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Friday, October 17, 2008

Guidelines for reading me

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Following guidelines apply to how should you read this blog, and in general, how should you interpret what I say or write.
  1. I write in generalities. It’s impossible for me to know unique circumstances of each individual, and no coherent opinion can be formed by unique experiences. So I write about general impression about general set of people. I believe in stereotyping too, for stereotypes are templates for life. I cannot start understanding every person I meet from scratch. I don’t have sufficient time. So I start with basic template, also known as stereotype, and change my perception after knowing more. Alongside, I update my template. To give crude analogy, stereotypes are mathematical averages, and to judge a person I start from average (rather than zero, non-stereotype) and adjust up and down. Consequently, if I meet sufficient people who don’t fit stereotype, my stereotype changes with them. If you think you don’t stereotype, you are limiting in your definition of what can be stereotyped. Psychology Today agrees with me.
  2. I write with open mind on a topic under discussion. It would be useful for you to read my post and arguments as written, without too much reading between the lines based on what you might assume I might be writing based on what you think I wrote in the past or your perception of who I really am.
  3. Just because I argue for a position doesn’t mean I support it, though that’s mostly the case. It also doesn’t mean that it’s only position I support. I am generally aware of multiple angles of an issue (and open to know if I am not) and my extent of support in not reflected equally in my writings always. I am often in debate with myself and depending on the mood you might just see one or other side of me. That typically happens when I am at fence on a topic and trying to decide sides. I might be playing devil’s advocate with myself, or provoking you to play for me. I am not trying to manipulate you but help me understand all sides of an issue.
  4. My position on any topic doesn’t imply my violent support for that, or vehement opposition to opposite position. I may try to convince you, time and interest permitting, but I am generally willing for you to hold your own opinion. Of course, in my opinion, you would be wrong.
  5. What I write to larger, faceless audience may or may not apply if I am face to face with someone. I try to be free of political correctness on this blog to say what I really want to say. In person, I try to be considerate and try not to offend or hurt people.
  6. I have penchant for taking logical position which may border on extreme in some case. It’s not because I cannot see practical or emotional angle, though often I cannot understand illogical things people do, but because I try to separate both and talk about one or the other.
  7. When I mention something in my blog, typical disclaimers apply. Mostly, but not always, if you see me taking a position which leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, assume I have already disclaimed that. Or you can complain in comments, and I will clarify. I mean what I say, exactly, and nothing more. See points 1 and 2 above. And I do not place disclaimers in each of my post because those make it sound defensive. Hence all my disclaimers are in this page together.
  8. My opinions are in general permanent, but with time, they change too. So for all practical purpose you can assume shelf life of these views to be one year.
Now I've covered all possible angles with which misinterpretation can arise, I will go back to writing without worrying too much!