Fandango’s Provocative Question #37 (revisited)

Here’s today’s question:

Is it possible anymore to disagree without being disagreeable?

This has become a course of recent study for me. I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to have longer, more productive, conversations with people who have ‘strong’ opinions.

By strong opinions I mean they either present their argument with an unflappable conclusion or seem to attach their whole identity and virtue to their opinion. Both are dangerous to react to and are better avoided.
The former precludes there will be little ‘wiggle room’ in the area of open-mindedness.
The latter insures that, at some point, the person will perceive any questions or disagreement as a personal ‘assault’. (The topic won’t matter anymore, it’s your ‘tone’ that will become the issue… and so on.)
There’s one more area where people have lost the art of civil discussion. There’s oft a rarity of a sense of humor-particularly the ability to poke fun at oneself or a tongue in cheek use of sarcasm.
Deadly serious discussions are doomed, IMHO, because humility isn’t welcome there. Without humility, each person appears belligerent to the other.
We held debates when I was in middle school. That exercise would be exceptionally valuable today.

My direct answer to the question is: If you can find a genuine, well-informed, person with an ounce of humility, to talk with… yes. They’re just harder to find these days.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #163- Semantics

There are so many tangents this question can produce. It’s taken me a long time to work out my thoughts toward the briefest and least complex answer to the exact question.
There’s a whole intellectual course of study on “semantics”. Our human ability for language, as remarkable as it is, has its own ‘minefields’. There are cultural divides when it comes to understanding each other, as well as many nuances in defining our most human complex concepts. I simply cannot keep up with modern efforts at redefining once widely held understandings!
Here’s my thought process on the question (It is thoroughly a scientific method examination of the language not a judgement on the concepts we’re using.)
A previous discussion I had with our friend Fandango, produced an interesting difference in our understanding of this language. As many emotionally charged topics do, I think that we each jumped back and forth from the meaning of words into the endless quagmire of the meaning of a higher Truth. A darn dangerous leap for sure! I don’t think either of us claimed we were ‘correct’ and left the discussion on the understanding that we were simply “talking past each other”.
Do you believe that atheism is a set of religious beliefs or is a religion in any sense? If so, why? If not, why not? Or, do you have no opinion on the matter or just don’t care one way or the other?
My answer is: Yes, it’s a religious belief and I’m not sure whether it could be called a ‘religion’. Atheism’s ‘believers’ (Making a definitive conclusion on an unprovable concept is a belief.) certainly ‘take on’ some of the qualities of religious people (certainty, easily offended by disapproval, somewhat organized) but it doesn’t really have tangible tenants. So, I’ll claim unsure on that.
As for my opinion that atheism is a ‘religious belief’? It comes down to my understanding that it’s a position, belief, or claim within (and regarding) the topic of religion. That, in my world, is a ‘religious belief’.
The example I used to explain a similar dynamic was the concept of politics. One simply cannot have an opinion on politics that isn’t-by default- a ‘political opinion/belief’. An apolitical person, with no opinion on politics, is the opposite of one who is political. In the same way, an agnostic person (who doesn’t want to enter into a religious discussion) is the true opposite of holding a ‘religious belief’.
It seems an unpleasant, unfriendly, conclusion made only according to my understanding of the semantics because an atheist basically wants to be anything but religious. Saying that technically-when applying the rules of language- their position is a ‘religious’ one, obviously would inspire push back and reaction. No offense is intended. It’s only an opinion with reasons. 😉
One of my statements during the discussion that inspired this wonderful question bears repeating… “No one has the power to offend or change you, if you don’t give it to them.”

Fandango’s Provocative Question #162- No Regrets

If you could have a second chance at just one event in your life, what would you choose? What would you do differently? How do you think your life would be different now?

Woulda, coulda, shoulda is the essence of this question. I find a direct answer to this question extremely difficult.
Did I have life decisions that turned ‘sideways’? Countless times. But I’m a ‘what’s done is done’ person who finds counting my blessings such an integral part of my life journey that focusing on regrets is nearly impossible. The ripples caused by life events are also countless. Not all are unpleasant, wrong-headed, or bad. Even what seems regretful, at first, often turns out to have a silver-lining.
Perhaps, my lack of interest in reviewing my past decisions comes from my acceptance that we all make mistakes and none of us has a clear view of the future. I humbly don’t give myself that much credit for my course.
To me, life is a series of reactions to events and situations. I feel no power in directing life beyond trying to react with the best intentions. Gosh, have you ever heard the saying, “Some of the worst ideas come from the best intentions.”? Well, those moments are for learning and growth, IMO. That’s probably why we have a bucket load of bad outcomes when we’re young and tend to do better later on.
So, I wouldn’t change a thing if given the chance. But I feel better equipped every day for making decisions that I can live with. Too bad we all have to learn the ‘hard way’ but I feel I’m happier focusing on my blessings rather than holding on to regrets.
I also believe whole-heartedly in forgiveness. Forgiving ourselves seems our hardest task.

Fandango’s Provocative Question #154

What do you do to reduce or relieve stress in your life?

There are two philosophical angles in this question.
To reduce stress and relieve stress require different approaches.
Reducing stress is a preemptive avoidance tactic.
Relieving stress is a treatment process once stress has infected you.
IMO…The first is accomplished primarily by paying the majority of your attention to things you have an ability to fix. The frustration that builds when I feel ‘powerless’ is a terrible weight. If I can’t come up with a plan and method to correct the dilemma, I do my best to ‘let it go’. I’m human, of course, so that doesn’t always sink in. But I try.
For stress relief? I clean my environment as well as pay extra attention to offering charity, support, and comfort to others. I know many people who clean to relieve stress. I suspect that they do it because they also need a busy, quick result driven, task. In essence, we turn to things we CAN do when we need to escape those ‘out of our hands’. Besides cleaning, I write letters, bake or create surprise gifts, or call a friend who is ‘in need’.
I’m no saint by a long shot even though my approach to life sounds ‘self-importantly sweet’. I think what I do (my list was true) comes from my inborn personal nature. I’m terribly difficult to anger or insult but quick to laugh. I thank my genes for that.
Besides, as you have already noticed, I’m pragmatic and logic driven too. Yet, it may seem a contradiction that I procrastinate the tedious in favor of ‘fun’. Fun motivates most things I do.
Punching a pillow, or running a marathon, for stress relief works for some, but seems a waste of productive, creative, ‘fun’ time to me. 😉
[If you could see my cluttered corners, you’d also know that stress doesn’t impose itself on me often enough! LOL]

Fandango’s Provocative Question #146


For his provocative question this week Fandango asks

In your opinion, is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond? Or perhaps a big fish in a big pond? Why do you feel that way?

Brain overload. (It doesn’t take much. LOL)
Here’s the thought process:
Am I the fish?
No, this is about fish being fish. The question doesn’t ask, if I’d rather be a big or little fish? It says which is it better to be on a “fish scale”? Pun intended.
Okay… then being a big fish in a big pond is the best survival scenario.
More food, fewer problems from predators because there are more places to hide and a likely more available number of mating opportunities to make baby fishes (fry).

If this question was intended to be a metaphor for something else, my pond doesn’t run that deep or perhaps I’m too shallow. You decide. 🙂

Fandango’s Provocative Question- Tidiness

What is the one thing you would like to change about yourself? What would it be and why?

I would like to be more organized, not because I don’t know where everything is, but it would make things more tidy. I enjoy being in tidy places as much as anyone but I just don’t want to work at it.
My problem is that organizing time (I know organization can save time on some level.) is wasted time according to my nature. I actually have moments of envy for the ‘perpetually tidy’ but I’m too busy being creative, having fun, and thinking about stuff to devote myself to it. Even though I’m not clinically ADHD my daily pursuits surround happy little impromptu unscheduled moments. Schedules and tidiness interfere with that.
I’ve also read articles about the most creative, innovative, thinkers being untidy. I’ll go with that excuse for now. LOL

Fandango’s Provocative Question: 7/29/21


Do you feel that people are more attracted to one another by their differences or by their commonalities? And why do you feel that way?

There are so many dynamics in this one! Bravo Fandango! For your provocative question and for drowning me in my own thought analysis. lol

The question specifically asks “attracted to” and I would say our differences offer the first allure because of curiosity and novelty.
I’ve noticed that many relationships are set up according to perceived strengths too. Each partner assumes ‘duties’ according to what he/she seems to be ‘good’ at. There are the finance managers, cooks, home maintenance, and scheduling managers, but also, there are the worriers, optimists, writers, decorators, and romantics. (To name only a few.) Interestingly, they don’t always fall along traditional gender lines either.

Yet, differences aren’t the ‘glue’ to relationship longevity. Similarities are. Specifically, those that encompass values, tradition, and goals. They don’t need to be identical, and rarely are, because every individual is a perfectly unique being BUT they have to be within the same ‘genre’. If one partner wants children and the other doesn’t or one partner envisions world travel as a goal and the other wants to homestead off of the grid, SORRY. Unless lightening strikes, somebody is going to be miserable!
Miserable is a condition more likely to land the relationship’s story on Investigation Discovery than the Hallmark Channel. 😀

I could go on but the last sentence seemed a perfect place to leave you. LOL

Fandango’s Provocative Question #128 – This, That, and The Other (