Re: Spiritual is not Mystic - (was Pedantry)

From: matthew gream (
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 08:12:02 MDT

[Non-member submission]

Previous authors:

>>>Typically, more foolish (or naive) people are ego-stricken and have
>>>a "need" to go about blabbing how smart and knowledgeable they are,
>>>while a true wise one is more likely to keep quiet allowing the
>>>observer to ask, bear and learn... really learn... with dignity.>
>>Your statement is heartwarming, but false.

Not entirely false; but not entirely correct. Perhaps I can offer a few
other points
- people sometimes say things not to prove how smart they are, but to
educate other people, perhaps the trick is to determine the individuals
character from the personality over a period of time to see if this is the
- wiser/learning_oriented people are perhaps more proactive in dialogue,
asking questions and continually feeding their mind, by being inquisitive,
they perhaps are more proactive in using their smarts and knowledge to bring
in more information;
- blabbing how smart/knowledgelable you are, and more generally some form of
'boasting', is an important tactic if you have social goals; not all wise
people have social goals, but some do; the question is how a person goes
about this, to make way for interesting conversation or to sway/direct
opinion and authority;

Lee Daniel Crocker:
>It is a handy heuristic sometimes for judging the value of an opinion
>from someone unknown: how vocally does the speaker spout eir credentials
>or experience in the field, and impugn those of others? Those most
>competent in a field are generally content to give their opinions as if
>they are "obvious" rather than giving them value because of their >source.

To some degree credentials are important, the fact that someone slips 'when
I studied engineering' into their conversation suggests where the boundaries
of assumptions are, but scaling down to a 'war over credentials' tends to be
petty. Over time, credentials tend to become less important once mutual
relationships/understandings/etc build. But there's a line between doing
this and continual 'when I ...', or 'when I studied as an engineer and was a
magnus cum idiot ...', or 'when i got my MBA from XYZ ...', or 'when I
studied at ...'

(perhaps also wiser people realise how being too smart/boastful impedes the
flow of ideas/conversation, because of automatic limitations that other
people will invoke ...)

Here's an paraphrase dialogue from a conversation I recently had:

other 'there was an an australian prime minister called sluter'
me 'i don't think so'
o 'yes, i'm sure of it, my friend visited australia'
m 'i'm sure they did, but i was educated and spent 20 or so years of my life
there, and although i can't recall all prime ministers off the top of my
head, sluter does not ring a bell'
o 'i'm sure there is a prime minister called sluter'
m 'i don't think so, but we can check a reference'
o 'i think there is, you'll find'
m 'i don't think so, tomorrow i'll look up a reference, and find out'
o 'i think you'll find there is one'
m 'lets leave it until tomorrow'
(a day later)
m 'i checked a reference, no prime minister called sluter'
o 'ohh, i'm sure that's what my friend said'
m 'they probably did, but if so, they were wrong'

it's my bugbear, communication is a pretty interesting thing having lived in
different places, the most subtle nuance or meaning can mean so much to one
person, but so little to someone else; personally I prefer direct straight
talking, but that's not always the best approach for all situations; cest la


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