Exploding Socratic Inevitable

Continuing the discussion from Millennials are cheap because they're broke:

Hopefully this will help.

It is not as if I never make statements, state preferences, or recommend courses of action. I do not deny that I can be opinionated. But - that is typically not what people have difficulty with. Most of the annoyance I encounter with people directly references my questions - although often as implicit statements.

I am guessing that this is largely a result of socialization. That people are often arguing for concepts they internalized from other people, so they are not prepared to say what precisely it means to them. It’s hard to argue for something you didn’t think through. But that itself can be a valuable realization. Although this is not meant to be a “gotcha”, I think it re-introduces some subjectivity to concepts which were broadly assumed.

There seem to be obvious practical limitations in questioning every single concept and utterance! What I often find is that what is being communicated hinges upon a certain assumption, or set of assumptions. Whoever I am conversing with might hope that I share those assumptions, because it would make communication seem easier. But instead I often need to ask: “What do you mean by this?” I would hope that others would extend to me this same courtesy, although most people don’t. Instead, I usually get torrents of: “So what you’re really trying to say/ask is supposed to be X!”

Could be… I try to be quite distinct, between instances of stating or asking. I tend to be quite well aware of which I am doing. It seems that people are trying to get a rhetorical jump on me. Of course I might have an idea which inspires a question that I ask, but I see that as beside the point. I am not trying to persuade them of my idea, but to understand their own thinking. I feel like I go to reasonably painstaking lengths to be clear what I am asking about, without getting so verbose as to type many pages. Seriously, people tell me that I lack concision, and then alternately that I make no effort to explain myself in detail. There is no pleasing everybody.

Slavoj Zizek “The Spectator´s Malevolent Neutrality”


It seems to me that you’re too quick to write people off as impossible to please or unable to question things as deeply as you. That attitude can lead to a half-hearted communication style, where on one hand you unintentionally convey a subtext that you expect other people won’t/can’t understand what you’re explaining, and then on the other hand when people disagree or argue based on their interpretation, you kind of shrug and accept it as a result of their inevitable misunderstanding.

It’s not inevitable. It’s possible to be heard and understood better, but it requires a wholehearted effort on your part to cooperate with those you’re conversing with, to anticipate how they will understand you and account for it in what you say.

Just some well-intentioned feedback.


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