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Discussion on: On Humility

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madhadron profile image
Fred Ross

just because someone is experienced or knows everything about the subject matter, does that automatically license him/her to be arrogant and boss people around with no regards to their feelings?

No, it doesn't. Your assertion was wrong at an utterly basic level (equivalent to "You can use a for loop to iterate over an array but not a linked list." in programming), but that does not excuse incivility.

And comment boxes are dangerous this way. You're sitting on your couch, in the safety of your home, typing away. Psychologically, you're almost talking to yourself. As you edit, you start ruminating, and the revised comment becomes more strident as the rumination spirals you into agitation.

At the same time, it takes two to tango. We don't know both sides of the discussion or how it escalated. Your own perception of this is likely not accurate (go read The Monkey Brain for a description of what tends to happen in these situations).

What is there to be salvaged from this situation? Your sense of comfort and safety in the community. I would recommend messaging your interlocutor and apologizing for letting the discussion get out of control. Ask them if they would be willing to review future linear algebra exercises for you before you post them.

Your monkey brain is probably jumping up and down and screaming when I recommend that. It wants to be right! It wants to win! Cage it. The real wins to be had here are to reclaim your sense of comfort and safety in the community and possibly acquire a mentor.

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donaldsebleung profile image
Donald Sebastian Leung Author

Thanks for your insightful comment and the interesting read - the article you linked to on "The Monkey Brain" is definitely going on my reading list 😄