Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Few Things Learned

Blah, blah, blah...
I've spent a few years participating on internet theology and philosophy forums.  I've assumed points of view opposite to what I hold, written crass articles, scholarly articles, argued with soft-boiled brains and bright-lights alike, and I've come to a few conclusions:

  1. It's a waste of time.  Everything that I've contributed to a forum, I could have better contributed to my ambitions to write a book.  By this point in time, I could quite reasonably have written a manuscript covering the kinds of topics I enjoy: religious claims, philosophy, history, and the rational mind.  As it is, I've got a laptop with links to sites where I've let myself be dragged into non-productive arguments with people who have no real connection to my life.
  2. 'Last-word Charlie' is a title that is apt for almost everyone with access to a keyboard.  Forget a graceful exit from a conversation.  Forget the social convention of stating politely that you really don't have anything more to say, and expecting that that will be alright with your dialogue partner(s).  That is not a privilege afforded the chat-forum community: you either get the last word in and really show those foot-suckers how stupid they really are, or you endure the brunt of everyone else writing in to you as if you're that stupid foot-sucker.  Someone always has to get the last word in.  It's insufferable.
  3. Anything of any real substance quickly degrades into something of no substance.  Conversations will come up that have a good lot of potential, and a few excellent comments will light the screen.  After that, it's like a sudden jump into being an octogenarian: everything degenerates faster than time-lapsed tree-rot, and you're left with a shaking head and a bevy of pills to quell the pain.
  4. Quitting is not so far-off of killing an addiction.  Most likely because it is an addiction.  In my case, at least, I crave the fight, the argument, the chance at coming out on top of a hard question.  I like being right.  But because my initial premise for participation is to be right, I'm wrong right from the start.  Even if my alleged facts line up better than another person's, my motivations for being there are not really the most salutary.  I like competition, and I don't think there's anything wrong with it, but when it comes from a place of scorn and derision (which, admittedly, in these past couple of years, it has), it's not really competition anymore; it's combat.  And no-one really likes to be pushed into a position where they feel they have something personal to lose by participating in a topic of discussion.
So, I'm coming back to my blog with a new perspective: I want to share the things I think and open the board to better discussion with people who enjoy a fair, and gracious exchange of ideas.


p.s. There will be no Saint Cynic forum.

p.p.s.  Articles will come via the treacle-down effect: slowly but surely.  ;)

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