Friday, December 10, 2004

Writing for Humility

In the post directly preceding this one, I spoke of how most of the other people selected in my category dwarfed me in reputation and accolades. Never did I call them better writers or essayists. I gave them the benefit of establishment, popularity, experience and others but I never once said that I have lesser qualities than these men and women. By praising others and pointing out the fact that I would not win, I forced in your mind my perception of the logical fallacy of distraction from ignorance, or argumentum ad ignorantium.

No, I didn't just call you ignorant. This fallacy explains that by arguing that something is false then the opposite must be true when, in fact, the nature of one does not correlate directly with that of the other. Take for example, taking both the assumption that most of the other candidates had more accolades than I did and mixed with the result of me losing it sounded as if I said that they were somehow better than me. While it is true that most of these writers are great in their own regards I am not discrediting my own works either. It just appears that way.

The manner in which I lured you to your logical fallacy was through yet another logical fallacy known as the fallacy of exclusion. (Unfortunately, no cool Greek phrase follows this one.) This fallacy explains that by excluding vital information you are excluding the whole truth. Just a guess, but I imagine that is why they ask for "the whole truth" when you swear in.

By using both of these fallacies in tandem the way I did it gave the impression of a desired appearance: humility. I attempted to appear humbled by my present company. Of course, two wrongs do not always make a right. I believe it may have worked a fair bit too well as for some it appears I went beyond humility and into despair, which is usually next in line. These two fallacies created that illusion.

(For more information on logical fallacies it is a requirement to go here.)

Now the question looms: Who do I think is the better writer? What artisan is the best at his craft? What writer is the most capable of capturing the audience? Paper or plastic? HA! I shall never tell. It would ruin me and possibly someone else. Let me explain further (You know I have to. I'm an essayist. We never shut up! MUAHAAHHAHAHAHA!):

By putting these people on a pedestal, as it appears that I had done and not directly including myself I implied one of two things: humility or that the electors are stupid, that you are stupid. I really hoped that people weren't thinking I was calling them stupid. I was trying to express my greatest gratitude to the electors for placing me in such great company.

If I had said that I deserved it that would have been being arrogant and haughty. I do not want to appear that way. It doesn't make for good readership or friendship. In fact, I feel that I am no better or worse than anyone on the list. I also feel that I am no better than any one of my readers. What I feel is that we are all equal but with different educations and different propensities for different things. For example, my father has a hard time with the hardware and front end of computers but has done tutoring work for Northwest University in the field of programming. His learning experiences and propensities have steered him towards programming and away from other aspects of computing.

This sort of thing happens everyday where I grew up. It was a mainstay for the predominantly Dutch community that I grew up around. Everyday you would hear things like this. If someone had done a really good job at filling in for a band instead of saying, "Man! You rocked the mike tonight!" you would say "Not bad! I've heard a lot worse!". It doesn't force excess pride on someone. As a reply you don't have to turn all read and say "Golly gee mister! Thanks loads for the compliment! I done tried really hard!", as you do that embarrassed look down at your feet as you pretend to play with the dirt on the ground thing. All you have to say is "Heh. Thanks!", as you walk out the door with a new spring in your step.

This is something that my father and I have battled with for most of our natural born lives. Patty-Jo just does not get it. She has learned to accept it in her life but I don't think has fully grasped the concept of it. She hasn't been born into it like we have. (Well, almost born but that's a different story.) It's an effort many of us use to prevent ourselves from becoming prideful which, when pumped further, is false pride or hubris. In some capacity, it is also called arrogance.

Many people would consider this an inability to accept a compliment. I consider it an attempt to keep an even keel.


I'll leave with four of the blog sites that should be on the list next year or possible replacements for this year:

Armies of Liberation (Currently Serving time in the best new blog category.)
Neoconservative America

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