August 22, 2008

Last night I decided to try something.  Something subtly revolutionary I think.  I’m going to stop saying things I don’t mean.  Simple, but oh so difficult.  So often I find myself in a conversation where the person just assumes I completely agree with them.  They talk and only leave room for approving nods.  So to avoid that uncomfortable stare that would result in not nodding, I inadvertently agree with everything they’re saying.  My only other option is to throw a wrench into the conversation and disagree…which is my plan from now on.

The other situation I find myself not completely honest in is the area of laughter.  I would estimate about 30% of my laughter to be contrived.  I hate it, I hate laughing at things I don’t find funny.  But it’s so painful to hold strong and allow that uncomfortable silence to inflate.  But that’s my plan now too, to hold strong, to not laugh at anything unless it’s truly spontaneous.

And that brings me to this blog, which has been oh so dead for the past little while.  There have been a few recent occasions where I have written posts for this blog but decided not to post them because they are not very accessible, they are not very well grounded, they are a bit heretical, and maybe just a little too honest.  But in the spirit of my new honesty experiment I’m going to post uncensored here.  I think that everyone who reads this knows me, and will hopefully read whatever I post with an appropriately sized grain of salt.  Or maybe these posts won’t be controversial at all, but whatever, I’m just going to go for it and see what happens.  Cheers.



P.s. I think a good measurement for how the honesty experiment goes, is the amount of people that stop liking me in the next short while.


4 Responses to “Experiment:Honesty”

  1. Molly Says:

    mike, i appreciate your honesty about your honesty experiment… (i know, that was so clever of me to say.) i encourage with these few things:
    your connection of honesty in your blog and honesty in every day conversation/life is key – being real in your blog and not in life would make your “blog honesty” less powerful. i would hope that your blog would not just be controversial/thought-provoking, but that it would strike up thoughts face-to-face.
    also, don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself – i really think laughter is a unique gift from God (check out laughter in the Bible) and we ought to enjoy the sense of community built from it and not be too serious all the time – and yet, i agree with your sentiment in the sense that sometimes we laugh simply to avoid making the statement that something just isn’t worth laughing about.
    my two cents.

  2. frazyah Says:

    Mike, if you never again laugh at anything stupid that I say, we will still be friends.

    That being said, I think your experiment is going to be fun, and I look forward to hearing about it.

    Also, I’m reading the book you gave me. When I’ve processed my thoughts, I’ll let you know what I think.

  3. Joel Says:

    Mike, I’ve found myself struggling with the honesty thing too. And, yeah, especially with the blog, the urge for which n the first place is largely to be honest. It’s difficult. I have many profane, heretical, snarky thoughts. And I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with them, but I’m not sure revealing them and revealing me would necessarily be good. I think it might, but I’m not sure.

    The accessibility thing: oy, don’t get me started.

    So, in fact, many of the blogs I’ve written or ruminated over but never mustered the cajones to publish are very specifically about these sorts of topics, in the hope that I can break free and be maybe a little less abrasive by giving the warning. One version of one important blog basically comes down to, “I’ve decided I need to not give a * what you think. Be offended if you must.”

    I’m looking forward to seeing your experiment. I’m not sure it will be clearcut. I confess to being a little miffed and ashamed that you beat me to it.

    As for the laughter thing, while I think there’s value in attempting an “honest” response and it may be best to not laugh at some things, it is also pretty well scientifically proven (I think and am too lazy to look up any kind of corroboration) that laughter has much less to do with how funny the thing is being said and more to do with social interaction for its own sake–or something like that. Like I said: lazy.

    One variation on this theme, which I find especially helpful is to turn the laugh against the supposed humor. To me it makes perfect sense to laugh at the idiocy of the supposed funny thing someone has said and make clear, for the edification, consternation or perhaps merely confusion of those present the source of one’s laughter. “Ha ha. That was stupid.” Or, among close friends: “Ha ha. You’re an idiot.” In fact, you’ve probably done this before and I tend to think we’re all laughing at the people around us all of the time, but we’re afraid to let it out. Or maybe I’m just projecting

    Along those lines, I’ve long been wondering if I think there’s anything that shouldn’t be considered fodder for humor. I haven’t categorically ruled anything out. Some things are likely to offend but even that can be largely mitigated by context.

    As Molly said, laughter is important.

  4. Joel Says:

    This may seem redundant, but I’m going to clarify something. I think what you brought up gets at the fundamental issues of most everything I think to say. Will it offend? Will it be understood? There’s very little that doesn’t get run through that wringer. By which I mean it gets wrung out–like it shouldn’t. It should be sopping, frigging wet, I mean. Yes. It should. And it’s a constant source of frustration that it rarely ever is or that when it is, someone (often me) goes all bonkers on it.

    And another thing: seems to me one of the underlying truths of this dilemma is that too much of culture is the cultivation of lying. Yeah, and especially what passes for Church. Really, how honest are most of us most of the time in “church”? Sure, many of us are able to be even more honest sometimes, but even in a community that supposedly values openness and transparency, honesty is pretty damned inconvenient and we pretty quickly show it the door.

    Not that I think rude, raw truth is an absolute virtue, but perhaps that’s saying too much.

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