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If you can think as another man thinks, you cannot dislike him.… - Zer Netmouse
April 2nd, 2008
10:44 am

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If you can think as another man thinks, you cannot dislike him.
--The Languages of Pao, by Jack Vance


True? False?

(16 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:mrissa
Date:April 2nd, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Utterly false. There are people whose thought patterns run to things like, "I can get away with that," and, "They can't stop me from taking advantage of this person in the following ways." You can reproduce them and think ahead to predict them, and you can utterly despise the person, depending on what they want to get away with and take advantage of.
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From:netmouse
Date:April 2nd, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
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I can imagine absorbing small subsets of thought patterns as you describe, yet to me the experience of thinking like such a person, what their motivations may be - their whole way of thinking - is still a mystery. I believe it is that level of being able to think like another person that Vance is referring to.

Also, of course, his whole story is about language, and how it influences thought patterns. So I could imagine him saying that when you are thinking about the thought patterns of these detestable people, you are doing it in your own language, which is different from theirs. And if you could think in the language they have for thinking, you might see things differently.

I might have the opinion that your way of thinking is more lovely than theirs, so I'd rather you didn't, yet it makes an interesting thought exercise.
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From:mrissa
Date:April 2nd, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
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The trivial example, of course, is the number of people who don't like themselves.

I think some of the other questions in support of Vance's position get into really trulies, and I'm kind of allergic to really truly-based arguments, so.
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From:_earthshine_
Date:April 2nd, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
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Agreed. False. I can get inside the heads of people who are ill sometimes; i try to find compassion for them, but it's still possible to dislike them, i think (depending on what Pao thinks "dislike" means).
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From:shekkara
Date:April 2nd, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
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I'm going to vote another false. There certainly is value in understanding another person's point of view, and that may lead to increased empathy for that person and possibly even liking them. And I think if you can truly change how you think and think like that other person in a deep internal way that goes beyond seeing their point of view, then it's going to be harder to dislike them because you've become like them, which suggests some truth to the statement. Yet, there are ways of thinking that I *don't* want to become like, and to the extent that my current way of thinking finds those ways despicable, then I will continue to dislike them. Did that make any sense?
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From:howardtayler
Date:April 2nd, 2008 03:25 pm (UTC)
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False. We sometimes think and do bad things ourselves, and hate ourselves for it. Why should thinking like other people who think/do the same things change that?

I'll argue, however, that thinking like somebody else is the most crucial part of understanding him/her, and that will defuse any dislike founded in misunderstanding. Ultimately, however, if you want to love other people, you have to do more than empathize and understand. You have to spend time in their service.

Thinking like others is not the key to liking everybody (and the ultimate desire: Whirled Peas), but it is certainly a good start.
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From:elizebethjoy
Date:April 2nd, 2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
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False!! The more I know how a person works, the LESS likely I am to like him/her. Probably stems from some deep-set self hatred or something. :D
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From:matt_arnold
Date:April 2nd, 2008 11:22 pm (UTC)
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This has been my experience as well. I have often noticed that those who appear to be close and highly sympatico to each other often tend to use vague and evasive terminology, to permit the illusion of agreement. It's a form of folie a deux. By contrast, those who understand each other with clarity often dislike what they find.

I'd hazard a guess that the quote is false.
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From:grimfaire
Date:April 2nd, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
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Ha! Like this is unusual...me being different than the rest.

True!

Put yourself in any person's place. Think like them, listen like them, act like them. You'll come to completely understand them. You may not change your idea on them, they may be a bad person. But you can't really dislike them. In everyone this is a kernal of something good. Even if it is only inside themselves.

What you see on the outside isn't always what is going on inside.

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From:myrddred1
Date:April 2nd, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)

I Agree With Grimfaire

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There is an old actor's axiom that you cannot "play" evil or bad--you can only play right. I use three professional actor friends as examples. One lady portrayed a soap opera bitch on a defunct afternoon soap (I promise I won't drop the name. It would only date me further--sigh...)and she always felt that her character wasn't bad--she was merely misunderstood.

FBI profilers have to understand that to think like a perpetrator you have understand where the perpetrator's coming from emotionally.

Do I like him or her? I'm not sure. But understanding the person is a strong step in the right directon.
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From:dd_b
Date:April 2nd, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
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As opposed to Valentine Michael Smith's view, in which coming to fully understand somebody is the necessary precondition for hating them.
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From:grimfaire
Date:April 2nd, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC)
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It's the same thing. You can't do either until you know them.
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From:sleigh
Date:April 2nd, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
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False. You can come to understand how someone else thinks, and thus you can come to empathize with them. You can understand why they might act the way they do and believe what they believe as a result.

But that doesn't mean that you like them.
From:thefile
Date:April 2nd, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
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Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration.
Apuleius - Roman philosopher, rhetorician, & satirist (124 AD - 170 AD)
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From:omnifarious
Date:April 2nd, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
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I also vote 'False'. Jack Vance has always been a bit too much "If we all just got together without any boundaries peace would reign!" for me.

Though, perhaps it's meant that you can't feel an emotion as mild as dislike for him. That might well be true.

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From:benniferus
Date:April 2nd, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
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false false false. We can share an opinion, and I can utterly disagree with your presentation/sharing of that opinion.
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