The Art of Discourse II

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Ercan2121
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Re: The Art of Discourse II

Post by Ercan2121 » Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:09 pm

Clemsy wrote: What defines a higher order conversation?
Thanks James, for suggesting me this thread with a private message.

Right at the start, I used to think that Higher Order Conversation has to be slightly
academical often with quotes and references to Campbell, Eliade, Jung and others.
Again, I thought that one should be very polite, almost diplomatical because that's
international zone and each one's facing truly different cultural standpoints.

In time, I decided that people's own reflections are equally important and there's some
tolerance even about feeling talk or some bursts of emotion that are not ordinarily
tolerated to the condition that the intention behind is good and sincere.

After all, aren't we all swimming in deep waters?
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Post by jonsjourney » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:20 am

After all, aren't we all swimming in deep waters? -Ercan
Perhaps the deepest of all waters...our own psyche. We frame, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not, our particular worldviews. When they are challenged, we get defensive. Regardless of how accommodating or magnanimous a person is, sometimes it just gets into that personal realm. I think discourse in a well-defined way is good. I also think that, and this is certainly not shared by everyone, emotions largely drive our perceptions and that even those who believe they are rational are really acting from their own version of an emotional center. That is difficult territory...it gets personal, sometimes. In addition, that statement is a generalization, which is dangerous too, and I am finding more and more, best avoided when conversing with others.
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Post by nandu » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:44 am

jonsjourney wrote: I also think that, and this is certainly not shared by everyone, emotions largely drive our perceptions and that even those who believe they are rational are really acting from their own version of an emotional center. That is difficult territory...it gets personal, sometimes. In addition, that statement is a generalization, which is dangerous too, and I am finding more and more, best avoided when conversing with others.
I think emotions are dangerous in any form of higher level discourse. Emotions help us to take care of our survival needs: fear, anger, love, lust... but they prevent us from seeing the big picture. They have to, because they are geared for the survival of the individual.

In face to face conversation, it is sometimes difficult to keep emotions out of the way because man is an expressive individual. For example, in professional circles I am seen as an aggressive and dominating person: because I am passionate about my job and when I argue, my voice (which is big and booming) goes up cowing the more shy participants. No use telling anybody it is passion and not aggression.

In the web medium, however, we have a chance to sit back and analyse before posting. My cardinal rule is: never post in the heat of emotion. Judgement is invariably clouded. I sit back, take three deep breaths, then come back. Sometimes when I cannot contain my emotions, I refrain from posting at all.

One more thing-IMO, passionate does not necessarily mean emotional.

Nandu.
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Post by JamesN. » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:53 am

Good evening one and all; Three things right off the bat: 1. Ercan I posted a reply at the music corner concerning your request before I saw this and mentioned your reply on the JC quotes forum. So I will just say my very best wishes and start from there. 2. Jonsjourney, Neo, Carmela, everyone else I really like this thread. In my enthusiastic naivete' which I have mentioned to some I almost stepped right in what Cindy; Clemsy; Nandu were warning about. Everyone else I really, really like this. Open it up. 3. My contribution: Grantland Rice. Wiki; Google; for those who either don't know or think they know. He set the standard for a generation and absolutely defined the ideal of fair-play. Presidents, the greatest athletes of his day, and just about everyone sought not only his company but his friendship. He was considered by many the greatest sports writer that has ever lived. To those that knew him he was exactly like he seemed; no pretense; genuine through and through. To this day people still quote his poem about fair play and how you play the game. There is a story about him once that he was covering some sporting event and the Press Box was full so he purchased a ticket in general admission seating and covered the game and filed his story. Another reporter found out about this and asked why he didn't use his weight to get a seat in the Press Box to which he replied: " Well you know I really don't weigh very much ". Probably quaint by todays " Machiavellian " standards. Wonder how he might stand up against todays' driveby shootings. Discourse; fascinating subject. Need a relavence reading; Washington might be a good place to start. ( Remember ); " No feeding Gremlins after dark and no water for them either. " You help me alot; all of you. Nice swim. Night all; JamesN.
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Post by jonsjourney » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:22 am

Well nandu...I cannot say to you that what you think is wrong, but I do disagree that emotions are dangerous and that passion is not emotional. The feelings that drive agreement and disagreement, in my view, originate on an emotional level and then we do the process of rationalizing. It is my belief that our brain does a lot of "clean up" socially and linguistically after we have already had an emotional reaction. I do not have any of the research in front of me right now, but I am pretty certain that most brain research bears this out.

The front portions of our brain are the areas that appear to be correlated with the processing of social cues, which are mostly created externally and have to be learned. This is why many persons with frontal brain injuries lose not only their sense of "self", but also most of their ability to act in "socially acceptable" ways. One of the primary criteria for mental retardation is an inability to function on certain social and self-care domains...IQ is only half of that disorder (not a big fan of the word disorder, but it serves to illustrate the point here).

The basics of our reactivity, our emotions, are primary. Rationality is something that has evolved as a result of our increasingly important frontal cortex area. It mediates the emotional response. It mediates our urge for pure survival and selfishness. This is pretty well supported by studies on animals as you move down the evolutionary ladder...the bigger the frontal cortex, the more complex and cooperative behaviors (on a social level) are seen. But these drives do not just go away and they certainly are not "dangerous" any more than our shadow aspects are "dangerous" unless we allow them to rule our thinking and reactions in social situations.

I suppose my point in all this, to bring it back to the topic, is to say that...again in my view...emotions seem to be getting a bad rap these days, particularly in "intellectual circles" and among folks who view rationality as the pinnacle of our evolution. Folks like Carl Jung fully embraced their emotional self and did not try to deny it, yet were still able to be great communicators and producers of some of the most intellectually stimulating writing ever put to paper...I think Joe Campbell did the same. In addition, all our great art, music, poetry, literature....all of it was largely written from a place of emotion...it may have been used as a sublimation of the "unhealthy" emotional urges, but it was from that emotional fountain that the work originated. If you want to get a dose of writing from a purely rational perspective, try some Kant...it's a bloody nightmare! :lol:

Just some food for thought and an attempt to keep the teeter-totter balanced while we ride.
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Post by nandu » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:26 pm

Jon,

I was talking about higher level discourse. Art is emotional, it can never be rational. And art is also dangerous. :wink:

In matters of discourse, the ideal I aspire to is Mr. Spock. :D

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Post by Clemsy » Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:59 pm

Writing is also an art, Nandu. Note the title of this thread!

I'm of the mind that everything we do is based on emotion, and there is a certain amount of emotion in all our actions. You can't eliminate it.There are episodes of Star Trek, Nandu, where Spock's emotions do dictate his actions. Afterwards, he does what we all do; justify them 'logically.'

I tell my students this: Use your emotions, don't be used by them. There's a threshold past which your emotions are in charge and that can be like driving without brakes... blindfolded... with a stuck accelerator.

This is a writer's medium. If one cares about what is being discussed, as far as I'm concerned, one's posts should be carefully crafted, not only to express what is desired, but also in terms of how the reader may hear one's voice. Is meaning and intention important?

On the other hand, we have to read other's posts bearing in mind that the homunculi we have in our heads of each other are all, to some degree, inaccurate. We all form views and opinions of each other, and paint our homunculi accordingly. That sets up, if one isn't mindful, an automatic bias. We all do this. Myself included.

The only way to counter that is to treat each post as mindfully as we write our own. Don't read more than is there. If there is an urge to do so, there may very well be something there, but that's where questions come in handy and where assumptions can take a thread south.

You can't disassociate reason and emotion. But you can reach a point of maximum objectivity which, of course, isn't pure. Can't be. One of Terry Pratchett's characters, Tiffany Aching, has this to say about thoughts:
"First thoughts are the everyday thoughts. Second thoughts are the thoughts you think about the way you think. Third thoughts are thoughts that watch the world and think all by themselves."
Second thoughts (reminds me of metacognition) bring the higher order into the conversation.

Cheers,
Clemsy

Edit: I reread this a few minutes after posting and, in an attempt to practice what I preach, changed the pronouns in the 4th paragraph from 'you' and 'your' to the impersonal 'one' as I didn't want Nandu to think this was directed at him alone.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Jul 21, 2011 3:14 pm

Clemsy wrote:
You can't disassociate reason and emotion. But you can reach a point of maximum objectivity which, of course, isn't pure. Can't be. One of Terry Pratchett's characters, Tiffany Aching, has this to say about thoughts:
"First thoughts are the everyday thoughts. Second thoughts are the thoughts you think about the way you think. Third thoughts are thoughts that watch the world and think all by themselves."
Second thoughts (reminds me of metacognition) bring the higher order into the conversation.
Observing our own thoughts can be a bit of a challenge. Herewith, a set of questions that might be helpful:

.......Self Awareness Inventory.......

1. What factors in my cultural background have influenced me the most?

2. What factors in my environment have influenced me the most?

3. What person or persons have had a real impact on my life?

4. What experiences have I had that have shaped me as a person?

5. What activities of mine define me as a person?

6. What type of influence has my work had in shaping me?

7. Do I have a goal or purpose in life that shapes my behavior?

8. Do I have special values that influence my life?

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by jonsjourney » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:09 pm

Jon,

I was talking about higher level discourse. Art is emotional, it can never be rational. And art is also dangerous.

In matters of discourse, the ideal I aspire to is Mr. Spock. -nandu
I understand the aspiration and certainly respect the effort to take things to a "higher level of discourse", however, for me the idea that our emotions are somehow "lower" creates a potential false dichotomy, and can undermine the value of emotion.

On Vulcan, Spock was ostracized for being part human...because he was emotional compared to his cohort. In my mind he represented exactly what we are getting at here...a rational being trying to (all too often) deny his emotionality.

I guess the real question is why do we fear this part of ourselves? The danger seems to be in being authentic humans. I see this as part of the ongoing denial of our natural state of existence, which includes a dark, or shadow, side. It is from that well of fear that projections often begin. The rational person is showing their "face" or their persona. The emotional person is often exposing their true self...and it is often raw.

I think Clemsy really summed up the nuances very well. Of course we need to try to aspire to civil, respectful, insightful, and "measured" discourse. Otherwise, things can quickly devolve into the "flame war". But at our very core, we (I think) are emotional beings. Carmella identified many of the reasons for why we may say the things we do, or think the way we do. That evaluation, however, it seems to me, is a post-hoc (not a logical fallacy, just after the fact) tool. Sometimes we step in it, as it were. The question is whether we learn when we do so and take the time to use such questions as she put forth to evaluate why we did so in the first place.

It's funny. You would think that a medium such as this would really mediate emotional responses, but it seems as if it does not. Much like the "downside" of having access to all the information on the internet so that we can find a justification for any viewpoint, the same methodology can be used here...and often is. Finding rationalizations (I am thinking of Teabaggers, Tea Party folk) for any perspective does not seem to be elevating anything, in my view.
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Post by Cindy B. » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:20 pm

Rationalize or suppress away, those emotions aren't going anywhere. :)

Cindy
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Post by Clemsy » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:22 pm

It's funny. You would think that a medium such as this would really mediate emotional responses, but it seems as if it does not.
Oh no it does not at all, JJ. It can magnify the problem. As I said above, we create false images of each other. Humans look for patterns. We're compulsiveness about it. The blanks in the picture are, potentially, a canvas for our own projections which we rationalize after the fact.
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Post by jonsjourney » Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:37 pm

Rationalize or suppress away, those emotions aren't going anywhere. -Cindy
Spoken like a true Jungian! :P
The blanks in the picture are, potentially, a canvas for our own projections which we rationalize after the fact. -Clemsy
Yep. I was going to address this more, but felt you had hit is pretty damned well.
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Post by nandu » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:48 am

Cindy B. wrote:Rationalize or suppress away, those emotions aren't going anywhere. :)

Cindy
Agreed. But I can still keep them away from the discourse. :)

Actually, what I said earlier was more about emotional responses, rather than emotions. Man is more emotional than rational: however, when carrying out a "higher level discourse", I have found it more effective if I can bring my rational mind to bear on it.

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Post by jonsjourney » Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:30 am

...when carrying out a "higher level discourse", I have found it more effective if I can bring my rational mind to bear on it. -nandu
Nothing wrong with that! 8)
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Post by Cindy B. » Thu Jun 21, 2012 7:31 pm

Clemsy and all,

I've just pinned this thread at the top of the Call forum simply to make it more visible and accessible and as a reminder that Clemsy has provided us with this space to make use of, whether general forum-related issues along the line of discourse or as a topic in general.

Also, it's come to my attention that some newer posters may not be aware of this thread and that group self-reflection, so to speak, is encouraged. Now you are. :lol:

Have a great one!

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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