Saturday, January 13, 2007

Another Answer to Integralist

From One Cosmos, again, this time in response to something I said.

Dicentra, I don't know why you and others insist on perceiving everything I say in the worst possible light. I am not trying to "score points" off of anyone.

Then what are you trying to do? Why is it so all-fired important that Bob engage you? Why, after being told to get lost, do you keep going back over and over and over again? Why don't you write off One Cosmos as a lost cause, start your own blog, and work to build a discussion that you find fruitful?

Bob and the other Cosmonauts have told you many times over that they're not interested in the discussion that you want to engage in. They see you as passing through a stage in your spiritual development that is way behind them, as a road they've already tread and a thought process that they've already explored and found wanting. They get you, but you don't get them.

The fact that you keep pestering Bob, and that the bulk of your arguments are a whinge against the ill treatment you've received, is an indication to me that whatever your motives are, being that oppositional friend that you mentioned isn't one of them. To become that "loyal opposition" to Bob, you would have to first (a) become his friend (b) prove yourself loyal. Then, and only then would you have the privilege of telling him things he doesn't want to hear, but needs to. Oh, and you have to possess more wisdom (life experience) than Bob. It's evident that you don't.

You're trying to be the loyal opposition by being opposed first, and somehow Bob is supposed to interpret that as loyalty and friendship. Doesn't work that way, but you either can't see that or you don't care, which means that you don't qualify as loyal opposition, no matter how badly you want to fulfill that role.

IIRC, your debut on One Cosmos consisted of reprimanding Bob for the "ugliness" thereon. Here's a hint, for future use, and I want you to tatoo it on your forehead:

You cannot enlighten people by alienating them first.

Have you noticed how ill-disposed you are to listen to the Cosmonauts after they've called you names? Have you any desire to take my words to heart? Had you the wisdom to become Mr. Loyal Opposition on One Cosmos, you would have started out by asking earnest questions, presenting your thoughts, and taking it like a man when people said things you found hurtful.

I could go on, but I have other things to do right now. Besides, I know that you won't listen to a word I say; everything I say is a springboard for a rebuttal, not something to consider.


Integralist said...

Hi Dicentra. I appreciate your writing to me. Lots of good stuff here, some of which I agree with, some of which I do not.

I agree with you about alienation--I started off on the wrong foot and couldn't rectify that. Actually, even when I tried the Cosmonauts wouldn't let me; they had already decided who I was, what I thought, and wouldn't see anything differently--even when I said and did otherwise. But it was my "original sin" that got this ball rolling, which I take responsibility for.

Like you say, Bob and the other Cosmonauts have made it clear that they believe I am at a lower stage then they are, but Dicentra all they have done is TOLD me, they haven't SHOWN me. There is a big difference; actually, it makes all the difference in the world. And to be honest, their way of relating to me SHOWS otherwise. They have displayed intolerance, projection, dis-owned shadow elements, and close-mindedness. And perhaps most of all, the inability to see with fresh eyes, to forgive. It is not enough to TELL in words, one must SHOW through one's actions (Think of Hoarhey's posts, for example, where he basically says "This is what I think about you, but don't bother responding because I won't listen." Bob has pretty much done this a few time, but then turning around using me in his blog posts!).

I have repeatedly both expressed appreciation for things Bob and some others write and written serious, non-confrontational, posts that address the issues and questions raised in Bob's posts, while I have only received shit-slinging in return. A couple days ago, for example, I wrote a response to one of Bob's blog posts about the Descent of Mind that had not one iota of antagonism and you know what? It was deleted.

So don't tell me that Bob and the Cosmonauts are way beyond me when they display such psychological immaturity. They have shown very little understanding of my actual view, what I actually say, instead consigning it to some kind of Leftism. In other words, they reduce it to what they reduce it to what they know (or think they know) and miss everything else...which is, quite frankly, a lot.

Again, it is not enough to "tell" that one understands, one must show it--and I have seen very little actual understanding displayed on One Cosmos, at least when it comes to dissenting voices. It is quite an interesting sociological study, actually, because Bob--and by extension, One Cosmos, displays a strange combination of both insight and blindness, understanding and ignorance. But of course that is pretty much true for all of us human beans! :)

But this is largely why I don't write One Cosmos off as a "lost cause," because I see a lot of insight there.

But again, I think you are right in that my "means" were hardly skillful, and that I am at least partially--even largely--to blame for my pariah-hood on One Cosmos. I will take your observations to heart. As I said, I did try to rectify this, but it seems that folks at One Cosmos are not a forgiving lot.

So Dicentra, when you say "I know that you won't listen to a word I say" you are wrong. As the above post SHOWS, I have listened and I agree with some of what you say. But part of what I am saying is that your basic position that you "know" that I won't listen, is indicative of the problem--the blindspot--at One Cosmos, bespeaking of an inflexibility, an unwillingness to see the world anew, in this moment--and to extend the basic charities of forgiveness and openness that are supposedly, or at least theoretically, so intrinsic to the Christian faith.

I think I have acted as a kind of sponge for the collective blindspots and projections fo the Cosmonauts, because it seems that everything I am accused of is enacted in the accusation. In other words, when you "know" that I won't listen, you are not listening yourself. Does that make any sense to you?

Again, this doesn't mean that I don't have my own issues or blindspots at play, far from it. As I said, I agree that I came off on the wrong foot from the get-go (not on the "Good Foot," as James Brown would say ;). There is also a psycho-dynamic at work about me even wanting to continue to engage, being a "glutton for punishment," when it seems so fruitless--and when I receive such vitriol (which isn't pleasant, btw). I am investigating that as well. I think there are a few reasons, but I'm not sure this is the place to psycho-analyze myself (unless you absolutely insist!).

Anyways, again, I appreciate you reaching out to me Dicentra, with at least some degree of openness and charity of spirit.

p.s. I have my own blog, although rarely use it. And I also participate in another online community that I am more in resonance with. Think of my participation at One Cosmos as an "outreach" program ;)

dicentra63 said...

Like you say, Bob and the other Cosmonauts have made it clear that they believe I am at a lower stage then they are, but Dicentra all they have done is TOLD me, they haven't SHOWN me.

There are lots of different areas in which a person may progress, and progress in one area usually happens independently of another.

Spirituality also has many aspects to it, and one can also progress in one area independently of the others. On OC, they're exploring a particular conceptual framework, not ministering to lepers, so when they say they're "beyond" you, they're talking about intellectual development vis à vis religious matters, not the development of other spiritual virtues.

I agree that the Cosmonauts do not exercise patience, kindness, and good manners with those whom they identify as trolls. Thus it is on all blogs, BTW. The anonymity of cyberspace makes it all too easy to insult and dismiss. But the very nature of blogs and online communities is also at play, too.

I don't know how long you've been on the Internet, but I've been on since about 1995, and I've learned that online communities are all extremely intolerant of discussion that questions or deviates the base premises of that community. For example, someone who goes onto a Trek fans' discussion thread and asserts that Trek is teh suxor and they're all a bunch of pathetic losers is going to get flamed. Understandably.

One Cosmos also has premises on which it is based, and if you question those premises, the denizens are going to go after you like macrophages on a pathogen. Unfortunately, once you have demonstrated yourself to be a pathogen, the immune system is on alert, and it will continue to identify you as a pathogen, regardless of future behavior.

I'm not say that such is Good Christian Behavior—it's not—but it is typical online behavior, and it is foolish on your part to expect anything else. It is also foolish to chastise them for Not Being Good Christians. You will Not Get Anywhere with that.

Look, I don't totally fit in over at OC, either. Bob is a full-bore Neoplatonist, while my theology utterly rejects Neoplatonism. I am lucky enough to have the good sense not to attempt any "outreach" at OC by trying to destroy the initial premises of the discussion. OC doesn't exist to debate the legitimacy of Neoplatonism, it exists to explore it. I don't go over there and pester Bob to "integrate" my anti-Neoplatonism with his, I go over there to see what I can see and to learn what other people are thinking about. Sometimes I contribute my own insights into the situation.

But I do not, absolutely do not insist that Bob "integrate" my theology with his. That's beyond the scope of the blog, and I would be completely out of line to do so.

I am baffled by your inability to understand that your ideas don't belong on OC. Not because Bob and the 'nauts are a bunch of big old meanies or closed-minded bigots, but because your ideas are antithetical to the base premises of OC. They might in actually be very open-minded individuals who have indeed considered your ideas and rejected them, but they're not at OC to talk about those ideas. They're there to talk about Bob's ideas. Period. When you insist, as you do, on changing the terms of the discussion, you are out of bounds, as you would be on any other blog, regardless of the subject matter.

So Dicentra, when you say "I know that you won't listen to a word I say" you are wrong.

I might be wrong, and if so, I apologize. But the only way you can prove that you have listened to me is to absorb my advice and leave OC alone already.

Let me put the dots extremely close together:

You are not welcome over at OC and you never will be.

Not as long as you insist on setting the terms of the discussion. You complain that they are not being fair or kind or Christian in their treatment of you, but you are unquestionably out of line when you persist in trying to undermine the basic premises of the blog. It's not that you're a bad person or that your ideas are necessarily bad, and it's not even your approach. It's that you're repeatedly committing a huge breach of netiquette and expecting to be welcomed with open arms.

Bad netiquette! No fruit cup for you!

Dude, give it up already. Go find people who want to hear what you have to say, if it's that important that you say it. As a former Mormon missionary, I can tell you from experience that no matter how good you think your ideas are, most people will not be interested in them. The only thing you can do then is wish them good day and go away. Pestering them only causes them to want to listen to you less.

You have utterly blown it at OC. There is no fixing it. Give it up. Just give it up.

integralist said...

Hi Dicentra. You are probably right: I have "blown it" on One Cosmos. And I do understand that it is a blog for discussion of Bob's ideas. However, I don't think there is anything wrong with questioning Bob, who seems to be hyper-defensive against any and all who question His Authority. e.g. look at that fiasco with Smoov about music...come on, now. It seems to be a recurring phenomena.

Bob seems to want to preach only to the choir, which is fine. But the internet is a place of free speech, for the most part, so if Bob doesn't want folks such as myself coming in and commenting, maybe he should make it a closed blog? Raccoon Club Members only?

One of the points I made there recently is that Bob will never be taken seriously by any but his choir until and unless he is willing to engage in "cross-ideological" discussion. As far as his blog displays, he isn't.

But again, thanks for the discussion! I will take your words to heart and try not to engage as I have on One Cosmos. I may pop in now and again, but without the same expectations. Sometimes it is fun to come and throw a harmless egg or two...


dicentra63 said...

However, I don't think there is anything wrong with questioning Bob,

Morally wrong, no. But don't expect to be applauded by the OC denizens if you insist on doing so. There is such a thing as being appropriate.

who seems to be hyper-defensive against any and all who question His Authority

He's not hung up on "authority," but it would look like it to someone who is thus hung-up. Remember, your criticisms of someone else are likely to reveal more about you than about the object of your criticism. This is universally true, BTW.

Bob seems to want to preach only to the choir,

I am on a one-woman crusade to rid the world of the misuse of this phrase.

"Preaching to the choir" means that your audience is a disinterested party who has no dog in the fight.

"Preaching to the converted" means that your audience is those who already agree with you.

But the internet is a place of free speech,

So if there are no legal penalties for being rude and boorish, you can go right ahead and do so and call yourself justified? Try again.

so if Bob doesn't want folks such as myself coming in and commenting, maybe he should make it a closed blog? Raccoon Club Members only?

And how should that be done? I don't know Blogger well, but I don't think there's an "Invitees Only" option. (YahooGroups does offer such a thing.)

Again, why don't you use your God-given powers of self-restraint, courtesy, and decency to refrain from behaving like a troll? Are you so immature that you need an enforcible rule for every little thing?

Bob will never be taken seriously by any but his choir until and unless he is willing to engage in "cross-ideological" discussion.

He's not asking to be "taken seriously by" anyone who doesn't wish to take him seriously. This insistence on your part of his being willing to engage in "cross-ideological" discussion is a condition that you yourself have imposed. It is a purely arbitrary and purely subjective standard, and there's no earthly reason why Bob should adhere to your standards instead of his own.

Sometimes it is fun to come and throw a harmless egg or two...

Dude, this displays some serious immaturity. Behaving in an obnoxious manner for the express purpose of pissing other people off (hee hee! I got a rise out of them) is by definition immature, and it is one of the reasons why Bob doesn't take you seriously. Is it arbitrary and subjective? Of course! But do you enjoy engaging with people whom you find immature?

I would guess not.