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sinesalvatorem:

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brin-bellway:

@sinesalvatorem, about the r/k thing that I’m not going to reblog under my no-guilt-trips policy:

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I am confused to say the least. My post doesn’t have anything to do with violence? Or exploiting other people? Or taking advantage of other people’s unwillingness to push back against assholes?

(Unless you consider applying to lots of jobs even if they aren’t your ideal to be assholish behaviour? But that would be odd and surprising? Like, I don’t think it’s actually valuable to be cautious with a company’s time – they set up their hiring channel for a reason.)

My post is about why people should be willing to take actions that are low cost even if they’re unlikely to succeed in full. But, like, I’m kind of a utilitarian – if I’m counting how costly something is, I’m definitely counting how costly it is to /everyone/.

Putting one’s sketches online isn’t hurting you /or/ bystanders, so it counts as taking a low-cost opportunity. Shoplifting may not hurt you (depending on the consequences of being caught), but it’s still taking money out of someone else’s pocket, so it’s still A Bad.

If cowardice is the only lever you have to avoid acting on impulses to hurt others, then OK, in your specific case I endorse cowardice. But almost no one I know works like this? Generally, a lot of factors go into decisions about whether to engage in violence, and they tend to be rather divorced from what makes someone decide whether to try a new food.

If you have only one inhibitory mechanism, it makes sense to keep it at the level that helps you interface with society, but most people are using several different kinds of inhibitory signals. I just want them to put less stock in the “People will ignore/reject/laugh at me and then I will DIE” one.

Basically, for the vast majority of people my post is directed at, the negative outcome you describe just isn’t related to the thing my post is about. The fear of embarrassment stops people from dancing in public, but I don’t think it’s a major factor in stopping people from punching each other. In fact, in most cultures, bullying and strong-arming others is the opposite of embarrassing.

But I still think people shouldn’t do that because 1) hurting others is bad, and 2) whether something is embarrassing is a crappy way to judge if it’s a good idea.

I think I draw the boundary lines in different places than you do.

>>In fact, in most cultures, bullying and strong-arming others is the opposite of embarrassing.<<

Bullying people and embarrassing yourself in front of them are both members of the category “things that increase the likelihood that people will treat you badly in the future”. They increase it by different *amounts*–and I’ll accept that for many cases of embarrassment the increase is negligible–but I don’t know that I’d say they’re different in *kind*.

(And I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say they’re both forms of hurting people, though again by very different amounts. I understand that it is not *useful* to react this way, and I try very hard to avoid doing so, but my *instinct* is to treat “inflicting secondhand embarrassment on me” as a hostile act deserving of a hostile response.)

>>they tend to be rather divorced from what makes someone decide whether to try a new food.<<

This, on the other hand, I *would* say is different in kind. Is it at all common for people to get annoyed with someone for trying a new food?

I’m not sure how to tell how many inhibitory mechanisms I have except by removing one and seeing if things still work, and I think it’s pretty clear that that’s *not* an area where failure is cheap. And while I’ve occasionally caught glimpses of a conscience around here somewhere, I’ve never caught one while angry (even when I wasn’t as good at cowardice as I am now), so I doubt that’s one of the mechanisms for this.

There is a distinct possibility that I don’t have insight into what’s actually going on here, but from the inside it feels like the thing that caused a shift to being consistently non-violent was spending a couple years on the Internet practising my flight response on bits of Discourse, until eventually I could run away from infuriating things offline too. Here, I learned how to grovel, how to phrase things carefully so as to minimise the chances of sparking a fight with anyone, how to keep my mouth shut entirely and quietly slip out. (not doing too well at that last bit tonight, but nobody’s perfect)

In an environment of *relative* safety and much more time to think than IRL, I could have the lesson hammered home that I’m almost always better off reacting to an argument or provocation by surrendering or (if available) pretending not to have noticed, rather than prolonging the pain by trying to fight.

>>Like, I don’t think it’s actually valuable to be cautious with a company’s time – they set up their hiring channel for a reason.<<

Eh, I’ve definitely encountered people with hiring responsibilities complaining about completely unsuitable people wasting their time. I guess bigger companies can probably arrange better filters that put less stress on the employees involved?

I think the largest disagreement here is that I don’t think “things that increase the likelihood that people will treat you badly in the future” is a meaningful category in the first place.

I think there are lots of inputs into the specific way people will treat you, but that none of these look like increasing a “bad treatment” variable, or anything that could be a proxy for such. I think things might influence how deferent or hostile or helpful or avoidant people are in interacting with you, but that any presentation style you choose will pull on a bunch of these, and whether the end result looks like being treated well or poorly just depends on what you as a person want out of interactions.

For example, being more agreeable will tend to make people less hostile, avoidant, and/or argumentative toward you – but will increase their willingness to push your boundaries and ignore your opinions. Which direction looks more like bad treatment? This entirely depends on your priorities! I recently intentionally lowered my agreeableness because, to me, getting more confrontations was worth getting less casual boundary-crossing. Meanwhile, past!me would have put more emphasis on not having to confront people.

And neither of these poles at all looks like people deciding they want to treat you worse. Instead, it’s them shifting their interaction pattern into the path of least resistance. For conflict-averse people, conflict is high-resistance, so they avoid disagreeable people. Meanwhile, if you’re unwilling to cuss out the asshole who touches you inappropriately, they’ll go ahead and do it again, because it’s low-resistance. Is being avoided bad treatment? Is being touched inappropriately bad treatment? Quite possibly both are, but the tradeoffs are built into the interaction style.

(Of course, there are ways to avoid having either of these outcomes by seeming approachable but also like you don’t take shit. Currently, my reduction in agreeableness doesn’t seem to be scaring people off, because I still try to be approachable. But, like, there are other tradeoffs. There are always tradeoffs.)

A behavioral pattern – and all the different personality traits that influence it – sets you up as a person that it’s most convenient to interact with in some ways vs others. And everyone is going about trying to pursue their own social goals while moving through a landscape where some things are easy and some are hard. The key to getting good treatment is making sure other people believe that the best way to get what they want is to treat you the way you most want to be treated. (Where the way you most want to be treated will vary a lot by person.)

And this is why I wouldn’t put embarrassment and bullying in the same category. Even if they both lead to things you don’t want, they do so through completely different avenues. At worst, embarrassment makes you seem incompetent, so people will work less hard to gain your favour since they consider your support low-value. Meanwhile, being a bully will make you seem dangerous, so people will avoid you on the assumption that interactions are high-cost. Being high cost and being low value are really different social tags, and treating them as interchangeable will make it v v difficult to reason about the social landscape.

Again, if you happen to only have one lever to work with, by all means set it to the position that best helps you navigate the world. But you’ll still be operating at a massive handicap, because your single variable will miss almost everything that determines how interactions can go. If there were anything I could point at as the ultimate “get treated badly” variable, I would say it’s not having options.

>>At worst, embarrassment makes you seem incompetent, so people will work less hard to gain your favour since they consider your support low-value. Meanwhile, being a bully will make you seem dangerous, so people will avoid you on the assumption that interactions are high-cost.<<

Thing is, I contested this in my previous post:

(And I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say they’re both forms of hurting people, though again by very different amounts. I understand that it is not *useful* to react this way, and I try very hard to avoid doing so, but my *instinct* is to treat “inflicting secondhand embarrassment on me” as a hostile act deserving of a hostile response.)

Embarrassing yourself in front of people causes them pain (in the form of negative affective empathy), so they’ll want to cause you pain in return. Punching people causes them pain (in the form of physical damage), so they’ll want to cause you pain in return.

And yes, this is in large part projection. Other people almost never act in ways that would make sense if they considered “inducing negative affective empathy” to be a hostile act, and mostly don’t even act in ways that would make sense if they were inclined to see it that way but consciously overriding that. But you can’t have projection without proof of concept: it’s empirically untrue that the worst thing someone will do to you if you embarrass yourself in front of them is work less hard to gain your favour.

(Although I tend to react a lot worse to people telling me explicitly-labelled embarrassing *stories* about themselves than to them actually *doing* embarrassing things, I think because with the stories it’s very clear that they could have easily chosen to not do this to me. Accidents I can forgive relatively easily, even tradeoffs; signposting “I’m going to do something embarrassing now, specifically for the purpose of having you witness how embarrassing it is”, though, not so much.)

P.S. Went to check my use of “affective empathy” and found this suspiciously relevant-looking Wikipedia article.

P.P.S. Apparently I got ninja’d by @kit-peddler. I’m glad to see someone else picking up on my quoted paragraph.

Looking at the notifications continuing to come in as I write this, it looks like now would probably also be a good time to emphasise the very first sentence (not counting “so, about that post”) of my first post:

I suspect we’re both projecting our own selves onto the rest of society and ending up skewed.


Tags:

#reply via reblog #discourse cw #violence cw #scrupulosity cw #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #long post

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