Monday, September 17, 2012

on second thought

On the one hand, i applaud those who have patience in dealing with stoopid people.  My stress hormones may rise when i read the same tired illogical arguments that "our" point of view is based on OLD BAD science and that it has been sufficiently disproved and somebody-or-other showed X and there can be no doubt that WE are wrong because some musclehead said so ... but there are those who will counter each point and calmly, patiently exemplify how Dumbass has got his "facts" wrong.  Dumbass will then reply, repeating the same misbegotten ideas over and over without even rephrasing himself.

Much as i admire their collectedness and persistence, i wonder if their modus operandi may be the best way to deal with Stoopid.  I sometimes think it's like the supposedly Native American story:
A tribal elder was teaching his grandchildren about life.  He said to them, "A fight is going on inside me; it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogance, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and ego. 
The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, empathy, generosity, and truth."
"This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too", he added.
The grandchildren thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old man simply replied, "The one you feed."
By dealing with the irrational rationally, are we feeding the wrong wolf?  I don't know.  I do know that an awful lot of time is spent composing logical arguments, drawing on sound science, to which is replied, "that's not true, 'cause my guru said so."

Then again, i remember a certain commenter who seemed to be very fond of He-WHS-Must-Not-Be-Named....  This person argued about our personal solutions to absolutely individual problems on account o' EVERYBODY should do this and NOBODY should do that.  This person was patiently borne-with for a long time, till someone applied a good "setting down" -- and we haven't been plagued with more proclamations in a long time.

The more i think about it, the more i'm inclined to refer the Stubborn Commenter to relevant links, and when they come back and argue, tell them they've missed the cogent portions of the paper/article/book.  (Because ... they obviously HAVE.)  I'm reminded of another favorite quote:
Otto:  Apes don't read philosophy. 
Wanda:  Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it. 
Or, as a less facile but highly insightful writer put it:
Thinking's a dizzy business, a matter of catching as many of those foggy glimpses as you can and fitting them together the best you can.  That's why people hang on so tight to their beliefs and opinions; because, compared to the haphazard way in which they're arrived at, even the goofiest opinion seems wonderfully clear, sane and self-evident.  And if you let it get away from you, then you've got to dive back into that foggy muddle to wangle yourself out another to take its place.

If OUR idea works for US, and HIS idea works for HIM, why does he feel the need to try to convince us we're wrong?  I think it has to do with the same mindset we see in traditional communism and the church of Rome -- things can only work properly if EVERYBODY thinks the same, because if EVERYBODY agrees, it couldn't possibly be wrong, and doubters will be immediately and effectively squelched by their nearest and dearest.  2,000.000.000 XYZs can't be wrong?  Hell yes, they can, and they feel very insecure when you point it out to them.


  1. Even at the university level (if my school is any indication), students aren't taught how to discern the truthfulness of assertions. And most people only believe they think for themselves. IME, even when they seek out advice, they generally end up doing whatever they already had in mind: they simply deflect information that doesn't agree with what they think.

    I never realized how stubborn a friend of mine was until recently. On a high-carb diet (think lots of beans/rice/fruit/juice/yogurt/grains), she's struggling with the same weight and health problems I said goodbye to a few years ago on a LC diet. But she doesn't believe in my diet!

  2. i can't remember who came up with the line "how's that working for you?" but i've come to the conclusion that's what you've gotta say.... of course we want to help people we care about, but we too often can't!

  3. But tess... somebody is WRONG on the internet!


  4. Maybe Dr. Phil came up with "How's that working for you"? When someone would rather take medications, spend an hour a day doing stretches to work out the kinks from an hour a day working out, suffer from arthritis in their 40s, suffer with allergies, and wear 20 extra pounds instead of giving a LC, wheat-free, no-hunger diet a 30-day trial, that's one for the psychologists.

  5. if i could only talk people into doing an elimination trial for a month ... or even three weeks! THAT was the clincher for me! i had no idea how much more joyous life could be, and i was already eating a pretty clean LC diet!