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What a nice weekend. After ringing and the_alchemist's birthday… - Sally's Journal — LiveJournal
September 19th, 2005
10:12 am

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From:feanelwa
Date:September 19th, 2005 10:30 am (UTC)
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People hate being pitied because if people are only being nice to you because something terrible happened and don't actually like you, the moment it either stops happening or they forget about it, they might be mean to you and make it all crap again. Then you get set up for another cycle of getting to a point where you just about trust people again only to have them all bugger off just as soon as it gets alright again.
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From:the_alchemist
Date:September 19th, 2005 11:46 am (UTC)
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I don't like being pitied even by friends I'm close to and know are there for me whether I'm unhappy or not.

I think it's more to do with power dynamics. Good people like to be equal to their friends, bad/insecure people like to be superior to them. No-one likes to be inferior. Pitying a person is the best way to put them in the inferior role - the other ways (telling them they're rubbish, for instance) are not as good because morally, you're very obviously putting yourself in the inferior role, even though you're making yourself superior in other ways.

So some people pity others because making others weak makes them feel strong. Others do it because they can't help it - they have a strong sense of empathy, and pity is the natural result of that when something bad is happening to a person. But that still feels bad to the person being pitied, because the effect of making them inferior still exists, even though the intent doesn't.
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From:atreic
Date:September 19th, 2005 12:12 pm (UTC)
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Yes, but if one was perfectly Good and Honest, then it would be accepted that sometimes you are inferior to people, and sometimes superior, and that this isn't a Bad thing, but just because people are different...

I'm not sure how much I agree with "Good people like to be equal to their friends". If I wish to be a Good Person, and I know someone who is "lesser" than me in some regards (maybe they are homeless, or Bad at Maths, or something else terrible like that :) ) what is my correct response? I could not be friends with them, because they are not equal to me, but that's obviously wrong. I could try and make them better at the thing I think makes them inferior to me, but that might not be possible, or they may genuinely have no need or interest in the thing I think they lack. I could try to think that the things I think are "lesser" are actually not important, but that can rebound and leave you doing down your own achievements (and indeed those of others) - and it *is* good to work hard to own a house, or be good at maths. I could try and take a holistic view that we are equal as people, but in certain areas are superior / inferior to each other, which I think is the right answer, but then you're admitting that your friends *are* superior / inferior to you at some stuff...
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From:the_alchemist
Date:September 19th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
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I wasn't trying to argue that it's wrong to pity people (I don't think it is), just to explain why I think people hate being pitied. 'Pity' is a well-adjusted response to your friends being homeless or bad at maths, and annoyance/anger/sorrow/ickiness is a well-adjusted response to being pitied for being homeless or bad at maths.

The 'good' and 'bad' people bit was just my feeble attempt to speak feanelwa-language - nothing much should be read into it. And I certainly didn't mean that good people should throw themselves into a fit of worry and angst when their friends aren't equal to them (either in specific things or over all), let alone that the should go to any great lengths to fix matters. I meant that when they fantasize about ideals they prefer things like 'all my friends who want to be are famous and well-respected actors in different and complementary ways' to 'all my friends who want to be are professional actors, but I'm the most famous and well-respected one.'
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From:atreic
Date:September 19th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that makes more sense. Thanks :)
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From:hmmm_tea
Date:September 19th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
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Will try phrasing this all again, as having read what I wrote the first time it wasn't at all what I was meaning. Argh! words! who needs them anyway? waste of time if you ask me...

Anyway, what I was trying to say. Yes, you can consider inferiourity/equality/superiority in a particular aspect, but how does that reflect on the relationship of 2 individuals as a whole? No two people are equal on every particular aspect, so what makes them equals?

Surely even if they are inferior to you in a certain respect they could easy turn out to be far superior in another aspect which you may not even have considered and vice versa. So perhaps everyone is equal and unequal at the same time. In that, people are superior/inferior to each other, but as we can never know the complete personality of another individual (or even oneself...) we never have enough information to make a full and valid judgement about this.

Or perhaps I've just had too much to drink at work today and am just waffling...
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From:hmmm_tea
Date:September 19th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
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hmmm, still not sure that's what I was meaning to write, sounds more like waffle to me....

Oh well...
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:September 19th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
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Yes.

In fact, Sally's first footnote seems to be increasingly accurate.

PS. It was nice to meet you. By the way, that's "Catriona", right? I don't know why I couldn't cope with pronouncing that :)
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From:robert_jones
Date:September 19th, 2005 11:12 pm (UTC)
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Nah, feanelwa's right, you're just freakish like that, because you have an obsession with mentally ranking everyone you know.
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