“A gentleman never offends unintentionally.” Oscar Wilde

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” Noël Coward

I had a dream that I was trying to provoke someone I know into showing some authentic emotion, because he’s always too nice to be real. I think I tried to smash up some of his stuff but to no avail, he just wasn’t getting the hint. In the end it was “me” that had the problem with anger and he was “so glad to have been able to help”, as if I was the one needing therapy! So patronising! So frustrating! And in my own dream too!

That reminds me of a discussion I had on a message board I was involved with, talking about how rubbish the state of the world is. People were leaving positive yet realistic comments saying “It’s bad but we’re trying to do something about it.” I felt positive, it felt like it was going somewhere, and then someone said something that just deflated the whole thing, something that finished off the conversation like a soggy balloon. It’s like a seed had just started to grow but was quickly crushed underfoot by someone that didn’t see it (from henceforth I shall call them BigBlindFoot).

So I got angry (on purpose), making a very sarcastic comment in response, which was invariably misunderstood by others as something unreasonable and even insulting. I even got a mild warning from the moderator (I have a little celebration when I get one of those, it means I’ve got somewhere near to the truth! hehehe) I wasn’t trying to start a flaming war, honest! My intention wasn’t a random explosion of anger but a conscious attempt to provoke some intense, yet constructive, discussion; anger that blows away cobwebs and brings focus to an otherwise random or deflated mess.

On the Internet? You must be joking! BigBlindFoot didn’t even respond, either they were intimidated by what I said (unlikely as they consider themselves a Warrior! RAAAH!!!), or they were hiding behind the shield of misunderstanding that others had created for them, or their comment was a Hit and Run comment, which they just left there for others to pick up the pieces. After my “explosion” I went into reasonable diplomat mode, which neutralised my earlier comment as I saw I was going nowhere except into a deeper hole.

I hate it when I make an impassioned comment and it doesn’t get answered (grrr anger grrr). I’ve noticed that when I write a response that is particularly clear and strong in meaning and feeling, people somehow “lose” the energy to respond, so they don’t respond. I get the feeling that sometimes what I’ve said is so accurate and to-the-point (on no! But I can’t say that, that’s conceited *gasp* shock-horror!) that people can’t find any way to disagree and yet they don’t want to agree, so they “conveniently” stay silent on the subject. Or if they do respond it’s a flippant joke used to deflate any potential seriousness and if I (rightly) get angry at that it’s because I “lack a sense of humour.” The Internet is a rabbit warren that houses some slippery inhabitants, I warn thee!

And then of course discussions are usually “played” like a round of opinion-tennis, comments go backwards and forwards but no one gets anywhere. It gets going and then ends when the balls drops because all people are trying to do is get points for being “right” or “wrong.” That’s how I perceive the nature of most (but not all!!!) message board discussions, where casual comments are preferred over sustained dialogue. But that’s only to be expected in large group settings where dialogue intent is often diluted. (Sometimes it’s funny (haha grr haha, oh I’m laughing, grr) to get a comment that is COMPLETELY out of context, because someone that doesn’t “get” what I’m talking about and instead picks on one little irrelevent detail).

One-on-one, now that’s usually interesting and it often goes somewhere! There’s a feeling of something being built, of a relationship growing from it (like the seed metaphor from earlier). The discussion’s energy is focussed, its evolution is clear yet organic, and usually not a random mess. Honest anger is not misunderstood or taken out of context but fuels the conversation in a positive way, if properly focussed.

Still, the chaos of some message boards is entertaining and educational. It’s a place to experiment, to learn how people tick and how many different ways I can be angry without breaching too many limits (oh what sport!). But wouldn’t it be nice if dialogues could grow, flower and fruit instead of just appearing and disappearing. I’m sure it must happen… somewhere…

So what now? These wise words were spoken to me once; light the blue touch paper and stand well back!