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Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:56 am
by Hristo Botev
I didn't see any discussion on this forum of the book The Great Conflation, by Blake Pagenkopf, but I listened to this interview with him yesterday and found it interesting ( ... ing-system), and a way of perhaps addressing some of OP's concerns by kind of rebooting the way we think of political leanings--2-dimensional and circular as opposed to 1-dimensional and linear. I want to read the book, but the basic premise as I understood it from the interview is that by framing everything political in our country on a left vs. right, red vs. blue linear progression, we're just missing out on a lot of ways to find common ground. And it explains why there's actually a lot more in common between say Tea Party folks and Occupy Wall Street folks, than with Tea Party folks and neo-cons or the Republican "establishment" more generally (basically, the Tea Party and Occupy folks are down at the bottom of the circle, as opposed to the neo-cons who are really at the top). And how we're all getting played a bit by allowing the establishment types (i.e., top of the circle--big gov and big biz and big media) to plot us all on some artificial line and encourage folks on one side of the middle to fight with folks on the other side of the middle. Also explains why there's a pretty decent argument that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama had a lot more in common than not. Anyway, I found it interesting, and I think it explains in part why this particular forum really seems to have representation from both "left" and "right" folks on the traditional linear spectrum. No doubt this is something that's been studied extensively by political scientist types, but it was new to me and makes sense. Here's the author's graphic:

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:04 am
by sky
I was looking at some cult deprogramming techniques, sort of a "Pray the Trump Away" session, but realized it would probably end up like a scene from The Exorcist, as their eyes rolled back in their heads as they were confronted with layers and layers of internal logical contradictions and inconsistencies with their personal value system. That's not a mission I choose to accept. So I think I will take Ego's advice and stay on the path of serenity.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:38 am
by Hristo Botev
@Sky, to be fair, the deprogramming techniques that Pagenkopf is talking about is intended for you, not for your family members, which is consistent with Ego's serenity prayer advice--you only have control over your own programming.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:44 pm
by nomadscientist
Mister Imperceptible wrote:
Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:16 pm
On the slide from 7.8 billion to 0.5-1.0 billion, everyone becomes a partisan.
Not a probable outcome in our lifetimes.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:04 pm
by Campitor
As a novice employee decades ago, I was frequently given the most difficult tasks to perform by a senior coworker. He would often lie and distort the truth to actually push his work on me despite having nothing to do all day but read a newspaper in a corner. And many of his mistakes he would put on me. I would be called into the office and yelled at for errors that were not my own. Since I was the "new guy", nobody would believe me.

And I feared getting fired since there was a very bad recession at the time and I was newly married with a child on the way. However as time went by, my hard work and innocence became apparent. My coworker was never called to account for what he did to me nor did he ever apologize.

Well I became his boss and he reported directly to me. I treated him fairly and forgave him his many transgressions. I gave him fair evaluations and treated him respectfully and objectively. Many years later, I had to fire someone who was grossly underperforming and very aggressive towards his coworkers. After this person was fired, I started receiving death threats. It was my previously misbehaving coworker who drove me home every day to make sure I stayed safe. I wasn't nice to him because I expected to be repaid one day. I was nice to him because I know how corrosive it is to carry hate inside.

It's very difficult not to repay evil with evil or to not hold grudges. I understand that being compassionate doesn't mean you have to be a punching bag. But we have to be mindful that at some point we've all acted the ass and offended someone. We should strive to be as forgiving in the same measure we would want forgiveness for being imperfect.

I often discuss politics with my friends and family. The debates are vigorous but never to the point where we don't speak to each other. I think what helps is we're able to acknowledge that both sides have valid points. I think it also helps that we're all aware people perceive events differently depending on their culture, customs, beliefs, and exposure to data.

The older I get the more I realize how "human" we're all are. It's this shared humanity that gives us the power to forgive and make friends out of enemies. I think it's more upper level "Wheaton" to understand others while not expecting the same level of reciprocity if any.
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.

Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his 

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her?”

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:31 pm
by Mister Imperceptible
Great post Campitor.

I do believe there is a desire for unity out there, and it does seem to be the case that the civil discourse gets pushed down in favor of this polarized environment. I speculate that there is a reason for that.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:08 pm
by CS
Yes, once you get it, you can never un-get it. It permanently removes a sense of safety that, justified or not, many people carry all their lives and allows them to brush things off as 'just words.'

It was gratifying to hear that some of the consequences of their choices sunk in at the family gatherings and they realized that they too would lose something, even if the magnitude would only be a fraction of your family's loss.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:08 pm
by Scott 2
I think it's important to recognize when a relationship does not serve you as a person. Be willing to accept it for what it is, and potentially let it go.

Not to say hold a grudge, but rather invest your limited time with people who nurture your core values. It's easy to get caught up in chasing the idea of who someone could be. IMO that is a waste. Most are not looking to change, why invite the disruption into your life?

For the most part, I prefer to have an apolitical experience. I don't understand why it's so hard to keep this boundary. I had to drop a lifting podcast that wouldn't stop raising far right topics, then a yoga podcast that wouldn't stop going far left. I know what I value. I don't need others cramming their views down my throat.

This forum is probably the only place I interact with people who differ from me politically, who I also think highly of. I opt to appreciate those people for their strengths, but it's hard for me to reconcile the disparity.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 6:24 am
by IlliniDave
Alphaville wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:38 am

... so this is just to say that maybe in trying to repair relationships it helps to understand and respect the other person’s perspective and history. not always, but... maybe most times? .
I think it is pretty close to always, at least in the context of repairing relationships that were rent over differences in perspective of the type I think the OP is talking about. Agreed, everything is an outgrowth of what came before it and looking to historical figures for pure nobility usually won't produce much that would get by an honest fact checker. Narratives persist until they are supplanted by other narratives. I think that is deeply rooted in us, as I think story is our primordial and most basic way of passing knowledge, and being part of a shared story is a cultural unifier. But to be useful in the macro sense the shared story narrative needs to be ongoing and constructive, which IRL besides the impossibility of it being all-inclusive requires a lot of hand waving and gloss-overs the further back you go as you try to connect it to a historical past. The past is a great teacher but the universe compels us to move away from it. I'm getting a little far afield, so I'll rein it in--the idea of stories has fascinated me for a long time.

In the context of a question about repairing relationships that went sour under some nonspecific contemporary social situation, identity politics is just one part of the landscape that can cause distortion--whether you are operating inside that framework trying to look out, or outside trying to look in. The same is true of any different reference frames to varying degrees. I just think frameworks that emphasize sorting over combining (either/or versus both/and) are a bit more challenging to bridge and hence worth mentioning. In some specific instances it might be necessary get into the realm of judging or rejudging identity politics (and/or related ideas) for two individuals to return to a point of civility and beyond. But in a wider sense simply reminding ourselves that the other person is unlikely to be the archetype bad actor in the bin of "others" we consciously or subconsciously put them in, is possibly a good first step towards reconciliation. It often works in the movies!

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:23 am
by Alphaville

yeah the focus on stories i think is key, because everyone suffers from the narrative fallacy :lol:

i laugh at this but i’m serious—we create the world through stories, and we have so many competing and mutually exclusive ones that the world is literally breaking apart right now.

i don’t have a fix for this because it’s the human condition. but perhaps recognizing stories as stories, instead of holding them as sacred and untouchable, could be a good beginning towards... better stories?

i’m not saying tossing them away or dismissing or ignoring them, because stories are important to people as a way to make sense of things, but just—putting them in brackets or something. thinking “this story is a working hypothesis” could help people breathe a little easier.

the problem is everyone clings to their own indoctrination and dismisses “the other.” and so we have conflict and violence—not just physical violence but... a violence in the way the stories themselves clash. few people make a polite attempt to understand—instead we have mutual dismissals.

i don’t know of this is an ugly moment in history or if history has always been this way but just in a less evident manner. and as a purely intellectual/aesthetic thing i find the perspective fascinating.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:31 am
by Lemur

Speaking of history and trying to look at things from a birds eye thoughts is that as religion continues to fizzle and die off and secularism continues to grow, it needs a replacement. Big stories is generally how large groups of people can get along without knowing one another. Perhaps the new 'religions' are the ideologies of the world - Nationalism, Communism, Capitalism, Socialism, Humanism, Libertarianism, Democratic Socialism, etc...Beyond these, even techno-optimism and green revolutionist can fit that bill.

Maybe that is partly why nowadays arguing against someone's politics is basically like arguing against their religion. My God is better than your God...replaced by my ideology vs your ideology leads to violence and crusades....

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 8:44 am
by Alphaville

yeah when i was growing up i found the marxists were the most dogmatic and fanatical believers of all. you could argue with them all you wanted but their faith was ironclad—history was going somewhere! their “scientific” approach was incontrovertible proof! (nothing scientific about that attitude but they would not hear it).

as we lost the “big narratives” of the 19th & 20th centuries, we got a myriad small narratives, but the less central they are, the more fanatically they seem to be held...

then again, this is also a story i’m telling :lol:

i can offer no cure for this, only observations. :(


eta: i should add also, at my own peril, that even science, which used to be the outsider’s method of questioning nature and dogma, has also been adopted in popular culture as just another ideology/set of “beliefs” to be embraced or dismissed as such.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Fri Nov 13, 2020 11:56 am
by Jean
The problem I see, is that what we call science now, is the result, while the value of science lies in its method, which leads to comical situation where using the scientific method in a way that contradict others peoples conclusion is called unscientific.
It analogous to being called an heretic if you use the bible to criticize a christian dogma.
The mass censorship doesn't help, because if a documentary i'm watching about a subject in which i'm inclined toward believing the "official" story gets censored and blocked while I am watching it, this is going to steer me very strongly toward the "conspiracionist" story. While maybe being able to watch the whole documentary would have allowed me to see that its bullshit.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:18 pm
by sky
I gave this some thought and decided that I wanted to give my family members every opportunity to maintain a normal relationship. I was at the point where I would open up contact again, but with limits: no discussion of politics or religion. Maybe a three strikes, you're out system, or perhaps more lenient than that.

Then I looked back at some old correspondence and realized how deeply they are into the political movement. The problem is that the current government is pushing some bizarre fraud and I am afraid to start communication at this time. I am afraid of the aftermath and the cold turkey withdrawal when they have to face reality of the results of the election. Or perhaps the denial of reality and further retreat into conspiracy world, which would be painful to observe. I don't think that I can help them.

Covid is an excuse to further delay meeting each other, no Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps no Christmas get together. But life is short, none of us have that much time left. I am hoping there will be some breaking point soon, perhaps when elections are certified in December, or the inauguration in January. If the government stops ramping up the fraudulent claims about the election, that might help.

Re: Repairing relationships after 2020

Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:36 pm
by Ego
If I found myself in your situation and decided that I wanted to reconnect, I would use nostalgia to break the ice. Those who are conservative tend toward nostalgia. I'd probably send a note or email referencing something from childhood or from before the chaos. For instance, if you shared a love for baseball cards when you were kids, buy a card from the era and send it along with a note saying you found the card and it reminded you of the day when you were kids and...

Good luck!