Word choice

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WildOak
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Word choice

Postby WildOak » 28 Nov 2014, 04:47

I hope it's okay to start a new thread with a quote from an old one; I didn't want to derail a different conversation on a two month old thread.

I wanted to comment on this:
condemning beliefs and practices: " witchcraft, the occult, reincarnation, esoteric practices, talking with the dead, believing in many gods"
Not believers and practitioners: "witches, occultists, believers in reincarnation, esotericists, spiritualists, polytheists."
I both agree and disagree with the above, depending on how we put it :)

I think wording is important. For example, the way it's worded now, it sounds like: "I don't think you're a bad person, I just think you do bad things." Well, that doesn't make me feel any better than if someone just said "I think you're a bad person."

However, I think what people were trying to say was, "I think it's okay for other people to do those things, but for me personally, it's unacceptable." And I totally agree with that. I think it's important to acknowledge that yes, there ARE things that would be wrong for me to do, even though those things are not inherently bad.

There's a huge difference between saying "xyz is bad, but you have the right to choose to do bad things if that's what you want," (that's like saying "you're entitled to your incorrect opinion.") and saying "xyz is unacceptable for me, but it's not wrong for everyone."

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WildOak
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Re: Word choice

Postby WildOak » 28 Nov 2014, 04:48

(If I misunderstood the intent, and people ARE saying "you're entitled to your incorrect opinion," then I don't know what to say. That's a very condescending view, no matter how you explain it.)

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treegod
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Re: Word choice

Postby treegod » 28 Nov 2014, 11:05

"I don't think you're a bad person, I just think you do bad things."

I couldn't take it seriously until I heard specifics. Out of all the activities I do, and all the opinions in the world, it's going to be certain that they will be opposed. But I can't walk around a permanent state of being offended, it would be unbearable. And someone actually saying it doesn't change anything: "Come out of the woodwork at last, have you?" :wink:
What is their motivation for saying what I do (or believe) "bad"? What is their reasoning? Are they pointing out a hole in my own thinking or exposing one in theirs by saying those words?

The person in question was condemning "witchcraft, the occult, reincarnation, esoteric practices, talking with the dead, believing in many gods." I don't condemn them, but I do disagree with half of them (meaning I don't subscribe to them). But by condemning them wholesale without examining them you risk throwing out the baby with the bath water. There some dangerous aspects in them, so they have to be treated carefully and critically, but there's some good stuff in them that can be retrieved and used.

If someone condemns dogmatically without any examination, I'd suggest they're missing out. They're losing more than me by saying it, and it hurts me none... except maybe my pride. :wink:

"I think you're a bad person."

Depends on who says that. If it's a stranger on the street (or message board), then I couldn't take it seriously. I know myself better than a stranger (all ins and outs, ups and downs). If it's someone I know and trust that says that to me then something is "wrong" and I need to think about why they said it. Doesn't mean they're right, but they would say it for a reason, which would need to be examined.

"I think it's okay for other people to do those things, but for me personally, it's unacceptable."

That's sounds more reasonable, if a little relativist. There are some things I feel are "personally unacceptable", meaning I wouldn't do them, though others are free to do them. At the same time, I don't always feel it's "okay for them to do them", because it causes unnecessary harm to me, other people, other lifeforms or the planet. That's my right. But I don't have the right to impose my own sense of "right and wrong" on others, just as they don't have the right to impose theirs on mine.

I have opinions and feelings about what is "right and wrong", come to through my own reasoning or simply the reactions of my body, i.e. my conscience. I'm not going to repress what I think of as a natural feeling. But the function of my conscience is as a personal guide in my life, and not something I feel is universal or infallible (well, conscience, like intuition, can be infallible, but perception and interpretation of it may not be).

There's something similar being said on this thread between DaRC and Illion, about "evil/bad acts."

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PeteBranduir
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Re: Word choice

Postby PeteBranduir » 28 Nov 2014, 14:36

The way I see it is that if I'm doing something that someone doesn't feel is acceptable for themself to do, there is an option left to them. Accept me for me and embrace our differences, become an irrational evangelist for their own way of doing things, or let me know if they have a problem in a respectful, reasonable way and I will be more than happy to accommodate by way of not being obvious about it.

In the first instance, no problems. I extend the same courtesy without condition where the "offending" (for want of a better word) activity/view isn't unnecessarily harmful (fox hunting is one of the few subjects I become evangelical about for example). It's a very peaceful and stress free state of mind. After all, life would be so dull if we were the same I'd likely lose my mind.

In the second instance, unless there is an unselfish reasoning to it, it's not the kind of behaviour that inspires me to continue acquaintance with the person. Generally, if they are willing to debate rationally, I'm more than happy to forgive the initial reaction.

In the third instance, where the first is unworkable this is the preferable alternative. It shows mutual respect, which the world could always use more of. I'm happy to compromise, within reason, for the sake of peace if nothing else.

Outright condemnation purely on the basis of "well it's not something I find acceptable for myself to do", is rarely, if ever, going to get you anything but angry and friendless.
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Re: Word choice

Postby DJ Droood » 28 Nov 2014, 14:38

We all hold certain beliefs and reject other beliefs. "Word choice" is an exchange between two or more people, either face to face or on a forum such as this. I think you have to pick your words carefully. People identify closely with their beliefs, so to challenge an idea is to challenge the person who holds to the idea.

If someone's belief isn't hurting anyone ("The Moon is made of cheese"), but they seem sensitive and upset if they are challenged, I would chose "no words" as causing someone distress over essentially nothing seems unproductive. But if someone's beliefs put into action could cause harm, ("We must teach all school children that the Moon is made of cheese") I think it is a duty to speak your mind, regardless of how the person "feels" about being challenged. Good ideas and beliefs and actions can stand up to challenges.
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Dathi
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Re: Word choice

Postby Dathi » 28 Nov 2014, 16:31

Yup, so I was going to do a witty smart alecadoo response by quoting Richard Nixon. But that just led me down a confusing philosophical rabbit hole, so I'll leave you wise folk to sort it all out :whistle:

Originally I was looking for this quote:

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant"

but then I found this from a normally impeccable source:

“I know you think you believe you understand what you thought I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is exactly what I meant.”

And nowhere can I find an irrefutable prime source.

Ultimately, when dealing with fundamentalist stances, I find :bs: :???: :idea: rather than :deadhorse:

Ho, hum... it is Friday afternoon after all.

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Re: Word choice

Postby WildOak » 29 Nov 2014, 21:18

Out of all the activities I do, and all the opinions in the world, it's going to be certain that they will be opposed. But I can't walk around a permanent state of being offended, it would be unbearable.
Oh absolutely. I'm not going to get offended by what random strangers say. It's not worth it. We can choose how we react, but we can also choose to not be rude. The fact that people are good at dodging, doesn't mean we should be throwing rocks around.

Of course, sometimes you just word things badly and it can come out kind of rude without it being intended that way. I've done that. Sometimes I slip up, but I try. That was my point; 1, We should be honest and not repress the way we feel, but also try to choose words carefully. And 2, I think we do have a responsibility to learn to dodge, but at the same time, we can also learn to not throw rocks without regard to others. It's not either-or, we can do both.

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illion
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Re: Word choice

Postby illion » 30 Nov 2014, 11:14

I hope it's okay to start a new thread with a quote from an old one; I didn't want to derail a different conversation on a two month old thread.

I wanted to comment on this:
condemning beliefs and practices: " witchcraft, the occult, reincarnation, esoteric practices, talking with the dead, believing in many gods"
Not believers and practitioners: "witches, occultists, believers in reincarnation, esotericists, spiritualists, polytheists."
I both agree and disagree with the above, depending on how we put it :)

I think wording is important. For example, the way it's worded now, it sounds like: "I don't think you're a bad person, I just think you do bad things." Well, that doesn't make me feel any better than if someone just said "I think you're a bad person."
I'm not quite sure which thread you are referring to, so my comment here is just pointing to the quote above.

I think good people can sometimes do "bad" things. I think that my friends and most of my family members and colleagues see me as "good", although I do mistakes every now and then. When I do something wrong, it doesn't make me a "bad" person in their points of view. They just see it as a mistake, and give me another chance another time.

Sometimes I don't want to change my actions to please a crowd. Then they probably don't see my actions as mistakes but some "bad" traits that I have. They will not agree with me in those cases, but they hopefully would not judge me in other cases that has nothing to do with the actual case they defined my traits as "bad" according to. Sadly, some people just don't have this view on other people. They think that if the little three-year old is throwing sand on the other kids in the sandbox, he must be a "bad" boy. Every time someone has done something not accepted in the kindergarten, they blame him, because they assume he was the guilty, because he is "bad", and the others are "good". They should rather accept that they can't find out who did the wrong, because they didn't see it. It is very dangerous to assume that someone is "bad" based on actions taken out of its context.

I think that "good" actions and "bad" actions are relatives. They don't exist without a human observer to have made them so. Actions are neutral until someone interprets them as something else.

I, for instance, love wolves. I get very angry when a group of the local hunters want to kill all the wolves in my country. I think that when they talk about why we all should get rid of the wolves, they spread "bad" attitudes. When they go wolf-hunting, I think they do "bad" things. Sometimes I meet the same hunters on school-gatherings, and I say "hello" to them, and talk to them just as friendly as to any other person present there. I don't stay away from them because I think they are "bad". I don't see them as "bad" parents raising "bad" kids that I don't want anything to do with, although sometimes I get treated like that myself. The same hunters can't be nice to me in other contexts, and then I know that they have judged the entire me a a "bad" person because I love wolves. I think it is wrong. Very wrong.


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