MEMETICS: Politeness in Communication

David Musick (
Thu, 16 Jan 97 19:36:01 UT

Lee Daniel Crocker declared, "If "politeness" dilutes the message, then to
hell with it. If you can be polite /and/ get your message across, so much the
better. But the message comes first."

I understand what you mean, but consider: to *communicate* a message, the
minds you wish to communicate with must be receptive to what you have to say.
If they're not open to what you are saying, then you will end up *saying* your
"message", but it has no real effect, because it is not transfered to another
mind; so it is not really a message after all, since there is no communication
going on.

I have experimented with many different communication styles, to try to share
my messages with others, to influence their minds to think about the world in
closer to the same way I do. My ideas, when stated baldly, are deeply
subversive to the current ways of thinking and acting. If I do not dilute my
messages with other people's belief systems, the ideas seem too foreign and
hostile, and people tend to react vigorously against what I am saying. So
what I have to do is understand their belief systems well enough that I can
state my messages *within their belief system*, so that it sounds good and
agreeable *from the standpoint of their belief system*. Of course, much is
lost in the translation, but without the translation, all would be lost.

Also, being nice and polite tends to cause people to open their minds to me;
they tend to tell me more of their thoughts, and they listen more carefully to
what I am saying. I try not to seem threatening at all to people's belief
systems; in fact I design my phrases so that their belief systems will have no
choice but to embrace what I say. Generally, people are nodding their heads,
going "Yeah, that's right!" as I keep giving them insights that make total
sense, from within their belief system.

For example, to many theists, I never let on that I don't really believe in
God. In fact, I talk to them as though I *do* believe in God, and I tell them
how God wants us to learn as much as we can and to improve ourselves as much
as we can. I often get into it more vigorously than their preacher does,
explaining the scriptures and Jesus' purpose and His message, and they're just
nodding their heads "Amen!", and their whole religion seems so much clearer to
them, and they feel so good, and all the while I've been putting a subversive
twist to their religion; I've turned their religion into something that wants
them to excell in their lives and to understand their world better. I get
them so worked up and in such vigorous agreement, that they can't forget the
message I gave them, because I've woven it right into their belief system.

Politeness is just a good way to open the minds of your audience.

- David Musick

-- Give and receive offence gracefully. --