Friday, September 20, 2013

More Thoughts from a Skeptic

     First of all, I would like to thank all who read my previous post for both reading and respecting my opinions voiced. I am certainly full of them and enjoy voicing them in as positive a manner as possible. With that in mind, my husband asked me to read a post on the Bigfoot Evidence blog. The post was entitled "Fear in the Bigfoot Community." I read it and all 65 (at the time) comments. My first reaction was "Wowza." And I am not referring necessarily to the article but the ensuing comments.
     The article was recommended to me because I love all things psychology. I studied it in college because I am fascinated by the motivations of people's actions. I certainly enjoyed the article from an intellectual standpoint. I agreed with some points and disagreed with others, as is my right. I did not comment because I didn't have anything constructive to say.
     Let me begin by saying that the article was very well written. Fear is a strong motivator. We all know this. It exists across settings not just the bigfoot community. No one should be offended by this.  However the article identifies fear as a motivator for a great deal of the drama i.e. the negative comments bashing, name calling, etc. that occurs in the posts of many bigfoot sites, blogs, and Facebook pages. I am sure there is a partial truth here.
     But is that all there is? Not from my point of view. Before I go any further, let me reiterate that this is just that...my point of view. I mean no insult to anyone. I know none of you and you don't know me. I am not singling anyone out. This is an opinion based solely on what I have read.
     I looked at the comments and attempted to apply them to the ideas in the article. There are 65 comments to date, and most of them are negative. Again...."Wowza."  There is a lot of name calling. Words like "f***tard," "trolls," and "fat toad", decorate the comments like a sadistic Christmas tree. There is political bashing such as calling people "right-winged" and "libtard." I am not even sure of the relevance to bigfoot but I'll go with it. There is a lot of bashing credibility which may or may not be deserved. Some signed their names. Some preferred to remain anonymous. That doesn't matter to me.
     Here is what I was able to gleam from those comments. To begin, the first couple of comments were well thought. There were argumentative, but there is nothing wrong with that. It is only through debate that we begin to understand each other and hopefully arrive at some semblance of truth. Those comments had evidence or thought to back up the arguments.
     Then it gets...interesting. I saw little evidence of fear. I saw a little bit of anger, maybe some jealousy, but I can't say for sure, and some downright pompous arrogance. All of these are quite different from fear. Though what I really saw is hard to label as an emotion but more as a need to defend. Let me explain. Most of us have an innate need to defend ourselves from a perceived attack. If our bodies seem to be under attack, we defend. If our beliefs or actions are under attack, we will defend. I am not sure fear is the complete motivator here. I have trouble putting that emotion into words.  Regardless, we react. When you pigeon-hole a group, you can guarantee that members of that group are going to respond, usually negatively.  There is a lot of this going on. When this happens, we lose focus on the central idea being discussed and suddenly we are debating the president, which party is better, and who is an idiot and who isn't.
     What were we talking about again? My point exactly. The best thing in a situation like this is to figure out what we can learn from this. In my previous post, I urged my husband and his fellow researchers to continue "fighting the good fight." Now I would like you to consider this. Be respectful to others. Try and keep to the issue at hand without attacking others personally. If you are personally attacked, try not to respond in kind. Be the bigger person. Rebut if you must but do so respectfully. If someone has a different opinion, listen. Be open-minded and willing to alter your point of view if the evidence warrants it. Do not let pride (that may be the emotion I was looking for earlier) keep you from changing your mind. An enlightened mind is more inclined to admit they were wrong. In short, I urge you not write anything you wouldn't want your priest, pastor (insert authority figure of your belief system here) to see. If you have no belief system, then don't write anything you wouldn't want your mother to see. That should cover nearly everyone. Good luck to you all, and I hope no one feels attacked by anything I have written. Until next time,

Mrs. Shay