Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Naiveté

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There are times when I think naiveté is very likely to be the death of me.

“Naiveté about what?” I hear you ask.

Naiveté about people, I reply.

“Surely not!” you protest, “if anyone has a grip on the human condition, it’s you, oh great and wise bearded one!”

*cough* Ok, perhaps I’m getting a little carried away here…

Anyway, the point is, I have this habit of assuming most people are basically kind and decent if given the chance, and will listen to, and be persuaded by, a thoughtful, well intentioned and properly constructed argument.

And yet, this flies in the face of blog posts, noticeboard threads, Facebook status updates and news items I witness on a daily basis.

I forget not everyone spent 4 years studying philosophy so can spot a badly constructed argument at a thousand paces.

I forget that there are people who will ignore all the evidence to the contrary because their mate down the pub/ some tabloid newspaper headline/ a dodgy book they once read/ Fox News told them differently.

I forget that there are many, many people who never question their lives or the lies they are sold on a daily basis.

I forget that some people can turn quite nasty if you question their unquestioned beliefs.

I forget that nearly everyone insists on having the last word in any argument.

So I keep this cartoon from the wonderful XKCD permanently to hand to stop me getting too sucked into these things.


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22 comments:

hope said...

I'm glad you're in my world...it's like we're working on the Buddy System here.

And I like to think of it as Optimistic. :)

savannah said...

i use pictures, sugar! by the by, was it A List Of Fallacious Arguments that spurred this on? ;~) xoxoxo

(i have a pictorial essay up now, in fact!)

Kim Ayres said...

Hope - I think naiveté and optimism often go hand in hand...

Savannah - it was definitely one of the influences on this post :)

Fay's Too said...

Love it, Dear. I'm so fortunate to always be right, that I often am surprised by stupid people out there. Alas, not all of us can be perfect. The Universe should be happy enough to have the two of us, eh?

Deidra said...

Sadly, there are plenty of close-minded people out there. Fortunately, those who are more open-minded can use the internet to band together as well!

Litzi said...

Hi Kim,
Your post really hit home. As I grow older, I’m becoming less tolerant (more judgmental?) of people but am no longer concerned about forcing my opinions on someone who can’t/won’t listen to reason. Maybe age has made me more selective about my battles…

Library girl said...

Funny how the older I get, the more I remind myself of my father, who often said that it didn't matter if you didn't agree with him, as long as you'd done your research, your reasoning was sound and you were prepared to eventually concede defeat :*

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Love that XKCD comic :D

But man, whenever I think "People can't help but understand where I'm coming from. My point of view is clearly outlined and compelling." I remember your old post about how just telling over-eaters they should stop it, won't work. How you gave the comparison to someone who kept touching the stove even though it hurt, they still wanted to because it made them feel good.

It was the perfect post, and still people had blinders.

Word verification is "tiontron" ;)

Jasmine said...

I think I'm suspicious of everyone and everything.

"I forget that some people can turn quite nasty if you question their unquestioned beliefs."

That is a major factor in a lot of our world problems.

Pat said...

Arguments are fine in their place but puleeze if I'm taking care of you let's have a bit of blind obedience. It's easier on my back!

BB said...

Point well made_and funny as hell.
Simple yet sharp and smart as hell.
Thank´s Kim, this one made me laugh!
:D

starrlife said...

Hehehehehehe.....:)

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Aye, not everyone will like you, not everyone will agree with you and not everyone wants to hold yer hand and sing Kumbaya.

Sandy's witterings said...

Now there's an interesting read. Questioning beliefs is certainly a good idea - personally I chucked all mine out the window and tried to build them up from scratch on a solid foundation (a sure way to get some really bizarre ideas). To just accept what you're told is foolish, it's like building your house on sand (now where have I heard that before?.....probably some dodgey book)

allencapoferri said...

Well said bearded one! Many do not begin to analyze their own lives and actions. It goes unquestioned.

Roschelle said...

LOVE IT!! and the cartoon =D

Thrup'ny bits said...

Deja vu all over again. I'm sure I've come across that cartoon before. Previously on this blog perhaps?

Anyway your blog is the antidote to all the shallow invective spewed in some of the places you mentioned, Kim.

My naiveté was in assuming the photos on the previous post weren't posed and that you captured the moment when everyone just happened to stand with arms crossed in unison so to speak. What message would arms akimbo
sent?

Alan

Verification word oider: How a new York Speaker brings the house to order?

The Birdwatcher said...

I try and believe people and trust them until proven otherwise. Having teenagers puts an intolerable strain on this though.

Eryl said...

The cartoon is hilarious; I have come across people just like that. There are lots of people who can't have their beliefs questioned because their sense of self relies on them and they are fragile. And they know they are fragile, so they hold on for their very lives. So it seems to me, anyway. I tend to pity them and move on, I guess we don't all feel we have the time, or capacity, to reinvent ourselves, sadly.

I'm naive and I'm proud!

Kim Ayres said...

Fay - :)

Deidra - I think it's because I've managed to surround myself with open-minded people, I've managed to forget there are so many people who aren't.

Litzi - it's true - I'm just as ideological as I used to be, but far less activist

Library Girl - wise words :)

FLG - I remember that one well - I lost a long time blogger associate over it who flounced off in a huff

Jasmine - I don't want to be suspicious of everyone and everything - not only is it stress inducing and exhausting, I think it slowly destroys the soul.

Pat - I'm sure lots of things are easier on your back, Pat... ;)

BB - :)

Starrlife - :)

Gillian - I hope no one ever wants to hold my hand and sing Kumbaya... damn, just mentioning that word now means I'll be humming it for the next 6 hours

Sandy - unfortunately it's educated into us at school to believe what we're told - by teachers, books, and authority figures - so it begins to feel unnatural and uncomfortable to start questioning. But like any muscle, it gets stronger and easier with practice

Allen - true

Roschelle - :)

Alan - I've not used it on this blog before, althought I might have linked ot it once or twice in the comments, as it is a favourite of mine. As for photos, they were partly like that, but probably not all, and I spotted something so just directed them a little bit :)

Birdwatcher - ah, yes, teenagers... sigh...

Eryl - I think you have a winning t-shirt slogan there!

Ron Tipton said...

Kim, you have company here in suffering from the incurable malady of naivete. That is the one constant in my life that my best friend Bob has often told me, "Ron, you're the most naive person I know."

Like you Kim I believe most people are good and decent. I'm always surprised when I find out otherwise.

I'm glad you're in my world too Kim. I would rather be naive and optimistic than cynical and pessimistic although I sometimes masquerade as the latter.

Falak said...

I completely agree about the people turning nasty bit when their beliefs are questioned despite the fact that they expect you to be accept the questions they throw your way, no matter how stupid they are.