All virtue can be taken too far Simon James
When you begin to pay attention peculiar things start to emerge. Thinking is hard when you truly think it’s a form of dissociated listening. Sometimes there are 2 points of interest, your explicit conversation and your internal editing feature doing its best to keep everything in check. Other times there are 3 points of interest, your explicit conversation, your editing function, and then the other person’s stream of words. This makes conversations very difficult, most of what we see are not conversations it is a metaphysical war of competence with utterly disorganised assumptions. This is easy to spot by 2 common occurrences. One, someone seems to be a personified cliche where you could almost grab someone of the same age and gender and they would be saying the same thing. Two, the ratio of questions to statements, this is kind of down the river from point number one. A conversation full of statements is a dangerous landscape, do you know with high fidelity what the problem is? is there even a problem? Why are you not letting the other person find the forks in the river of the obvious before you jump in with ‘advice’?
The peculiarity I eluded to above is the observation of some kind of binary bias. A quick reflection on this seems to satisfy the requirements of left-brain certainty, ‘well if it’s not black then it must be white right’? but leaving this unexamined can disenfranchise people further, just give it time. What happens when black wasn’t working and then in no time at all-white ceases to work? It’s rare to see and hear people think in scales, rather we get a machine like a process that must choose zero or one.
You would have engaged in conversations from both perspectives, one being a place of desperation where any philosophy of order will seem to explain what’s happening for you. The other being in a position of relational power unto which you can mold your statements, questions, and maxims reinforcing your current beliefs while seemingly being a savior for your dear friend. There are a few contentions with this, one being that the level of desperation of your friend or peer. People who find themselves clutching at straws for answers appear to accept any theory of order if delivered with certainty and volition, it seems we value cause (real, perceived or imposed) over introspection, personal truth, and strength to endure minus the illusions. The second is in the immediacy in which we believe the signaling of our peers, words may be intense the body may contort and eyes may well. the signals are telling us there is a real threat at play so we scramble for a philosophy of ‘why’ and attempt to innoculate our pals with word sedatives (anything to stop this grotesque display right?) False order is way more dangerous then truthful unknown, by a long way.
So what does this all mean for us? Well, firstly I would say it seems like a good idea to put pen to paper about your scale of wrong and right, just from an individual perspective. From there you can adopt the understanding of scaled virtues, a person may look like they are in hell but may only need to shift one aspect of themselves 10% and everything starts to click into place. It appears most people are pretty good but we can all do with some fine-tuning not completely replacing the engine every time we take the car in.
If you encounter someone that seems desperate for answers it appears that withholding immediate closure and letting them articulate themselves, and the terrain as intensely as possible yields incredible results without our expertise. It will most likely remove the dangerous response of big binary jumps that take people further away from their nature.
Choose when to be an ‘expert’ very very carefully and if you do the above and the conversation ends without an outcome, understanding or answers you have successfully guided someone into the strength to endure, which is multiple times more valuable than inoculation of fake order, if you feel a pull to always deliver answers you’re probably not as virtuous as what you think, you have denied them the greatest gift of discovery.