Circuitous Development

I don’t usually like to be spoon-fed my ideas and opinions. I like to be able to work things out for myself, take what is known and think it through as comprehensively as possible to arrive at what seems to me to be a reasonable and elegant conclusion. I enjoy the process of analysis (go figure, right?), and I enjoy being able to figure things out for myself.

As a result whenever I approach a subject or an issue, I don’t always do it from the most direct route. Sometimes, it’s both fun and interesting to arrive at the subject through the back door, or through a side window, or by dropping in through the skylight. I don’t always like to present every aspect in the discussion, either, because I enjoy the process of dialogue. I enjoy provoking others to think, as well, so by providing only snippets and pieces, it prompts others to think and work through the issues accordingly, and it forces everyone to think about some of the lesser thought-of, but not necessarily any less important, aspects of the issue at hand.

I have been accused of being too much of a devil’s advocate at times, of being somewhat argumentative (though more the former than the latter). Because I don’t even always stick to arguing my own opinions and beliefs, people sometimes find me frustrating because they don’t know where I stand on an issue or because I seem to be espousing an incorrect and wrong-headed viewpoint. Usually, this is simply because I am trying to cover as many of the relevant details surrounding the topic as possible and, again, trying to prompt others to think for themselves.

Apparently, this also sometimes results in the notion that I have not actually addressed the subject at hand _because_ of the fact that I am not necessarily approaching it directly. And to their credit, sometimes I’m implying the connection between the subject at hand and what I am saying so subtly that no one but me can even see that a connection exists, at which point I have to force myself to be more clear and be even a little more direct in presenting my argument. After all it doesn’t do any good at prompting others to think when I don’t actually give them enough to think about. But I do sometimes like to provide as little as possible to hint at the connection to at least get the conversation going, with the hopes that everyone else participating will eventually be able to fill in the gaps and arrive at both the connection and the conclusion that I have.

So, if sometimes I seem to be saying one thing, particularly if it sounds extreme, rash, or harsh, read it again and think about how my argument might be approaching the truth of the matter from a slightly different direction. And if, after having thought about it, you still don’t see it, ask me again. You’ll probably find that my actual conclusion is far more fair and balanced than it seemed at first. I probably just tossed it in through a window and let it bounce around a bit, curious to see where it would end up.

3 thoughts on “Circuitous Development”

  1. Hi Jim, thanks for reading my blog.

    I love the recursion in this post: it both talks about being circuitous while also demonstrating it. (but frustrating too, I couldn’t find which article you were hoping to get people to “bite” on)

    You say: “with the hopes that everyone else participating will eventually be able to fill in the gaps and arrive at both the connection and the conclusion that I have.” … which sounds like you don’t really need any feedback as fresh perspectives and new insights won’t really matter? Just curious.

  2. Circuitous and vague. And I apologize about the phantom article. It doesn’t actually exist on this site. It was more a reference to a couple of other blogs I read, whose authors were complaining that no one addressed the issues of their posts. I had written about similar topics here, so I posted trackback links to theirs. Either they didn’t bother to follow the trackback, or they didn’t feel like my articles adequately addressed the topics. Whatever the case, my contribution to the conversation apparently went unnoticed. This caused me to analyze whether or not I did, in fact, adequately address the issue, hence, this article describing my general approach to various discussions.

    Do I need feedback? Yes, and no. I don’t need it for any personal validation, but I do need it in order to test my own opinions and to poke holes in my logic. Sure, I hope people will come around to seeing things my way. Naturally, I believe my own conclusions to be correct. I am open, however, to being shown where I am wrong or even just slightly off, so fresh perspectives and new insights are important to me. Does that all make sense? The way I see it, the search for truth is a process. In this process I hold my conclusions to be truth, based on the evidence I have at hand, until something casts that truth into shadow, at which point I re-evaluate in light of this new evidence and revise my conclusion in light of it.

Have anything to add to the conversation?