “freedom” is a synonym for “chaos” makes it easier for Ms. Kim to justify some of her attitudes, and, well, the world isn’t very full of things that make it easier to be her.

It also sort of puts an exclamation point on the idea that freedom, at least the way the Federation practices it, really is chaos, which is just a stronger version of a long-standing critique.

Oh yes of course. The Caldari and their notion of Order being the pre-requisite for everything.

Well-- no, not just ours, though. The idea that policy shouldn’t be at the whim of public passions isn’t a strange one basically anywhere I think but the Federation?

And yet, that’s only one aspect of ‘freedom, at least the way the Federation practices it’. And generally speaking—and once again, this is taken purely from the viewpoints actually expressed by Caldari living in the State as part of State Culture—the governmental structure isn’t the thing that they find the most egregious or anathema. It’s the personal behavior, and the lack of limits there.

Which isn’t a matter of policy. You could reform the Federal Senate into an advisory board to a cadre of regional (small ‘r’) executives who then come together to decide on national policy issues, and that wouldn’t necessarily impact the ‘hedonism’ and individualistic emphasis on personal freedom that Kim and others find so egregious.

You’d have to go quite a ways to find something the Caldari don’t tend to disapprove of in Gallente culture, Arrendis (breathing? No, wait, Ms. Kim objects to them doing that, too).

I’m not sure it’s a contest to find the worst thing really.

No, but that kind of undercuts the whole ‘it’s about policy being at the whim of public passions’ thing. It’s much, much broader than that, which renders ‘nobody else does it that way’ pretty moot… because it’s not really about how the Gallente do X, it’s that the Gallente are doing it.

You’re big into this theme lately-- making one truth the enemy of another, instead of facets of a larger and more interesting whole.

Truths don’t have enemies, though, at least among other truths; just interactions. Even a directly countervailing truth is more of a balance than a foe.

Is this just another one of your things where you go way out on a limb and defend something ridiculous because you can and it’s fun?

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No, I’m saying you’re presenting things as simple ‘this is what it is’, when that’s not all it is.

Things are always more complex. Nuanced analysis takes time and space-- as you know full well. Seeming to expect (or think that I’d expect) a few pithy lines to approximate a reality people can write books about and still fail to capture the whole is a bit much even for you.

You’re being mean, Arrendis, and I think you’re doing it on purpose.

I’m not. I’m discussing a topic, and trying to discuss it accurately, including pointing out when claims being made are inadequate. That’s all.

There’s a vast difference between being mean, and trusting the other person to be able to talk about something without needing matters softened and cushioned. And you’ve seen me do the one, so you should know this is the other.

See-- that’s a thing I like doing. But I don’t trust you very far with it, Arrendis. I’ve seen you casually misrepresent your views on any number of topics because you like arguing and testing your wit.

I’m sure you find it fun-- and, intellectual sparring is, kind of.

But I don’t spar just for fun. It seems to me there’s enough worthy material for battling over in this world without making up more, so I’d much rather argue over what people actually think. You’ve definitely already noticed this about me.

When you’re talking about someone else’s culture, of which you aren’t a part or even a long-term observer, that’s … presumptuous, at best, to be frank. At worst it’s both arrogant and extremely rude.

All of which you know, which means this is you picking a fight.

And combined with the above you already know it’s a fight that won’t interest me once I detect the insincerity.

So yes, you’re being mean.

Only until you run into being wrong, and then suddenly you pivot to arguing over your assumptions of the other person’s motives and state of mind.

Not when you’re trying to boil everything down to a single line-item. Because no aspect of culture is ever a single line-item. Nor is it presumptuous when my argument is based on ‘this is what other people of that culture have said that refutes that’.

No, it means you’re once again telling other people what they’re thinking, rather than responding to their actual argument.

Except the insincerity is entirely of your own presumption.

[ETA: The worst thing about that presumption, Aria, is that you build in immunity to being wrong, or being corrected. Because by deciding you know what the other person is thinking better than they do, and deciding ‘this argument must be insincere’, you instantly give yourself the pretense to insist that any claim of error on your part about the presumed insincerity is also insincere. And no, pointing that out isn’t mean, either.]

Still not, no.

the undercut hairstyle is trending again on Pator social media, on account of it being easy to maintain, and versatile.

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Maybe you really are being serious this time. Maybe not. It’s hard to know for sure.

Here’s the thing, though, Arrendis: I don’t believe you. I can’t trust you. You’re predatory, self-consciously, proudly predatory, and intellectually dishonest, and in a clever person that’s a real problem.

For a long time I felt like it was worth it anyway. But I’m tired, Arrendis. I’m tired of gamely taking on whatever fictitious challenge you feel like tossing out, as though the game we were playing was the same-- as though you were really looking for the truth.

I’m tired of wasting hundreds and thousands of words on a contest that was only rarely about anything any deeper than your delight in exercising your wit.

Find another plaything.