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negotiating with crazy  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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When I was in my early 20's, I had a great friend who was in his 50's. He was a fountain of funny crap. I could tell goofy stories about him for hours.

One story he had was that he said he would regularly pick fights with his wife over stupid stuff. He would drag the fight out much longer than it needed to be drug out and then he would say "I'll let you have this one, but I get the next one."

I suspect that he never really did that - although it did seem like he and his wife had some sort of perpetual bickering relationship. Not the kind I would want.

Suppose for a moment that he really did that. He would use crazy shit as a tactic to get what he would like to have. Not decency. Not rational thought. Not caring for others. And the ugliest part is that it works. It not only pays to play the crazy card, it pays well. My experience is that crazy pays ten-fold over logic, reason, or general decency.

The crazy card pays even higher when combined with anger, interruption, higher volume and the massive buffet of logical fallacy.

I once heard a young woman proudly say that she can bullshit her way through anything.

Sometimes this is called "spin".

Of course, the package would not be complete without the crazy being dressed up with phrases like "for the sake of the environment," "for the sake of the children," "I'm a scientist," "this is basic science," "I'm an engineer," "It's basic math," "everybody knows," "this is just common sense," "any idiot ..."

For some twisted reason, our society, as a whole, dramatically rewards ... drama.

I wish .... that the field of logic and reason is taught from kindergarten all the way through high school. I think logic and reason is more important than any other subject in school. Logic and reason should get as much airtime at school as math, english or history.

What would this world be like if school included logic, reason, ethics, fallacy, decency and integrity?

One of the wonderful things about forums is that when somebody brings crazy to the table, you can break down each spec of crazy .... slowly, patiently .... with great care ... without interruption. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph ... it takes time and skill and knowledge, but it can be done.

And when you own a forum, you can delete the crazy or eject the crazy people. Because it is lovely to visit with lovely people and it is soul draining to visit with crazy people.

I think that well moderated forums drive the crazy people away - they need a place where their crazy works.
 
Jason Silberschneider
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Schools used to teach this. About 2000 years ago. It was called the trivium. Then it all went downhill from there.
 
r ranson
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I was thinking, translate Paul's post into ancient greek, and we have almost verbatim, what Socrates said. Including the bit about forums - another Athenian thingamajig.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Couldn't agree more.

If we were interested in making actual improvements in the national politics scene, the debates would be run very differently.

The questions would be 90% about policy for starters.

And the moderator would be actually good at moderating and would have a big sports horn. And they would be highly trained in logic, and every time a participant gave an answer that involved a logical fallacy, the sports horn would go off.

But I hope for too much....
 
Daniel Schmidt
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Only teaching logic doesn't necessarily prepare people to defend themselves against crazy 'spin'. Understanding that people pull these stunts to get their way is almost as important as understanding logical methods of how the world around us works since crazy people are a part of this world. My mother does some of this to me, but in her case she is legitimately loosing grip on reality and really can't help herself. I guess it is half my fault because she knows if she whines at me I will do what she wants to get her to stop whining. At least I am cognizant of it and don't let other people treat me that way.

I think sometimes people are raised in these environments and are never taught that it is unacceptable behavior. Other times people live in these environments and recognize this craziness and rise above it. Some people see this happen in schools, stores, in the media and other places and figure it out while others don't. Anyone not going with the flow is labeled and outsider and many people have been trained to believe that is always a bad thing. I don't see the tide changing any time soon, but making people aware of the games people play can help them to avoid these pitfalls.

 
Larry Noel
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Logic goes a long way towards dealing with these types of people. Rhetoric is also a much needed skill for people to develop. Rhetoric is honing the ability to see the other person's side of the argument. This disarms them because you know their entire argument before they say a word. To deal with crazies without stooping to their level, you must see the level they are on. This requires analysis of the Grammar they use, this is more than just the function of grammar, it is the total analysis from the meanings of the words to the emotions behind them. Knowledge of the Grammar and the meanings of words gives power to you because you are master of the words in your intellect rather than your emotions. If you only relate to the charged emotions of words and neglect the true meaning, you are off balance. Leaving emotion off the table gives you balance. The Trivium is the art of combining Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, and it must always be in that order. Grammar is needed BEFORE Logic can be applied. I call it the Mental Martial Arts and it is an art that must be developed. Teaching it to the next generation is the greatest gift you could give.

@ Daniel said "Only teaching logic doesn't necessarily prepare people to defend themselves against crazy 'spin'. Understanding that people pull these stunts to get their way is almost as important as understanding logical methods of how the world around us works since crazy people are a part of this world." And he is 100% correct. One needs Rhetoric and Grammar to see the whole picture and to understand where these people are coming from.

As Dorothy Sayers said in 1947........
"For we let our young men and women go out unarmed,
in a day when armor was never so necessary.
By teaching them all to read,
we have left them at the mercy of the printed word.
By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words.
They do not know what the words mean;
they do not know how to ward them off
or blunt their edge
or fling them back;
they are a prey to words in their emotions
instead of being the masters of them in their intellects..."

The Mental Martial Arts is what is needed to deal with the crazies, and the world is a lot crazier today than it was in 1947.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Scott Adams has been writing since last summer about Trump's "crazy".

The whole series of posts about it at DilbertBlog.com is worth reading, but the gist is... persuasion is a systematic technique. It's got rules. It makes sense.

Frustration is inevitable when someone expects one thing and gets another. Like when you expect someone to be doing the steps to get to the right answer (logic, facts, etc) and instead they're doing the steps to persuade people (fallacies, repetition, etc.)
 
Cynthia Quilici
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Well, persuading people is the "right answer", for them...
 
Donald Kenning
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Paul;

Crazy is as crazy does. We can blame the thoughtlessness in our society on a lot of things (I blame participation trophies).

I though about this when I read the the comment about the info graphic on permies and when I went to facebook and saw the "hate". See that comment stream here.

Three thoughts came to mind.

1) You have to be durable (your words from "Velocity"). "Life is not fair, get used to it." Bill Gates recently said that, and somehow that is innovative?

2) People are stupid and lazy. When a person says, "show reference" or whatever they said, it shows that they are lazy. The procedure is to come up with a counter argument with sufficient unimpeachable evidence so they can take the high ground in the argument. They have the burden of disproof. Them not realizing that is evidence they are stupid.

3) In America, Speech is free. In the world, facebook (and this forum) is free. However, slander and hate carry a heavy price. You say it yourself all the time... "Focusing on doing good, being good, and sharing good rather than being angry at bad, evil, stupid and lazy people. " OK. I am paraphrasing.

I do not need to remind you how much good you have done so far, you have people that actually love you doing that right now (I am guessing). You have taught me not to let the crazy impede my progress in doing good, I know you feel the same. Trust me, "I'm a scientist".
 
Travis Johnson
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They say the definition of crazy is "doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results."

Nothing is more true in a farming context than this. Honestly I love Permies because it allows me to get insight into new ideas, techniques and methods of farming, however as a large farmer (depending upon how you define it), I am too big to go all in without too much risk. Still by taken proven elements and applying in appropriate situations, I can stay to the right of "crazy permiculture ideas" as defined by traditional agriculture, and yet to the left of traditional agriculture that "keeps repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results". That certainly keeps me out of the "crazy camp" I think.

Without question it means I can negotiate new ideas, techniques and methods of farming and that gives me a competitive edge.

HOWEVER; the craziest idea that has ever been proposed...ever funded...was the idea that "corporations were too big to fail." That is just plain crazy, as the world does not exist in a vacuum. No matter what the entity...since inefficiency breeds inefficiency, it is best to let something fail and let something better take its place.
 
wayne fajkus
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Live long and prosper

Sorry, someone had to say it.
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T. Rantala
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Yeah, it works. To an extent. Once people learn your tricks they close you out, and you are only left with those with bad boundaries. It works in our society because there are so many people that you can always find new marks, and the state keeps violence at bay.

Inuits had people who would stay at the camp and sleep with everyone's wives and stuff. Such people ended up getting pushed into the ice cold sea at some point. Even in our society,most predatory people end up in the bottom, because people see through their crap and they end up only having other losers to hang out with. Now people do seem to be waking up to the existence of predatory people, realising that bullies, violent criminals, psychopaths do what they do because they are entitled and don't respect other people's rights. If this spreads and people start to develop boundaries and hold others accountable, being predatory is going to be very hard.
 
brevity is the soul of wit - shakepeare. Tiny ad:
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