Week 10 in the year of our Lord 2022

Redeeming your time online

5 minutes to read

When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. (Proverbs 29:9)

Proverbs warns us about fools and scoffers. These are people who are not interested in gaining wisdom, in coming to a knowledge of the truth, in understanding anything better.

Thus they are not interested in reasoning together.

Scoffers simply want to get their oar in, say their piece, stand on their soapbox.

It is wise to remember that there are many scoffers online—and often the only way to know is to engage them.

Thus, fewer words are better.

When someone wants to misunderstand you, the more you write, the worse things will usually get.

Words are like ammo to them.

He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.

Here are the eight major common cognitive distortions covered in The Coddling of the American Mind:

  1. Emotional reasoning: Letting your feelings guide your interpretation of reality.
  2. Catastrophizing: Focusing on the worst possible outcome and seeing it as most likely.
  3. Overgeneralizing: Perceiving a global pattern of negatives based on a single incident.
  4. Dichotomous thinking: Viewing events or people in all-or-nothing terms.
  5. Labeling: Assigning global negative traits to yourself or others (often in the service of dichotomous thinking).
  6. Mind reading: Assuming that you know what people think without having sufficient evidence of their thoughts.
  7. Negative filtering: Focusing almost exclusively on the negatives and seldom noticing the positives.
  8. Discounting positives: Claiming that the positive things you or others do are trivial, so that you can maintain a negative judgment.

We see these at work in most Facebook conversations.

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Prov 29:11)

If you see someone say something stupid or wrong (perhaps better put, something that you think is stupid or wrong), ask yourself whose problem it is before you pile on.

Don’t be like the fool who only wants to get his oar in.

Piling on shuts people down. It’s puts them in flight or fight mode.

Part of effective communication is keeping the other person in the conversation.

If they shut down (flight), the conversation is over.

If they turn aggressive (fight), the conversation is over.

We shouldn’t care about winning arguments for their own sake. We should care about winning people to the truth.

Piling on undermines this goal, and usually illustrates your own lack of wisdom, even if you are technically correct, and able to articulate the truth accurately.

Remember Ecclesiastes 9:17: “The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Just because someone is wrong on the internet doesn’t mean your services are required to save the day.

The wise in heart will be called understanding, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (Proverbs 16:21)

Sharp, sarcastic comments are tempting, but usually counterproductive.

If you are speaking to a scoffer, they can be appropriate (Prov 26:5). But if you are speaking to a scoffer, you should also ask yourself if that is wise in the first place (Prov 26:4). Is it really a good use of your time?

But if you are speaking to someone who can be won to the truth, a sharp word will tend to drive them away.

People these days are soft, and easily offended.

Sure, they shouldn’t be. But so what? They are—and that’s who we are ministering to: people these days.

God has put you here, in this time, in this situation. You need to be able to manage your own emotions and speak in a way appropriate to the situation. That is only the way you will ever help another person stop being soft and easily offended.

If you can’t do that, be quiet (Prov 17:28).

All things considered, the biggest problem we face as a society is the pacification of men. And social media is directly connected to this.

Nine in ten men today are satisfied with being passive receivers of artificial excitements, rather than active generators of real events. Most men are empty receptacles for stimulation—stimulation which is manufactured by cynical cultural power-brokers who profit from managing it, to keep those men torpid.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in our inability to stand being bored. There was a time when a man had nothing to do, he would either spend it in productive pondering, or he would find something to do. Now, we carry trivial, effortless stimulation in our pockets. No thought or work required.

Living in the designated areas and consenting to be managed is a prison. Break the chains. Choose to conquer, not be conquered.

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  • Praxis is combining knowledge and skill
  • Praxeology tends to be a codeword for combining ignorance and narcissism

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Talk again next week,

Bnonn & Michael

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