Friday, October 18, 2002

The Kairos Protocol

No one has ever named anything for me, except behind my back, and that was in Junior High (a time I'd just as soon forget, so why'd you have to bring it up, huh?). But today I am proposing something that I would like to see all blogs adopt, and all commenters adopt: the Kairos Protocol. It's designed as a means of moderating my own bad behavior, and it might help you, too. The rules are in bold face.

Say a brief prayer before you read a blog. "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Dear Lord, grant me charity and prudence. Amen." Seriously. Say that same prayer before you comment, or dash off an email to the author of a blog. If you have your own blog, say it before you write, and especially before you publish.

Next, when you find your blood pressure rising, stop reading. Look, as hard as ever you can, for the most charitable, least complaining way to construe what you just read. If you still see an error, find the most charitable manner of correcting it. It is absolutely true that most heretics have no idea that they are heretics, don't want to be heretics, and would fix it if they understood their heresy.

Remember that email and blogging, even filled with emoticons, does not convey body language, and jokes fall flat far more often than they succeed, even among people who are used to one another. I hope the Great and Wise Pop Daddy won't mind me using our correspondence as an example. Greg and I bicker, quibble, and fire poison darts at each other via email all week long, even when--especially when--we agree. Every exchange winds up including two or three extra emails reminding each other that some comment or other was intended only in jest. We both know and expect that the other one is going to make a sarcastic joke without ill intent, and yet we *still* miss it. My own sense of humor depends so much on the deadpan expression followed by a quick wink that it is impossible to reproduce it in written form without risking a great deal of offense. And yet....

Don't question the motives of an opponent in an argument. Ever. As soon as you start worrying about *why* the other person is wrong, you have stopped asking *if* he is wrong, and nothing but anger and insults will be the result. If you read something that is untrue, it will be untrue no matter what motivated the person to believe it. Prove your point not by showing what is wrong with the arguer, but with the argument. You will never convince someone that contraception is wrong by pointing out his vested interest in accepting it, only by showing him that it is objectively wrong.

If you are in a bad mood, go play Furious George, don't read blogs and certainly don't write them, or complain to their authors. This isn't Junior High, but every few months St. Blog's has a phase where most of us act like it is.

Find something nice to say. Our post-modern sensibilities have so corrupted us, that when we read a sentence like "I usually really enjoy your blog," we anticipate with bitter irony the "but" that will follow, and wonder why the correspondent bothered to include it. But that sensibility is poison. The reason to include it is to set the recipient at ease that the writer is not the enemy, and only seeks clarification or understanding. If you can't find something nice to say to the author of a blog about it, then why do you bother reading it? Reading something with the express intent becoming outraged is rude (for you rationalists) and sinful (for you Theists).

I expect to be gently reminded when I violate these rules.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home