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Being put in "one's place"

Jan 02, 2003 11:57 AM
by wry

Hi Paul and Everyone.
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, January 01, 2003 4:35 PM
Subject: Theos-World Being put in "one's place"

> Dear everyone,
> And particularly Wry, what I've been making of your comment is this--
correct me if I misunderstand. It is extremely common in ordinary life for
people to speak disrespectfully and scornfully of others, "putting them in
their place" *behind their backs*.

Wry: No, not behind their backs, but in face to face. For example, if you
talk to me in a condescending tone of voice, I may feel bad. If I have low
self-esteem, this will lower it even further, as I already care too much
what people think and look to them for approval. In regular life, no one
else in the community will hear this. I can go to another interaction, with
a different member who is kinder, and be pacified, or talk rudely to a
member to whom I feel superio, thereby repairing my face, but on a bulletin
board, all members will hear these interactions. Actually, a better example
is this: I have a high place in the pecking order, and someone challenges
me. It is not the same effect if he and I are alone when he does this as it
is if we are in a public gathering where the whole community is present. If
the whole community is present, MY OWN RESPONSE becomes highly significant
(to me), whereas in a one to one, I might not even care, And if another
person from the throng joins him in the putdown, everything becomes highly
exaggerated if the whole community sees this.

<<<But much less common for this to be done to people's faces. In Internet
fora, the propensity of people to diss others behind their backs (that is
referring to them disdainfully while avoiding address them personally) is
expressed just as often as in "real life."

Wry: It is not happening behind people's backs, as they can see (read) it
happening. If people privately email each other and discuss people on the
list, that is behind the back. Not referring by name is just a tactic. It is
not necessarily good or bad, though it is usually better to speak directly
TO the person, as speaking directly would encourage an atmosphere of
honesty. What it actually is is a form of CROSS-TALKING, which is talking
about someone in front of his face without including him (which can make
people very angry, though it is far worse in person then on a list). This is
best to avoid, as it is a form of SHUNNING that can eventually lead to
STONING, but then again, it is always a matter of individual discrimination
(wisdom), and this is the major obstacle in the path of anyone who is trying
to develop spiritually, and that is becoming less subjective. I will discuss
this later, as it is the single most important topic to me.

<<<With the crucial difference that the person being backbitten becomes an
unwilling eavesdropper, since the third person remarks are made publicly,
even though they are addressed to someone else.

Wry: He is a willing and MUCH MORE ATTENTIVE THAN USUAL listener. This is
why the learning curve can go up faster on a bulletin board. This is not to
say that this activity needs to be so overt, but if it does not equal the
degree to which it happens in ordinary life, the list will falsely
exaggerate the goodness of people in such a way that it does NOT encourage
the development of genuine goodness, which is never easy and always involves
the development of patience through suffering. On a list, most people tend
to be overly polite because everyone will see them acting nasty in a way
that is usually only done in private (and a few people will become outlaws,
as you cannot get hit in the face for certain behavior). Fascinating, but
eventually in the goodies, the nastiness comes out, and because everyone
sees it, it again becomes exaggerated. We must remeber that talking abouty
love is not the same as actual love. Talking about love anyone can do and
even feel they are loving as they do so, but actually love requires
discrimination, as the needs of the beloved are unique.

> Therefore, people like Tony and Dallas (and today Leon) talking about me
in the third person while rejecting personal communication really have no
interest whatsoever in communicating with me.

Wry; This is very probably true.

<<There's no intended message for me in what they say. Putting "Paul
Johnson" in "his" place has absolutely nothing to do with me. And
everything to do with *their* place in the cosmic or Theosophical pecking

Wry: True, but if you become a so called outlaw, you can conteract this,
simply by speaking the truth. If it is not the truth, it has less weight,
and the person who speaks it will eventually lose some face, but if it is
the truth, it is more powerful, and again, because of the nature of the list
and the way the pecking order functions, it becomes exaggerated. But in the
case of the truth, this is very interesting, from a metaphysical
perspective, as material will realign in a way that is holy. The problem
with internet lists that needs to be resolved is that of censorship. No one
should be removed from a list for speaking the truth, but only for not
posting appropriate content, or perhaps material with no real content, the
latter of which the group could perhaps or perhaps not, depending on the
situation, handle without moderation, but if people are afraid they will not
appear good enough to the community or that they will get removed from the
list for speaking out, as I did to Terrie, this means that artificial
goodness or an image is attempting to eat the truth, and this is

> To be more explicit about what mystifies me: why does everyone I know in
real life appear to like me, but devote little to no thought to what my
"place" is in any overall scheme or feel any need to define that "place" and
put me in it? Whereas quite a few strangers met on the Internet evidently
dislike me to a degree totally unknown in my reai life, and more
perplexingly seem to have a keen interest in defining what my "place" is and
publicly putting me in it? (And this is just as true of Baha'is or
Cayceites or Fourth Way folks as for Theosophists.)

Wry: I do not know. In my own case, something weird happened, which is very
complex and I will be going into it. I do not think it was at all a typical
example, as you will see, and probably have already begun to see, but you
have, at least previously, lumped it with all the others, as we all tend to
do. What will solve problems such as this is sticking to ideas, and I am not
saying you have not done this. Even this conversation is full of ideas and
questions. We probably all could benefit from learning together how to do
this better. People love what is interesting. They will turn toward what
interests them. The person who is interesting may not become the king, but
he will influence the king.

> My hypothesis: in "real life" people are quite secure in their "place" and
interactions are rooted in mutual understanding of where others are
"placed." Whereas in Internet fora, people are existentially insecure about
their own "place" in the world, and therefore pathologically obsessed with
putting strangers in "their place" so as to maintain some kind of internally
imagined pecking order. (E.g. BAG has *got* to be defined as a dugpa to
maintain some kind of stability in our Danish member's mental universe,)

Wry: You will not think the pecking order is imagined (though ti indeed has
to do with individual perception), if you are ever stoned, or your family
starves because you are an untouchable. There is a reason why BAG is being
called whatever. It does not mean that it is true that he is such, and I do
not think it is true, but this event is interconnected to and dependently
originated with other causes and conditions. Material cannot be analyzsed in
this way, in my opinion. When people handle material simplicistically, there
will be big glitches. Into this glitch slides the devil. It is better to
pick a topic, any topic, that is of general interest to the group, and try
to enquire together. I consider this an enquiry. We will perhaps be changed
from looking at the subject of human interactions on lists and questioning
it, and seeing ourselves, not others, as we question. Sincerely, Wry

> A rather creepy vision of why people behave so much more obnoxiously
online than in real life, but more sensible than thinking that folks around
here in NC and VA are nice whereas those in most of the rest of the world
are always trying to put everybody down. Which does occur to me in my
exasperated moments!
> Cheers,
> Paul
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to

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