Monday, February 8, 2010

Lost in Disconnection?

[Only gender-neutral pronouns are used in this post.]

In my post Those Insignificant in Life I wrote about dealing with people who don't truly matter in life, and illustrated it with a personal anecdote. I would like to prod more into that personal anecdote for epistemological purposes.

Since the writing of that piece opposition against me has temporarily burned out. Seeing how steadfast I am in my principles (though they are not observed as principles) and how uncomfortable some feel to discuss the issue with me since I expose many evasions my opponents have quit until the next time their emotions flare up. It was frustrating to me to try and figure out why they were acting in such a manner (making straw men out of my arguments despite repeated corrections, insulting me, ignoring what I say, accusing me to being an emotionalist, etc.), but due to a bit of thinking about a few incidents that have happened fairly recently I think I have another piece of the puzzle, though I would like to understand further what other pieces go with this one via reader input.

Several weeks ago while I was preparing some food for processing I was again engaged in a conversation about Man X by a person that happened to be with me at the time. I got frustrated and informed him that not only has this topic been covered many times but that we were also having essentially the exact same conversation: when this topic comes up my opponents simply restate their points over and over, never presenting any new information or perspectives. Out of curiosity as to whether or not this person has even ever listened to me, I asked him to restate to me my essential reason for not associating with Man X. We have been having this conversation for well over a year, so after so much repeating of the same points over and over again he certainly should know. He got the answer flagrantly wrong. Not only did he state a wrong answer, he cited an answer I have been adding extreme emphasis to that it was NOT the reason why I refused to associate with X.

I was surprised, but not terribly so. How could, after a year of repeated and stale discussion, have he failed to comprehend even my most basic and oft repeated point?

Then I got the answer when I introspected about another chain of incidents. The same person I conversed with above often takes it upon himself to prepare some of my meals, despite the fact he claims to hate cooking, as he thinks he's doing me a favor given my financial standing. Well, since I have adopted a Paleo diet he has noticed my changing nutritional habits and has been trying to alter his meal preparations accordingly, but he has found it immensely frustrating. During the preparing of some meals he would throw a tantrum and loudly state how hard he found it to cook for me. I would politely (at first) point out to him that he is not obligated to cook for me and that I am competent enough to do it for myself, and since I actively value cooking while he claims to disvalue it I would be more than happy to take up the task entirely. After stating that he would cease his frustration and the subject would be dropped from thereon. However, despite having had it pointed out to him that all his frustration is being brought upon himself and that he has no merit in trying to make me feel guilty for making cooking "so hard," he would continue to throw tantrums in the following evenings and proceed to intensify them, making each louder and ruder than the last. Then one evening he virtually shouted at me how hard I made cooking for him and confessed that he loved cooking (contradicting the dozen of claims to the contrary he put forth) and that I had made him hate it due to my nutritional guidelines. I walked to the table in mild anger, ignoring what he said, and then when he sat down he started talking innocently to me as if nothing happened, and when he offered me some food I uttered an obscenity at him (we were now beyond the threshold of polite discourse).

What he asked next further exposed his psycho-epistemology to me. With mild moral righteousness he asked, "Why are you [acting] so ugly?"

Upon introspection of this and other incidents I have identified that this person is living his life disconnectedly, meaning he never considers his days and actions in a total sum, instead opting to view each day and action in complete isolation from the others. The reason why the person asked me why I was acting so mean to him is because to him the fact of his throwing a loud and rude tantrum just five minutes ago has now phased out of existence and has no bearing on anything. He has also phased out of mind the previous tantrums he threw the nights before. I do not consider my days or my actions in isolation, so the expression of anger towards him was the result of my considering in a total sum not only all of this person's tantrums, but also of his blatant refusal to correct his actions after his mistaken assumptions were exposed. I was feeling angry due to the fact I was considering the total weight of his actions combined, but to him nothing of significance had occurred within the last four minutes to provoke such anger.

After further introspection I realized that this may also explain the inappropriate manner of argument this person engages in when he takes on to argue with me about X. The answer he gave when I asked him to restate my given reason for not associating with X was that of the single incident that happened to lead to mine and X's disassociation. For over a year I have been trying to make clear to people that this incident is not what lead me to disassociate from X, that my choice to keep X entirely out of my life is based on the conclusion I reached about him after giving consideration to beyond a decade's worth of evidence. After summing up my dealings with him I came to conclude that Man X was in total an immoral and vicious person, and that I have nothing of spiritual worth to gain from him, so I calculated to kick him out of my life as soon as I could. Luckily for me soon came an incident which lead to our separation, and I have been adhering to my convictions as I said I would. However, people ignore me when I say I have been planning to do this to X for a long time and instead choose to see this as a matter of my being upset over a single instance of X's irrationality.

This also further explains why those individuals choose to continue to deal with X even though they have far more evidence of his immoral character, and therefore just cause to want to disassociate from him. When I point out how malicious in the past he has been it has been pointed out to me that he's now being "nice" (read: not bad; entirely a morally neutral, not positive, evaluation). Despite the fact he has decades under his belt that amount to him being an immoral person some are ready to consider him a moral person on the basis of a few isolated, morally neutral actions on his part.

All this means I'm dealing with massive context droppers. These people never allow evaluations to amount to sums in their mind and so in action only consider things in disconnected isolation and become confused when sums are involved.

The question I have that I would like reader input on is this: Why do these people operate in this way? Is it a result of epistemological damage, or do they do this as a process of evasion? If it's evasion, then for what purpose do they evade?

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