"You cannot make change someone who doesn't want to change."
Familiar words. Words that would seem to imply that change is difficult to obtain, that we should surrender the effort and recognize that it is up to ourselves to change. We must leave others to change themselves.
My contention with this is that most everyone I've met in my life wants to change. Most everyone is unhappy with their choices, most everyone would like to make different choices. They just don't know how.
This doesn't mean they'll listen to me, or the reader, or any specific person. It does mean that the option is there, that is it possible, even likely, that with the right message, the right set of plans, the right delivery, that we can not only make one person change, we can make hundreds, thousands, even millions of people change. We have evidence of others who have done exactly that.
This is a very alluring prospect. As such, there are many who aspire to it.
I have also found in my experience that most of those who do not want to change, ever, are precisely the same people who greatly aspire to change others. Some of this is so that they can tailor their universe to themselves, some of this is because they are terrifically deluded into believing they really have all the right answers and that it is their duty to show others. Mostly, however, it is because these people lack self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the ability to look at oneself from a perspective outside one self. When I write, it is not enough to write what pleases me. I must look at every word from the perspective of someone who is reading this, who is made interested by it or incensed by it. I have to make decisions about what sort of reaction I want. I must couch my phrases and words with the awareness that I am speaking to persons other than myself, who have experiences I do not have, who are knowledgeable about things I do not know, who have the power and the will to stand up and correct me.
If I don't want to spend all my time being corrected, I have to BE correct. I don't mean I have to sound correct or delude myself into believing that I am correct. I mean that I need to speak in terms that ring true. I may speak opinion, but it must be an opinion that others are prepared to adopt. This is a difficult thing. It is an impossible thing for anyone who are, themselves, unable to change.
Such persons cannot comprehend the adoption of someone else's principles, of someone else's beliefs. They must have, once, but those days are past. They are far too immersed in their present world view . . . and being immersed, they must challenge everything that threatens to compromise that world view.
Now, this certainly sounds like me. Very often, I seem to lash out at those who appear to disagree with me, or who present a point that is at odds to statements I defend. And I am often accused of immobility, of "always having to be right," of browbeating others when they dare to raise a voice against me.
Except that I don't. I am disagreed with all the time and I welcome it. Often, as some will defend, I change my point of view completely, often on a dime. Often, I embrace the Greek practice of debate, as I feel that Western civilization is founded upon the principal of attack and defend, until the truth is known. It does not matter if this goes on for eternity; where opinion is the only evidence for a thing (and it often is), then the dialectic is the only weapon we have in which to acquire knowledge.
More precisely, I find myself angered by insignificance. Pedantry. Personal bias. The need to pick apart semantics or to fail to look past a single word to see the whole picture. The assumption that a first impression is ever accurate. Or that it needs commenting upon.
I identify this habit with trolls.
Lately, I have been fooling with moderating comments. I took off the moderation about two months ago, without fanfare. Last week, having acquired a troll, I said I was returning to it. In fact, I never put it in place. I wanted to see what would happen.
I do not want to put the moderation back in place. This leaves me with two options:
I can delete troll posts as I have for the last five years; but it means that you, the gentle reader, will see me doing it. And some of you will disagree with my decisions. This will mean that I am subject to your criticism for it, as I have no intention to ask anyone to "trust me." The dialectic must apply here, too.
I can let the troll posts stand. I truly do not like this option. Trolls prefer to derail conversations into their own bias, meaning that the value of the comments sections of my posts will ultimately prove valueless to the reader. As well, it will discourage many readers from answering, if they feel they are subject to the abuse of others. It is hard enough for readers to overcome their fear of my abuse.
As well, it is the broken window problem. One troll is annoying, but it encourages others trolls to believe that they are welcome. As such, they proliferate. I have had no serious trolls on this blog in years. Eventually, knowing they would not be allowed to speak, they stopped trying. They just went away.
Therefore, I intend to continue to delete any comment that I think derails, compromises or resists a post's theme due to purely personal bias.
Commenting on my removal is acceptable (though keep in mind the comment that is commented upon will not be there to see) so long as it, too, does not seek to derail the comments section away from the post.
If I post about monks, I expect the comments section to be about monks. I expect the reader to expect that; in fact, I feel the reader wants to expect it, as they've enjoyed the post and now they'd like a little bit more. So let's keep the comments on topic. Let's keep them relevant. Let's be scholars and not trolls.