Opinion and Discussion, with all the toxic inbetween

What  a tormented world, where we are between self expression,  facts and firm beliefs being dragged into a quagmire of toxic interactions.    How do we manage this unending  stream of uncivil discourse?     It isn’t simple but I will break it down.    It relies on discipline, self awareness and boundaries.

The first two are the hardest, discipline and self awareness.    Self awareness perhaps the hardest of the two.    I can  and usually do go on about meditation,  sorting ones minds and emotions, and choosing actions, thoughts and emotions, I won’t here.  This takes years of discipline and practice.    Discipline which is equally important, the willingness to reflect, self audit each and every reaction, and hone actions and reactions with conscious and deliberate forethought and planning.   Discipline is about decisions and creating a habit.      This is where most people lapse into addictions what they believe about themselves, and don’t do the continuous work to improve.     One must get past that, one has to have tools to make decisions from.


Boundaries whether they are external landmarks or internal checks and balances,  the limits have to be defined.   Our capabilities have to be assessed and honestly know ones limits.

Magnum Force Poster

Harry Callahan: A man’s GOT to know his limitations.

This is where it gets difficult.       I have been accused of coming to a verbal knife fight with a gatling gun.     I  may have had the last word, and shut the conversation to the stand still.    But the cases where I did this I never convinced anyone.  And I am sure I didn’t make any new friends.    

A discussion or civil discourse is when two sides talk about facts, where they got them, mull over their value, experiences, identify each other’s concerns and if an action is needed how to go about taking an action, and backing it out or altering it as it goes.    This doesn’t happen very often except maybe at some jobs, and the boss, supervisor or leader, has a final say of the direction to be taken.   Too often the leader has to quell arguments and opinions.  They decide the action, their position and authority is accepted and the world keeps on working, usually.

Any step further  goes down.    Not unlike  from the movie the Mummy.

Image result for mummy movie scenes

Arguments,  may use experiences, anecdotes, similes, metaphors  and yet like a discussion a solid answer isn’t really known.     Experiences from a certain set of circumstances may have more weight than others, it is how we handle this information.  As soon as opinion comes to play all hopes of civil discourse disappears into the gaping void.  And like any good intention, it paves the road to hell.  

Logical discussions  are based on a common set of language, a common set of facts, and usually an equal understanding what those facts mean.     A logical argument starts with a set of priories.   A set of assumptions that all parties understand  that they are working with.   A good philosophical debate, will worry over most meanings of words, what they mean, and the assumptions or priories that one is working with.     Logically, based on what those assumptions are or are not,  the pros and cons can be of an idea can be discussed.

Opinions are based on personal assumptions.  The assertion of opinions are set out  as assumptions.      When people get back to these assumptions, regardless of the discussion, those assumptions if taken personally, the discussion ends.       Personal based beliefs or assumptions, that are part of an opinion are not up for debate.  End of story.  Beliefs are not necessarily rational.               I believe a table is blue, other people see it as a table and is blue, I don’t believe it any more, I know, and I know they know.     As soon as I say I believe in a fact,   the fact  becomes part  of a questionable experience.     That fact is held onto with emotional investment, from experience.     The belief someone uses has an equal or strong amount of emotion invested in it.      There are stories, similes, metaphors  and illogical leaps of  assignment of emotions to something portrayed similar to an idea or a supposition.    A strongly held belief, that underlies someone’s opinion, makes that opinion off limits for discussion.   One may want to engage you with their opinion, but it is not for a discussion but for proselytization.    They want support for their belief.      This is were discussion should end.  

We don’t set the boundary to end the discussion.  We don’t realize that the discussion is over.    Whether it is facts, beliefs, sound logic or emotionally linked rationale,  people get drawn into all the toxic slugfest of what the  Greek philosophers called Sophistry.  

How do we tell when the discussion is over. 

Liberally taken from online Dictionary.   Techniques of rhetoric are examples.

Bombast is when high-sounding language with little meaning is used to impress people.

Hyperbole is when exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally are made.

Simile  is used when a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lioncrazy like a fox ).

Exhortation is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something.

Straw man argument is an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.

False equivalence is a logical fallacy in which two completely opposing arguments appear to be logically equivalent when in fact they are not. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.

Up to this point, one can start looking at the method of arguments.    Identify that the opinions and rationalizations are opinions and  hard held beliefs.     Recognize it, say so, and let it go.         The stinging thing can be said about how you feel and think about the sources of these arguments.   This does not win friends.                When it is based on societal imprinting  and hard held emotionally charged opinions, these feelings make sense to them.  The ideas are strung together  with emotionally charged feelings about each point of the argument.  The lapses of logic  and connection are glossed over with the emotions of what feels right and what makes sense.    

There is no way one can wedge sense, ones own emotions, or  logic into these beliefs.    The addiction to this whole pattern of belief and rationalization go to the core of the person’s and sadly a large section of society beliefs in who they are.  The moment you make them uncomfortable, with facts, and your own feelings (and they will be dismissed) because they can’t feel like themselves, the emotional shift does not square with their feelings, and their ability to think doesn’t fit either.    The whole thought process is usually hijacked with propaganda, a culturally contrived sense of right and wrong with a series of connected feelings with facts  and lies that are loosely connected.  The belief is based on what feels right.    The loss of identity and a sense of self, will be fought back aggressively.  

Sadly it has become ingrained into the American psyche as a cultural norm to also use abusive techniques.    This is a boundary that needs to be set as a hard limit.    The perpetrators will not change.  This is the nature of  parasites and that of sociopaths, narcissists and psychopaths.         The boundary between believers and abusers  is getting murkier than ever.

Ad hominen  is an argument or reaction directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.

Gaslighting    is when one manipulates someone by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Sealioning (also spelled sea-lioning and sea lioning) is a type of trolling or harassment which consists of pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility ( Poland, Bailey (November 2016). Haters: Harassment, Abuse, and Violence OnlineUniversity of Nebraska Press. pp. 144–145. ISBN978-1-61234-766-0.)

There are the more abusive patterns than just  Gas-lighting etc.   https://thoughtcatalog.com/shahida-arabi/2016/06/20-diversion-tactics-highly-manipulative-narcissists-sociopaths-and-psychopaths-use-to-silence-you/

and  https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/10-popular-techniques-used-by-manipulators-and-how-to-fight-them.html

In the above articles, they start using the concept of triangulation.    This is were they develop co-dependents and enablers to further abuse their victims.                And victims band together  to survive this also.  Then it becomes this toxic us or them mindset.   Which is true.   And  the abusers will use projection,  to make them look like the victim.

This brings us to the point where we develop ethnocentrism. A convenient way to  set social boundaries without calling it bigotry.     The Bigotry is based on the abusive non-inclusive  type of behavior, or the outright abusive proselytizing. 

The sad fact of the matter, is when the abused as co-dependents stop being enablers, or continue being victims, they learn to be abusers themselves or counter-dependents.     https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/201404/signs-counter-dependency     or https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counterdependency  for more information.   It can be  self protective measure, or becomes its own  toxic condition with others.  

There are techniques on dealing with all of this.    This information is all about definitions on how you can set boundaries.     Once you understand it and choose to change your behavior, based on those boundaries, it is your choice on whether or not you get out of  toxic  communications of opinions, beliefs or propaganda.        My go to method is to leave the argument, distance myself from the people,  and if called for  call out the issues listed above.   I am not attacking, just their method of  verbal assault.   Because it is definitely not a discussion nor will it be civil discourse.        Too often when it gets toxic, the abusers has their co-dependents attacking you.    Out of sight out of mind, and  those that will need healing and help after they too become victims, won’t have the thought of you contaminated.     It is tough, to just walk away from letting insanity, lies and deceit fester.     The only thing it will do is damage you.    In workplace situations, do what you can, play the games  in the articles, and usually get yourself out of there and be appreciated somewhere else.  And get out before you become the same as the victimizers.    That is hard to do.  

There is a personal acquaintance that I am developing a friendship with.   The issue of  the Honduran asylum seekers were brought up.     The association of these refugees were made to like an army, an invasion force, and people coming into one’s personal home and taking everything.   I tested those assumptions.  They were all knocked down.    The political facts, the false equivalences were presented and were summarily dismissed.  Then I was asked for more arguments, that is sea-lioning.     I said so, and the opinions and assumptions are based on external propaganda that was inciting hate and fear.    I  didn’t mean to, but, I dismissed them being  his own personal hard felt beliefs  and opinions.    I truthfully gave my opinion of the sources of those assumptions.    But I also drew a line and exited the argument.     Also I said anything I say or do in regards to that discussion would only excite that fear and anger that those  arguments, rationale of those hard held opinions.      Fear and Hate are unquenchable fires, the only thing one can do is not feed them.

This has taken me literally decades to develop the discipline, and practice along with the self awareness, to not allow myself to get drawn into an unwinnable conversation.   It wasn’t a discussion or an argument.   My choice of ending that discourse on my part was hard, but in my own defense necessary.    Don’t attack the speaker, attack the method,  the lack of of facts, or the source of them, and get the hell out.   The testing of their assumptions, feelings and opinions will be personal enough and will make the person feel attacked.      Assumptions, feelings and opinions that a person doesn’t  check for validity, it reflects what they feel and take for granted about themselves.         Seeing and hearing that, don’t attack them, you call them beliefs and opinions you don’t share, and get the hell out of the conversation.             

Hopefully with boundaries and discipline with self awareness,  the toxic rhetoric  avoided, you will change or define how you will discuss things with people.    If by setting an example, and boundaries,  this will at least for you improve what acceptable conversations would be.     This is a perfect example of not falling into a level beneath you.  Why, you set boundaries, and with self discipline and self awareness, you set boundaries for your self and bar that must be met when dealing with you.       It  has over the years helped me stave off a lot of people playing these mind games on me, wittingly or not.                

Today is so difficult to have civil and meaningful discourse and discussions, that presages the fall of a great society, into isolated squabblers that others can manipulate.    It is my hope the readers of this will endeavor to set examples in our society, so we can start the journey toward healing ourselves and our society.

Advertisements

Topsy Turvy World

“Frodo:I wish the ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide, All you have to decide is what to do with thetime that is given to you.”
Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien

I have been afforded the luxury of getting old.    Not that being sixty years old is ancient in our day and age.     I have been blessed with a stalwart and robust physiology, a keen mind, empathic and sensitive  nature,  and a fierce disposition.    Granted  I have not seen the worst of times, been abused as thoroughly  as others nor have I been blessed with an easy life.

The United States has had it’s run.     The great experiment of democracy, flawed with elitism, slavery, genocide, filled with excess european elites, the criminal elements, and the poor.     Later the dreams and aspirations of  those with humbler histories than their equivalents in europe, sell a story of success.      The luck that was carved was made mostly by ruthlessness than actual great endeavors.        It is ever thus those who do, are competent, and intelligent will be taken advantage of those that don’t deserve a damn thing, except there general organizational skills (still stolen from others) and their exceptional abilities to  get others to do the work for them.       Granted there are the few exceptions, and with great luck, and their own bit of shiestering, made it big.

The war of 1812, the British offered freedom to the slave and the indentured.  The United States doubled down on keeping slaves.      The Civil  War was much about regional power as it was about slavery.   The North and the Union won the right to make everyone else wage slaves.   Every expansion was marketed, managed and anyone who made it big with it, was just a stepping stone for the Oligarchs to expand their power, and make the rest of us wage slaves.   Here is where the multi-generational family took its first hit, with families separating, brother vs brother over politics, power and stakes in the country’s future that they had no real stake in.  

For a large country to succeed you have to have communication, transportation and resources.     And those who control them, control the country and the people.       The first set of Unions were for the people who worked in transportation.     One of the reasons for the war of 1812 was to keep Britain from stealing our sailors, and boats.     Railroad owners took advantage of workers to work long dangerous hours,  make them pay for the privilege of room and board,  and keeping wages from wives and widows.       Unions were created to make sure at least widows got the pay earned.     When railroad unions  had strikes, for livable conditions, they were met by Federal troops.      Coal miners,  took to strikes and were met with Federal troops, the original red necks.  

Meanwhile,  in the name of Christianity and Bigotry, we committed genocide on the Native American Indigenous peoples.     We may have pretended to give them their land and rights to vote,  but we still steal their land,  and allow murder, rape and all manners of abuse til this very day.

Since the Civil War every successful city, financial endeavors, homes, the ability to vote for the African Americans,  has been met with, mass killings, lynchings, murders, rapes, legalized theft of every kind and injustice.   

Every group of immigrants have been relegated to ghettos,   directed to the most mean and cruel jobs, and given such an abuse, that communities created within toughest sectors of cities were created and discriminated each in turn.    Only to look forward to the next set of immigrants to take their turn of hell that wasn’t as bad as the hell they came from.

The depression came,  the ruthless rich stayed rich, those that weren’t positioned well  fell into obscurity.   What was left of multi-generational families were scattered across the country. Even  with  the bigotry, villages, towns and local centers, with multigenerational families and the elites, brokered power locally, and made sure that they had representation along  the way up to state or national  representation.   Of course, thieves stole, the powerful controlled, but in the end, there was representation of the landed people.      After the depression and efforts to get the country back on its feet and prepped for World War II, the people of the United States were regimented into corporate lives in suburbs, associating in tight ageist and socially stratified but isolated groups.   Mobility was initiation to one group to another.    Those who  didn’t make it into a group, was denied any social mobility.    This is where the young, the poor, the socially different, were disenfranchised and pitted against other poor, the minorities and the disenfranchised.   We lost multi-generational families, and we lost the concept of community.    Those who took for granted their socialization with well mechanized ushering from one segment of society to another lost the view of a real family, community, the diversity that was minimal at best is now gone.   The expectation of fitting in and becoming homogenized in this cattle trough of socialization are totally blinded by their self made shackles and self imposed expectations.

Today Germany is leading the way and working with other  nations to keep the European Union strong and integrated.   Germany is anti-fascist after WWII.    The United States has taken on nationalism and corporate socialism, is how Mussolini described Fascism.      Israel  and the Israelis  have taken on committing genocide of Palestinians.   The Hasidim and orthodox have been replaced by conservative secular Israelis.  They are supported by a brand of Zionism there and in the United States for a manifest destiny of some religious prophecies.    The millennialists took the Utopian vision of a Jewish Diaspora, and WWII with  a Jewish state, imbedded it in with conservative and evangelical Christian cults or sects, to  support what looks like a fascist apartheid state in Israel.   The millennialism doctrines were created by people putting these ideas in the framework of a  “prophetic visions and sayings” from a mentally challenged child in the early 1800’s.    That concept is an anathema to most of these American branded modern evangelical protestant cults.   Of all the headway on minority rights, women’s suffrage, civil rights, union rights, the civil freedoms of citizens, have been eroded by bigotry and ethnocentrism of isolated groups of people manipulated by  hate and fear.

The Republican party has always been about the corporate elite controlling the country.    Democrats evolved out of the disenfranchised the various types of Mob control of cities.    The support of the disenfranchised, ruthless as mobs are there was economic growth and support of the communities.   You can’t steel from those who have nothing.          In the 60’s the Republicans made a token party platform of supporting social issues.    The Democrats  moved to add minorities and civil rights in the south and split the Dixiecrats  that got absorbed into the Republicans GOP.       The very bigotted south joined the party of Lincoln, and support to this day the destruction of the middle class, for the increasing wealth of the corporate oligarchs.   The south didn’t rise to win. It rose  to give its soul  to the very thing that they hated.                  Between Democrats infiltrating and usurping third parties,  and the early third parties a century ago being infiltrated by communists, the conservatives vilified both as being socialists and communists.        The Republic onslaught   can be identified step by step.  Nixon got rid of the Gold standard.   Started negotiations with China, which now is the premium source of cheap labor.     Non-gold standard banks support the world’s oligarchs and have made it a point to destroy countries that held to it, so far except China.     The state department and the pentagon was infiltrated by the political and corporate powers as another solid revenue stream of corruption.      Reagan’s tax reforms, immediately made as many loopholes in Income tax and the middle class kept on paying more in taxes.    Did away with the FCC control of insisting that  TV and Radio  presented news and education.     Bush Sr. attacked Social Security, and insert privatization of retirement funds that can be managed, thieved and stolen by the rich.   Bush Jr. Administration saw to that.     NAFTA agreements from republican congresses pushed onto  the Clinton’s administration, saw  industries leave the united states and retirement plans and funds disappear before workers reach retirement.       We have made corporations people, but they don’t serve or pay taxes.   Money becomes  freedom of speech, so all the voices of the under represented will never be heard, or now can be brain washed thoroughly.     Campaign reforms were totally changed so at a national level only those who coddle the ultra rich oligarchs have a chance of being elected.    We  have facade of a democracy,  and have a defunded education system creating non-critical thinking constituents.      

Russians  in the Soviet days, were Anti-Fascists, are supporting the Anti-Communist republicans, and the republicans are complicit in their relationship to Russia that is run by a Mobocracy that keeps corporations and the oligarchy from ruining the country.

I have had the misfortune of being ears to first hand witnesses, where they have chosen to stay hidden,  or who have died, of many  conspiracies that turn out to be in fact true.       Power can make you look away from the bodies that they kill and make disappear.    

Christians are supporting Israelis Zionists in Genocide, and those in politics who support misogyny, bigotry,  the dismantling of the rights of the citizens, and supporting the abuse   of anyone that doesn’t fit in a tight bigotted racist christian state.    All the while supporting politicians, who are racists, bigots, rapists, pedophiles and liars of every stripe.   The alignment with the dominionists 7 hills strategy, is the very 7 hills of rome and the anti-christ that fundamentalists were warning against 50 years ago.  They are embracing if fully.
  The hypocrisy  and anti-christian behavior here astounds me.     I do look fondly back in the days were my first social acceptance was in a Baptist Church.    The hypocrisy of being forgiven every sin, including the ones people continue to commit is still beyond me.

Peter Sellers last movie “Being There”  as Chance the Gardner, 
Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

The tawdry details of  my misadventures notwithstanding, and all of the above I have one irrational belief.   I believe in the inherent goodness of people, and human beings do have a chance to evolve.    The constant disappointment in observing what people do is painful.  The joy of goodness and justice as sparse and infrequent as it is, gives me hope.   

Cassandra of Troy blessed with prophecy by Apollo, and was also cursed by Apollo, for spurning an agreement to a relationship, to not be believed.           Were someone blessed with prophecy today and yesterday, they would not be believed.  Not from some divine curse.   The relationship with Apollo would have been the association with power.   Without power, who cares what you have to say.

We will have Civil War. It will be lopsided. A lot of good and innocent people will be murdered, who have chosen not to arm themselves.    The Government will develop an autocratic state, the government we know will be gone and replaced.  For the most part it already has.   While the country  may have just had the Democrats recently taken control of congress, the corporate controlled infrastructure will take the teeth away.    Looking powerless, the country will acquiesce to the oligarchy.   All that will be left is to parade the corpse of democracy around until decency and corruption will force people to lay it down.

What to do.  We have to change and evolve.  Those who have must survive, to teach to keep the dreams and hopes of a just and fair civilization.      That is all I have left to give.  It is the idea of a family, clan and society structure for a tribal unit.    It is designed to create leaders, that support a diverse group of people.  It won’t work unless it is heterogeneous and diverse.  The indigenous cultures that we have almost destroyed, have the culture or atleast its history of how to create and maintain tribes.   They also had means of working with other tribes.   Was it working 100%  everywhere, no.   Each group of people  either grow the elders and leaders with wisdom, or they grow groups of people who are parasites to the community killing it.     People Embracing Change was framed with this idea.      The idea is great, but it is worthless if there is only less of a handful of people willing to work it.     The Elders of People Embracing Change, are devoted to help people become thinking caring authentic people; and, not to become a rubber stamp of ersatz molds of a society who takes everyone for granted.   People talk about community, they support leaders who do all the work.   And, they tear them down because they offer no work or nothing better.  Or  they want to fill some egocentric need that just serves to destroy a group.  

We need communities that work by a commonly developed wisdom and effort, not by a carrot and a stick.     Soon there will be no carrot and only a bloody stick.