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Re: On personal attacks

Sep 05, 1995 10:23 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to
> Rich: This is something that is extremely annoying. A discussion of ideas
> is taken as a discussion of a PERSON. Why is this? Can we on this board not
> distinghuish a person's ideas from that person?

Rich, I think perhaps a review of the Jungian four functions
(sorry folks, but when I get interested in something it tends
to last a while) will answer your question somewhat. Thinking
and feeling are polar opposites, modes of judgment that rely on
objective vs. subjective factors. (Is it true? Do I like it?)
But when we are consciously focusing energy at one pole, there
is an unconscious expression through the other. Only if we
become mindful of the effects of our unconscious feeling on
other people, can we be sure that when we think we're thinking
objectively we aren't really conveying subjective feeling.
What I'm getting at, to make it personal, is that your overt
expressions about Leadbeater were thinking-oriented, focused on
objective facts about his writings. But as you expressed them,
a strong subjective feeling factor came through, to the effect
of "Yuck! I don't like Leadbeater, and anyone who likes him is
a silly fool and an enemy of true Theosophy." When Liesel
reacted strongly to that, you could take refuge in saying "Why,
I was merely raising an intellectual issue." That may be all
you were conscious of doing. Unconsciously, you were
attacking. I don't mean to single you out-- we all express
things we're not conscious of-- but to generalize, that the
chief danger for thinking types is obliviousness to others'
> If someone doesn't like my ideas, let them contradict me. That doesn't mean
> that they wouldn't like me if they met me in person. And just because
> someone agrees with my ideas on Theos-L doesn't mean that they WOULD like me
> in person. I am more than what I write here, we all are.
> If Jerry H-E has something to say about what Brenda wrote, let him say it
> without imagining that he is attacking Brenda personally. And let Brenda
> respond equally impersonally, responding to the points raised, and not
> attacking Jerry. Frankly, I don't see either one of them attacking the other
> personally, so why not leave off the criticism of the sharing of ideas.
> Why not let this board be about ideas and viewpoints, and not about persons,
> personalities and personal attacks? To continue to take arguments and
> disagreements PERSONALLY is immature and leads to no discussion at all, for
> fear that FEELINGS may be hurt.
I would say that it is immature to believe that we can attack
someone's ideas without attacking the person. Better to get on
some other kind of energy flow than the attacking type, before
even trying to deal with the issues. In the Original Programme
manuscript, HPB says some very powerful things about
Theosophists needing to try very hard to avoid hurting one
another's feelings. I'll bring it to work with me tomorrow, to

Your friend in the cause

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