Extricating myself from useless conversation

It’s been an interesting few hours. I tend to get involved with lots of discussions online and sometimes I receive some incredible responses both positive and negative. Some time ago I told myself that I would only get involved with discussions that are actually my business. I told myself I would no longer get involved with discussions on gun-control, government overreach and diet.

Yeah… you can imagine how well that worked out for me. It would appear I have zero self-discipline. The problem, it would seem, is that I do not live a simple life with only one interest (self-actualization). I care about lots of things.

I struggled with dietary questions decades ago and I finally read enough and learned enough to finally feel I found my answer… the answer. I had to read some absolute drivel for quite a while before I started figuring it out. So, when I see people at the beginning of their search (as I was at one time), I feel compelled to help them see straight. And I forget that I was exactly the same place they are, completely certain in my knowledge. Every time I had a momentary “aha” I was certain it was the universal truth. After several years of my continuing and sometimes painful education, I realized that the “aha” moments were simply moments.

The truth of it took more time to reveal itself and for me to really see it as complete. While I did my big change over 20 years ago, it was a small step by small step process and each thing I learned since then just reinforced the choices I made from there. Obviously the evidence had not supported my initial ideas, or should I say hopes, since I would have loved to just continue on the path I was on. It was comfortable. It was yummy. It just happened to also be the source of my health issues, which had set me on the path of truth to begin with.

My jumping into conversations on other topics is similar in that for quite some time I did not have a strong opinion on something or perhaps I did, but I never sought to clarify my values. For many years, long after high school, when such an interest could have actually helped my GPA, I was really enjoying learning history. US and world history, it was just cool.

I came across some business and health advice of Benjamin Franklin eons ago, and he interested me so much that I read more about him and then, as it followed, our other founding fathers. I’m fairly enamored with them. I’m fairly enamored with what they tried to do and it has worked incredibly well for a couple hundred years. So, I still easily get pulled into discussions where well-meaning but uneducated armchair policy-makers spout off about how times have changed and apparently we need to scrap the Constitution and live in a nanny state.

<Big breath>… as you can see I still get a bit fired up about some topics.

However today, as I was drawn back into a discussion that I thought I had extricated myself from (still love that word- extricate), I found myself sparring with one particular person who felt just as strongly about their stand as I did about mine, I started to not feel good about myself. Usually, I love sarcasm and enjoy its use and receiving it when used well. As I read this lady’s responses and started to shoot back with my same pointed barbs, it occurred to me that if we had met in real life, and this topic didn’t come up right away, I would probably like her. I can say that because I generally like most people when I meet them and only after some conversational activity do I determine whether I still like them or if I would rather they moved away from me.

Unfortunately, internet discussions tend to start with already disliking someone and then trying to outlast them in the flinging of zingers. And to what end? This is not what I want to be doing. My purpose is to inspire people to live their passion. Determine the thing that really sparks their heart and mind and go for it. And if they need help figuring it out, I want to help them figure it out.

It might be hard for me to accept (which is really just telling it is really hard), but I might just inspire people whose passion is a diet I don’t agree with, or policy I don’t support. We are what we are, and I think the vast majority of us are just doing the best we can and have honest and honorable intentions. A few of us are sociopaths, but most of us are just real people with different life experiences and different conclusions often with the same evidence. And I want to embrace that again. So, this is my public declaration that I’m not getting involved with useless debate online. I have just excused myself, with apologies, from the last two discussions, and I am done.

I want to be supportive and encouraging, not combative and venom-spewing.
I’ll just add that to my purpose.