Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ryan Holiday: Purge Toxic Friends

For all his intellect and learning, Ryan Holiday wrote a blog post that left me wondering how he hadn't figured this out yet.

I have a dirty secret: I’m a “hate follower.” A hate reader too, I suppose. For a long time, my social media accounts have reflected this. So has my information diet. It’s not that I necessarily hate anyone, but what they post makes me irrationally upset. What they say, what they think, what they take pictures of  
Yet I follow them anyway.
It provokes me for a lot of reasons. Because it’s annoying, wrong, hypocritical, fake, lame, pretentious, whatever. Sometimes it’s real life friends. Sometimes it’s people I don’t even know. Who they were or what they do just gets me all riled up.

I never quite understood this. I know people who almost seem to want to be riled up. They deliberately set up their newsreaders and social media feeds to piss themselves off. On some sites I read, people who disagree with the content seem to spend hours in the comments trolling. Why?

If I click a link to an article I disagree with, and discover that there is no logic in the article. I CTRL+W to close the tab and move on. I don't go into the comments trying to argue. Who has EVER had their mind changed by a comment on a blog post or article? Probably the same number of people who have had their minds changed by a political meme picture on Facebook.

I've written in the past about how I don't like the overuse of the word "hate". I consider it Orwellian Newspeak; a dumbing down of our language. It usually works like this: psychologically soft person reads or hears something that triggers a weakened amygdala. Person interprets the feeling as "hate", then projects it back onto the speaker or writer. "If what I just heard makes me hate you, then you must hate me".

Most uses of the word "hate" seem to be simply that: psychological projection.

I don't "hate" read. I read. I tend to stick to things that will stimulate me intellectually. If I disagree with them but they're well argued, I'll take from it what I can. If I disagree and it's not well argued, I spot the fallacy and move on. Life's too short and there's too much good content out there to waste time on deliberately trying to piss yourself off.
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