I erred in saying that "all opinions are valid." That was an obvious mistake. What I meant to say is that it is a valid argument that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. You are right with your analogy about those whose opinion differs about the shape/structure of the earth. One is clearly right, but both have the freedom to hold an opinion, even if it's wrong.
I agree with you that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, even if it's wrong.
Me: That explains my personal mission to see to it that everyone be allowed to freely give their opinion and for the bullies to hold their tongue.
You: Everyone is allowed free speech except bullies?
Bullies are allowed to voice their opinion respectfully. Bullying will not go unchallenged.
Must bullies voice their opinions respectfully? Who decides what is allowed and what is not allowed?
When I see one person bullying another, I don't like it. Like you, I want to challenge bullies. I have no control over what a bully says or how he says it. What I can do is mirror back the same style he uses to communicate with others. I can also challenge any faulty arguments he presents.
Sometimes bullies may present solid logical arguments. What can I do then? I can express my feelings. "When you call me a dummy, I feel insulted. Was that your intent?" It's a sad fact of life that some people do deliberately insult others. On a discussion board like this, such behavior is exposed for everyone to see and goes on record. Each of us can make an individual choice about whether we choose to communicate with people who deliberately insult others. Each of us can voice our opinions about behavior we consider demeaning or unfair. Each of us can decide whether to make allowances for such behavior because of the person's circumstances or emotional state.
Me: Earlier you'd asked me: "Is Julie right in calling [Amazing] a coward?"
You: Are you sure, Teejay? I looked back at my posts and can't find where I asked you any such question.
On page two, you asked:
Your analogy fosters black-and-white thinking and says that "Amazing's" arguments are weak, whining, and cowardly.
Which is it, Teejay? Is Julie right? Has this turned into a personal thing? Are you more interested in the issues and arguments, or are you more interested in toppling Amazing from what Julie perceives as a pedestal of high esteem and exposing his "sad, self-pity drenched saga"?
I concede the point that perhaps you didn't ask me the question I thought you did. The paragraph break may indicate a change of thought. Instead of asking me if Julie was right about amazing being a coward, you were asking if Julie was right about... hell... I don't know *whatK* were you asking about. Either way, it's a moot point. You asked me if Julie was right and when I answered (essentially an "I don't know... ask Julie"), you reply by saying that YOU "have no right to judge whether Julie was right or wrong." If YOU have no right to "judge," then why ask me MY opinion?
My intent was to try to understand your focus and intent in the discussion of Amazing and elder culpability. When I quoted your words from another thread, you were correct about my intent, "I think you were hoping to point out an inconsistency between what I said there and what I've said here." I did see an inconsistency and wanted to hear your explanation.
When I read your explanation, I understood you to mean that your intent was to focus on issues, not personalities. Julie followed up to say that things had indeed turned personal. Julie can't speak for you, and I would have ignored her comment except that you posted a quote from Julie's post that contained personal remarks about Amazing. I interpreted your posting this quote to mean that you agreed with what Julie had said. Again, this seemed inconsistent. So I asked again.
Perhaps I could have phrased my questions more clearly:
"Which is it, Teejay? Does Julie correctly express your intent when she says this has turned into a personal thing? Or do you correctly express your intent yourself when you say you are more interested in the issues and arguments? If you are are more interested in an objective discussion of issues and arguments, why did you quote Julie's remark?
I wanted to hear your explanation so I would have more information from which to form an opinion. Maybe there's something I missed. Maybe there's something I didn't understand. Once I hear your explanation, I will form an opinion. I may also express my opinion of your behavior. I will also keep in mind that my opinion is just that--my opinion. I very well may be deciding with incomplete evidence. I may have used faulty reasoning to reach my conclusion, even if I can't see it. I will respect that you may not agree with my opinion, and must do what you think best. I will hope that sharing our opinions has made each of us a little wiser.
"Judge" is a fat word with many meanings and nuances. I wish I'd chosen a better word, but I can't think of one that exactly suits what I want to say. I associate judging with my life as a JW and think of it in terms of condemnation and punishment, treating someone harshly, without tolerance for their own beliefs.
I feel I have a right to form my own opinions, and a right to express them. I don't feel I have a right to dictate the choices anyone else makes in their life. I don't feel I have a right to speak authoritatively about anyone else's motives and intents other than my own. I don't have a right to determine how other people should behave. I don't have a right to dictate to anyone else what is right and what is wrong, what they should do, or what they must do. In this sense, I will not judge.
As I said, JanH is welcome to hold whatever idea he wants. If he sees certain posts as brilliant and certain posters "luminous," I have no problem with it. I simply regard the opinion that some here are intrinsically better posters, luminaries... however you want to say it... I put view them in the same light as those that say the earth is flat.
I respect your right to your opinion, Teejay.
Let's suppose you are right. Is JanH mistaken to think that some people's thoughts are superior to others? Are some people's opinions superior to others?
You are saying something other than what JanH actually said. He never said that "some people's thoughts are superior to others." Are you making that inference? In the meantime, what do *you* mean by "superior"?
I was working from your guess about JanH's intent: "I believe it was his intent (I could be wrong) to show that certain ones of his liking offered thoughts and opinions that were somehow superior to everyone else's." I also said, "Let's suppose you are right [about JanH's intent]," so this is a theoretical case.
You're smart to ask me to define my terms. Dictionary definitions usually work well for me:
1 : situated higher up : UPPER
2 : of higher rank, quality, or importance
3 : courageously or serenely indifferent (as to something painful or disheartening)
4 a : greater in quantity or numbers <escaped by superior speed>
b : excellent of its kind : BETTER <her superior memory>
This is only part of the definition, and there's still a lot to choose from. We've discussed this before, and I think you understand that often words themselves get in the way of communication. If you're thinking of "superior" in sense number 2, and I'm thinking of "superior" in sense number 4, and we both assume we're thinking of the same idea, we're going to have problems.
I can tell you that I don't like the idea of "higher rank" because I don't like hierarchies. I don't really like the idea of "importance" because each of us decides what is important to us. I was thinking more along the lines of quality and excellence, but even that is subjective.
As I see it, JanH can tell me what he thinks is excellent and of highest quality. I am free to look at the same thing and say, "I think that's a piece of shit."
What damage do you think JanH's thinking causes?
If he forms opinions about quality and excellence, his thinking does no harm at all.
Let's suppose that JanH meant what you said he meant... that certain opinions are, not truer but "superior" to others. Those who adamantly believe that aren't far removed from denigrating opposing views, denouncing them as less valid, worthy, worthwhile. They may take the step of expressing the wish to see such views not allowed in (removed from?) the discussion and may persuade others to share their view.
All of the things you describe can happen.
Is it wrong to denigrate opposing views? Are some views less valid, worthy, and worthwhile? Sometimes it's difficult to separate our ideas and arguments from our sense of self. I can point out faulty logic in your argument and still value you as a person. I must keep in mind that what I think is true may not be true, and beware of the hazards of dogmatically deciding what is valid. Worth is an arbitrary judgment and differs from person to person. It is not my place to decide what is worthwhile for anyone else.
The next step might be to ridicule, not just the idea, but the person who holds it. That person's entire personality might be called into question, as might be their thoughts on every issue they comment on. On a discussion board, hurt feelings could result when none should have been. It *is* a discussion board where people come to exchange ideas, not a board to see whose posts/ideas are superior. Fortunately, none of this has EVER happened on JW.com, right?
This can happen, too. When we bring our thoughts to a discussion board, I feel that there is an implied agreement than anyone who wishes may comment and question those thoughts. If I don't like being questioned, I can choose to stay away from discussion boards.
We are all human and react emotionally sometimes. In your family, at work, on a discussion board, wherever you encounter other people, there is a risk of hurt feelings. When it does happen, I accept reality. I don't expect that it shouldn't happen.
I don't know AT ALL, let alone "for sure." I only know that he spoke of board luminaries. Looking back, I wish you had been there to ask him to explain what he meant. It was a side issue at the time, but it did seem to explain some things.
Well, next time you will be there to ask him what he meant.
Has he said that everyone else must agree with his opinions?
Perhaps he has. (Who knows what JanH might say in a state of delusional grandeur. I wouldn't rule it out. <----- joke.) All I know is that *I* haven't heard him say it nor read where he said it. JanH can say some funny things sometimes, though.
Yes, he can. I don't agree with everything JanH says. From what I know of his character, he doesn't expect me to.
No. Strong, well articulated opinions can be as wrong as soft, poorly articulated ones. Right or wrong, people are free to agree with whomever they choose. AMNESIAN can be less forceful, less eloquent, and still be right. It's not her command of the King's English that makes her argument so compelling.
I agree wholeheartedly.
She just happens to be right about this. Imo, of course.
She may be. If I see compelling evidence and arguments, I may be persuaded.
No, and I'd thank you to not put words in my mouth please. I never said that Jan's THINKING was elementary and backward. What I said was that his opinion about board luminaries was. Nice try.
You said, "I was more appalled that his thought, so elementary and backward, would be potentially very damaging to other people who had suffered enough." Substituting "thinking" for "thought" was careless of me. It was not my intent to twist your words. I could have worded my reply more carefully: Have you considered offering him a strong logical argument to prove that his thought that "those who have attacked me in this case aren't exactly the luminaries on this board" is elementary and backward?
I will guess at your thoughts, Teejay. I am nearly certain that I offended you when I said, "For those who have met me, you are quite a laughingstock, Teejay." I was angry when I wrote it, and my intent was to offend and vent my feelings. At the same time, I made a statement I believed to be true, and I was willing to stand behind it. Your stance on that issue was ridiculous to those who had met me. They were laughing. I offered no apology because to say "I am sorry" would have been a lie. I was not sorry. I felt I had patiently and repeatedly tried to explain myself to no avail.
I'm also fairly certain I offended you when I said, "“I . . . patiently wait to see these redeeming qualities, but plainly stated, based on what I've seen of you on this board, you disgust me.” This statement expressed what I truly felt at that time. I was angry, and I chose to use strong words in expressing my opinion.
You interpreted my statement to mean that I thought you had no redeeming qualities. I answered:
Please read my statement again, Teejay. I carefully worded it because I have never known anyone without some redeeming qualities. I also understand that there are facets of your personality others may know and love that I may not have seen on this board.
I did not offer an apology because I was not sorry.
From what I've seen of you on the board since then, I gather that you are a man who wants to do what he believes is right, no matter what others think of you. My opinion of you will not sway your actions.
That said, I want you to know that my opinion of you since then has changed. I now see redeeming qualities, and you no longer disgust me. I have seen that you are tenacious and stand up for what you believe in. You admit when you are wrong. You care deeply about your friends and family and want to protect them.
Please accept my opinion for what it's worth.