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Despair at irrational people

A friendly ear
Sussexlad
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147687

Postby Sussexlad » June 24th, 2018, 1:16 pm

TedSwippet wrote:All of which leaves me with the creeping feeling that good old-fashioned common-sense is slowly being forgotten as it is gradually but inexorably replaced by government regulation.


Oh dear, this topic is throwing up so many more questions than answers, It's not only regulations but the compensation culture which makes everyone so sensitive. I was also intrigued by the suggestion that women might have a different viewpoint to men. I thought we were all the same now. ;-)

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147690

Postby Snorvey » June 24th, 2018, 1:45 pm

Occasionally, but with increasing frequency, I envy the people who can completely immerse themselves in something utterly pointless to the exclusion of everything else. Like football for example. Or computer gaming. Or religion. Or TV boxsets. It's almost an alternate reality for them and they rarely care about anything else.

Or, folk that engineered their lives in order to have little or no responsibility for anything. Like the career unemployed or, to a lesser extent, those that are happy in a low paid humdrum job and are content with the limited pleasures of fags, shags and kebabs.

I know several people who have little clue about what's happening in the world beyond what they hear on Radio One Newsbeat. And nor do they care.


There are times when attempting to live a 'normal', responsible life that you feel completely let down by those in authority. Rinsed by the taxman, hamstrung by regulations and largely forgotten by the government (unless they're demanding something from you). I guess we are the low hanging fruit of the world.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147694

Postby paulnumbers » June 24th, 2018, 1:53 pm

melonfool wrote:
paulnumbers wrote:You can only get angry about Brexit if you haven't made significant effort to understand the other persons point of view. I suggest anything by Jonathan Haidt as way of explanation.




Wrong - people have a right to their feelings and to be angry if they want to.

This is Comfort Cafe, people come here for support and sympathy, not political lessons.

Mel


I didn't say they didn't have a right to their feelings, just that if you walk a mile in the other mans shoes you're unlikely to feel them in the first place.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147701

Postby PinkDalek » June 24th, 2018, 2:24 pm

Dod101 wrote:I was the one who pointed out that the OP was not the parent. ...


I’d assumed that is what you intended to write but you actually said “You are not a parent” which could easily be misconstrued.

You also said it was none of bitstrange’s business, despite her being an Aunt an’ all.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147703

Postby Dod101 » June 24th, 2018, 3:06 pm

PinkDalek wrote:
Dod101 wrote:I was the one who pointed out that the OP was not the parent. ...


I’d assumed that is what you intended to write but you actually said “You are not a parent” which could easily be misconstrued.

You also said it was none of bitstrange’s business, despite her being an Aunt an’ all.


Indeed. When I wrote the reply I meant that the OP was not a parent of the niece (No idea whether she is a parent or not and that did not come out very well.) I firmly believe that an aunt (or uncle) should not and cannot interfere with the bringing up of a niece or nephew. Their job is to be supportive of the parents and kind to the niece or nephew but if she chooses to criticise the parents well I can well understand that that will cause ill feelings. I have been on both sides of that over the years.

Dod

Dod101
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147708

Postby Dod101 » June 24th, 2018, 3:22 pm

This is becoming an increasingly depressing thread. It is midsummer's day. I have wall to wall sunshine, England have just won their match 6 - 1, the stockmarket looked great at the closing on Friday and I imagine most here have decent health. I have been retired for 23 years (!) and all is well in this great world of ours. Except I have lost two wives, one to the long term effects of type 1 diabetes and the other to cancer, both aged 60 when they died, the second wife being considerably younger than me.

I am beginning to feel more or less normal again after just over two years of being on my own, but I thank God every day for my good health and fitness. it would be an insult to both of my wives to do anything else. Life is not easy, no-one said it was, but you wonder that I get impatient with minor problems sometimes?

Rant over but we all need to look at the positive side of life. I know that I live a privileged life in so many ways and so I imagine do many on these Boards.

Dod

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147730

Postby melonfool » June 24th, 2018, 6:01 pm

Dod101 wrote:I was the one who pointed out that the OP was not the parent. I can be black and white at times although I have had my share of 'soft' issues to deal with in my own life over the past three years or so. What I was trying to do was point out the facts and be brutally frank because there is nothing he can do about it whether the parents are useless or not. As long as they are not causing harm they are entitled to bring up a child as they see fit, besides which it sounds as if the poor chap has got much more important things to concern him.

But a woman's view is always I think very helpful in these circumstances.

Dod


Dod - with respect, you didn't say "not the parent", you said "not a parent". The former is fine and makes sense. The latter is verging on rude.

One little word eh?

I expect, having read this now, that you meant the former. But please feel free to move away from your view that women are better than men on issues of kids in some way, it's just not true and not fair on all those great dads out there.

:)

Mel

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147753

Postby Dod101 » June 24th, 2018, 7:56 pm

melonfool wrote:
Dod - with respect, you didn't say "not the parent", you said "not a parent". The former is fine and makes sense. The latter is verging on rude.

One little word eh?

I expect, having read this now, that you meant the former. But please feel free to move away from your view that women are better than men on issues of kids in some way, it's just not true and not fair on all those great dads out there.


In my mind when I wrote the passage was that the OP was not a parent of the child. I had/have no idea whether the OP has a child or not - how could I? - and so could not be making a categorical statement about that. But I accept it could be read as though I was.

On the substance of that issue, I know that were I the Brother in Law I would be minded to tell an interfering Aunt to mind her own business as I said in an earlier post although probably not in so many words!

Dod

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147756

Postby PinkDalek » June 24th, 2018, 8:10 pm

Dod101 wrote:On the substance of that issue, I know that were I the Brother in Law I would be minded to tell an interfering Aunt to mind her own business as I said in an earlier post although probably not in so many words!


That may be the case but bear in mind the banner for this board:

Comfort Cafe
A friendly ear


Further, why do you imply the OP is an interfering Aunt? She may be similar to my Sister. She takes an interest in her nieces/nephews and is entitled to an opinion as, of course, are you.

Did you spot the part in the OP about We've been trying to persuade him that it would be better for her if he didn't give her sweets.?

Maybe the "We" includes the OP's Sister but we don't know. Maybe the issue is the B-i-L's attitude to any friendly family advice. Possibly a first child and/or an overly protective Father.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147820

Postby redsturgeon » June 25th, 2018, 8:53 am

Moderator Message:
As has been mentioned already this place is meant to provide an empathetic listening ear not a general debate on the state of the nation. Please keep your replies on topic. If you wish to discuss wider issues then feel free to open a topic on a more appropriate forum. Any further off topic posts will be removed. Thank you.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147823

Postby bitstrange » June 25th, 2018, 9:07 am

Hi all, wow thank you for so many thoughtful messages in such a short space of time! Having re-read my post, it does sound like I'm a bit of a control freak and getting annoyed about not getting my own way. I guess there's probably an element of that, because I can't understand why, if something is rational or backed by evidence, others wouldn't be on the same page as well. And in my mind, the only way you can have a reasonable debate with someone is on the basis of reasoned argument, preferably supported by evidence. If I get complete irrationality in response, I just don't really know how to deal with that, and it was starting to feel like it's been happening more and more.

But, I came across this over the weekend:
http://www.innovationmanagement.se/2013 ... llaborate/

It's in the context of collaborative projects, but the six principles set out obviously apply to any situation where you're trying to persuade/influence the other person. I was a bit surprised to see that evidence or logic or common sense are not one of the six!

And I can see how these six principles are completely relevant to the scenario with my niece. For the record, obviously I'm not her parent, but my sister is, and it's my sister who would like to avoid giving her daughter any sweets. I will of course support my sister, even though it means I can't take my little niece for ice cream or bake cakes together or whatever else. But, daddy does want to give her sweets, and we were having a group discussion trying to persuade him otherwise. My frustration was that we were giving him reasons based on medical research on health impacts and habit forming, and we were getting nothing sensible in response, like that we are ganging up on him because we hate men. I mean, what can we say to that?!

Applying those six principles in his case, I can now understand a bit better why he's maintaining the position that he is: for example, he's acting consistently with his expectations that children love sweet treats, and he has this idealised view of parenthood where he goes out and earns the money and he lavishes treats on his child. He sees the social proof all around him that it's normal to give children sweet treats, and in fact other children get a lot more. He doesn't like me and none of our side of the family are in any position of authority over him, whereas he does listen to his father who is completely supportive of giving children sweets, having done it himself and look there's been no harm (apart from everyone in their family being terribly overweight, but that's OK as far as he's concerned). And if sweets are to be limited, this special thing will get more scarce, so he will cling on and fight for it all the harder. I've been trying to think how we could use these principles to try a new approach to persuading him, but I think he's probably too entrenched now and this particular battle has been lost. I do feel bad for my sister though, because this was an important issue for her, and I really thought that a rational discussion would help. Obviously I won't rock the boat unnecessarily, and ultimately it is up to the two of them how they bring up their child.

Anyhoo, clearly the answer to my problems will be within me. I need to find a way to accept that not everyone is rational and I need to adapt my own expectations and approach to how I deal with such people. A break would definitely be helpful; it's not practicable right at the moment but I hope I can have one in the next couple of months.

Anyway, thanks for listening and for all the advice!

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147839

Postby beeswax » June 25th, 2018, 10:12 am

Thanks for the update. Aye there is nothing stranger than folk as they used to say..

But isn't it rational that kids like sweets? Of course there is evidence that they can rot your teeth but like I said we aren't going to live forever and life can be miserable like my late friend was the whole time as he and his wife brought up his kids in the same way. One is now a recluse and has a Masters Degree in Physics....

There are lots of things that are 'bad' for us but each are entitled to enjoy the things we do and maybe you and your sister were brought up to think like my friend and take life too seriously?

I hated fatty foods when I was a young kid and left them on the plate and my parents used to say no pudding then until you have eaten everything.

You know, I despise my parents for the way we were brought up even now at my age. My friendly advice is to allow your Brother in Law to do what HE feels best for his child and its really OK having a 'friendly' chat on 'things' that are not good for us like smoking and booze and drugs which in some ways are far worse than rotted teeth which today can be replaced anyway by all sorts of new methods.

I love sweets and am 74 and will no doubt be having some more today....let her be is just my call for what its worth..

ATB

Mike
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Might be more comforting to the OP if you could sugar-coat your responses in this particular cafe. Thanks. - Chris

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147844

Postby Dod101 » June 25th, 2018, 10:30 am

bitstrange

Your latest post helps tremendously to fill in the background. It sounds as if you were having a bad day when you wrote the original post and I am very glad that you sound much better today. A very interesting article as well. Your approach presumably emanates from your legal training and that is good as well, but life is sometimes not like that. Often an alternative much more political approach is needed.

You stimulated, maybe unwittingly stimulated a very interesting discussion so that was positive as well.

I hope things work out and for the record, I am not keen on sweets. Never was but then I was never fed them as a child, having been born in the time of rationing during the Second World War. That does not mean I do not put on weight though!

Dod

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147852

Postby stewamax » June 25th, 2018, 11:13 am

There is no such thing as a ‘normal’ person!
People are far too complex to be labelled or pigeonholed in this way and all ‘normality’ is relative. If this sounds a bit like Albert Einstein, he is thought to have had a few of the traits of Aspergers. It is not unusual among mathematicians: Fields Medallist Richard Borcherds acknowledges his own quirks, and fellow mathematician Simon Norton would be regarded as ‘very odd’ by most people.

The converse isn’t true, and some ultra-rationalists are clearly just that. The gregarious Richard Dawkins is a prime example.

Re-reading OP’s original post does suggest some Asperger traits, and it may be worth OP exploring this area if only to discount the idea. Alternatively there may be some coping strategies worth adopting.

I am not a medic and only make the suggestion with the aim of helping OP gain some greater understanding not just of others but how he or she relates to others who have a different personality.
As I said in an earlier reply “Accept the things you cannot change”; but one can learn workarounds that make these things liveable with.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147892

Postby zico » June 25th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Having re-read my post, it does sound like I'm a bit of a control freak and getting annoyed about not getting my own way. I guess there's probably an element of that, because I can't understand why, if something is rational or backed by evidence, others wouldn't be on the same page as well. And in my mind, the only way you can have a reasonable debate with someone is on the basis of reasoned argument, preferably supported by evidence. If I get complete irrationality in response, I just don't really know how to deal with that, and it was starting to feel like it's been happening more and more.


Lots of people feel like this, me included. Where possible, it's good to have a 3rd party view on this. For example, in the work situation, what does your boss say about the situation? What does your boss consider to be reasonable for you to achieve given there's this bad working relationship? What possible compromises are there? Often, I've found that internal clients only care about the deadline, and nothing about the details of doing it properly (often because their boss has said to them "I don't care about the details, just get something signed-off by month-end, or I'll think you aren't doing a good job"), so is there a way of splitting up the work so an internal deadline is met, or can your boss talk to their boss to change the deadline to something more realistic.

What looks like "complete irrationality" is often someone not communicating what they really want or need.

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147896

Postby TedSwippet » June 25th, 2018, 1:54 pm

Moderator Message:
This post has been deleted as off topic, see earlier moderator box

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#147900

Postby melonfool » June 25th, 2018, 1:59 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9IdNYGRigk

What For
Today, I won't think of any sad things
Will not think of torture, or the rape of nature
Just today, I won't touch those sickening papers
Will just let myself get swept away by this beautiful day

What for, tell me, tell me, what for
What for, tell me, tell me, what for

The sunset tonight is beyond all words
In the sky above the square, starlings spiral, dancing on air.
What for, tell me, tell me, what for
What for, tell me, tell me, what for

I will pass through the glass into air past those birds
In the square, I am sun, I am sky in my mind's eye

Today, I will dive into foaming seas
Sick fish, myself, and some strange debris.
I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
Oh I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
I would prefer to be anywhere away from here
I would prefer to be anywhere away from here

What for, tell me tell me, what for
What for, tell me, tell me, what for

I will pass through the glass into air past those birds
In the square I am sun I am sky

What for, tell me tell me, what for
What for, tell me, tell me, what for

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#148049

Postby Braziers » June 26th, 2018, 8:17 am

I’m glad to learn that you’re not as despairing as your OP implied. My earlier advice was to give you hope that the problem was within your control and a change of your philosophical approach would change the way you feel.

Perhaps then I can throw some stranger’s perspective on helping you achieve your goal of altering the BIL’s behaviour.

First of all, BIL is not being irrational. Almost without exception, nobody is irrational, not even the clinically insane. Everyone is rational, it’s just that they are pursuing different objectives to your’s, they are trying meet different emotional needs. They may have imperfect information, they may lack perspective, may place value on short term gains over long, they may be in a rush or under other pressures but people are as rational as you would be in their shoes.

While you place high importance on rationality, you overlook BIL’s emotional needs; you lack empathy for him.

BIL knows full well the health impact of sweets but he places greater importance on a strong, loving bond between dad and daughter. Just like he had with his father. He works hard to provide materially for his family, and this takes up most of his time. The time left to spend with his kids is limited. He has to shoehorn creating the emotional bond into a limited time - less time than mum has perhaps-so he’s taking a shortcut. The same shortcut his father employed. When he gives sweets he gets the positive signals from his kids that he makes them happy. This is his need.

It’s not enough for him to be a good dad, he needs to feel that he is a good dad too. To this end he will sacrifice being a little of actually being a good dad a little in order to get the feeling he craves of feeling like a good dad.. He will risk a few fillings to get a few smiles from his kids.

When you and your side of the family collectively lay out your logic, you threaten BIL. You threaten his efforts to meet one of his fundamental needs. And it’s not irrational to conclude that someone who threatens this base need of a loving father is hateful of the male role.

But all is not lost. You just need some empathy, tactical empathy.

I've just bashed this out, don't have time to edit or polish it or finish it off yet. Chris Voss a former FBI hostage negotiator, in his book Never Split the Difference expounds on Tactical empathy. Well worth a read.

ReformedCharacter
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Re: Despair at irrational people

#148077

Postby ReformedCharacter » June 26th, 2018, 9:33 am

Braziers wrote: Almost without exception, nobody is irrational, not even the clinically insane. Everyone is rational, it’s just that they are pursuing different objectives to your’s.

Without criticising your helpful comments to the OP, I am surprised by your opinion that everyone is rational. Personally I would have expressed it exactly otherwise, that few are rational and those who are, aren't exclusively. Perhaps I just have a jaundiced view of my fellow man.

RC

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Re: Despair at irrational people

#148097

Postby stewamax » June 26th, 2018, 10:50 am

Brazier's comment:
You just need some empathy, tactical empathy.

is worth elaborating.
Just because Person A finds some people or more rational or more irrational than others (including him/herself), it doesn't follow that they are more or less rational because, in my view at least, there is no 'standard' of rationality. It is simply Person A's view.

That view will almost certainly be moulded by Person A's opinion of how rational they themselves are.

Exactly the same is true of empathy.

If Person A finds that their rationality or empathy appear to them to be way out of kilter with their colleagues and friends, Person A cannot significantly change his/her own nature, but can:
- learn to recognise and accept the difference
- learn some coping strategies, as - per my previous post - those with some forms of Aspergers do, since extreme rationality (notably in language) and lack of empathy are two common traits.


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