Right Speech: Getting Personal

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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I can see how the following comment(s) might reasonably be taken personally by someone else.

(1) "I disagree with you."
2
3%
(2) "You are incorrect."
6
8%
(3) "How could a person with the qualities you advocate ever take the position you hold to be true?"
6
8%
(4) "Here is the source of your confusion." (When you do not believe you are confused.)
7
9%
(5) "... backing away slowly ..." (followed by eye-roll emoji)
13
17%
(6) "You are too pig-headed to listen."
14
18%
(7) A post pointing out "your increasingly hysterical comments."
10
13%
(8) "You are a solipsist."
7
9%
(9) "That is your own idiosyncratic view, but the Buddha teaches ..."
7
9%
(10) "I can see how my comment may have offended you."
4
5%
 
Total votes: 76

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L.N.
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Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am

Vote for as many choices as you wish. Change your vote any time.

This poll and this Topic were inspired by the invitation in this locked Topic from Sam Vara who wrote, among other things: "If you want to raise the topic of Right Speech, then it's best to start another thread. Ditto with any other issues here. If that thread looks good, I might participate."

The locked thread was derailed by a disagreement about what constitutes a "personalized" statement. My position (with which others may validly disagree) is that comments are "personalized" when they invoke the personal attributes or characteristics of the individual being addressed in such a way that the individual may feel a desire to defend or clarify his or her state of mind or other personal characteristics. Excluded from my understanding of "personalized" comments are comments which address another person's expressed opinion or factual assertion. In other words, there is a difference between (1) commenting about what someone said, and (2) commenting about the person.

It has been suggested to me that personalized comments are a normal way of expressing disagreement in English. For example, saying, "Here is the source of your confusion" has an identical meaning compared with saying, "Here is why your comments appear to be confused." I respectfully disagree that these two statements are equivalent, because in the first instance, the statement is a comment about a person's state of mind (confusion), and in the second instance, the statement is about what the person said.

In discussions such as this, another frequent phenomenon is "whataboutism," where someone who feels put on the spot responds by saying, "Well, what about you? You do it. He does it. We all do it." This "whataboutism" is historically a hallmark of Soviet propaganda and has been adopted by American President Trump as a go-to debate strategy. If the above Topic is of interest, I would invite Members to participate in a manner which avoids "whataboutism." Two wrongs don't make a right.

Finally, I believe the Topic is informed by the contents of the following Topics:
The Buddha's Teachings on Social and Communal Harmony. IV. Proper Speech
Cultivating Hiri and Ottappa

Some of the choices in the poll are personalized comments, some are not. It may be worth asking, which of the comments would you direct at Bhante Dhammanando or another venerable monk? I wish we would all treat one another with the courtesy and respect we show to these Venerables.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Sam Vara
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am

This poll and this Topic were inspired by the invitation in this locked Topic from Sam Vara who wrote, among other things: "If you want to raise the topic of Right Speech, then it's best to start another thread. Ditto with any other issues here. If that thread looks good, I might participate."
This looks better, so I will indeed participate!

My first thoughts are that there is no necessary or even particularly obvious link between Right Speech and what you term "personalised speech" or "getting personal". Canonically, the Buddha is recorded as criticising people for their personal characteristics, including their confusion.
you're confused
by what you have grasped.
And so you don't glimpse
even
the slightest
notion
[of what I am saying].
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

There are very many more, including the passage in the Alagaddupama Sutta where repeatedly he calls Arittha, and refers to him rhetorically, as a "foolish man". Unless I've radically misunderstood the Pali, I've not taken any precepts to refrain from personal speech.

The second issue is that any of the statements listed in the survey could be taken personally, but it depends on the subjective state of the reader. For someone who is thin-skinned, any or all of them could be "taken personally". And for others, none of the statements would be taken personally. I think intention is the key in both making utterances and thinking about utterances made by other people. Interpretation is papañca, and the responsibility of the interpreter. I've witnessed both monks and lay people being subjected to what I thought was extremely foul speech, apparently motivated by hatred and anger, yet they remained equanimous. There is additionally a difference between a comment which refers to how the person is at the time of commenting ("You are confused/angry/wrong/etc.") and how the person is habitually or ineradicably ("You are often confused/have a problem with anger/always wrong/etc."). I guess most people would take the first as being much less serious than the second, and would be inclined to discount it. They realise that most of us might be those things at particular times, even if they don't want to be labelled as being habitually so.

A third point here is that there is no requirement in the TOS to maintain all aspects of Right Speech. Of course, Right Speech - however conceptualised - is desirable. But the TOS are there to maintain order on the forum, and were a contributor to make an egregious breach of Right Speech while remaining within the TOS there would, I hope, be no move to ban them. If people wish to engage in what I consider to be wrong speech here on DW, OR to make what I considered personal comments about me or asnother contributor (for I consider these to be different things as per (1) above) then that's fine by me. Breaking the TOS is, however, a different issue, and although I have never yet reported anyone for breaking the TOS, I could sympathise with people who do report people or the moderators who take action.

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by DNS » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:43 pm

I disagree with you.
No one should be offended by this. We all have different views of varying degrees. But the poster should state why he disagrees, backing with logic and rational talk.
You are incorrect.
This is okay too, again, as long as the poster explains why he believes the other poster is incorrect.
How could a person with the qualities you advocate ever take the position you hold to be true?
This is borderline offensive, because it attacks the person, discussing his qualities. Better to "play the ball, not the man" and just discuss the issues.
Here is the source of your confusion. (When you do not believe you are confused.)
This is okay, as long as it is explained rationally why one believes the other person may have made a mistake, but the poster should then also realize he opens himself up to a rebuttal by the person he is addressing. There are some instances where a poster gets shocked that the other poster rebuts him. And then the poster gets annoyed that the person he addressed is making a rebuttal and so he continues to post his views again, over and over (argumentum ad nauseum).
"... backing away slowly ..." (followed by eye-roll emoji)

This is borderline offensive, because it doesn't say anything and is not a rational argument of any kind.
You are too pig-headed to listen.
This is just name calling and not appropriate.
A post pointing out "your increasingly hysterical comments."
This is offensive, because it assumes the poster knows the mental state of the other poster, violates the tos and does not make a logical or rational argument of any kind.
You are a solipsist.
The other poster may indeed be a solopsist, so this is not offensive, as long as it backed by evidence. Solipsist is not really a bad term, because there is the possibility the solipsists are correct.
"That is your own idiosyncratic view, but the Buddha teaches ..."
This is borderline offensive because it is sort of name calling, but the reality is nearly all views are idiosyncratic.
"I can see how my comment may have offended you."
Okay, as long as it is not used in a passive-aggressive way of trying to say the other person is easily offended.

Passive aggressive attacks are probably some of the most common bad posts on forums. Some use it to name call another poster in an indirect way. For example, a poster might write something like:

1. All people who believe "xyz" are not real Buddhists; or don't know Buddhism; or are slanderers of Buddha
2. This poster named "abc" believes "xyz"

Then the (often) unstated conclusion which necessarily follows is that user "abc" is not a real Buddhist . . . etc. which is just a personal attack; it does not address the issues and just goes after the person.

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L.N.
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:17 pm

Good comments, Sam Vara.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
My first thoughts are that there is no necessary or even particularly obvious link between Right Speech and what you term "personalised speech" or "getting personal". Canonically, the Buddha is recorded as criticising people for their personal characteristics, including their confusion.
you're confused
by what you have grasped.
And so you don't glimpse
even
the slightest
notion
[of what I am saying].
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
I read it the same way, except that there sometimes is an obvious link between Right Speech and what I termed "personalized speech." There are times when personalized speech may be Right Speech, as in the example you provided. If we have the abilities of a Buddha, then we can always discern when personalized speech is spoken at the right time, is true, is spoken affectionately, is beneficial, and is spoken with a mind of good-will.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
... The second issue is that any of the statements listed in the survey could be taken personally, but it depends on the subjective state of the reader. For someone who is thin-skinned, any or all of them could be "taken personally". And for others, none of the statements would be taken personally. I think intention is the key in both making utterances and thinking about utterances made by other people.
I read it the same way. My view is that when we have said something to another which might reasonably be taken personally, then our duty is to focus first on what our intention was in making the statement, and what our intention is going forward as we respond to the criticism of our statement. Other-blaming (e.g. calling someone "thin-skinned") can be a way of avoiding personal responsibility and can reflect a failure to perceive one's own role in the misunderstanding.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
... There is additionally a difference between a comment which refers to how the person is at the time of commenting ("You are confused/angry/wrong/etc.") and how the person is habitually or ineradicably ("You are often confused/have a problem with anger/always wrong/etc.").
Both are personalized comments.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
I guess most people would take the first as being much less serious than the second, and would be inclined to discount it.
That may or may not be a good guess. Better to avoid personalized comments at the wrong time.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
They realise that most of us might be those things at particular times, even if they don't want to be labelled as being habitually so.
Again, that may be a good guess as to the other person. But where does self-examination come into play? At what point does the speaker say to himself/herself, "I did not intend to make an offensive comment. Even so, the person who heard my comment appears to have misunderstood and may feel harmed in some way. What is the next Right Speech? Shall I now repeat the same misunderstood statement and attack this person? Shall I now make similar statements toward this person?"
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 12:07 pm
A third point here is that there is no requirement in the TOS to maintain all aspects of Right Speech. Of course, Right Speech - however conceptualised - is desirable. But the TOS are there to maintain order on the forum, and were a contributor to make an egregious breach of Right Speech while remaining within the TOS there would, I hope, be no move to ban them. If people wish to engage in what I consider to be wrong speech here on DW, OR to make what I considered personal comments about me or asnother contributor (for I consider these to be different things as per (1) above) then that's fine by me. Breaking the TOS is, however, a different issue, and although I have never yet reported anyone for breaking the TOS, I could sympathise with people who do report people or the moderators who take action.
I read the TOS the same way.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by JohnK » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:23 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am
...It has been suggested to me that personalized comments are a normal way of expressing disagreement in English. For example, saying, "Here is the source of your confusion" has an identical meaning compared with saying, "Here is why your comments appear to be confused." I respectfully disagree that these two statements are equivalent, because in the first instance, the statement is a comment about a person's state of mind (confusion), and in the second instance, the statement is about what the person said...
Personally, I would be careful about using the word "confusion" in any context (about someone else) -- to me, it's an internal mental state and is therefore "personal" by definition (my definition anyway). As such, comments themselves can't be confused (they may be confusing to the reader or internally inconsistent or whatever). If I choose to say that I am confused, fine, but I'm not going to presume to know and post about anyone else's internal state. Very hard for someone not to "take it" personally, even if merely characterizing their comments as such. Just my own personal guideline (at least until I can look into the mind of another). :)
I think there are other ways to respond usefully to a post.
However, I may be confused about this! ;)
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:27 pm

DNS wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:43 pm
...
I agree with most of the assessments and guidance.
DNS wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:43 pm
Here is the source of your confusion. (When you do not believe you are confused.)
This is okay, as long as it is explained rationally why one believes the other person may have made a mistake, but the poster should then also realize he opens himself up to a rebuttal by the person he is addressing. There are some instances where a poster gets shocked that the other poster rebuts him. And then the poster gets annoyed that the person he addressed is making a rebuttal and so he continues to post his views again, over and over (argumentum ad nauseum).
I think the "your confusion" comments are more likely to be directed at people who are not respected. I think most Members would not make a "your confusion" comment to a venerable monk, because respect for the venerable monk is implicit. "Your confusion" is a statement regarded another's perceived state of mind and/or personal characteristic.
DNS wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:43 pm
You are a solipsist.
The other poster may indeed be a solopsist, so this is not offensive, as long as it backed by evidence. Solipsist is not really a bad term, because there is the possibility the solipsists are correct.
I view this as name-calling. A Member should not label another Member unless invited to do so.

I strongly agree with the following:
DNS wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:43 pm
"That is your own idiosyncratic view, but the Buddha teaches ..."
This is borderline offensive because it is sort of name calling, but the reality is nearly all views are idiosyncratic.
In general, my perception is that there are more personalized comments made on DW and elsewhere than are necessary, and many people do not seem to recognize when they have made a personalized comment, or the effect such a comment may have on the person spoken to. In my view, it is particularly important here on DW to be aware of this, because this forum helps create a perception of Buddhism. To the extent we bicker and engage in needless and unhelpful personalized comments toward one another, this may help create a negative perception of Buddhism.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:38 pm

I voted 5 and 6, but it still depends on whether there is a poignant truth to it
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Sam Vara
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:53 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:17 pm
I read it the same way, except that there sometimes is an obvious link between Right Speech and what I termed "personalized speech." There are times when personalized speech may be Right Speech, as in the example you provided. If we have the abilities of a Buddha, then we can always discern when personalized speech is spoken at the right time, is true, is spoken affectionately, is beneficial, and is spoken with a mind of good-will.
True enough, although there is no obvious reason to restrict "personalised speech" to that which the recipient finds unpleasing. If I claim on-line that another contributor has a rare and penetrating insight, I doubt if they will object, even though that delivers my judgement on their personal characteristics.

Overall, a person not liking what one has posted does not in itself mean that one should have not posted it. If that were the case, anyone could close down debate by claiming - rightly or wrongly - that they do not like what has been posted. I personally restrict what I post based on guidelines which I voluntarily take upon myself. The two sets of guidelines operating for me are the precepts which I have taken, and the TOS. Neither forbid making posts about persons in general, but only specific types of posts about persons. Neither forbid making posts which other people don't like, but only specific types of posts that other people don't like.

I trust that my good friends here on DW would remind me if I were to forget these two guidelines.

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by binocular » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:24 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am
It has been suggested to me that personalized comments are a normal way of expressing disagreement in English. For example, saying, "Here is the source of your confusion" has an identical meaning compared with saying, "Here is why your comments appear to be confused."

I respectfully disagree that these two statements are equivalent, because in the first instance, the statement is a comment about a person's state of mind (confusion), and in the second instance, the statement is about what the person said.
No, the two are still the essentially the same. Simply throwing in "seem" and "appear" doesn't automatically relativize what the person is saying. In fact, sometimes, those "seem" and "appear" are conspicuous of passive aggressiveness.

In both above sentences, the speaker is not owning the statement, but is assuming to speak from a position of objectivity and neutrality (as if he/she is beyond conditioned perception, and now has direct perception).

The theory of different communication styles (e.g.) sheds light on the different ways people express themselves.

There's the characteristic difference between an i-message and a you-message.

To make it assertive, closer to an I-message, the speaker would have to say something like:
"I think that the source of your confusion is ..." and really believe the "I think" qualifier, and not just throw it in for good measure.
In discussions such as this, another frequent phenomenon is "whataboutism," where someone who feels put on the spot responds by saying, "Well, what about you? You do it. He does it. We all do it." This "whataboutism" is historically a hallmark of Soviet propaganda and has been adopted by American President Trump as a go-to debate strategy. If the above Topic is of interest, I would invite Members to participate in a manner which avoids "whataboutism." Two wrongs don't make a right.
If a person assumes to have the moral highground, then others are justified to expect them to actually manifest this moral highground.

Like I said elsewhere:
binocular wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:16 am
To begin with, the distinctions between a fallacious ad hominem argument and a justified ad hominem need to be understood.
When a statement is challenged by making an ad hominem attack on its author, it is important to draw a distinction between whether the statement in question was an argument or a statement of fact (testimony). In the latter case the issues of the credibility of the person making the statement may be crucial.[8]
/.../

Doug Walton, Canadian academic and author, has argued that ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and that in some instances, questions of personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant to the issue,[9] as when it directly involves hypocrisy, or actions contradicting the subject's words.

The philosopher Charles Taylor has argued that ad hominem reasoning (discussing facts about the speaker or author relative to the value of his statements) is essential to understanding certain moral issues due to the connection between individual persons and morality (or moral claims), and contrasts this sort of reasoning with the apodictic reasoning (involving facts beyond dispute or clearly established) of philosophical naturalism.[10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_homine ... _reasoning
Especially in the context of religion, where so much is and has to be taken on faith, whether a person's claims will appear true or not to the audience depends greatly on the claimant's credibility.
If a poster assumes themselves to be the teacher of others, or to be the authority on interpreting what others think and mean, then others are justified to raise their expectation about such a poster.
It may be worth asking, which of the comments would you direct at Bhante Dhammanando or another venerable monk?
The assertive ones, which is only the first one.
I wish we would all treat one another with the courtesy and respect we show to these Venerables.
Always expect the Spanish Inquisition!

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by binocular » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:27 pm
In general, my perception is that there are more personalized comments made on DW and elsewhere than are necessary, and many people do not seem to recognize when they have made a personalized comment, or the effect such a comment may have on the person spoken to. In my view, it is particularly important here on DW to be aware of this, because this forum helps create a perception of Buddhism. To the extent we bicker and engage in needless and unhelpful personalized comments toward one another, this may help create a negative perception of Buddhism.
Personal(ized) comments are inescapable, and I don't consider them to be a problem per se.
I find that it is assuming some kind of objectivity and authority over other people is the problem. And the strawmaning, the redherringing, the virtuesignalling that is the problem. When people take no responsibility for their own interpretation of another's words, but instead take for granted that they are the authority on what the other person means, thinks, knows.

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:17 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:53 pm
... there is no obvious reason to restrict "personalised speech" to that which the recipient finds unpleasing. If I claim on-line that another contributor has a rare and penetrating insight, I doubt if they will object, even though that delivers my judgement on their personal characteristics.

Overall, a person not liking what one has posted does not in itself mean that one should have not posted it. If that were the case, anyone could close down debate by claiming - rightly or wrongly - that they do not like what has been posted. ...
I agree. I also think that when one becomes aware that one has said something, intentionally or unintentionally, which has caused a misunderstanding and possibly caused the person spoken to to feel harmed in some way, we should not escalate it. We should carefully consider our next First Words.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:24 pm
L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am
It has been suggested to me that personalized comments are a normal way of expressing disagreement in English. For example, saying, "Here is the source of your confusion" has an identical meaning compared with saying, "Here is why your comments appear to be confused."

I respectfully disagree that these two statements are equivalent, because in the first instance, the statement is a comment about a person's state of mind (confusion), and in the second instance, the statement is about what the person said.
No, the two are still the essentially the same. Simply throwing in "seem" and "appear" doesn't automatically relativize what the person is saying. In fact, sometimes, those "seem" and "appear" are conspicuous of passive aggressiveness.
The two are not essentially the same, or substantively the same, as there are two different objects of discussion.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:27 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:17 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Overall, a person not liking what one has posted does not in itself mean that one should have not posted it. If that were the case, anyone could close down debate by claiming - rightly or wrongly - that they do not like what has been posted. ...
I agree. I also think that when one becomes aware that one has said something, intentionally or unintentionally, which has caused a misunderstanding and possibly caused the person spoken to to feel harmed in some way, we should not escalate it. We should carefully consider our next First Words.
The same would apply to those next words. Knowledge of the state of mind of the intended recipient would obviously affect how one spoke. If an utterance were in accordance with Right Speech, and not in violation of the TOS, then the feelings of harm would have no bearing on whether it should be uttered or not.

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:12 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:27 pm
L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:17 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Overall, a person not liking what one has posted does not in itself mean that one should have not posted it. If that were the case, anyone could close down debate by claiming - rightly or wrongly - that they do not like what has been posted. ...
I agree. I also think that when one becomes aware that one has said something, intentionally or unintentionally, which has caused a misunderstanding and possibly caused the person spoken to to feel harmed in some way, we should not escalate it. We should carefully consider our next First Words.
The same would apply to those next words.
Of course, but this is whataboutism. If one's First Words after speaking hurtful words (whether intentionally or not) are even more hurtful and show no regard for the harm caused (intentionally or not), then talking about the same applying to the next words is just a diversion. If one speaks in a manner which offends, one's duty is to attend to one's First Words, not attack the next words from the person spoken so.

Do you ever see any point at which one should take responsibility for the words one has spoken, and then "sweep your side of the street" as discussed in the locked thread? What do you view as being objectionable about acknowledging when you have spoken in a manner which has an unintended negative consequence, but then following up with kindness and self examination?
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:14 am

binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 pm
I find that it is assuming some kind of objectivity and authority over other people is the problem. And the strawmaning, the redherringing, the virtuesignalling that is the problem.
You have leveled such accusations on numerous occasions. Not sure what you are driving at.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Sam Vara
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am

L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:12 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:27 pm
L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:17 pm

I agree. I also think that when one becomes aware that one has said something, intentionally or unintentionally, which has caused a misunderstanding and possibly caused the person spoken to to feel harmed in some way, we should not escalate it. We should carefully consider our next First Words.
The same would apply to those next words.
Of course, but this is whataboutism. If one's First Words after speaking hurtful words (whether intentionally or not) are even more hurtful and show no regard for the harm caused (intentionally or not), then talking about the same applying to the next words is just a diversion. If one speaks in a manner which offends, one's duty is to attend to one's First Words, not attack the next words from the person spoken so.

Do you ever see any point at which one should take responsibility for the words one has spoken, and then "sweep your side of the street" as discussed in the locked thread? What do you view as being objectionable about acknowledging when you have spoken in a manner which has an unintended negative consequence, but then following up with kindness and self examination?
I'm not sure what you mean by "whataboutism" here. If the restraints one has placed on one's own utterances are the correct ones, then they will be fit for purpose regardless of the mental states of others and the claimed mental states of others. My duty to others in the context of internet communication is exhausted by Right Speech and the TOS. Both of these are voluntarily chosen as being personally binding upon me. Anyone else telling me what my duty is (i.e. wishing to restrict my autonomy) is of course very welcome to do so but will need to have very good arguments.

As a side issue, I'm entirely relaxed about "whataboutism" (although I don't know if it applies here). It's often a useful corrective to hypocrisy.

One always has responsibility for words one has spoken. There is nothing objectionable about acknowledging that one has spoken in a manner which has an unintended negative consequence. But that's not part of the restraints that I choose to place upon my utterances. Once I have made a point, the responses of the person to whom I have made it become part of the reality to which my next utterance applies. But that's also my responsibility. I have no duty to keep "my side of the street" clear of what a person on the other side of the street takes objection to. They might be an ingenuous suffering individual who I have inadvertently offended through ignorance. But they might also be an egotistic manipulator with a nice line in offended innocence. Or a snowflake who needs to take more responsibility for how they perceive things. Or anything, really. That's why it's my responsibility, not the responsibility of others.

binocular
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by binocular » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:57 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:14 am
binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 pm
I find that it is assuming some kind of objectivity and authority over other people is the problem. And the strawmaning, the redherringing, the virtuesignalling that is the problem.
You have leveled such accusations on numerous occasions. Not sure what you are driving at.
I find it hard to believe that you're not sure what I'm driving at.

Issues of power take place in communication. Similarly as one might physically seize control of another person by binding their hands and feet, so a person can attempt to have control over another person's mind and the meaning of their words. Such control can be described as "I am the one who decides what you mean," and so such a person says things like "When you say X, what you really mean is Y," "When you say Z, it can only be that you say it for reasons W."

Talk about getting personal!

binocular
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by binocular » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:06 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:19 pm
The two are not essentially the same, or substantively the same, as there are two different objects of discussion.
As long as one externalizes issues of communication this way, one is bound up in the power game, and fighting for the upper hand.
L.N. wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:14 am
Excluded from my understanding of "personalized" comments are comments which address another person's expressed opinion or factual assertion. In other words, there is a difference between (1) commenting about what someone said, and (2) commenting about the person.
As long as one doesn't take ownership for making the comment to begin with, the problem will remain, and so long it doesn't make a difference if one is "commenting about what someone said" or "commenting about the person".

What makes the difference is owning one's words, instead of taking for granted that they are an objective statement about something out there.

One externalizes issues of communication by taking for granted that one's words are an objective statement about something out there.

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L.N.
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Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by L.N. » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:34 pm

Good comments, Sam Vara.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:12 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:27 pm


The same would apply to those next words.
Of course, but this is whataboutism. If one's First Words after speaking hurtful words (whether intentionally or not) are even more hurtful and show no regard for the harm caused (intentionally or not), then talking about the same applying to the next words is just a diversion. If one speaks in a manner which offends, one's duty is to attend to one's First Words, not attack the next words from the person spoken so.

Do you ever see any point at which one should take responsibility for the words one has spoken, and then "sweep your side of the street" as discussed in the locked thread? What do you view as being objectionable about acknowledging when you have spoken in a manner which has an unintended negative consequence, but then following up with kindness and self examination?
I'm not sure what you mean by "whataboutism" here.
I may have misunderstood you. Following is the framework for the hypothetical conversation as I understand it:

SPEAKER: "Here is the source of your confusion."
PERSON SPOKEN TO: "Please stop with your personalized comments."
SPEAKER: (Whatever he/she says next are the "First Words.")
PERSON SPOKEN TO: (Whatever he/she says next are the "Next Words.")

Please let me know if this understanding is incorrect. When you stated, "The same would apply to those next words," I understood "Next Words" to be defined as above.

This is whataboutism because it changes the topic of discussion. Instead of discussing appropriate First Words (spoken by SPEAKER), the topic becomes Next Words (spoken by PERSON SPOKEN TO).
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
If the restraints one has placed on one's own utterances are the correct ones, then they will be fit for purpose regardless of the mental states of others and the claimed mental states of others.
I agree. It is still whataboutism, because we no longer are talking about First Words as defined above.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
My duty to others in the context of internet communication is exhausted by Right Speech and the TOS.
That is your personal choice. However, I suggest that you consider whether your First Words following a misunderstanding are also subject to Right Speech and TOS. If, in your opinion, someone misunderstands you, is it your understanding that this then give you license to continue to speak in the same manner?
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
Both of these are voluntarily chosen as being personally binding upon me. Anyone else telling me what my duty is (i.e. wishing to restrict my autonomy) is of course very welcome to do so but will need to have very good arguments.
Then you are more patient than I am. If someone wishes to restrict my autonomy, I will not welcome it. You are correct that it is entirely up to you to decide what is your duty. Others may have different ideas about what our duty is to one another in a community such as this.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
As a side issue, I'm entirely relaxed about "whataboutism" (although I don't know if it applies here). It's often a useful corrective to hypocrisy.
It may be useful to address hypocrisy, but it should never be used to avoid the subject. "Whataboutism" generally means the strategy of changing the topic. For example, when the United States would point out the human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union would say, "what about ...", changing the subject without addressing its own issue. Similarly, when critics of President Trump point out that he should not have equivocated about racism following the Neo Nazi marches a few months back, Trump responded by saying, what about the conduct of those who demonstrated against the Neo Nazis? Yes, the Soviet Union and Trump were attempting to paint their critics as hypocrites. They also were changing the subject and avoiding their own issues.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
One always has responsibility for words one has spoken. There is nothing objectionable about acknowledging that one has spoken in a manner which has an unintended negative consequence. But that's not part of the restraints that I choose to place upon my utterances.
This is where you and I part ways. I believe in taking personal responsibility if I have unintentionally said something which might have caused offense.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
Once I have made a point, the responses of the person to whom I have made it become part of the reality to which my next utterance applies.
Yes, "part of" the reality. An additional part of the reality is the words which you actually spoke, and the potential for misunderstanding which you might have created by speaking them.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
But that's also my responsibility. I have no duty to keep "my side of the street" clear of what a person on the other side of the street takes objection to.
That's not what "sweeping your side of the street" means. Rather, it means acknowledging the kernel of truth in what the PERSON SPOKEN TO has said (e.g., acknowledge the truth you may have spoke words which could be misunderstood, acknowledge the truth that your words may have created an uncomfortable situation, etc.). It also means making amends (e.g., stating an intention to try to be more clear in the future). Very practically speaking, until you have done this, you may find that mis-communications will spin out of control, as they did in the locked thread.
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:56 am
They might be an ingenuous suffering individual who I have inadvertently offended through ignorance. But they might also be an egotistic manipulator with a nice line in offended innocence. Or a snowflake who needs to take more responsibility for how they perceive things. Or anything, really. That's why it's my responsibility, not the responsibility of others.
Yes, we might call people names like this in our thoughts. We might think the other person is a "manipulator" or a "snowflake." You may think these things about me. And yes, each of us is responsible for our own reactions. My suggestion in this Topic is that it is more effective to avoid personalized comments in the first place. My suggestion in response to your comments is that having made a potentially personalized comment which may have offended, one's First Words should be compassionate, not hostile.

You and others have so many excellent ideas to share, I hate to see you shoot yourself in the foot by using personalized comments which get in the way of the point you are trying to make.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

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Sam Vara
Posts: 2458
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Right Speech: Getting Personal

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 19, 2017 5:14 pm

L.N. wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:34 pm

I may have misunderstood you. Following is the framework for the hypothetical conversation as I understand it:

SPEAKER: "Here is the source of your confusion."
PERSON SPOKEN TO: "Please stop with your personalized comments."
SPEAKER: (Whatever he/she says next are the "First Words.")
PERSON SPOKEN TO: (Whatever he/she says next are the "Next Words.")

Please let me know if this understanding is incorrect. When you stated, "The same would apply to those next words," I understood "Next Words" to be defined as above.

This is whataboutism because it changes the topic of discussion. Instead of discussing appropriate First Words (spoken by SPEAKER), the topic becomes Next Words (spoken by PERSON SPOKEN TO).
Sorry, I don't really understand this hypothetical conversation. My point is that the rules I bind myself with are sufficient to deal with whatever situation presents itself and requires speech. Whether the recipient of speech has spoken before, whether I have spoken before, and no matter what feeling is felt by both parties or evinced by both parties, remaining within the constraints of Right Speech and the TOS are all that are required. Of course, as a conversation develops, the content changes; but I see no reason to add anything to those two constraints in the present moment.
I suggest that you consider whether your First Words following a misunderstanding are also subject to Right Speech and TOS. If, in your opinion, someone misunderstands you, is it your understanding that this then give you license to continue to speak in the same manner?
I've considered it, and I'm quite clear about it. Of course, whether or not a misunderstanding has taken place, the same restrictions on one's speech are appropriate if they are universal. One might or might not repeat the content in the same manner, depending on what one wants to say to the new situation as this has arisen, or one might wish to modify the content. But if it remains within the boundaries of the two self-imposed restrictions, the only reason to change what one says is that one now wishes to say something different. The requirements about Right Speech and TOS remain.
Then you are more patient than I am. If someone wishes to restrict my autonomy, I will not welcome it. You are correct that it is entirely up to you to decide what is your duty. Others may have different ideas about what our duty is to one another in a community such as this.
Indeed, that's the "TOS" part.
It may be useful to address hypocrisy, but it should never be used to avoid the subject
Should it not? I hope nobody attempts to restrict my autonomy in this...
"Whataboutism" generally means the strategy of changing the topic. For example, when the United States would point out the human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union would say, "what about ...", changing the subject without addressing its own issue. Similarly, when critics of President Trump point out that he should not have equivocated about racism following the Neo Nazi marches a few months back, Trump responded by saying, what about the conduct of those who demonstrated against the Neo Nazis? Yes, the Soviet Union and Trump were attempting to paint their critics as hypocrites. They also were changing the subject and avoiding their own issues.
Sounds fine to me! I don't know why Trump and the Soviet Union did what they did, but pointing out the hypocrisy seems an entirely reasonable response to unsolicited requests for introspection.
This is where you and I part ways. I believe in taking personal responsibility if I have unintentionally said something which might have caused offense.
Excellent! Providing you don't expect me to do the same, I can't see any problem with this.
My suggestion in this Topic is that it is more effective to avoid personalized comments in the first place. My suggestion in response to your comments is that having made a potentially personalized comment which may have offended, one's First Words should be compassionate, not hostile.
Thanks for your suggestion. As I have outlined the self-imposed rules which govern my speech here, you can hopefully see why it does not apply, and why I will not be taking it up.
You and others have so many excellent ideas to share, I hate to see you shoot yourself in the foot by using personalized comments which get in the way of the point you are trying to make.
You should rest easy, then, and your hate can remain dormant on this occasion. I've not shot myself in the foot; I've not made what I consider to be personalised comments; even if I have then I'm absolutely fine with that; and I'm happy with the clarity of the points I've made.

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