Never mind – arguing is pointless

picture of a lone person standing on a hilltop with a sunset in the distance and falling stars coming down
Some peace would be welcome

I can’t believe I’ve lost so much time, in the past several days, to Twitter discussions that really amounted to arguments. It’s consumed a lot of my time, which is understandable, because once my brain locks onto something problematic, it won’t let go until it finds some resolution. But because I do such a poor job of expressing myself at times, and (perhaps because my thinking process has developed in solitude and isolation) my logic isn’t readily apparent to others. That much is clear, now. I just wish I’d realized this, 12 hours ago.

Social media really sucks at facilitating discussions, sometimes, especially Twitter, with its 140 characters. If anything, it just pours gasoline on a spark, turning it into a brush fire and fanning the flames across the proverbial great plains of conceptual development. Facebook is even worse, because the lack of character limits lets people go off on tangents and derail even their own arguments.

Or it turns the discussion into something quite different. It starts to get really uncomfortable. Awkward. Frustrating.

And then, perhaps thanks to the character limit, the name-calling begins. And worst of all, some people use terms that I’m not sure any of us even understands  100%– I certainly am not clear about how/why they’re using them, in no small part because my language has been largely acquired via reading, not by talking to other people. So, I can read a large number of pieces about a specific phenomenon, and I’ll come away with my own interpretation of what that phenomenon is all about… but I’m wrong.

So very, very wrong.

Probably the worst thing about having discussions arguments with people on Twitter, is that it turns into a competition about who can make their point better. It’s not about understanding the other person’s point of view. It’s not about increasing each others’ understanding and widening worlds. It’s about drawing lines in the sand, demarcating territory, and trying to quash the other side’s points — without understanding where they’re coming from.

And that happens on my side, as much as the others’.

Which is pointless to me, because fundamentally, I don’t believe we know shit about shit, and discussions are a great opportunity to learn more about the world, to revise half-developed points of view, and broaden your perspective.

Not limit it.

When Elie Wiesel passed away, recently, I saw a bunch of images of his quote about needing to take sides — pick a side, or you’re complicit in terrible things happening. I have to wonder (at the risk of being seen as a heretic, or worse yet, a denier of the horrors that are done – which is so not me at all, considering I would have been trucked off to the ovens, myself, if I’d lived within the greedy borders of the 3rd Reich in the late 1930s), isn’t maybe that need to divide and attack/defend ONE SIDE one of the things that’s getting us in trouble? That we feel so compelled to pick sides, to make sure we’re separate and apart from that “wrong” other person, that we lose sight of the complexity… all the while failing to address the underlying systemic injustices that make us want to pick sides, to begin with? Isn’t part of the problem the fact that we suppose that there can ever be a single correct side, to begin with?

I have no appetite left for the schisms. The attacks. And the belief that going on the offensive is the right thing to do, to defend yourself. Yes, there are serious issues to be addressed. I’m just not the person to join any campaigns, right now. Perhaps ever.

All the drama just sets me one step farther down the road to a meltdown, and it’s not worth it.

Not even if I believe with all my heart that I’m right.

I think I’ll turn off Twitter notifications for this blog and take a break from interacting with folks there for a while. I always appreciate the informative links to articles and blog posts. But the whole interactive thing sometimes makes autistic withdrawal vastly more preferable.

People who really want to interact with me can find me here.

Where I can think in extended blocks of more than a few short sentences.

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9 thoughts on “Never mind – arguing is pointless

  1. I’m thinking that this must have been particularly tricky for you as you are incredibly good at seeing both sides of an argument and providing what I can only imagine to be a painstakingly balanced argument. Stressful when other people are arrogant enough not to do the same in return.

    Meanwhile I always run away at the first sign of a disagreement. While I always agonise over the details of making any kind of decision, once I’ve decided my position I immediately forget why and how I got there. Then, when challenged, slow processing gets in the way and so I can’t justify anything ever!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VisualVox

      Thank you. It just feels like a setup. Most arguments do for me, in fact. I’m really invested in being able to understand from all angles, and that seems to be misinterpreted as favoring certain sides, when all I’m going is trying to dig a little deeper. But not everybody wants to do that, so I have to pick my battles… which is fewer and fewer, as time goes on.

      Thanks again for your kind thoughts 🙂 I really appreciate you taking the time.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m engaging less and less with social media for precisely these reasons – with the exception of WordPress, and specific closed groups I’m in on FB. Despite being so much better at written than verbal communication, I still get in exactly the same struggles with misinterpretation, struggling to express myself clearly etc, that differ from times when I’m comfortable talking/writing about something I know a lot about/have prepared in advance.

        Online communication has its uses, but sometimes it can be just as draining and mentally/emotionally demanding as face-to-face interaction.

        I didn’t see whatever the ‘discussion’ was, but I’m sorry it made you feel like this. ☹️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. VisualVox

        Thanks – yeah, it was just one of several that have happened over the past several months. And the more I either have that kind of exchange myself, or watch others “going at each other” the more genuinely autistic I feel. That’s not a bad thing – it’s just realizing that for me, my misinterpretation and communication issues are pervasive — and they unfortunately affect me far more than others, who are happy to interpret what I say… anyway they please. And then they respond back to me as though I said what they think I said — when it was all a big screw-up, and nobody has any clue what’s really going on.

        I’m sick and tired of all the finger-pointing and the fault-finding. It gets old. Especially from folks on the spectrum who have every reason to be aware that their behavior and interpretations can use a little “fine tuning”… but don’t bother.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I also had EXACTLY the same issues as you over the EU referendum – I seemed far more able to see, empathise with, and present the case for both sides, including the one I didn’t agree with, and some people saw this as a reason to lay into me. Now who’s lacking in empathy!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. VisualVox

        Yeah, lack of empathy is a myth concocted by researchers who were looking for something — anything — to do research around. It’s not valid, but it persists.

        How tiresome.

        More than anything, I’m sick and tired of people thinking they know what the answer is and PUSHING that agenda, when they’d be better off listening and coming to a deeper understanding that transforms everyone’s minds – not just the mind and actions of the “enemy”.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmm, Moshe’s unspoken and therefore unheard wisdom is gaining momentum…😊
    Never had Twitter, and deleted my Facebook 10 years ago, also stopped reasoning on forums after I noticed that bullying and name caling has become the norm of “social” interaction, cowardly hiding behind pseudonims…
    And I feel great interacting with only a few. Respect is still the first thing I remember being taught, and my first book was a collection of classical wisdom quotes…
    You’re on the right track, VV…
    Moshe

    Liked by 1 person

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