- Love yourself
- Love one other person
- Study history to understand humanity without guilt, blame, or shame
- Support your tribe. Don’t argue with sleepers or snakes
- Win with integrity.
#4, avoiding arguments with Sleepers and Snakes, is justified by the Dunning-Kruger effect, where one is too ignorant on a subject to be able to judge the depths of his ignorance. This can make even well-intended people “adversaries” if they cannot empty their cup. One aspect of this is something I’ve mentioned several times: people saying they know as much about another group’s experiences as members of that group even though they barely even know any members. Most of this is just being asleep, but there is some Snakey energy around it too. It is the Troll aspect of siphoning off your time and energy, getting you to spend your time arguing, “debating” and so forth. A debate has neutral judges and rules. When you try to apply that notion to internet arguments, you are wasting your life and energy. Better to spend that precious resource nurturing people who are awake.
ALMOST EVERY DAY I see a comment from someone about how exhausted they are arguing with someone who mistakes ignorance for wisdom. Usually this involves politics, because politics is “downstream” from the philosophical positions that shape it. Politics is the way you IMPLEMENT your philosophical positions, the polite public rhetoric that covers a sense of “Who am I?” and “What is true?”
The more anger that bubbles up in the conversations, the more fear lies under the surface. Something about losing a political discussion is threatening. Sometimes to finances or national security, but sometimes to a core sense of self or place in the universe.
Dig deeper. Remember that anger is fear. Ask “what are they afraid of?” Rarely will you be able to ask this directly of the person you are speaking with. Anger is how you mobilize fear, switching from one circuit to the other so that you can act rather than cringe. Guys, especially, have shame associated with being afraid, so asking them what they are afraid of specifically threatens their sense of self. Often it is deeper…they really, honestly, aren’t sufficiently connected to their emotions to be able to answer the question with honesty and insight.
Look “upstream” from the argument, ask what core beliefs about humanity would have to be held to justify this position. And one of the fastest ways to do this is to get clear on your own positions. Ultimately, you will reach existential positions THAT CANNOT BE TOTALLY “PROVEN” LOGICALLY. They will be matters of faith concerning the basic structure of reality. Not necessarily spiritual or religious faith, but for instance trust that our senses can report accurately enough to offer accurate insight.
One of mine is human equality. Male-female, black-white. I see absolutely nothing in history or society that is irrational if I start with that assumption. I DO see serious problems if I start with an assumption of inequality. Does that mean its correct? No. It means that I am willing to stake my position there, until I encounter data that cannot be explained from that position.
Stake out such a position, follow the assumptions ruthlessly, and you’ll have a perceptual tool you can use to sense how others design and construct their internal world. REALLY useful tool if you want to avoid the Troll Trap.