Old Nick got caught in a trap this past weekend when his Mystic Doctrine couldn't answer a question about consciousness. As usual, he attempted to side-step the issue by providing vague and evasive answers rather than admit he didn't know or provide a better explanation. Not that there is anything wrong with not knowing, although it does break the spell of Nick being the all-wise, all-knowing Mystic character he plays online.
True to form, when Nick's vague answers failed, he resorted to attacking the person asking the question, rather than the question or the premise of the question itself. Often, these attacks come in the form of Nick accusing the other person's ego of coming into play - which is highly ironic considering it's Nick's hurt feelings that lead him to attack people. It's also worth remembering Nick's insistence that he is special and how it hurts him when people don't treat him and his ideas with reverence (I have the email receipts).
Nick's ego accusations are doubly ironic because the implication is there is something else (an 'I' perhaps?) that can and should keep the ego in check. Simply: the ego and not the ego = two things. Of course, anybody who's knowledge of the brain isn't out of date knows there's no such thing as the ego; certainly not the way Nick is using it - even the Freud definition (opposite of Nick's usage) is very shaky and not used by serious people these days. Nick's out-of-date understanding on brain matters is the root of his confusion, but he's an old guy, bless him, and it's difficult to teach old dogs new tricks.
Sadly, it appears Nick has deleted his OTP website this morning. It's not the first time he's spat his dummy out this way. Nick did the same thing last summer. For such a mature guy (in years) he sure does behave very childishly sometimes when his feelings are hurt. For someone so rude and abrasive at times, he sure can't take even the mildest of criticism. Unfortunately, I may have goaded him to delete OTP by challenging him to accuse my ego of getting in the way.
So what did I say that was so bad that he felt compelled to delete his OTP? How vicious and scathing was my attack on poor defenceless Nick? Here are my comments that he removed yesterday (even though he supposedly doesn't remove comments). I guess those two comments must have festered overnight in Nick's POM lacking brain because he didn't delete OTP until several hours after censoring my comments.
And also this comment...
Hardly seems like the worst criticism Nick could have faced. Heaven forbid he's turned into one of those special snowflake types. I have to point out there's a certain "Trumpness" to Nick's extremely thin skin. Nick, as the Italians supposedly say, in deleting your OTP, "you've cut your dick off to do your wife wrong!".
This post is a continuation of my last post about sharing information and has been written, in part, because of the monstrous abuse of words I have witnessed today.
It helps other people to understand your ideas if you use the right words when writing a post or comment. Always, where possible, stick to the simplest words.
For example: instead of using varying degrees of 'truth' (scientific truth, subjective truth, personal truth, etc.), use the words: facts, opinions, and preferences. Nobody needs a primer for those words. Those words are easily understood, and anybody who joins the conversation at a later date can do so without having first to learn the new terms.
Now for the monstrous abuse of words I mentioned.
Mystic over at the other OTP claimed the following about Gary: "He says that he believes in something he calls `hard determinism`".
That's all good. Anybody (i.e., myself) can go over to Wikipedia and read about Hard Determinism and get some idea of what it is Gary supposedly believes.
Mystic then came up with something called D1 (determinism 1) and D2 (determinism 2) to explain what he perceives as contradictions in Gary's behaviour; contradictions that may not be contradictions depending on how you interpret the meaning of Hard Determinism.
When pressed for further information, Mystic threw his toys out of the pram and complained about using different variations of determinism. He claimed there was only one form of determinism, directly contradicting both the D1 and D2 he'd previously pulled out of his ass, as well as the many recognised strands of determinism. As part of this childish tantrum, he started using the term 'Custard Determinism'.
Then, to compound the ridiculousness of it all, Mystic stated that Gary's 'Hard Determinism' means he "really, really believes in the determinism idea", despite the fact that Hard Determinism' is a known concept and has a specific meaning already.
This stuff happens all the time at the other OTP. In the past, I've witnessed words like consciousness, ego, awareness, etc. randomly endowed with new and unusual meanings. I've seen simple concepts subdivided into multiple components that only add to the confusion. It is no wonder there is a lot of muddled thinking taking place over there.
Sometimes, it helps to create new terms to help explain your ideas when there isn't a word or term that is adequate. But it doesn't help at all if you do this by taking existing, well-defined words and abuse them by assigning them arbitrary meanings - particularly when their meanings are already well understood to mean something different within the context of the subject at hand. It makes it hard to understand your ideas if you pull that kind of stunt. So don't.
I think exchanging information and ideas is a great thing, but it's only the start. It's rarely useful to make a statement, then sit back as if the work is done. The real work comes in helping others to understand our ideas and then testing them to find our mistakes and discover ways to improve upon them.
Writing a post or comment is easy; having people comprehend them is not. It requires effort to understand why people don't get them. It requires some degree of repetition to present your ideas in a slightly different way until that nut is cracked. If you're not prepared to put the effort in, you probably shouldn't be sharing your thoughts in the first place.
The one golden rule you can't break is failing to understand is that everybody has a unique set of circumstances and therefore a unique understanding of your ideas; no matter how clearly you write them. People can only express their understanding from their unique perspective, and you have to let them speak from that perspective, and ask questions from that perspective when they are trying to understand your ideas.
It's a clear demonstration of unique circumstances when two people look at the same information and have wildly different opinions on it. Both people can be smart, both can have valid points, and both can disagree. In these cases, it strikes me that the circumstances have resulted in some significant information not being shared between both sides.
I treat the missing information like it's an accounting error. For example: if I do my quarterly accounts and find that I have an extra £10, I do not know if I've received £10 too much, paid out £10 less, or if I made recording error in the books. The only way to find out is to investigate and go through back through all the transactions. When we disagree on ideas, I do not know if I have the missing piece of information, the other person has it, or if we're both mistaken on some fundamental point.
I often ask for more details when I come across an idea or statement that puzzles me. Sometimes the response is not adequate. That's not to say it's unconvincing; it's to say it's still missing the vital bit of information I need to understand the other side of the argument. That is why, when I go back and forth in comments, I not only state my understanding but also say why I understand what I do. While I'm fishing for the missing data, I'm also offering data that might be missing on the other side. It is as simple as that and has NOTHING to do with self-justification, trying to win an argument, or making the discussion about myself.
I'm pretty much flying solo here. Writing my ideas here helps me to clarify them, but the lack of back and forth does hinder their development. If you do engage in the comments here, the one thing I can promise is that I won't lose my shit like a delicate little flower when you challenge my ideas and I'll be more than happy to go back and forth with you until one of us finds the missing data.
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