Heather Keith Freeman (jnanacandra) wrote,
Heather Keith Freeman

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There are three ways of saying something:

a) "X is true."
b) "I've found that X is true."
c) "You'll find that X is true."

(a) presents X as the absolute, empirical truth, proven to be fact, allowing no variation for viewpoint or circumstance.

(b) presents X as subjective experience, taking responsibility only for the speaker's own viewpoint and leaving the listener to form their own opinions. It is perhaps the most ethical and honest way of saying something, but at the risk of having nobody listen because most people are used to more, ahem, strident presentations.

(c) places the speaker in a position of informed authority over the listener's learning process; it presumes to know not only that X is true, but that the listener does not currently believe X is true, and worst of all that the listener will eventually, inevitably, come to share the speaker's viewpoint. It is, unfortunately, the most persuasive voice to someone who has not fully made up their mind. It is also the most &!%&*^# annoying to someone who does have their own informed opinion, because it disregards that opinion as one stemming from ignorance or irrationality.

This problem crops up particularly in the Thelemic community, with its emphasis on individual sovereignty and interpretation. But even Thelemites are human, with the human bias that will be more likely to believe something if it is presented as fact, from a position of authority, or both. The result tends to be communities that are hyper-reactive to (a) or (c) when it differs from the community's general experience, but very prone to (a) or (c) themselves.

As time goes on, the more obvious it becomes to me that nobody has any idea what they're talking about. The only advantage I may have is that I *know* I have no idea what I'm talking about. Due to that knowledge, though, I have been unfortunately prone to trusting others' absolutist statements of "the way things are" (framed in (a) or (c) voices, usually), when really, I suppose, it should be the other way round.

The freely given advice is probably worth the least, because it's generally offered by people who believe they have all the answers.

Any meta-commentary on the voice(s) used in this post versus its content will be left as an exercise to the reader.

He who knoweth little, thinketh he knoweth much; but he who knoweth much has learned his own ignorance. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool, than of him.
-Liber Librae
Tags: brains, language, philosophy, sociology, thelema

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