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In our lives, we meet varied kinds of people, and in that we sometimes are occasioned to converse or even discuss certain things with them, not knowing they are typical kinds of freaks. If it is a business discussion, where the terms of conversation or communication are often pre-fixed, our conversations are not driven by any particular conditions, so both the sides put forward their mutual views on the subjectmatter as freely as available. But, when you know, the availability of putting forth your views is sure to be curtailed by the behavioural conditioning of your opponent’s mind, a freak,  loaded with opinions which he is not going to change, despite your weighty views, or arguments, against them, the weight of the whole discussion will fall back on you in its futility. There may be a number of factors such as religious orthodoxy, attitudinal obstinacy, power-arrogance, self-aggrandizement, holding-some-position, etc, producing such behavioural conditioning in your self-opinionated opponent in a given discussion. It is impossible to persuade such people who do not want to be persuaded as their lives are compartmentalized with their long nurtured negative opinions about the things you discuss with them, on the one side, while their “true selves hidden under a layer of artificial niceties”, 1, on the other side.  For example, if you show your friend who is an anchorperson of some TV talk show or a columnist of some Daily or periodical, that his shows & opinions are old wine in new bottles, virtually a banal or a cliché, even though attracting a muddle of viewers & readers around, he won’t welcome your sincere & well meaning views in any way. The reason is the ignorance of the facts which he does not want to accept because his whole personality is compartmentalized between half-known & half-unknown. You see half of him, his second half is not visible to you.

Blind are not those whose eyes can’t see but those who can’t see what their eyes see. Your convincing argumentation may convince many, but not the one you are conversing with. Your point has no recipient in him. But if you alter your logic, argument & align with his illogical & biased approach to the topic, he will welcome your views on it. It is because such people have self-investments or others-investments in their opinions. Logic & reason do not appeal to invested-opinions of people. German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, has said that no one has ever convinced anybody by logic. To convince a man, you must appeal to his self-interest, his desires & his will. 2 Arthur Schopenhauer acknowledges the helplessness or futility of the felicitous argument & reason when one has to simply concede to the will of the other. He says:”Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not understand & that  ‘We have to do with his ‘Will.” 3 In a sense, your opponent wants appear a victor as if a war or a contest or a competition going on between you two. Victors are accorded respect, we know.  Such a view leads to undue cultivation of the will at the expense of the senses and the intellect, per Bertrand Russell. 4

Men with intense obsession of theoretical, rhetoric & negative opinions about something or somebody are to be likened to addicts, and the hardest job is to persuade them change their opinions. They lack care, concern & commitment towards creation of the productive & purposeful minds among the community members of the society. In addition to ignorance of actual facts, such lack of public care & concern may be the reason behind your failure to convince & persuade such behavioural freaks. 5

In another situation, you may be sometimes communicating with a professional, freak inside, either interface or face to face across the table in a traditional way, or mostly you may be connected to him via phone, mail, messenger chat, whatsApp, etc. And, he is using specific jargons beyond your comprehension, and if he explains them to you then it is alright, and conversion may tend to move forward in a purposeful result-oriented-direction. But remember “making a clear claim (commitment) is a dangerous business”, according to Jamie Whyte. 6 So, there may flow from his side what is called “weasel words” or harmful-ambiguity of language. He will be plainly equivocating or prevaricating like a skilled-diplomat. To your unambiguous & genuine queries even, the artful-professional may respond: “will try”, “will see”, “will talk later”, “will talk to boss”, “not sure”, “no idea”, & suchlike. All these are “weasel words”, unspecific & misleading. Be assured that he is not clear about the subject or object you discuss with him. Or even, he may be simply buying time to avoid you for many a things as, for example, for want of knowledge, upbringing & living in typical domestic & other conditions, orders from his authorities, or struggling with self-created, self-compulsive condition of pre-conceived notions about certain people, or where he hobnobs with a “certain class” of people only to which you don’t belong. These barriers of mind handicap him to respond adequately, civilizedly & honestly to your calls or messages for you don’t belong to that “certain class”. Naturally, he won’t allow himself to be exposed to new ideas or new thinking outside that group, if it comes from outsiders, you included. The American basketball legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, has aptly elucidated the point that “it’s easier to jump out of a plane — hopefully with a parachute — than it is to change (someone’s) mind about an opinion.” 7  But still, if you are hell bent on persuading some freak like him to change his opinion, you must be ready to hear from him that you are consorting with witches or he may even call your names, if not in your face, on your back. The best advice is to simply smile and change the topic. 8.

Third situation is where the other side does not respond to your calls or messages via mail or whatsapp, or voice messages at all. If he/she is deliberately without any reason doing it, he/she is simply ignoring you. Such people are found in offices, in business, in social & familial circles. They are called “passive-aggressors” who hide inside them seething animosity, anger, hate & ill-will towards others under the guise of pleasant behaviours. They passively & covertly hide their lethal arsenal under fake smiles & compulsive-responses to you. Such crazy catty people by their obstructionist behaviours ruin interpersonal communications in official, social, familial, commercial & all other circles of human life. For fear of competition, lose of job, inefficiency, excuses & hidden anger or hostility towards you, people with passive aggressive behaviours will avoid your calls & messages, repeatedly procrastinate, ignore good wishes, even. 9 However, experts make a distinction between passive aggressive behaviour & passive aggressive personality. The former is timely displayed; the latter is is ingrained and habitual”.  10  So, it is a personality, not a mental, disorder. And, the most dignified behaviours are those who tolerate such intolerable sickening behavioural or personality disorders of passive aggressors & other freaks discussed above. 

 

 M J ASLAM is Author of number of books; academician, story-teller, essayist & freelance columnist. Presently, AVP, J&K Bank.

 

 References:

  1. Per Dr. E Kubler Ross
  2. Quoted by Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy (2006 edition) page 405
  3. Ibid
  4. Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness (3rd Indian Reprint 2014) page 33

5.Stephen J Levitt & Dubner, Think Like A Freak (Penguin, 2014) pages 167-168 

  1. Jamie Whyte, Crimes Against Logic, (2004) page 70

7.Emphasis applied 

  1. Supra Stephen page 167
  2. See also N J Long, J E Long & S Whitson, the Angry Smile (2009) pages 07- 13
  3. New York Times, archived, dated 16-11-2004.

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