Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pushing Ethics

I wonder what it is that makes people feel the urge to push their own standards on others. In the end, everybody lives by their own standards, and chases after their own ideals and goals forever without ever fully reaching them (because that's the essence of ideals - they don't exist in reality). So, while that chase is challenging enough for us, we nonetheless spend time trying to push our ideals on others - which, in turn, makes it harder for them to work towards their ideals.
And sometimes we just want to discuss, but unintentionally end up pushing. And other times, we just want to relax and not discuss, and end up being pushed. It seems to be really hard to find that mutual point at which it's alright to discuss diverging concepts.


Next WIP. Very much WIP. Maybe even illegally WIP.
This picture has been in my mind for years, truly. I never felt confident enough to pull it off as it deserve to. Let's see if I'll manage...


Magpie said...

I think very few people actually think about this... and I also think that most (if not all) of us believe (consciously or not) that we alon know the One True Answer to Everything, and if only other people would listen to us, all problems would be solved...
Now that I think about it, I'm afraid I'm guilty of this as well. Especially with my colleagues at work... I'm ashamed of it, but I do sometimes look down on them as they have less education. And at the same time I do get annoyed if they try to sell me their Christian beliefs as the One True Answer. I'm quite happy without crwling out of bed on Sunday morning to go to Church, thanks.

Hm, I seem to be in a rambly mood today. ;)

I've also been reminded of the "Ten Dogly Commandments", by Tad Williams, of which I just have to quote the first: "Your religious beliefs, however strongly held, are only an opinion.
Until God or Shiva or Mumbo Jumbo, Lord of the Congo, appears a thousand feet high waving a shining sword or flaming dust mop and answering all doubters, they remain opinions."

Talking about Tad, since I've originally met you at the Shadowmarch boards, something I've been meaning to ask for a while now: Would you be interested in bringing him to Austria for a reading? Because I'm one of the founding members of a "secret society" with that aim, and we're always looking for new members. ;)

Manuela said...

I do it, too. It's hard to find a good balance. And I usually only realize that I do it when others start preaching to me and I get annoyed enough to complain internally about their behaviour. Maybe it's a situation that you can't get out of ... I'm confident that people mostly try to convert us to their belief, lifestyle, etc. because they mean the best for us (by their standards). Only that "the best" for some isn't "the best" for others. Then, when they/we realize that the other is blocking out everything we say, we don't understand why they refuse to accept what's better for them and we try even harder. That's the general reaction in such a situation, I think.
At which point, of course, both sides are fully in a blocking stance and nobody makes any concessions, so you talk past each other - everybody ends up unhappy.

So I'm starting to think it's no use to discuss with people who have completely different views on life, because you lack the common ground that lets you connect to each other. And that discussions are most fruitful with people who have very similar principles of life, because from them you can learn different ways to reach the same goals.

Or maybe I'm just to sensitive and consider it a fight when it's actually a discussion. I don't know... I'm a bit torn between wanting to discuss interesting topics, and at the same time not wanting to appear as a fanatic who does not even find common ground with people who think similarly.
I read a line in a book at the bookshop the other day - something like "You're open-minded if you can discuss with people who have different concepts of life, and you're narrow-minded if you cannot discuss with people who have the same concept of life as you do."
And I think, according to this, sometimes I'm really narrow-minded, holding up standards that are too high, and worrying that people who have similar ideas to mine think that I'm too extreme :/

I don't know if this makes sense... The discussion/fight that sparked these thoughts was over a week ago, and I thought I'm over it. Apparently I still need to work out some stuff to feel my inner calm and contentment again. Hmpf.

(well, now I was rambling, too ;)

And Yes! I'm definitely for having Tad in Austria. There are far too few Fantasy authors who visit us and I'd love to listen to a proper, English reading again. I'm sure the Thalia in Linz would find a space to accommodate him :)

Magpie said...

Well then - consider yourself a member of the Almost Utterly Secret Tad Reading Instigation Association (for short, A.U.S.T.R.I.A.)! ;)
I'd ask you if I could send you a PM at Shadowmarch, but seeing as we're moving some time tomorrow (to a new messageboard) and Smarch will be history, that might not be such a good idea.
We do have some very crazy plans, us A.U.S.T.R.I.A.ns. But, of course, they must be kept secret from the non-members.

Manuela said...

Yay! Go, A.U.S.T.R.I.A! :D

The board moves too often. I register, write two or three postings, and the next time I try to log on I need to create a new account. This seems to become a habit.

Magpie said...

well, if you want to pay us another two-or-three-posts visits, we're now to be found at You should be able to use your old login information (provided you remember it ;) ).
Is there any way I could contact you privately to tell you about our top secret plottings (which are also highly entertaining!)? Because, you know - the more members, the more crazy ideas, and: the world needs more crazy conspiracies! And we need peple to help us blackmail Tad. *giggles madly*

Manuela said...

Oooh, shiny, new website. Nice! (But I still prefer the style of the Shadowmarch site ;)
The slightly better organised new forum is great, tho! I'll go exploring for a bit there.

You can drop me an e-mail at manuela (at) endara (dot) net. Or a PN at the new forum, although I'll probably not check there as regularly, so e-mail is better if you want quicker replies.

Magpie said...

yeah, I'm gonna miss the old Smarch colours. A lot. Not to mention the old Active Topcs and Who's Online page.
But, there's still the same, to say it with Tad's words, mad, wonderful folk, they'll make me feel at home anywhere!