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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 13, 2014
Discuss this article at the Doom Psychology Table inside the Diner
Chatting on the Internet has been a main source of entertainment for me going on I think about a Quarter Century now. Not precisely sure the year I first hosted an AOL Chat Room. I do have Yahoo Groups still up on the net from the mid-late 90s though, so it is at least 15-20 years. I long ago closed most of them to new posting, they are just archives, a history of my years as an Internet Board Moderator/Discussion Host.
Whatever the topic it is that your Blog/Forum is concerned with, many of the same types of Personalities always show up, and the debates and arguments that ensue also all have similar and Topic Independent forms.
You have your Intellectual Debates between people concerned with a subject; you have Napalm Contests that ensue when posters seriously disagree and can’t keep to topic but rather start attacking each other; you have Religious and Spiritually oriented people who no matter WHAT the topic feel it impacts on their Belief System, you have Ideologues on a particular political or philosphical agenda; you have One Line Comedians and you have Innocents & Clueless people. Categories often overlap of course.
The topics of Collapse and DOOM of course bring out all these types, even more than typically contentious topics like Religion or Politics by themselves. Fairly obviously, if you start talking about Near Term Human Extinction or even just a Population Bottleneck that might knock down Human Population by 90% or more WITHIN THE LIFETIMES of the readers, this is a tad bit upsetting for most people and not something they WANT to believe at all. So initial reaction from the Uninitiated is almost always a Denial response.
the-sky-is-fallingIt gets a bit worse though when you run into folks who HAVE considered these issues to one extent or another, and have WILLFULLY decided they will argue against the concepts at all cost. They wanna PROVE that everything you and all your Compadres in the Collapse Blogosphere believe is FALSE, you don’t know WTF you are talking about because you are not an EXPERT, and all Doom Blogging amounts to is a bunch of Chicken Littles calling for a Sky Falling event, while the Sky still hangs up above our heads quite nicely, Thank You. Here on the Diner, we have such a Denier who goes by the screen name of MKing, and I often refer to as Socrates because of his tendency to make Socratic style arguments where he never actually answers a direct question, but instead just poses you another one to consider.
Depending on the level of expertiese of the person engaging in such discussion and dependent on how natively smart they are and how PERSISTENT, you can end up in some VERY long and ultimately unsatisfying debates where the same old arguments are recycled all the time. As Host, you end up getting caught up in them almost no matter what, because even if you have been over the particular subject involved 100X or more, you still have to address these “New” concerns brought up by a new and enthusiastic poster who has his head screwed on completely BACKWARDS! LOL
We had such a poster on the Diner recently, a fellow who used the Nom-de-Plume Impermanence, or “Imp” as I took to referring to him after a little while. He had an agenda to place EVIL on top of Groups, and GOOD on the Individual. He was not concerned with the specifics of Collapse as it is playing itself out, and really no matter how questioned or challenged would not address those issues. Rather, every line of questioning simply ran back round to whether anybody can know anything, including Imp who claimed to Know Nothing. Except in Knowing Nothing, he was always claiming to know nothing better than anybody else did. LOL.
Imp ALSO made the claim that anyone can win any argument so long as they know how thinking works. How exactly Imp knew how thinking works when he claimed to KNOW NOTHING is a mystery as yet unsolved of course. LOL.
A couple of important Truths surfaced out of this episode of Days of Our Trolls here on the Diner. I thought I might highlight them.
You Can’t Win a debate on the Internet if you Quit.
Doesn’t matter how smart you are, how well you understand the nature of thinking or any of the points you might have made during the course of the debate. Once you resign, it’s like toppling over your King on the Chessboard. You quit, you’re gone, you’re done and your opponent gets to continue on writing his spin as he sees fit, unobstructed.
The Individual cannot stand up to the Group
If you oppose the Group Think on a website, it takes a lot of fortitude to last any length of time at all. You get hammered on by more people all the time, and unless you gain at least a few allies, the Sharks will smell Blood in the Water and circle in for the Kill. I was only able to last on TBP as long as I did because of years of practice with Internet Napalm before that and Depleted Uranium Body Armor layered over Kevlar BVDs covering Rhinocerous thick skin. Imp thinks he was “attacked” here? hahahahahahahaha. He’s got no idea what a REAL Shark Attack from Jimbos band of Shit Throwing Monkeys was like back in the Good Old Days when Smokey was pitching out the Scatology and Homophobia.
Even with a really thick skin though, you can’t last forever battling the Group Think on a website. The Battles Escalate, and eventually the Admin will pull the plug on the Individual, not the Group. It is true even here, since we have the Dungeon. If an Individual keeps causing havoc on the board, he’s going to get sequestered to where he cannot do too much harm. We don’t ban or censor anyone here, but persistent Trolls will get their posting pretty well buried in the depths of the SMF file structure.
The analogues to both Truth #1 and Truth #2 IRL are first that if you expect to survive, you can’t do it as an Individual. Second, you better find or create a Group of like minded people to work together with before TSHTF. I spent a good couple of years collecting up a few individuals with similar mind sets to my own (though of course almost nobody agrees with the Orkin Man thing. lol), and only after that did I set up the Diner with Peter and the other 12 Founders. I NEVER could have made this Blog & Forum what it is on my own, it took a Group to do that.
Imp of course will take this all as validation of his notion that Groups are Evil, squashing out Individual thinking. The thing is here, nothing gets accomplished with Individuals with different mind sets and different goals bickering all the time. You have to settle on some common principles that all agree on before you can start to work in synergy.
Here on the Diner, a few of the Common Principles I can identify quickly are:
1- You can’t have Infinite Growth in a Finite World2- Per Capita Energy is becoming more scarce and expensive3- We do have serious Climatic Issues, regardless of what the underlying cause is4- Human Population is in serious Overshoot and will crash, just on what timeline we don’t know5- Nuclear Energy is an existential threat to life on the planet, and needs to be eliminated6- Our Financial system is a sham run by a Greedy and self-serving Plutocracy
If you are an Individual who questions any one of these Core Group Principles, it is likely you will get hammered on by the Group. If you question more than one of them, it’s GUARANTEED you will be hammered. If you further go into obfuscation and ad hom attacks on the other members of the Group, the Sharks will circle in tighter around you and there will be Blood in the Water. It won’t be the Blood of the Sharks either. It will be the Blood of the Web Surfer dumb enough to paddle his Laptop into Shark Waters on the Doomstead Diner. :icon_mrgreen:
Diner Sharks Feeding Frenzy on Cornucopians
Despite the above graphic, I don’t want to dissuade anyone who has a Philosophical or Religious spin on Life and/or on the Collapse we face different from the Diner Group Think from Posting Up with their thoughts. I like hearing from everybody. I also don’t want people with contrary or unpopular ideas to avoid the Diner, because having a wide variety of perspectives makes for more interesting conversations overall.
Nevertheless, the Regular Diners all basically agree on the Core Principles outlined above, so if you disagree with them you are pretty certain to be questioned and expected to provide evidence or at least a decent argument for why your POV is correct. If you ignore the counter arguments which are made and simply keep repeating your beliefs like a Mantra, this is like Chum in the Water for Diner Sharks. The water will start to Boil and limbs will start disappearing.
On the other hand, if you happen to AGREE with the Core Principles, the Diner is a great place to hang out with your Compadres and figure out precisely what you are going to do in response to the sorry shit state of the world we are stuck living in at the moment. You probably can’t change the world, but you do have control over how you respond to the problems that are before us now, and quite certain to get a good deal worse moving into the future.
Bemoaning it all on the Internet is one response which does have a cathartic effect and it isn’t all bad to engage in this activity. For one thing, it raises awareness in more people that we actually HAVE a problem. Far more people are aware of these things now than when I first dropped into the Collapse Blogosphere in 2008. However, this doesn’t really do very much to help resolve issues you face now or may face in the near future with respect to Money, your Food Security, your Living Arrangements or dealing with the rapidly expanding and encroaching Police State. Working out strategies to deal with these problems is what we do now with the SUN Project. Hopefully we can make things slightly less than godawful bad in our own neck of the woods, and help others do the same where they are. We already have Affiliates all over the FSoA and in Oz and Europe too!
Better than sitting on your ass texting your buddies in the SUV and waiting to go the way of the Dinosaur anyhow.