Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ignoring ignorance

"I wish you would read a little poetry sometimes. Your ignorance cramps my conversation." - -- Anthony Hope Hawkins

Okay...so I'm a bit argumentative. I, like most people, have a lot of opinions about a lot of stuff...probably everything, actually. I like to share my opinions, as well - though I try to censor myself around people I don't know well, because it truly is not my intention to offend or argue (most of the time).

This leads me to the point - since I just about did it...the thing no one should ever do: argue on the internet. There are so many problems with arguing via computer, number one being that it leaves way too much to interpretation (tone, sarcasm, humor, etc.). It is highly likely that whatever you type will be misinterpreted and, depending on how bothered you are by the subject matter, not thought through well-enough, mis-typed, misspelled...all culminating with you looking like an indignant jerk, which you might be...but that isn't the point. The point is that anything truly worth talking about must be talked about...through face-to-face communication or the true message of your words is lost.

There is a lot to be said about good writing. Many people are great at writing what they mean and making it accessible to a large audience; however, reading isn't communication. Writing isn't communication. And typing sure as heck isn't communication. Interaction between one or more beings is... and it's worth more of your time than arguing with someone you may or may not have known 15 years ago in high school and whom you have just recently added to Facebook. Okay, I'm talking about me here...

I just about caved and put a comment on someone's post about something political that I don't agree with. This person had already received a few comments against her original post, but then ignorantly, and quite unsuccessfully, suppressed these opposing points of view without any rational support. It was hard to push the delete button on my unfinished diatribe, but it just plain wasn't worth it.

And it usually isn't. At least not on the internet with people you don't really care about. Better to drink my wine and go read a book. Yes. I think that's what I'll do. A much better use of my time.

So, today...the step...ignore ignorance. Just push delete, or better yet, click "start", "turn off computer", and "shut down". Walk away from disagreeable things (as long as they are not your obligations and responsibilities). We don't have to all agree, and we can't convince everyone to feel the way we do, no matter how much evidence we provide. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Everyone has a right to share it. Everyone also has the beautiful right to ignore the opinions of others (unless they are those of your spouse, and then...well, you picked 'em, now deal with it).

So, instead of arguing on a forum, disagreeing with a post, or trying to defend your status update...find something tantalizing to read. Maybe some poetry. Then, have a conversation with someone who matters. Debate can be fun...but it should be based on sound evidence and entered into with respect.

(Thanks, D., for the reminder.)

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