View Full Version : Mean Behavior

Titanium Dome
04-27-2006, 04:58 PM
So as not to despoil a contemporary thread dealing with a similar topic, here's a full frontal look at the issues of sarcasm, mean-spirited language, criticism, and demeaning words on this or any other forum.

People are whom they are, and platitudes aside, are predisposed to remain the same. Even if they harbor the desire to improve themselves, they are prone to return to their former states, even after extended sessions of arduous, self-denying labor in the fields of personal improvement.

Add to that the principle that people are prone to err, and to do it often. This compounds itself when the error is accompanied by speech or writing. A small error in judgment, facilitated by irritation (even from another source), enabled by a hasty thought, and delivered in impulsive words becomes a major aggravation for all parties involved.

While most of us avoid this most of the time, it is unavoidable that we do it some of the time, and, yes, some of us more than others. Anyone on the LH forums or anyone we know in life is inescapably guilty of this. No exceptions.

What sets us apart from those who live in chaos or anarchy or despotism or their own personal hell is that we try to self moderate these tendencies on our own and with the aid of friends.

When an error occurs, we either soon recognize it or a friend helps us to see it. Then we have a choice to acknowledge and repent or to defy and persist. If we choose to acknowledge and repent, our friend will forgive us; if we choose to defy and persist, our friend will engage the collective will of others to bring us into compliance. This "collective will" is the set of rules or principles that we've agreed and submitted to in order to participate. Otherwise, punishment or exclusion is in order.

The notion that we can find rules to factor out human error is, of course absurd. We can find ways to moderate it, we can find ways to remedy it once it occurs, and we can find ways to punish it, especially if it is chronic.

But let's be real about it. More members and more posts mean more errors of all kinds, including mean-spirited, critical, and demeaning language.

I've been trying to be a better person for 55 years, and I still make at least a dozen errors a day, some of them on LH Forums. I'm not going to hold someone else to a standard higher than my own performance. If I do, that's known as hypocrisy.

Instead, I'll make a good faith effort to admit my errors, to apologize, and to move on. When someone errs against me, I'll make a good faith effort to pause before overreacting, to elicit explanations calmly, to accept apologies, and to move on.

I can be a sarcastic, sharp-tongued, smart ass, but I don't intend to harm anyone, even though sometimes I do. There are others here like me.

I also am capable of freely admitting my errors and apologizing when I do, as are many others here.

So while I admire "let's all try harder" and "let's all do better" admonitions, and I do truly subscribe to them every day, I submit that we must also be able to embrace the realities of who we are and how we behave. Therefore I would add "let's all be honest about ourselves" and "let's all forgive our mistakes" so there's not so much getting on the high horse when these things inevitably happen. Riding that high horse is an invitation to a dreadful fall, and that fall will come.


I can't resist linking this, though it might be due to sarcasm. http://www.angelsthatcare.org/wordshurt~ns3.html