Understanding The Misunderstandings

19 07 2012

You’ve got experience online right? Experienced the wonders of Twitter, maybe even old enough to remember when chat rooms ruled the online world? If you answered yes to one or more of these then this blog post gets sooo much easier… and relatable. Why? Because it’s about misunderstanding.

We’ve all been there right, we’ve posted a comment on a chat room/Twitter/Youtube video/other social networking site that shall remain nameless (to name it gives it power)/forums and someone has taken that comment the wrong way and come back at you in an aggressive manner claiming a moral high ground. Apart from those times when you’ve deliberately gone out to wind up those pioneers of the lofty moral heights, have you ever sat there and thought “You just didn’t get it did you.”? Welcome to my life.

I’m definitely not the best communicator in the world, my conversational arsenal does not come preloaded with witty repartee, or cutting incitefulness. I can be argued down quite easily because I am socially inept/as self confident as… someone who has no self confidence. Oh, and as an extension to this, I forget things which would help, and I have a habit of letting my mouth/fingers running away with me which can lead to even me going “Umm… whut?”. Seeing as this has been a mainstay of my life for many years I’ve learned to deal with it. Hell, my Twitter bio states that I am often misunderstood and if you think I’ve said something wrong, ask for clarification. Yet it still persists.

Now, as I’ve had to adapt to survive, I’ve gained two extremely valuable skills which help me online (I’ve yet to gain the mystical power of self confidence so it hasn’t spilled out into real life yet). My first skill is the ability to spot context and intent when reading online comments which is handy because these comments inherently have no emotional content etc for people to guage. As such the comments take on the emotional context of the person reading them which means they read it as it fits within their world view. This right here is why people misunderstand stuff, especially with me, because other people don’t see what they see. Fortunately for me, I have real trouble with emotion which means most of my judgement calls are cerebral rather than emotional. You may be wondering why I say “fortunately” and the reason is that I can then identify what the intent of the person was and why they said what they said. There is little of this “Why did you say that? You must be a [insert favourite line about people you hate]” that normal people go through. I do get emotional, usually because I’m reading something and (this is where you imagine a rage comic having been drawn to illustrate the point) think “Y u no understand context and intent before flying off the handle?”.

I know what you’re thinking – “You can’t know what everyone means”. True, but these tend to stick out like a sore thumb á la cartoon where they’ve just smacked aforementioned thumb with a hammer. When this happens my other ability kicks in and, unlike the last one which requires you to not feel, this is something anyone can learn easily. I go into agnostic mode. Being agnostic is a thinkers greatest quality because it doesn’t matter if you’re a scientist or a philosopher or anything else, if you don’t believe everything then you’ll believe the truth. Don’t get agnostic and cynicism confused, cynics believe nothing, agnostics ask for proof. And when applied to those sticky out bits of any online comment/conversation, you look for more evidence that the person is being deliberately provocative, is an idiot, or there’s been some confusion going on. You can read more of their stuff to see if they commonly do things which would label them as an asshole or you could, should you feel brave enough, ask them to clarify. If you get a tirade of abuse, or they reply with further stuff that backs up your hunch they may be a troll/an idiot. However they may just enter into a dialogue with you and clarify what they meant, which gives you the ability to discuss things if you think they were wrong, or to get a nice warm feeling that it was just a misunderstanding and they aren’t so bad.

Sounds almost Disney doesn’t it, but this is Dreamworks baby so yes it makes you feel good but does it in an unconventional way. When all is said and done which way do you want to live? As someone who makes snap decisions and has a lot of mistrust for the world, or someone who asks questions and then makes choices and doesn’t spend so much time wrapped up in their own negativity? Yes, I’m deliberately putting it that way as an attempt to nudge you towards the agnostic method, but is that so bad? Your choice.



4 responses

19 07 2012
mikeg12mike gargett

i think you are so correct in this blog-i have been on the end of this and some individuals would argue if i said today was thursday 19th july 2012-so please do not let them get you down-brilliant post

19 07 2012

Thanks 🙂

19 07 2012
Rachael Black

Some great thoughts my friend. It’s been said there is no font for sarcasm. It’s also been said that most people with access to the internet shouldn’t be allowed to breed much less use a keyboard.
Let’s face it, you can be filled with anger and ignorance and always be ‘right,’ take advantage of any excuse to find fault or anger. Or, you can use that brain thingy and think out along myriad lines.
As for the agnostic method, I follow the scientific method; making me an atheist. Not just in the religious sense of the word of course.
Being able to repeat an experiment with the same results makes scientific and holistic sense to me.
To abuse an old adage: repeating the same thing over and over with a bad result doesn’t make anyone a fucking genius heh. Just a pedagogue and ignorant.
Do I disdain those who use other methods? Hell no.
That would put me right back into the self-righteous group which equals…
I’m always right, but never find happiness or a new idea to ponder.

Thoughtful piece my friend. Damn, Been missing you and that large British organ of yours. Your brain dammit. I meant your brain!

19 07 2012

Well, from my point of view at least (so possible bias), to be a scientist you need to be agnostic because it allows you an open mind to the possibilities. An example of not being agnostic? If you set up an experiment to prove what you already know then you bias it. Think I may do a post about the whole god thing as it’s all a little too convoluted to put in a comment.

Anyway, thank you for your words, I know how you like to stroke my… ego. Hope all is well with you and I expect Burn reports asap, n hope all else is well (as it can be) with you.

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