Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

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binocular
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Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:22 pm

Greetings.

A parasocial relationship (PSR) is a one-sided relationship that media users form as a result of exposure to media personas.

In 1956, the term parasocial relationship was coined by Donald Horton and R. Richard Wohl. They focused on the psychological attachment[1] that was formed from viewing television personalities. [2] Their work laid the foundation and popularized a wide range of research on parasocial phenomena.

A parasocial interaction, an exposure that garners interest in a persona,[3] becomes a parasocial relationship after repeated exposure to the media persona causes the media users to develop illusions of intimacy, friendship, and identification.[1] Positive information learned about the media persona results in increased attraction and the relationship progresses.[3] Parasocial relationships are enhanced due to trust and self-disclosure provided by the media persona.[1] Media users are loyal and feel directly connected to the persona much like their close friends by observing and interpreting their appearance, gestures, voice, conversation, and conduct.[3] Media personas have a significant amount of influence over media users, positive or negative, informing the way that they perceive certain topics or even their purchasing habits.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasocial_relationships
This pretty much describes the type of relationship that many people have with their Buddhist teachers and "admirable friends". There is little or no reciprocity.
If the teacher has already passed away and one has contact with them only through their written or otherwise recorded texts, that interaction/relationship is by default parasocial.


What arguments can you provide that this type of relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma?

Thank you.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:07 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:22 pm
What arguments can you provide that this type of relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma?

Thank you.
Ehipassiko

binocular
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:46 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:07 pm
Ehipassiko
Which requires that one already has sufficient faith and insight to begin with (has sufficiently little dust in their eyes).
Or else, is able to take enough for granted to start. But it's hard to take things for granted in the context of merely parasocial and parasocial-like interactios with others.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:06 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:46 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 4:07 pm
Ehipassiko
Which requires that one already has sufficient faith and insight to begin with (has sufficiently little dust in their eyes).
Or else, is able to take enough for granted to start. But it's hard to take things for granted in the context of merely parasocial and parasocial-like interactios with others.
Of course. Without those things, the Dhamma would just be part of the background noise.

If these "parasocial" relationships exist at all, it is because people have sufficient interest and confidence to embark on them. That's why there are no valid arguments about whether this, or any other type of relationship, is beneficial. Experience is everything.

SteRo
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by SteRo » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:11 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:22 pm
...
If the teacher has already passed away and one has contact with them only through their written or otherwise recorded texts, that interaction/relationship is by default parasocial.
Then I have a parasocial relationship with the Buddha.
binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:22 pm
What arguments can you provide that this type of relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma?
No arguments but I experience it as beneficial in terms of the Dhamma.

binocular
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:46 pm

SteRo wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:11 pm
Then I have a parasocial relationship with the Buddha.
Indeed.
No arguments but I experience it as beneficial in terms of the Dhamma.
Surely you can elaborate a bit why or how a non-reciprocal relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma.

binocular
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:52 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:06 pm
If these "parasocial" relationships exist at all, it is because people have sufficient interest and confidence to embark on them.
It's not clear whether they specifically "embark" on such relationships; they seem to be part of the religious/spiritual modus operandi, so one just has to go with that if one is to stay within the religion/spirituality.
That's why there are no valid arguments about whether this, or any other type of relationship, is beneficial. Experience is everything.
And this reasoning applies everywhere where experience itself is not being questioned. IOW, it is precisely in religion/spirituality where it doesn't apply, because one's experience is questioned as a matter of doctrine where one is supposed to doubt and question everything one thinks and feels.

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SDC
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by SDC » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:53 pm

The notion of reciprocity supports the order of things there "for me". Although that may be desirable or even necessary in most if not all relationships, it is counter to the direction taught by the Buddha. So even if it is just the mere "utterance of another" along with "proper attention", that is enough to generate the direction of a broader order of things here, yonder and merely there without having to be "for me".

So, beneficial in supporting the discernment of that order, but not beneficial in terms of providing the typical comfort and support found in ordinary relationships - where people not only inherently behave in a manner that maintains the order of "for me", but would discourage a "friend" from the intention to not maintain one's personhood.

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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:28 pm

Greetings,
DN 16 wrote:Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ananda, "Now, if it occurs to any of you — 'The teaching has lost its authority; we are without a Teacher' — do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma & Vinaya I have pointed out & formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone.
:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

binocular
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:30 pm

SDC wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:53 pm
The notion of reciprocity supports the order of things there "for me". Although that may be desirable or even necessary in most if not all relationships, it is counter to the direction taught by the Buddha. So even if it is just the mere "utterance of another" along with "proper attention", that is enough to generate the direction of a broader order of things here, yonder and merely there without having to be "for me".

So, beneficial in supporting the discernment of that order, but not beneficial in terms of providing the typical comfort and support found in ordinary relationships - where people not only inherently behave in a manner that maintains the order of "for me", but would discourage a "friend" from the intention to not maintain one's personhood.
So an ordinary person comes off the street and in contact with this thing called "Buddhism" or "Dhamma". And there they are expected to function by vastly different principles than in ordinary life; in fact, by principles that are awkwardly similar to plain old sociopathy, or more plainly, principles that justify (and excuse) being a cold, indifferent jerk (while preaching loving kindness). Sounds like Buddhist Darwinism.

So what does it take for a person to function that way? Why should a person -- who has just come off the street and in contact with this thing called "Buddhism" or "Dhamma" -- be willing to function by such principles?

Dan74
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by Dan74 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:49 pm

Perhaps every relationship IRL is partly parasocial to the extent that we project rather than engaging in that I-Thou space Buber for one, was fond of.
_/|\_

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Sam Vara
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:21 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:52 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 5:06 pm
If these "parasocial" relationships exist at all, it is because people have sufficient interest and confidence to embark on them.
It's not clear whether they specifically "embark" on such relationships; they seem to be part of the religious/spiritual modus operandi, so one just has to go with that if one is to stay within the religion/spirituality.
"Go with that" = "embark". I don't see what the problem is. If you want to learn the piano, then notes and staves and rhythm are part of that "modus operandi". You have to stay with that if you want your piano-playing to progress. If you realise that music is not for you, nobody is forcing adults to continue with their lessons. It's a buyer's market.
it is precisely in religion/spirituality where it doesn't apply, because one's experience is questioned as a matter of doctrine where one is supposed to doubt and question everything one thinks and feels.
I've never known anything like this, so perhaps your generalisation might not be as general as you think.

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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by chownah » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:42 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:22 pm
What arguments can you provide that this type of relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma?
For example one could provide arguements for why taking refuge in the triple gem is beneficial in terms of the dhamma?
chownah

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SDC
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by SDC » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:30 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:30 pm
So an ordinary person comes off the street and in contact with this thing called "Buddhism" or "Dhamma". And there they are expected to function by vastly different principles than in ordinary life; in fact, by principles that are awkwardly similar to plain old sociopathy, or more plainly, principles that justify (and excuse) being a cold, indifferent jerk (while preaching loving kindness). Sounds like Buddhist Darwinism.
(added emphasis)

The structure of expectation comes from what a person thinks they are supposed to value in a thing. For example, if a person has put a certain value on power and authority, they will gravitate towards it wherever they go. Even if they despise it, it is still of value, and it will determine priority and significance of everything that is encountered, especially what is expected of them when they come off the street and come in contact with something new.
binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:30 pm
Why should a person -- who has just come off the street and in contact with this thing called "Buddhism" or "Dhamma" -- be willing to function by such principles?
They shouldn't be willing to function in that way. Hopefully their expectations would allow them to see a difference between relinquishment and submission.

SteRo
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Re: Parasocial interactions/relationships and the Dhamma

Post by SteRo » Fri Dec 06, 2019 7:35 am

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:46 pm
SteRo wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:11 pm
Then I have a parasocial relationship with the Buddha.
Indeed.
No arguments but I experience it as beneficial in terms of the Dhamma.
Surely you can elaborate a bit why or how a non-reciprocal relationship is beneficial in terms of the Dhamma.
I've not been talking about "a non-reciprocal relationship". But you have made a statement what a "parasocial relationship" is from which I have concluded that based on your defining statement I have a parasocial relationship with the Buddha.
Now since I do not commit to there existing such relationships beyond the mere definition I cannot fabricate theories about them.

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