When Conspiracists Psychoanalyze

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deirdre

Senior Member.
(To be clear, I think if we do a vote people will say my wording has been mostly fine and yours has been ambiguous, confusing, and even peculiar.)
people on this thread, yes i can see that. but you know i am only talking about the ambiguous language when you used the colon and the quote. and when you said "others". we already discussed this.

Can you point to the post where you did this?
i JUST did late last night, https://www.metabunk.org/threads/when-conspiracists-psychoanalyze.12536/post-280729

I hope you're not accusing me of gaslighting.
I am because i already explained to you in private how i interpreted you words in a way you didnt mean them. But you are pretending here like i didnt explain the misunderstanding.

Bottom line, i think you are all having a different conversation then i am. I probably am wrong in regards to whatever viewpoint you are reading this convo. But you are all way wrong in the viewpoint i am having this conversation. We'll just have to let readers make up their own minds.

Please don't do that. If anything I would say you need to clarify more. A lot more.
well that's not going to happen again. Not when i'm attacked like this. If i am asked questions in the future about what i meant by a word, i will just ignore it.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I'd note here that "gaslighting" isn't just "making stuff up about what happened", it specifically refers to a continued treatment of an abuse victim by their abuser. To use such a term is an implicit accusation of abuse.

Agreed. Though, to be honest, my perception of when I see someone online accuse another person of gaslighting is that they're most likely simply imagining being got at and/or are feeling confused/out of their depth and are using it as a defence mechanism.

Same sort of thing with the popularity of people accusing others of being narcissists - seems to me the majority of them are really just describing someone who did something they didn't like and are framing it in a way that seeks to deflect away from their own 'victim consciousness' and which stops them from having to look at themselves and take responsibility.

Hey, that's even somewhat on-topic and back to the original address of the thread: armchair psychology. ;)
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
is that they're most likely simply imagining being got at
lol. that's the whole point of gaslighting. to tell the person they are imagining or just crazy.
(this isnt me arguing with you, just pointing out i find your wording legitimately funny. Did you do that on purpose?.)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
lol. that's the whole point of gaslighting. to tell the person they are imagining or just crazy.
(this isnt me arguing with you, just pointing out i find your wording legitimately funny. Did you do that on purpose?.)

Nah, just accidental hilarity.

It's a tough one: do people gaslight and manipulate and bully? Do people incorrectly imagine others are out to get them? Do people construct off-kilter narratives where others are the baddies and they're not doing anything wrong?

Sadly, the answer to all of those is "yes". So how do we figure out what's going on?

Problem for the one who imagines themselves being gaslighted/attacked is that they're already in a reality that makes it hard to see things clearly and find their way out. Takes a heck of a lot of self-awareness and bravery. And they maybe even read a couple of sentences like that and think it's even more attempts at gaslighting...

Real Alice in Wonderland stuff for sure.
 

econ41

Senior Member
@Rory And for what it is worth - I wasn't even aware of the usage of the term "gaslighting". Tho it was the form of domestic illumination used at my Grandfather's home in the 1940s. They got 'lectricity about 1949.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
you know i am only talking about the ambiguous language when you used the colon and the quote. and when you said "others".

I did not know that, no. You wrote:

we already had that misunderstanding of your ambiguous wording conversation in private

Which was in response to me pointing out you had said two things that were, in my eyes, mutually opposed.

I notice you didn't address me pointing that out nor when I asked you directly which one of the two was true.

The sentence "we already had that misunderstanding..." in no ways pinpoints what you're referring to, or whether it was a single instance or in general. But now I know that you're referring to this:

But I guess the issue is that the US has their own definition of the word republic beyond "not a monarchy" and neither Deirdre nor I were aware of that until today:

A distinct set of definitions of the term "republic" evolved in the United States, where the term is often equated with "representative democracy."

In United States v. Cruikshank (1875), the [Supreme C]ourt ruled that the "equal rights of citizens" were inherent to the idea of a republic.

W. Paul Adams observes that republic is most often used in the United States as a synonym for "state" or "government," but with more positive connotations than either of those terms. Republicanism is often referred to as the founding ideology of the United States.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic#United_States

In my reading the first sentence is saying "there is an issue that neither of us were aware of" and in your reading it is "there is a definition that neither of us were aware of."

Question is, is it ambiguous wording or is it someone not reading closely enough? You appear convinced of the former and I'm certainly open to that. But obviously I'm siding more with the latter explanation - particularly since it wouldn't be the first time - and I wonder if you're similarly open to that?

I suppose only a panel of mega-intelligent, psychology-sound observers could discern the truth.

Now where can we find such people...? ;)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
You appear convinced of the former and I'm certainly open to that.

no, i asked you for clarification. I was not "convinced".

then your clarification was to me ambiguous. as i told you in PM, when you said "others" i thought you meant "others in this thread".

but you told me
that means "others' definitions" - eg, other nations, the rest of the world, etc - who I assume use it in the sense I've always understood ("not a monarchy") - though I should check on that now I've learned there's at least one place where it doesn't necessarily mean that.


so you clarified that. and then i said "oh lol, i thought you meant..."
well specifically i said:
ah. well damn. it didnt read that way at all lol. yea i had already admitted that [the rest of the world doesnt know the word republic with that definition] earlier.


so i am not currently convinced of the former because you explained what you meant and we fixed the misunderstanding.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
And for what it is worth - I wasn't even aware of the usage of the term "gaslighting".

Yep, it's all the rage these days, along with "narcissist" and "empath".

I also had to study them and learn. Here's the quick dictionary though:

Narcissist = what to label someone if they did something you don't like

Empath = someone who imagines their problems are due to being extra-sensitive, kind and caring - and perhaps even gifted in a psychic sense - which can lead to their angelic goodness being used against them by wicked narcissists (luckily there are online groups they can join where they can tell each other in great detail about all the people who did them wrong through no fault of their own)

Gaslighting = catch-all defence word to accuse someone of when you feel out of your depth but don't want to face the reality of your own shortcomings and blind-spots

Obviously there are also real genuine psychological definitions and examples of the above: my tongue-in-cheek (but true) definitions are probably only applicable in maybe 80-90% of cases. ;)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I will go one sentence at a time so we don't get bogged down or lost and in case addressing your first sentence changes your thoughts on what you wrote after.

no, i asked you for clarification. I was not "convinced".

Here's what I actually wrote:

You appear convinced of the former

So I did not say "you were convinced" or "you appeared convinced", I said "you appear convinced" - ie, in the present, not in the past, which is how you've somehow interpreted the six words quoted above.

(The point being, if it's not clear enough: you sometimes misunderstand others' words, even when they're incredibly straightforward.)
 
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econ41

Senior Member
Yep, it's all the rage these days, along with "narcissist" and "empath".

I also had to study them and learn. Here's the quick dictionary though:
Thanks for your elucidation.
... when you feel out of your depth but don't want to face the reality of your own shortcomings and blind-spots
Neither applies to me.
I'm ~187 tall (~6'2") and
Have no blind spots - I just looked to check. I try to repeat the test daily.
Obviously there are also real genuine psychological definitions and examples of the above: my tongue-in-cheek (but true) definitions are probably only applicable in maybe 80-90% of cases. ;)
Never let serious professional issues interfere with having fun. My sense of humour can get me into problems. Walking past a pub in my former university town I saw a man wearing a TeeShirt emblazoned"Agricultural Economics". Taking him to be an academic I commented "That is an oxymoron". He only heard "moron".
 

Rory

Senior Member.
This is interesting (and perhaps telling):

so you clarified that. and then i said "oh lol, i thought you meant..."

well specifically i said:

"ah. well damn. it didn't read that way at all lol."

To me there's a big difference between saying "I thought you meant" and "it didn't read that way" (the "it" being "the sentence").

The first one puts the onus on the reader and how they interpreted it while the second puts the onus on the writer and the sentence in question.

Couple that with you repeatedly saying that my words have been ambiguous:

your clarification was to me ambiguous
i am only talking about the ambiguous language when you used the colon and the quote
we already had that misunderstanding of your ambiguous wording conversation in private
all this ambiguous questioning
it didn't read that way at all lol

But given the interesting snippet I quoted at the top of this post I'm now wondering if in the above you really meant "I thought you meant/I didn't understand" (the truth of the matter) rather than "your writing isn't clear enough" (a value judgement possibly true, possibly not).
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
The timeworn phrase “we’re a republic, not a democracy,” once confined to campus political debates and the nerdier corners of the political internet, has been bubbling up to mainstream politics for some time now
Astra Taylor: Ah, yes. This phrase, “We are a republic, not a democracy.” I heard this phrase frequently, but always from a certain class of person. Always from a white man. I did quite a few interviews—what in the documentary film world we call “streeters”—where I would set up on a corner and talk to passersby. Often people were quite reluctant. I said, “I’m talking about democracy. Would you like to sit and discuss with me?” And I’d have to persuade people. They felt maybe a bit intimidated or they felt they lacked expertise. And often those interviews would be really interesting. People would actually be quite wise or have reasons for being politically disengaged or politically cynical that were actually pretty credible.

Then there were these guys who were really eager. “Yeah, of course you shall interview me about democracy!” And after a question or two, they’d go flat and say, “Well, we’re a republic, not a democracy.” That is a phrase that is uttered by people who, looking back on the sweep of American history, see themselves as safely at the center of the narrative, and typically they see their present privileges under threat. And so, they want to shore up the privileges that they possess, and they’re looking for a sort of historic hook.

Do you think there’s a reason why it’s bubbling up into high-level politics now?

I think you’re seeing a real shift in conservative rhetoric because they are giving up on winning majorities. If you go back 50 years, books like The Emerging Republican Majority, and even around the period of George Bush, there was this idea, “OK, well, if Republicans want to keep winning majorities, we need to appeal more to the conservative Latino vote.” And the party has just gone in the opposite direction of that. It’s figuring out how to maintain dominance with a minority of support. And so, in that sense, I think the rhetoric is really telling. It’s a way of rationalizing the further entrenchment of minority rule.

And the thing is that there’s something to their perspective. Political institutions in this country are not majoritarian. There is a long history of exclusion. And there are quite a few veto points in the political system that obstruct majoritarian policies. So they have a lot to draw on and it’s not a novel political philosophy. It’s a reversion to the American norm in some way. Because we haven’t really been a fully inclusive democracy, ever. And to the degree that we have, it’s been for just a generation—since the Voting Rights Act—and they’re already giving up on that.

And it’s so fascinating to me that that period that I took for granted because of the moment in time I happened to be born in—this Cold War framework of “capitalism is democracy versus communism is unfreedom”—that paradigm is breaking down. So, you see people on the left becoming more self-consciously socialist and saying, “Well, hold on, maybe socialism’s not so bad.” But on the right, you also see people who are like, “Why do we even have to pretend to be democratic at all?”
Content from External Source
Fascinating reading, thank you.

(The piece was published 10/2020.)
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
Then there were these guys who were really eager. “Yeah, of course you shall interview me about democracy!” And after a question or two, they’d go flat and say, “Well, we’re a republic, not a democracy.”

That sounds to me like the people she was talking to were the kinds of guys who are highly confident, ill-informed, and probably don't know much more on the subject than a few soundbites or memes.

Perhaps they expected to be able to deliver their bombshell and 'win' the interview right there and then?

I did come across a recent NPR article that answered the question "is the US a democracy or a republic?" and attributed the use of the aforementioned phrase to "some election deniers" (also links to a paywalled NYT article on the subject).

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/10/1122089076/is-america-a-democracy-or-a-republic-yes-it-is

Tbh, I'm still baffled by the idea that the word "republic" could mean something other than "non-monarchy". But I guess Mendel has already sorted that one in his mind:

I understand "republic" to be government by the governed. this includes the original Roman res publica which was not any form of democracy.

My question there is: China and North Korea are both republics, so how to square that fact with this definition of the word?

(As for my bafflement, I will cure it by filing it in the drawer with "pants", "fanny", and "tank top" and remember to ask what definition an American is using next time they say one of these words.)
 
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Ann K

Senior Member.
@Rory And for what it is worth - I wasn't even aware of the usage of the term "gaslighting". Tho it was the form of domestic illumination used at my Grandfather's home in the 1940s. They got 'lectricity about 1949.
It's a direct reference to the 1944 movie classic "Gaslight". I'll not spoil the plot if you want to look it up, but Wikipedia refers to it as a "psychological thriller". If you watch it, you'll never again be in doubt about the term.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I did come across a recent NPR article that asked the question "is the US a democracy or a republic?" and attributed the use of the aforementioned phrase to "some election deniers" (also links to a paywalled NYT article on the subject).

https://www.npr.org/2022/09/10/1122089076/is-america-a-democracy-or-a-republic-yes-it-is
Yes. Sen. Mike Lee is using "democracy" to mean unmitigated majority rule.
Article:
Insofar as “democracy” means “a political system in which government derives its powers from the consent of the governed,” then of course that accurately describes our system. But the word conjures far more than that. It is often used to describe rule by majority, the view that it is the prerogative of government to reflexively carry out the will of the majority of its citizens.

But I guess Mendel has already sorted that one in his mind:
I note nobody has agreed with me.

My question there is: China and North Korea are both republics, so how to square that fact with this definition of the word?
First, "Republic of China" (ROC) refers to Taiwan. The PRC and North Korea are "people's republics", which denotes a system that can be single-party and lacks separation of powers. Wikipedia calls these systems "soviet democracy" and "people's democracy". My definition of "republic" applies to them, as does yours ("not a monarchy").
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
But given the interesting snippet I quoted at the top of this post I'm now wondering if in the above you really meant "I thought you meant/I didn't understand" (the truth of the matter) rather than "your writing isn't clear enough" (a value judgement possibly true, possibly not)
i said that in PM :)
ie. I'm not shy about being wrong. Being an airhead is kinda my schtick.

so if i say something that makes no sense to you, you can assume i am misunderstanding something.

But both are true. I didnt understand and your writing wasn't clear enough.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Still ambiguous and unclear. :D

You said:

if i say something that makes no sense to you, you can assume i am misunderstanding something.

Which I read as meaning in a general term, since it wasn't referring to anything specific (ie, it could have been referring to anything you've written on any post here on metabunk over the years - as well as in the future) whereas your repeated assertions of ambiguity were specific, to things I'd written about the word "republic".

But, yes, even though I do already assume you're misunderstanding something the real question is: "what to do with that?"

I guess being patient and as clear as possible is the answer.

Mainly in the post you were replying to I was saying that it was interesting that you wrote you'd said:

"oh lol, i thought you meant"

And then corrected yourself and posted what you actually said, which was:

"it didn't read that way at all lol"

Which, as explained above, is a completely different meaning.

This is illuminating as I read it (note: rhymes with reed, not red) because it seems to show me that what you wrote (addressing my writing) was not really what you intended (addressing your reading/understanding) and that you sometimes think you've written something when you've actually written something completely different. Not a Freudian slip as such but certainly one of those moments where we accidentally reveal a little of what's going on under the surface.

both are true. I didn't understand and your writing wasn't clear enough.

You can't know that. You can only know the former. Whether the latter is true could only be decided upon if a significant number of other people also thought the same.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
The PRC and North Korea are "people's republics", which denotes a system that can be single-party and lacks separation of powers.

That's what they call themselves, yes. But I'm not going by that, I'm going by "they're republics because they're not monarchies".

I note nobody has agreed with me.

But they haven't disagreed either. And if a good dictionary supports your definition then who am I to say otherwise? ;)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Which I read as meaning in a general term, since it wasn't referring to anything specific (ie, it could have been referring to anything
oh my god. it was referring to specifically what our PM was about.

lol. men.
Which, as explained above, is a completely different meaning.

if you say so. watch that youtube talk i shared with you, its only half an hour.
 

Mauro

Senior Member
That's what they call themselves, yes. But I'm not going by that, I'm going by "they're republics because they're not monarchies".

North Korea calls itself a 'republic' but it's actually a monarchy (power goes to the heir of the ruling family after the predecessor dies). After this example and all the 'people's republics' which littered Europe during the Cold War, with some, unfortunately, persisting to this day, I find the word 'republic' to have been so egregiously abused that I try to avoid it altogether.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
lol. men.

I was just thinking "it's been a long time since Deirdre's played the gender/sex card". ;)

oh my god. it was referring to specifically what our PM was about.

If it's referring to something specific then it's probably best to mention that rather than presenting it in general terms.

watch that youtube talk i shared with you, its only half an hour.

I'll pop it on the 'to do' list. But if you think they're not different meanings then please explain why.
 

econ41

Senior Member
That's what they call themselves, yes. But I'm not going by that, I'm going by "they're republics because they're not monarchies".
We seem to be circling the same confusion. It is a two-factor definition.
Factor #1 - the head of State is EITHER a "Monarch" or "Not a Monarch" which subsumes how that Head of state is selected. Monarchs are hereditary. "Not Monarchs" are selected whether they are labelled "President", "Chancellor" or similar.

Factor #2 - how the will of the people is input into governance. EITHER "representative" by a selected minority of representatives OR "direct" where the decisions are taken by direct plebiscite of the people. NOT via representatives. And following the "will of the people" is the process of democracy. Whether "representative" or "direct".

USA is a Republic governed under representative democracy. The US Head of State is an elected President. Not an hereditary monarch. The people select representatives to form a government.

UK and AU and several others are Monarchies. But they are also governed under representative democracy. The Head of State is an hereditary Monarch. The people select representatives to form a government.

None of them are "direct democracies" AND avoiding "direct democracy" has long been the reason why the US-specific confusion "the republic is not a democracy" has existed.

;)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If it's referring to something specific then it's probably best to mention that rather than presenting it in general terms.
you already knew what it was referring to. :)

I was just thinking "it's been a long time since Deirdre's played the gender/sex card". ;)
yea its not really "men" so much anymore, as more women in today's society have been needing to live more of their existence in left hemisphere land. That's not a bad thing, i mostly like Metabunk because i know i am right brain oriented and i live vicariously through your (plural definition) left brains.

IT's just faster to say it my way, as most people still understand what that phrase in this context means. (Dont take a vote ont hat here, as that probably isnt true of the current MB crowd ;) )

But if you think they're not different meanings then please explain why.
i'm not sure how to explain why. that's why i need you to watch the talk, contemplate it and you explain why.
 

econ41

Senior Member
i mostly like Metabunk because i know i am right brain oriented and i live vicariously through your (plural definition) left brains.
Now THAT is an interesting additional perspective. I'm more "right brain" than most typical engineers. And one of my continuing frustrations - through my working career - not just on-line. Engineers who lose the big picture plot and get lost chasing often irrelevant details. "Can't see the forests for the trees" syndrome. Or as I stated it many years back on another "technical' forum '"How many leaves on the seventh branch of the fourth tree?" is meaningless when you are in the wrong forest.'

I'll resist the temptation to derail further.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
We seem to be circling the same confusion. It is a two-factor definition.

If that's the problem then maybe another factor in the confusion is that in all my talk of the definition of the word "republic" I haven't been referring to the second factor ("how the will of the people is input into governance") since, for me, that doesn't come into it, they're two separate issues (eg, if someone tells me they live in a republic that tells me nothing about how they are governed and, vice versa, if they tell me how they are governed that tells me nothing about whether they live in a republic or not).

None of them are "direct democracies" AND avoiding "direct democracy" has long been the reason why the US-specific confusion "the republic is not a democracy" has existed.

Though having said the above, if some people believe the word "democracy" actually means "direct democracy" and that this is somehow related to the word "republic" then that certainly is enlightening.

you already knew what it was referring to

In all honesty I believed you were speaking generally and all encompassingly and I'm pretty sure I know how I interpreted your words better than anyone else given that I was there and also the only person privy to those thoughts.

But thanks for attempting to gaslight/womansplain my very own thinking to me. :p

(I'm joking that you're "gaslighting" me and I don't really believe in the mansplaining thing, I just think people are clumsy and unconscious sometimes - or, in this case, you're just falsely believing that I would know what you really meant to say and disbelieving what I actually thought because of various psychological reasons I can only guess at.)

i'm not sure how to explain why. that's why i need you to watch the talk, contemplate it and you explain why.

That's a cop out. It should be very simple if it's true.

How about "sometimes I type things that don't correctly express what I mean, unconsciously assuming that people will know what I mean even if the literal words - the only thing the other person has any exposure to - don't actually convey my intention"?

I must then be "mega-intelligence" oriented

Indeed you are. But no one will ever (correctly) accuse me of being that! :D
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
r, in this case, you're just falsely believing that I would know what you really meant to say and disbelieving what I actually thought because of various psychological reasons I can only guess at.
because men dont actually listen when women talk? :) another sexist trope i know, but most of humanity is ok with that trope. well..maybe most of womankind is ok with that trope. :)

I did read "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" when young, so i do acknowledge that [some]women speak in a language [some]men often dont comprehend. so i'm certainly willing to take half the blame.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
don't actually convey my intention"?
well "representational democracy" doesn't convey my full intention (of using "republic") either. but people seem to be ok with that.

Let's just agree that you are 100% right and i am wrong. I'm good with that.
 

econ41

Senior Member
the talk (about a book) i want Rory to watch actually says right brained engineers are the best engineers. more specifically "good engineers"
Modesty decrees that I shouldn't comment.

If you are familiar with the modelling I'm very strongly "NLP Visual" most engineers aren't which is interesting because so much engineering is 4 dimensional - 3D and motion or dynamic. And if you cannot visualise something how can you work with it? And, provided I don't say Top Block", The collapses of those 3 WTC Towers is as complex a bit of 4D reality as you would want. No wonder it has given "left-brainers" problems.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
because men dont actually listen when women talk? :) another sexist trope i know, but most of humanity is ok with that trope. well..maybe most of womankind is ok with that trope. :)

;) By the way, the proven plasticity of the human brain has pretty much refuted all the old theories on left and right brains and the cognitive functions they are simplistically associated with.

I did read "men are from Mars and women are from Venus" when young, so i do acknowledge that [some]women speak in a language [some]men often dont comprehend. so i'm certainly willing to take half the blame.

And let me demonstrate masculine chivalry and officially say sorry if I bombarded you too harshly earlier. But I think you deserved at least 56 % of it. :)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
But I think you deserved at least 56 % of it. :)
i'll except 17% and we can call a truce. I know you all have wives or gfs, so it's not like me speaking in a way y'all can't comprehend is an alien issue to you. You could have been nicer all along and just answered my questions (trying to solve the dilemma) when i asked them.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
i'll except 17% and we can call a truce.

I'm willing to come down to 50 %. Deal?

I know you all have wives or gfs, so it's not like me speaking in a way y'all can't comprehend is an alien issue to you. You could have been nicer all along and just answered my questions (trying to solve the dilemma) when i asked them.

We could have, but so could you. We're all a work in progress.
 

econ41

Senior Member
;) By the way, the proven plasticity of the human brain has pretty much refuted all the old theories on left and right brains and the cognitive functions they are simplistically associated with.
But I stil find the metaphor useful. I'm not a practitioner or dedicated fan of NLP but I routinely find the metaphor a useful explanatory tool.
But I think you deserved at least 56 % of it. :)
52.654 says this pretending "left-brainer".

EDIT PS. Too late - you both beat me to it. Tho my additional decimals is arguably more "left brain".
 
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