Things are flying along, which means I’ve been barely able to pull myself away to get to the gym, let alone read the papers or blog. My editor went over the first five chapters and it might amuse some of you to note that he described his impression of the book so far “as being more akin to a machine gun than a sniper rifle”.
I just finished “Breaking the Spell” last night and I thought it was quite good. It’s probably just as well, as even the most entertaining beat-down starts to become a bit sickening after a while if there’s no break in the brutality. I’d actually quite like to interview Daniel Dennett, he may not want to talk to me, but it’s worth a shot.
Anyhow, Les was wondering what to do when people find your opinionated tendencies to be tiresome:
I like this site because I like the banter and the discussion of ideas. I’m no genius but I put in my two cents now and then. I read books and try to keep abreast of current events. Those are my hobbies. I’m not an imposing figure or an over-bearing personality. However, I tend to alienate friends and coworkers. My sons say I am too opinionated for most folks even when I can back up my opinions. Anyone else share my experience?
It may surprise some of you, but I’m fairly easy to get along with in person. Most of my acquaintances are shocked when they find out that I have a blog, let alone an opinion column, and more than a few of them still don’t know that I’m a writer of any kind. We’re increasingly living in a post-literate world, so the subject doesn’t come up all that often. I can’t recall the last time I talked about books with anyone other than Spacebunny or Big Chilly, to be honest.
I try to avoid bringing up political subjects very often – I’ve learned that most people aren’t capable of a friendly discussion on such matters, let alone an interesting one – and I usually try to offer the person an easy way out after making it clear that I disagree with them if they happen to bring one up.
What Les is missing, I think, is the fact that it is the mere fact of his disagreement with people that is intolerable to them. They don’t care that you can back up your opinion, they only care that you’re not backing up theirs! Most people really aren’t interested in anything that requires abstract thought, they have no idea why they think what they think and they’re merely looking for something to provide post-facto rationalization for their emotionally derived positions.
So leave them alone. You’re not the truth police and unless you’re being directly questioned, there’s no onus on you to straighten out their quirks. I basically look at it like a language issue, I speak Normal Retard when I’m with normal people in the same way I speak Italian with an Italian-speaker. And I’m perfectly content to do it, I had an interesting conversation with a weightlifter about the pros and cons of hammer curls with and without a twist halfway through just yesterday.
Everybody is an expert on something that interests them, if you want to get along with people, the trick is to let them pick the subject and just roll with it. You can learn something from everyone; stop trying to argue with the idiots, start learning whatever there is to be gleaned from them instead and you’ll find that they like you a lot better.
And why are you trying to convince them of anything anyhow? It’s pointless! They’re morons! (Relatively, not literally.) Do you ever worry about what your dog believes? Then don’t worry about people either.