Wakey Wakey.
reveille precedes revelation

Apparently *I* suck…

… at updating this blog.

Thanks for the flurry of recent comments, folks. It’s been a busy summer for me, and I appreciate your valiant attempts to keep things going even during my lengthy absences. It’s fun to see some newcomers on this site. Not sure I know Christiana or AaronC–if you’re interested in the real life version of these conversations, head on over to our meetup site to get details. For those of you who are not subscribed to the comments on this blog, you’re missing some good stuff in response to the question about evil and the one about sucking. I will respond to those comments, if not tonight, sometime.

Anyway, I appreciate the valiant attempts to post something on the latest post. The question was, indeed, a little overly open ended. I think the brevity of it was a tad ill-conceived, as is the verbosity of some of my other posts. There are so many different ways to beat yourself up, and so many different ways of patting onesself on the back. All of these are ridiculously subjective. And yet, dear friends, and yet. . . And yet the feeling of “I suck” or “Wow, I am fantastic!” feels, well, objective. If someone tells you, “Aw, c’mon, you’re a really great person and you have such a nice smile!” but deep down you feel like you suck, well, lots of times you’re 100% positive that you’re objectively right about the matter, and you’re totally convinced and the person is just trying to make you feel good. Similarly, if you feel all empowered and worthy and someone comes along and challenges that, sometimes it’s very easy to be dismissive of them and just think, “Well, they are just incorrect”. Alternately, in both cases, someone who challenges your own perception of your worth (either in a positive or negative direction) can convince you to move in their direction, and while the convincing may be based on rational or emotional appeals, the human experience of this is more than just a changing of feelings, it’s a changed mental perception of some kind of reality that is “out there”. The point is, in all these scenarios, you and the other person are making subjective statements about value, but the argument proceeds rather amazingly like you’re arguing about objective facts.

Anyway, given the fact that value is experienced subjectively (I decide whether something has value or not), but the experience often feels about as objective as the facts of nature, this question is all kinds of “up for grabs” and there are so many ways you could go with it. And I kinda wanted to see where people *would* go with it. Hence, the brevity of my earlier post.

So I raise the question again. Actually, although that post was supposed to be for last month’s meetup, it’s rather handy that summer vacations and business trips kept a whole lot of people from coming last month–because now, a few people are talking about the topic again. Last month, with the smaller group, we had a very interesting discussion, but I think there’s more ground to cover. So, since we’re talking about it, let’s try again this week, with more voices in the mix.

To send us down a somewhat more defined path, my question “How do you know if you suck?” isn’t about “How do I know if I suck at being a ninja?” or any particular one thing. (And no, Aaron, it’s not about sexual activity. Good question, though.) I’m talking about the feeling that the bully in junior high was trying to convince you of–that at the very core of your being, you really kinda suck. Or not. Again, how do you know? Whether that means you lack intrinsic value, or usefulness, or something else, that’s up for discussion too, I suppose. Along with that question, you can feel free to challenge any assumptions behind the question, and boy, are there some assumptions worth challenging. Have fun.

P.S. I was actually trying to get the word “suck” out of my normal vocabulary before I wrote that last post. Then I became deluded by the idea that “How do I know if I suck” was an awesome question for Gray’s Theology. So much for my noble attempts to rid myself of this vulgar habit. For now. This is like my fat Tuesday before a hopefully permanent lent. Starting Monday…

3 Responses to “Apparently *I* suck…”

  1. I don’t think it’s based on a poll or a discussion group or your closest friends, or anything.

    I think it’s simply just impssible to really know, because we’ll probably surround ourselves with other people with minds like us & perhaps that’s the danger.

  2. It really WAS an awesome question, though, Dave . . .

  3. Hey, RC, thanks for visiting.

    Yeah, I don’t think it’s based on a poll or discussion group, either. I was just using the phenomenon of people talking about whether they suck or not to discuss the way we behave–we behave as if the words “I suck” can be validated or disproved as a factual statement (with the metaphor in tact, of course!). Do you think they can?

    And yes, having a fair opinion of oneself is difficult indeed. Because it’s so easy to manipulate the evidence…

    Thanks, Jenn! In light of RC’s comments, I choose to surround myself with people like you. And because you’re awesome.

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