Ego & Humility: Introduction
I want to continue my blog posts about discourse, this time with a focus on general attitudes instead of strategies for productive dialogue. In retrospect I should have started with this, because I think that people who already agree with me on the points I am about to make are more likely open to the idea of focusing on making discussions more productive and meaningful, and those people who disagree will probably look at me as some sort of moralist or sensitive person who wants to take all the fun out of the internet by making it "politically correct" or being the internet behaviour police.
For clarity, the discussions I enjoy the least are the discussions I have with people about their behaviour. I can feel the animosity seeping out of the pixels of the letters in their comments. I understand that people don't like their behaviour criticized and honestly I don't like doing it. I only do it because I feel it is necessary.
Hopefully the arguments I will make in the following posts will make my position more clear and my intentions understandable. I hope it will highlight the path I am advocating for, not as an oppressive regime of stoic behaviour and perpetual cheek turning, but as a positive direction in order to reach meaningful goals. The name of the post series indicates something that I hold to be true. No person can ever claim to be humble, because by claiming that you are humble, you immediately prove that you are not. Therefore humility is an unattainable quality, but the one I consider most valuable in seeking.
What do I mean by humility? I mean approaching the world and all its people from the assumption your conclusions and your self is no more valuable or significant than any other. By ego I mean our evaluation of ourselves. It's impossible to achieve absolute humility, and if you find this post in the midst of me being an arrogant jerk that's because I am failing myself. If you came here for ammunition, I give you a confession of my own failure.
If it seems odd to you to discuss personal attributes in the context of having discussions with others, it will become more clear. It's important to remember that you are a primary participant in your interaction with others, so your own personality plays a vital role in any interaction. To not be mindful of your own personality is to neglect 50% of the equation.