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From: "D. Spencer Hines" <>
Subject: Protagonists and Antagonists
Date: 28 Aug 1998 17:18:02 GMT


Stewart Baldwin wrote in message <6s5elk$osq$1@news.campus.mci.net>...

> (SETTIPANI) wrote:
>
>>It is a pity to make personnal and no-sense attacks and I'm
>>sure that Stewart Baldwin himself think so.
>
>>Christian Settipani
>
>I agree completely. I would also like to remind those who might be a
>victim of such personal attacks in this (or any other) newsgroup that
>an angry response is usually what the attacker wants the most, and
>that providing such attackers with the angry response which they so
>desperately crave is generally a poor strategy for dealing with such
>attacks (as I had to learn the hard way when I was a victim of similar
>attacks in the past).
>
>Stewart Baldwin

Actually, the dynamics are much more gnarly and complex than the simplistic
model described by the writer, supra.

If the writer has failed to pick up on these homely verities, having had to
"learn the hard way" --- as he states --- then he must be a rather slow
learner.

Generally, the Protagonist --- the one who initiates the discussion ---
perhaps in the form of a critique --- does *not* desire an angry response.
She or he certainly does not *desperately crave* an angry response. That is
absurd hyperbole and starkly reveals that the writer, supra, does not
understand the dynamics of what is happening --- even, if what he says is
true --- having gone though the process several times himself.

Far from an *angry response* --- what the Protagonist wants is a *thoughtful
and rational response.* But, the Antagonist, often not too sure of himself
or herself, perhaps inexperienced --- perhaps taken aback at the boldness,
and what may be perceived as the insouciance or nonchalance, of the
Protagonist and very emotionally upset that his or her cherished premises
have been questioned and critiqued --- frequently goes ballistic and
hyperbolic --- in a very directly confrontational, emotional and puerile
response.

Again, that is not, *in any way*, what the Protagonist wants. She or he
wants an intelligent, focused, adult discussion, not a childish, flippant
and emotional response.

But the Protagonist is not in control of the Antagonist's emotions. They
are the sole responsibility of the Antagonist --- him or herself. Only he
or she can prevent the emotional outburst.

Leo Tolstoy, [1828-1910] the justifiably great Russian writer and author of
"War and Peace" --- "Anna Karenina" --- "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" and "The
Kreutzer Sonata" --- among many other fine works --- has addressed the
dynamics of this process with great eloquence, wisdom, grace and style.
Here is what he said, over 100 years ago:

Leo Tolstoy On Firmly Held Beliefs and Resultant Mental Gridlock ---

"I know that most men --- not only those considered clever, but even those
who really are clever and capable of understanding the most difficult
scientific, mathematical or philosophic problems, can seldom discern even
the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as obliges them to admit
the falsity of conclusions they have formed, perhaps with great
difficulty --- conclusions of which they are proud, which they have taught
to others, and on which they have built their lives."

Leo Tolstoy [1896] --- Source: "What Is Art?" --- Leo Tolstoy, Translated
by Aylmer Maude, in Tolstoy's Collected Works, Charles Scribner's Sons,
(1902), Volume 19, p. 468

D. Spencer Hines

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Lux et Veritas
Fortem Posce Animum
--

D. Spencer Hines --- William Jefferson Blythe III [Bill Clinton] President
of the United States --- Peccatoris Justificatio Absque Paenitentia, Legem
Destruit Moralem. "Clinton's an unusually good liar. Unusually good."
Senator Bob Kerrey [Democrat, Nebraska]

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