Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Don't React to Insults

Which means: don't make insults in the first place.


Socially speaking, reacting to an insult gives it credence. If you need to defend yourself, the accusation was vaguely credible; even if it's not strictly true, it's truthy. 

Hence, even if it really is true, you shouldn't react to it. Fake it till you make it: act as if they're accusing your hair of being medusa snakes. "No? What?" Act like you don't even understand how it's supposed to be insulting, or politely ignore it the way you politely ignore a faux pas to save the erroneous person the embarrassment.

Given that the correct strategy for dealing with insults is to ignore them, then there's no point in making them in the first place. "Ignore me!" "Okay!" "....wait, I didn't mean it!" 


"If you buy a gift for someone and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?" 

Of course one must always watch out for irrational or stupid observers. However, by definition, they are weak. You don't want to be their friend, and there's no problem if they're your enemy. 

If your audience isn't ignorant, insult reflects only on the person who offers it. 


E.g. I always notice it's merchant-caste posturing and I have no interest in merchant-caste games, since they are founded upon falsehood. They're flagrantly disqualifying. "I'm not even trying to speak the truth." "Ah, well, thanks for letting me know. Welcome to my block/ignore/comment deleted list."



JBPGuy said...

Recently Russell Brand interviewed Aaron Mate'. Worth a look of what was said - I think a lot the same principles apply.

If someone accepts the insult of "antisemite", or "conspiracy theorist"- by acknowledging it as a possibility, they immediately lose credibility.

I kind of think the point of the insult is that the person arguing with is to stuff you into a personality box. A problem of the Dunbars number, you see - "your opinion is so different to what I can handle that you are creating a new human being in my brain which I find uncomfortable. You think this therefore you are exactly this other human being which I have already constructed inside my brain".

What do you think? Plausible?

Merchant-caste know its a useful human bias to exploit so of course they do it.

Alrenous said...

Very plausible.

barabba said...

What you say can be true for blatant insults, but even then not fully.
We have a situation in which the insulter disqualifies herself, as you justly observe. But also the insulted is diminished by the insult, if it only cast a shadow on him, or simply if you, the observer, are willing to entertain such possibility.

The third party, the observer, the audience, whatever you want to call him/them: they are the ones who really benefit from the whole unpleasantness.
On the contrary, they experience a relative rise in status, given that they are not involved, and can happily stand by while the two litigants both erode their own, of status.

JBPGuy said...

>they experience a relative rise in status,
Well, if the insult is accepted yes.

The person who accepts the insult accepts the lowering of status - since they have un-personed themselves a little more.

The person who gives the insult gains status if the insult is accepted, since they have successfully identified a non-person.

The observer gains status only relative to the newly minted non-person.

Alrenous said...

Bystanders lose status, especially across repeated incidents. They are shown to be passive objects, not active subjects. Volunteering to be NPCs.

Nickelback may be infamous, but Nickelback is still up on stage, and you're down in the crowd.

barabba said...

Well, the insulter insults the insulted. The audience is inclined to regard the insulted as a target (weak, perhaps guilty and deserving the insult), and the insulter as petty and cruel.
That's the attitude an observer would want to assume in order to squeeze the maximum possible advantage.
Bystanders certainly will not dispassionately investigate the truth in order to identify which of the two parties is more at fault, assuming that would be wishful thinking.
Also, to suppose the observers will be chastised for their cynical behaviour (described above) by a larger external audience is to take these same dynamics and transpose them outwards. It merely becomes fractal.

As you guys point out, such an attitude also reinforces conformist, NPC behaviour: no one involved comes off the better out of a petty squabble, so better avoid the overemotional ruckus altogether. It's a form of social regimentation.

Our respective points of views: I think the bystanders come better off, you think it is the insulted.
To close the circle, Francis Bacon comes to mind as someone who, instead, would favour the insulter: "Slander boldly, something always sticks" is a quote of his. Of course to apply this in our context, we have to assume slandering and insulting are similar endeavours. Which may very well be, especially if we give consideration to the opinion of bystanders.

JBPGuy said...

There's a strategic/evolutionary advantage to being an NPC, eg, they burn witches.