Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Policing Honesty

A few entries back, I mentioned something about the subtleties of english grammar - I recently came across an example of something much more obvious that generally irks me - horrible grammar or spelling mistakes in webcomics. I sometimes end up saving particular issues when they amuse me, but when they have problems, I save that irritation as well - I'm almost tempted to open up the image in GIMP and fix it so I'm not bothered anymore.. Meh.

I walked out of Frenzy today in Hitchcock class
(section not shown)
. Hopefully the film won't be on the test, because I don't think I ever want to see it.

One of the difficult things with increased openness in society (brought about significantly through BLOGs and IM clients, in particular their defaults when effort isn't made to keep them very targeted in audience) is that a lot of the polite lies we tell each other become transparently false, and it's easy to have one's feelings hurt even if we do the same to others. In times past, one could easily pretend to be busy at particular times or even in general, and simply "not have time" to ever (or often) hang out with people one doesn't like (or only likes being around every so often, or in particular moods, etc). Likewise, one could say "I don't actually do $ACTIVITY", or the like instead of saying "I don't want to do that with you" - people fine-tune their lives a lot this way, and the social meaning of casual conversation and talk of "schedules" has a lot of nuance. Enter technology - we find that the surface meaning of what we're told is often bunk, as we can tell through away messages and entries that said person actually misportrays wildly how their schedule works or what they're interested in. More complex yet - understanding that there are surface and actual levels of interaction dramatically increases the potential for misunderstanding. One might decide to try to opt out of the entire mess by discarding white lies, but some things are really difficult to say (e.g. I've had enough of you for awhile, but I'll be up for more later, I want to keep a certain distance from you - no closer or further, I'm not feeling very social today and only would hang out with close friends which btw you're not, you pissed me off a bit but I'll be over it in awhile and then we can hang out, I need space from everyone, etc) and even more difficult for unsuspecting (or even fully aware) people to hear.

I realise that I've often been on both the giving and receiving end of many of these (and more), and given that I've pulled this up fully into the self-aware level and am aware how age/culture/etc differences mean that further signals can be lost or how some people are just mercurial, I'm tempted to just throw up my hands on the whole mess and let things I'm not sure about rot away unless it's pretty clear to me that I have mostly positive and sustained friendliness towards me. Cynical and mildly self-destructive? Probably. I've found that I actually don't handle honesty very well anyhow - whenever someone praises me or speaks about my friendship with them as a fact, even if they're a really close friend, some part of me that I really don't understand cringes and makes me want to run away. It feels a bit like guilt, although that doesn't really make sense - I'm more comfortable having my relationships (broader sense here) simply be understood rather than discussed.

The above isn't about anyone specific, or alternatively it's about a lot of specific people who have no particular ties to each other apart from they all either have interacted with me in the past or for some reason I'm privy to what they're doing (peoplewatching is sometimes interesting). This new transparency of white lies and small manipulations - will it destroy that social mechanism or transform it?

From recent daydreams:

  • Person 1: I'd hit it.
  • Person 2: Oh yeah? What's your THAC0?
Lawyers holding parties where they watch films and collectively try to spot criminal and civil liabilities characters open themselves up to

CMU Psychology is throwing (coincidentally?) two parties this coming friday. I might go, although like with a lot of parties where I don't have friends there, I tend to find it makes me more lonely to attend than to go home. If anyone wants to come along to the latter (a happy hour at Panther Hollow Inn) or has better ideas on what I should do, drop me a line.


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