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July 18, 2005


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chris sivori

This is another limitation of our subjectivity.

I find that too much self-consciousness, self-thought reinforces a distorted, subjective view of reality. The solution is true involvement with the external world, through attempted REAL intimacy with the people and world around us. I do think impersonal means of communication like writing and reading function to distance, which could reinforce this same subjectivity.

Dina Mehta

Chris, we see a lot of this sort of thing in the Indian online world - at social networks, at blogs and forums. Its probably got a lot to do with how we are coping with this relatively new medium. I come from a society that's so hierarchical in nature, that has very strong rules and sets of do's and don'ts, that has power balances rooted in tradition, that has little concept or value for personal space, and that doesnot always encourage team play.

The online world is toppling and threatening many of our traditional structures, giving open voice and power to many who hitherto had none. It's a world that is not hierarchical, one that encourages an even-playing field for free speech and debate no matter what gender or age or race or religion you belong to, it does not have many pre-ordained rules and prescriptions, it is one where we need to learn to respect personal space, and where team play can be so rewarding.

Maybe we're in a state of Anomie as we transition - we're all learning ... the way i deal with it is to simply ignore obvious 'flamers', and not engage in a debate. When you don't engage someone, they may knock harder for a while, but soon, they will go away. Maybe the system self-corrects too?

Allison Aller

(I found you via Sharon Boggon's http://www.inaminuteago.com/mindtracks/ blog)...I like Spinoza's theory, and would just simplify it: where there is heat, there is personal projection of some kind of unfinished business. Sometimes it is worth deciphering, sometimes not.

I loved what Dina Mehta said about the online world "encourages an even-playing field for free speech". It has got to be a force for increased understanding among all people, flammage along the way or not.

Owen Davis

Hey, Chris, your post reminded me of the concept of "egocasting" which I blogged about earlier this year.

"egocasting: the act of using your ability to personalize and filter intermediated experience to make your world match who you already are"

As our technology continues to get better at helping us filter the world to fit our preferences, does our ability to understand and tolerate difference atrophy?

Are there ways to teach and encourage appreciation of difference through design of technology? Or expand online messages to increase comprehension?

I agree with the comment above that this part of the nature of our subjective experience. We all face the challenge of understanding each other regardless of the communication medium.


I suspect I may find a reference to Cialdini's book, "Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion" someplace on this blog, but I haven't yet, so I am going to throw it out there as good reading on the psychology of all this ("an innocent association with either bad things or good things will influence how people feel about us").


Naina Redhu


I got to your blog from an endorsement on your LinkedIn profile. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece from Mick LaSalle. I blogged about it too on my business networking blog.

I also noticed that in your list of Social Networks on the sidebar, you haven't mentioned openBC - http://www.openbc.com , which is one of my two favorites for online networking [ the other being LinkedIn ].

Best Regards,
Naina Redhu

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