In a rather heated dispute that might eventually cost me a friendship (although I hope not), I was brought to contrast some aspects of the way I interact with people I disagree with, as criticised by them, with the wide variety in perspectives in people I've called friend (or otherwise gotten along with). I think I understand their perspective on things - they dislike that I am unwilling to bend on some decisions I've made in construction of my outlook and how it affects my interaction with some groups, and focus on that division as a sign of brokenness, and I really don't see it as a problem - I'm very used to, in friendships (and other relations) having large differences with people - areas where we don't see eye to eye, areas where we might oppose each other, and I'm comfortable recognising these areas (in most cases) but not focusing on them for very long. I accept that others might make fun of or criticise my positions, and I might make fun of or criticise theirs, and being polite-but-firm on these matters in most circumstances is my general mode of operation. There are some positions that I consider, relative to me, to be "beyond the pale", but when things are not near or at that border, I'm content to have my Weltanschauung (and ways of living/expressing myself) and let others have theirs (again, occasional mockery or arguments are also in-limits). There are some things I generally like laying on the table though:
- I don't get very pushy with my thoughts, and while I see merit in my positions, I don't tend to like pushing others to agree with me
- I don't like being malicious, and don't generally accept or practice emotional manipulation on argument points (unless it is closely tied to the argument points, and even then it tends to make me uncomfortable)
- I would rather be respected than liked, and my political philosophy and the way I converse is calibrated for this
- I don't yell or get emotionally expressive in arguments. I'm not sure how much of this is philosophy versus some oddities in how my body works out - when I get stressed in a discussion, sometimes I tend to shake or shiver instead, although this isn't anger
- I try to avoid dehumanising people or dismissing their perspectives - I really want to be able to do better than call a position stupid or inhuman when considering or judging it, even if I think very ill of it.
- In general, I try to be very careful with the language I use when speaking seriously - when I'm speaking seriously (which I usually, but not always, am) on philosophy, I don't want to be misunderstood and want to keep cathartic expressions on a very conscious, nonhabitual level. There's room for improvement here.
- Even as I am careful with language, I appreciate the importance of communicating with people who don't think philosophically, and consider the level of rhetoric important as well. The more I respect people I'm speaking with on a philosophical level, the deeper my analysis I'll share with them. My BLOG is written in a moderately deep level, but there have been several times where I've gone much deeper with the few people with whom I've really been intellectually comfortable (and compatible) with (JasonM, Dubin, and at various times, two of my ex-gfs)
- I often make value judgements and try to deduce solid lines for philosophy by using theoreticals and playing with them - to understand cultural rights versus universal sufferage for Amerindians, for example, I might look at the way things are now and then dig around theoretical ways that culture might be in order to find interesting issues at stake before I come to a position.
- In the end, I see philosophy as divergent, and people who expect enough argument to lead someone to win tend to find me frustrating because I'll deconstruct things down to unarguable value or judgement differences.
I get the feeling I've said all the above before, but rephrasing things can be both a purgative and help people adjust ideas. That's my excuse, anyhow.
I've been pretty bad about remembering to handle trash day recently, and my back porch is thus pretty unpleasant.
I found Computerworld's Top 10 Firefox extensions to avoid fairly questionable. NoScript is really helpful when dealing with questionable sites, and I tend to suggest it for anyone who uses a webbrowser. It is an extra step sometimes, but encouraging diligence while using a computer isn't a bad thing in my book. VideoDownloader has never given me problems and has let me download plenty of things otherwise hard-to-get from YouTube/Google Video - it's a priceless tool. GreaseMonkey is a possible attack vector, true, and I tend to only recommend it to other geeks, but modern versions of it are pretty useful. TrackMeNot does seem like a horrible waste of resources - otherwise the extensions seem fairly innocuous. I should look through their 20 suggested extensions as well as userscripts.org (greasemonkey) for good stuff I'm missing out on.