internet

Being a Reasonable Person

I quit writing earlier this year. I hit burnout. It felt useless to write because of several reasons the primary ones being that I was, and still am, tired of everything becoming politicized and that the vilification of differences of opinion makes debate seemingly impossible…

Which brings me to why I decided to break my silence. Being a reasonable person is hard. It requires me to assume the person I am talking to is also reasonable. It forces me to maintain the idea that their beliefs and convictions have come from as much thought and internal debate as mine have and it means that, even if I disagree, I have to credit them with intelligence and rationality…

I’m fair minded enough…I hope…to believe that I am capable of being mistaken. I know that I have mad mistakes and will again but since I make mistakes and want my failings forgiven, I must be willing to return that same grace. It would be far easier to be a mean-spirited cynical old b****rd. It would simplify debate if my answer to anything I disagreed with was, “are you f**king stupid?”…and it would make lie to my claim and desire to be reasonable and occasionally rational…

My father says, “everyone has their flat sides.” The way I think he means it and the way I take it is to read that there are imperfect parts to all of us. I KNOW, read “bedrock belief”, that I have mine, see “mean-spirited cynical old b****rd”…and I struggle against that. I enjoy being that person. He’s comfortable. Part of that struggle is to, pardon the trite expression, I have to clean my side of the street before I worry about yours. If I decide to be against something, in Millerspeak, to be an “anti” I have to be sure that what side I take hasn’t done the same or worse than what I’m against. Just because I support something or person or view doesn’t give them a free pass…in fact, it means I hold them to a higher standard and if they fail, I reevaluate MY position.

Being reasonable both simplifies and complicates things. I’ll explain. It simplifies because I have zero tolerance for people that aren’t willing to be and return the same. As a result, I refuse to engage them in conversation. It complicates because, when people disagree rationally and reasonably with my views, I have to give some credence to their view and explain my view in a civil manner, see my comment are you f**king stupid?”…

Anyway, life is too short, my life is at any rate, to be more hypocritical than I can avoid. My own code requires me to give the same consideration and respect that I would want given to me. My friends and loved ones were too carefully allowed into my life to have me want to drive them away because I just decided to be a twerp. Live yours as you wish but, for me, being a reasonable and calm human is a worthy goal and part of my chosen path…

It isn’t how you treat the people you like that matters. That’s easy. What counts, what reflects on you, is how you treat the people you despise. That’s the hard part…

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The Internet and the Middle of the Night

I have some really good stuff come into my mind late at night…then I go back to sleep and somewhere between waking up, coffee, and morning routine I forget the train of thought. I hope I can hang on to a bit of whatever it was. This is one. I know the thought is, very probably, not original. Most of mine aren’t. Having said that…

I have a love hate relationship with the interwebbish thing. It has allowed me to meet some people, my wife included, that I never would have met without it. It allows us to bring up issues, in a public forum, that would have remained in the shadows. It gives us real time views of the world around us. Our horizons have broadened to include the whole world. Because of the net, I know and love some people that I would have never encountered without it. The group of friends I have is more varied than my life in North Texas would have ever become. On the other hand…

There is also much chance to narrow our horizons. We may, if we wish, surround ourselves with people that only share our views. We may publish misinformation and have it taken as fact. We have invented what is, in my opinion, one of the lowest forms of life, the Internet Troll.That is a weakness of mine. I read the comments sections of posts or articles and see how some people hide behind the anonymity of a made up identity and make some of the most hateful comments possible. They are made “directly” to people while giving the illusion of being impersonal.

*editorial, I don’t really care what you say to or about me. I am protective of my friends*

I think that is where I was going with this a  few hours ago. I wish that people would only say on the net what they would say over dinner to an individual. If you have to hide behind a made up name and face *editorial, I have one, too. He has a total of 3 FB friends but, only so that I don’t lose track of those friends. Not to use for trolling* and hide behind it you are, in my opinion, a coward.

I wish the net was more personal. When I write these, the name and face are mine. Aj and Z are real people and those are their names. The subject matter is personal to me. *editorial,The only identity that I hide belongs to my wife because she asked me to do that. I will respect her wishes.* When I write these words, I try to avoid attacking someones faith or individuality. It’s kind of hard when I see some of, probably a majority, my coreligionists saying/believing that my friends are going to Hell for being themselves.

Still, I wish the people that held those beliefs would tell my friends that directly. I mean, sitting next to them on a park bench during a conversation. Just look over at Z and say “You know, you are going to Hell”. *editorial, I really don’t wish that because I would have to send money for her bail* I wish someone would look to Aj and say “You know the Inquisition was right, you Pagans should be burned at the stake”. Again, probably a bad idea for the same reason. I wish you would sit next to me and say “Miller, your friends are going to Hell.” So I could ask “Why?” and we could have a conversation. The end of it would probably be you telling me that “You can’t be Christian and defend them so you are going, too” So be it, at lest we would have had a chance to change the other’s views through a conversation. *sigh*

The reasons I want that are varied. First, it would take some courage of conviction to do it face to face. Second, it is easy to hate a group and much harder to hate a person. Third, I believe that if you knew those ladies your views of them would be different.

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Remember what I said up there about the train of thought going away? Well, it’s happening now. This post is going to take a revisit or two or six. I hope this has made a tiny bit of sense. I wish that we would remember that being anonymous doesn’t take the hurt out of our words. I hope, I really do, that if you are going to hate my friends for being themselves, that you hate me for being a defender of them. It seems that the group that does most of the hating is the one you would look at me and put me in. Don’t do that. The group I am in is “Christian humans that think that human beings deserve respect and dignity”. I’ll publicly post with my real name and face as a defender. I’ll do my best to avoid being a troll. That doesn’t mean that we can not, and probably will not, disagree. What I would really prefer is that we use the net to build up and not tear down.