The Trouble with Memes
TV Episodes in Games

Nervously Challenging Orthodoxy

When I write posts like the previous one, you could be forgiven for thinking that I am arrogantly blazing forth my outspoken views, caring now one iota for who I might offend. In fact, when I write posts like the previous one, I suffer from intense and troubling anxiety about them. And yet, I keep doing it. In fact, I don't think I could stop if I wanted to. What could possibly be going on in my head to lead me to such a strange place?

I try very hard not to cause offence. An entirely fruitless endeavour, of course, especially if one has beliefs which can be in conflict with both religious orthodoxy and scientific orthodoxy. I don't enjoy arguing (although I enjoy informed debate), I don't enjoy insulting people (except perhaps when drunk) and I appear to have some kind of post-traumatic stress about certain fights over email I had several years ago with a friend of mine who, sadly, I have not been able to remain friends with since the incidents in question... She taught me much of what I know about philosophy, and I do miss her. The echoes of that incident are probably the chief source of my anxiety about posting potentially inflamatory material in a digital form.

What compels me to poke at orthodox thinking like a small child poking a hornet's nest with a stick? It's not curiousity. I have a fair idea what will happen. I don't know what it is. I just know I have to do it. I just wish I could be more at ease with it.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Hey Chris.

Hope I'm not being inappropriate getting personal here... ;-)

Firstly, why apologise for your nature? Let it be. When you publicly air views you'll always offend someone and you've got some pretty interesting views and opinions here that some/many including myself find pretty compelling and good reading. If some people don't like it, they're not 'your audience' for want of a better phrase.

Bill Cosby (crap at comedy, but wise), "You can't please everybody".

I find that when I say something that I know in my heart I've truly meant to express the way it was meant to be (sadly, this can be rare as my excitable nature means I tend to not process my thoughts before they reach my mouth), then whoever it offends is likely not someone who will be a healthy part of my life.

It's almost like a filter. Thankfully it seems to work pretty well as I can count my close friends on almost two hands and they're all very trustworthy, respectful, interesting and fun people to be around. Unlike some of the questionable beings I used to call friends.

I don't know if that's the kind of thing you were getting at.

As for post anxiety when poking at things, you're part scientist remember; you/we always have to do seemingly stupid things to make sure we're on the right path. Hell, that dude who found electricity (I think it was him) was quoted to have said "I succeeded because I failed at least a thousand times and each time pointed me closer to success".

He must've poked a few hornet nests to screw up that much. But he got there in the end!

Hope this helped in some way. My gut tells me I'm a little way off, but hey. You don't get anywhere by keeping quiet.

Ah, sweet, sweet jetlag...

Thanks Dan. I feel I opened the door for getting personal with this post, so it's all fair game. :) The problem I have is the discrepency between my intellect and my emotions. It always seems fine until I actually send (for email) or post (for the blog)- only afterwards does the anxiety manifest. It's not crippling - but it's not much fun either. I felt I needed to post about this to see if exposing my demons to the light would melt them like gremlins. :)

Well, if it's all fair game... :P

I have the same anxiety sometimes. I'm always going to various forums and posting my opinions which, as a rule, are always critical of all the opinions stated up to that point. Right as I'm coming back to see if anyone responded, I suddenly get tremendously nervous and scared.

It's not because of the argument- I love to argue. It's the uncertainty. Almost everything we have gotten used to doing in life is perfectly predictable. We do this, because that's what we've always done, and then they respond like this, because that's how they've always responded. It brings comfort, it brings order to life. When you're bringing up a controversial point, you don't know how anyone is going to respond, and that's terrifying. Will they take you seriously or will you lose their respect? Will they concede the point or give a counter-argument so strong that it makes you look like a fool? There's no way to know. The comfort of anticipation is gone.

I don't think it will ever go away. I mean, is it possible to get used to the feeling of unease? The only answer I can give you is that it is better to pose these questions to people whose answers are uncertain than to people who will accept every word you say. The former makes someone, somewhere, think about his position, and surely that is the purpose of debate!

Be comforted, man.

If the "blogosphere" were to be realized materially, with the quality of a given post as the guide to what material it would transmogrify into, then said sphere would be an incredibly large ball of shit. Of various grades. From mere filth to diseased, parasite-ridden putrescence.

Yet upon closer inspection (which is as off-putting as the attendent mental imagery would suggest!) one would notice fine gems dotting the huge ball of excrement. Posts from your journal, and the few like it, are those fine gems. An occasional diamond, a ruby. Pearls even. Dare I even say a spinel or two! :)

I really rather detest blogs in general. Opinions are like assholes, and the result is the aforementioned ball of poo. But despite such a horrible signal-to-noise ratio, so to speak, there are a few that make it worth it. Your blog is one of those.

So while the nature of the internet and the "blogosphere" dictate that a post on a touchy subject is met with touchy replies, I hope that you're somewhat mollified to know that you contribute genuinely thought provoking and well considered posts on a daily basis.

As far as challenges to orthodoxy, be it religious or scientific in nature... faith in anything is strengthened by such inquiries, or it is exposed as less than supposed. Even if your positions do not match up readily with those of the religious or scientific orthodox, you do them both a great service.

Thanks Jack, I've never been compared to a spinel before. :)

Also remember; that of all the people we know, the ones that can hurt us the most are those that know us the best.

You've got to get rid of/workaround that old trauma as best you can (as I know you do on a daily basis), and I think opening up occasionally allows this as you get to see that loads of people are into/interested in/amused by/provoked to think by the posts you've made here.

And as others here have already said, you have to open the box to eat the cookies...... Or break the eggs to make an ommlette.... etc etc...

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)