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I'm such a jerk.

One of my more annoying character flaws, which really makes people hate me, is that I can't bring myself to "take that back". An apology from me usually consists of an explanation of where I was coming from, and if appropriate, a statement that I didn't intend to hurt the other person. That's all.

Most people aren't looking for that, though. They want me to retract whatever offended them, when I obviously meant to say or do whatever I said or did.

When you decide to take responsibility for your actions, that kind of apology is a pretty serious breach of integrity.

Random Insight:
  • Christian philosophy is based on forgiveness.
  • Jewish philosophy is based on making things right.
  • I have no interest in begging forgiveness.
  • Most people I deal with have no interest in getting to the root of a misunderstanding.

    ...because they'd rather forgive me.
This explains a lot.

So, having had this epiphany, you'd think my life would be much easier, wouldn't you? I've got a basic understanding of where the conflict comes from, so I can avoid that conflict. Right?

Get real.

The rest of the world is wrong. I can't let that go.

We're basing interpersonal relations on a precept which effectively does away with sincerity.

...and I'm rebelling against a deeply engrained social norm.

I'm gonna die alone.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 5th, 2001 02:10 pm (UTC)
Self wrote:
An apology from me usually consists of an explanation of where I was coming from, and if appropriate, a statement that I didn't intend to hurt the other person. That's all.

Most people aren't looking for that, though. They want me to retract whatever offended them, when I obviously meant to say or do whatever I said or did.

At least in my case, I'm not necessarily looking for you to retract what you said. But, if you show some sort of remorse that you did hurt the person, not just saying that that's not what you meant, that would go a long ways towards what people think of as a "proper" apology.

Kurt Onstad
Doesn't want you to die alone...
Mar. 5th, 2001 08:00 pm (UTC)
You don't understand...
I have no such remorse. I choose my course of action deliberately, and would make exactly the same choice if the situation repeats.

If people view this as a deliberate attack against them, they have one of two problems:
  • they're delusional, or
  • it was a deliberate attack against them.
In one case, a token display of remorse would be enabling their problem. In the other, it'd be a flat-out lie.

The implication of a "proper" apology, and what you really are looking for, is a promise that whatever offended was strictly a one-time occurance. When the event in question was a matter of thoughtlessness on my part, I'm willing to take that stand. More often than not, however, it's gonna come up again and again and you just have to get used to the idea.
    A female friend of mine insists that no relationship is perfect. She and her boyfriend go out of their way to make each other miserable, she says; that's just part of what healthy people do.

    I express my skepticism.

    She explains that her boyfriend is always running late, and that she always stresses out over this. When she tells him that they absolutely have to leave now, he insists on finishing whatever he's doing. Clearly, this is a calculated move intended to hurt her, she concludes. So she finds ways to retaliate.

    Of course, hurting her is the furthest thing from his mind. He knows that if he abandons what he's doing, it won't get finished, and that the next task won't get finished either if he moves at this pace, and then he'll have two unfinished things to deal with. Haste makes waste. He explains his reasoning. She brushes it aside as a flimsy excuse. He tells her he's sorry, which placates her for the moment, because she takes that as a promise that he'll do things her way next time. When that promise is broken, her vengeance is swift and painful.

    What's horrifying is that she's thought this through rationally.

Here's my thinking: People need to say what they mean, and not say what they don't mean. I demand a certain level of communication from everyone I deal with, and I provide that myself wherever possible.

The fact that this is unacceptable to most people is their problem. My responsibility is to be honest. To listen to reason, and make a genuine attempt at compromise. I can only care so much about your reaction beyond that. How you choose to take things and deal with 'em is your responsibility. Not mine.

So, yeah. Dying alone. It's not so bad...
Mar. 7th, 2001 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: You don't understand...
I agree with ya that the truth must be told... I don't, or at least I believe I don't lie (except as an actor playing a role that is not me, but someone else, and I am living a lie at that moment, although it is a truth for the character, but the character is a lie, or in some cases a truth).

Mar. 7th, 2001 03:38 am (UTC)
I think most people are basically honest.
They just don't take the time to understand what they're saying before the words come out.

I usually go through at least three different drafts on a statement before I open my mouth. If I'm telling a story, I have the whole thing structured before I begin. Most of the world, since they don't know what they're watching, see this hesitation and assume I'm retarded. Faced with this reaction, I often have to remind myself that I'm not.

I'm not saying everyone should go to that extreme in pursuit of logical purity. They shouldn't. But there are certain phrases which ought to raise a red flag, 'cause they don't mean what we think they do.
    My personal favorite is "I'll try."

    That translates to "I will put in the minimal effort necessary to make you stop bothering me."

    Once you understand that a person telling you this is only going through the motions, you have the choice of raising the stakes or lowering your expectations.

    It also gives you a very useful way to tell people "I will put in the minimal effort necessary to make you stop bothering me." Although I find it much more fun to actually use those words, though.

"I'm sorry" is sneaky. It's got that hidden promise to it, and you really have to watch out for that. "I'm sorry you feel that way" is almost right. It limits your apology to the scope of their reaction. But it's also got a healthy dollop of "I am directly opposed to how you think things should be."

"I'm sorry." = "I was wrong."
"I'm sorry you feel that way." = "You are wrong."

We don't actually have a phrase in between those, to convey sympathy without assigning blame.

Do you suppose that's the case in other languages?
Mar. 7th, 2001 07:59 am (UTC)
Re: I think most people are basically honest.
I'll take your advice and make myself an account... but when I get back from work tonight.


The truth behind a person's response in any language is still not easy to determine. In this world, it is very hard to find an absolute truth to anything/from anyone. There is usually a different meaning behind something being said. Sure, there are some that will tell the truth, but people see them as "jerks" and then they stop. In some cases the tone of voice during a remark can imply whether a truth is being told or not. However, the only true way to know the truth is to have a lie detector (and not a polygraph - I mean a real lie detector, that doesn't exist yet, and possibly won't for hundreds of years). Or, you could always try a truth serum...
But point -> This world is greedy.
This world needs to change. In fact, if people would work for furthering humanity as a whole, we wouldn't even need money.
Reality -> People are too greedy.
This world WON'T change until some disaster wipes out most of humankind, and the only way to survive is to help one another and eliminate this "money" business. And even then, there are still going to be greedy bastards.

I'm sorry, I have forgotten what this whole topic is about anyways...

Mar. 7th, 2001 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: I think most people are basically honest.
In the shower, I was reminded of some of our rehearsals (don't ask why in the shower... but that's when it hit me)...

Suzanne had brought up a good point about young kids - they almost always tell the truth... "I'm hungry," "I hate this," "I need to go to the bathroom," etc...

It's true (no pun intended). So when to kids realize they need to hide the truth? I remember being in that phase - but when it started? Probably my first year in school... When it ended? I think sometime in my last years of high school or my first year in college.

Well... I need to head off to class... Love the 20-30 min drive, and my class starts at 10:30...

Mar. 7th, 2001 12:16 pm (UTC)
You and Suzanne are both on the right track.
First year in school, we're taught to stop asking questions. Class moves forward in an ordely manner if kids pretend to understand. That's when we're taught to deny ourselves. Denying others is a short step from there.

Kind of a scary thought, that -
a society based on order and discipline is a society based on lies.

Anyway, the transition from high school to college is a fairly powerful one, in that your course of education is no longer strictly decided by someone else. What decisions will you make, and how will you come to them? It's a period of reflection and increased self awareness, and a good time to reach the conclusions you offer.

Actually, I suspect most people don't start thinking about honesty again until their first serious romance goes down in flames. That also usually happens around that time.

Running late myself. I need to write a draft of my script now, and my little nephew's come to visit, intent on hogging every ounce of my attention...
Mar. 8th, 2001 10:19 am (UTC)
When the barter system lead to division of labor, money became the next logical step. It's the only thing which seems to maintain order in a system as complex as ours.

Any culture that puts their whole food supply under lock and key is going to develop a class structure with complexities that require a standard currency to maintain.

Fact is, the money isn't to blame for greed any more than the language is to blame for dishonesty. They're both just abstractions of something which runs much deeper. Something which needs to be understood before we can hold it in check.

I'm not so sure furthering humanity is really the answer, at least not blindly. Humanity needs to take a step back and figure out where it's going.

In any case, we need to hook you up with some Daniel Quinn books. They'll confirm and refine and make sense of all these ideas that are lurking in the back of your head right now. And they'll inspire you towards a course of action which doesn't involve waiting for civilization to collapse. =)

(And, just to be creepy, I'll point out that the disaster you speak of is indeed on the horizon. If bombs aren't flying towards us in the next fourty years, I'll be extremely surprised. But that's a conversation for another time...)
Mar. 9th, 2001 12:35 am (UTC)
Re: Greed.
I agree... money didn't create greed.

But question - WHY IS THERE GREED?

Why can't people just stop being greedy? I am not. I don't like it. I am a Star Trek guy, and I believe that if we all work together to further humanity, we wouldn't need money.

Take the situation, and examine it's moral view:

'A' arrives at hospital, in very poor condition. It will requies '$XXXX' amount to help him. 'A' doesn't have that kind of money. The hospital must refuse treatment.
'A' dies from affliction, leaving behind a wife and two young children.


Mar. 9th, 2001 11:42 am (UTC)
Re: Greed.
I agree that the situation you describe is wrong. I don't agree that it would happen. I'm pretty sure that if someone arrives in that poor condition, the law (and each doctor's Hippocratic oath) requires that they treat first and ask questions like "How are you paying for this" later. Granted, that individual will be bankrupt for the rest of his life in order to cover the expense of bringing it back, but I don't think the hospital would throw someone to the street to die because of billing conflicts.

Now, if it's a slow-killing condition that could be remedied in the early stages, but the patient is not in critical condition at that moment, that's a different matter. I think they have to wait until you're dying before treating you without question.

But then, I'm speaking with absolutely no experience, and no proof to back up my statements. I'm pretty sure I've heard all this stuff somewhere, but I just couldn't tell you where...

Mar. 10th, 2001 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: Greed.
Well... I have lot's of experience working with different doctors, and let me tell ya:

No money - no work
HMO - no work

It's not a friendly, help all business at all. It's just that, a business.

I like the Star Trek world a lot more...

Mar. 10th, 2001 04:16 am (UTC)
While we're on the subject...
I've never understood why Starfleet needs medical officers, when all they seem to do is wave cylindrical objects in front of people.

Shouldn't cylindrical objects be standard issue for all starfleet officers, and shouldn't the waving of said objects be part of their training at the academy? Heck, I'd make that par for kindergarden. You don't get to play on the jungle gym until you can heal each other's wounds.

Just a thought.

(wow, I'm tired)
Mar. 11th, 2001 12:32 am (UTC)
Re: While we're on the subject...
The reason Starfleet has medical officers:

They learn the secret art of "waving"... You can't just wave those "cylinders" in any fashion... There's a certain pattern to it.

Inexperienced officer: waves it in a clockwise pattern while moving it up and down... Doesn't heal

Medical officer: waves it in a COUNTER-clockwise pattern while moving it DOWN and up and LEFT and right.

There ya go

Mar. 10th, 2001 04:53 am (UTC)
tryin' to explain
There is greed because there is gluttony. There is gluttony because there is sloth. There is sloth because there is inertia. And there is inertia because there are physical laws which govern the universe.

That's not quite right.

There is greed because the people on top like it there. They like it there because they are on top. They are on top because they control all the resources. They control all the resources because the resources need controlling if we're to sustain our rate of growth. Our rate of growth increases exponentially because we respond to each surge with a corresponding increase in food production. Which translates into a wider gap between the classes, because the upper crust is still defined by control of those resources.

What makes all of this possible is the fact that we've settled on a form of agriculture in which all of our food is created deliberately, and locked away as incentive to work. For the system to function, the populace must know nothing about surviving off the land, and all other food sources must be destroyed.

The system functions pretty well in that regard.

This is losing coherence fast. I must sleep.

Somewhere between Ishmael, My Ishmael, and the Story of B, your question is answered in exhaustive detail. My attempts to do the same are not making a lot of sense, but I swear to you you'll find answers which explain everything.
Mar. 11th, 2001 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: tryin' to explain


Mar. 11th, 2001 10:43 am (UTC)
Where did it all start?
Short answer: Mesopotamia.

Long answer: When Krista hands you "Ishmael" to give back to me, drop everything and read it. The origins are revealed there. Then track down a copy of "My Ishmael", and read that. The relationship between those origins and the effects you see around you is expanded upon. Next, grab "The Story of B" - if you're impatient, flip to the appendix and head straight for the Boiling Frog speech. I'm not sure that last one necessarily has anything to do with greed, but you should read it anyway.
Mar. 20th, 2001 09:50 am (UTC)
Quinn would love this. Doing pretty good with the being thing. :)

But have to agree with self, this is a must read. It's very difficult to have conversations with those who have not read these, or at least, meaningful conversations. I don't know quite why, but when you talk to some people who haven't read the material, then they end up getting caught into some really horrible logic.

I've one friend who I've given the book to and he hasn't yet read it. He believes that the world can support 50 billion people with out any problem.

What's worse is that he argues that termites consume far more than people, and refuses to listen to me when I point out that their population doesn't consume more than they need nor has their population changed dramatically in size in millions of years...

Very frustrating... I won't talk to him about any of this until he reads...

You basically did the same thing with me, eh? Musta been a horrible three years.

Payback is a bitch,


Upper chest is hurting a hell of a lot. Our lungs make mucous when we're sick to make it harder to breathe, doesn't it seem like this is backwards? Oh, well.
Apr. 4th, 2001 02:02 pm (UTC)
AHHHHHH! you are right
Isn't life anoying.... oh well

It gos on and on and on and on ..

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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