Kathy’s got an interesting musing over on Creating Passionate Users. The terms “honest” and “nice” just seem far too vague to me. They’re nebulous concepts. And considering the confusion I’ve been having with dealing with people, I sat down and thought about it as well. In the spirit of Kathy’s sliders, I’ve got something for you to think about.
“And yes, I do consider the word ‘asshole’ an abusive comment because it attacks the person, not the topic/idea/statement/whatever. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t call someone that… but if I do, I have no business trying to claim that I’m actually interested in having a discussion.”
This bothers me. Why? Two words: intelligent design. Now there’s a very public argument where attacking the idea (religion in schools posing as science, content-free theory) has accomplished almost nothing. And the people who defend the idea take personal umbrage! People are attached to their ideas. When people get hot & bothered, they tend not to think logically. Admit it. When someone attacks an idea that belongs to us, we take it at least a bit personally. Even if they’re right. And when we attack someone’s idea, there’s at least a small part of us that thinks less of that idea’s keeper. Maturity seems mostly about reducing those feelings. 🙂
Before you get in your next squabble, make sure to take note of where your sliders on the truthful and forthright measures are. Then compare them to who you’re talking to. Maybe calling the Pro-life debater a Neo-nazi hate monger is a little too forthright (you wouldn’t be tempted to say it if you didn’t mean it). How about just hate monger? While you’re at it, tone down the truthfulness a bit and just call them a Republican.