. . .Computer Mode:
Second Technique - Using the Satir Modes
Dr. Virginia Satir was a world-famous family therapist. As she worked with clients, she noticed that the language behavior of people under stress tends to fall into one of the following five categories, which we call the _Satir Modes_.
"WHY don't you ever think about anybody ELSE's feelings? DON'T you have ANY consideration for other people at ALL?"
"Oh, YOU know how I am! Shoot - whatever YOU want to do is okay with ME!"
"There is undoubtedly a good reason for this delay. No sensible person would be upset."
"WHAT IS THE MATTER with you, ANYway? Not that_I_ care! YOU know me - I can put up with ANYthing! However, common sense would indicate that the original agreement should be followed. And I am really FED UP with this garbage!!"
"I like you. But I don't like your methods."
Each of the Satir Modes has a characteristic style of body language. Blamers shake their fists or their index fingers; they scowl and frown and loom over people. Placaters cling and fidget and lean on others. Computers are stiff and rigid, moving as little as possible. Distractors cycle through the other Modes with their bodies just as they do with their words. THe body language of Levelers is distinguished by the absence of these other patterns, and by the fact that it's not in conflict with their words.
The first four Satir Modes are examples of the lack of a _personal_ syntonic state. People use Blamer Mode because they are insecure and afraid that nobody will respect or obey them. People use Placater Mode - saying that they don't care - because they care so very much. They use Computer Mode - saying "I have no emotions" - because they are aware of an emotion they actually feel and are unwilling to let it show. Distracter Mode cycles through all of these states of mismatch and expresses panic. Only with Leveler Mode (or with Computer Mode used deliberately for strategic reasons) do you have a syntonic state. To the extent that they are capable of accurately judging their own feelings, people using Leveler Mode use words and body language that match those feelings.
From The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense: An Overview, because it's one of those little fixations I sometimes get. And oddly, was thinking about the Blaming Mode reading the comments at Dru's entry Lazy. I can't for the life of me imagine why.
I realize I'm the last person who should be demanding a higher/better level of discourse in online discussions, but. . . I'm fucking demanding a higher/better level of discourse in online discussions.
Another reason I rarely post comments elsewhere. I suck at practicing what I preach. Here, at least, I can cover my hypocricy in a level of self-mocking irony or some such.
Your assignment for today, class, is to drop by a flame-y comment thread somewhere, and find one example of each of the five Satir modes.
This should take all of five minutes, less depending on where you go to look for them.
The main problem with knowing the Satir Modes, of course is, to rip off Grant Morrison yet again, that it's like having the Cheat Codes to a video game. And the person you're playing against -- let's face it, most discussions come down to one person/side or the other trying to score rhetorical points, rather than, um, discussing anything -- really, really ain't gonna like it.
There is a simple response to this.
I've stated it several times recently.
"Grow the fuck up."
Not really a motto, now that I think about it. More of a battle cry.
Update: Ah yes. Bonus points on that assignment if you choose a post written by someone you don't agree with on some issue -- Michele, for example -- and select examples of Satir mode comments made by people you (more or less) do agree with. That example's for the progressive/left/liberal types; right-wingers can do the same for a thread here.
Yes, this is my sledge-hammer like subtlety at work.
Update 2: Spent minimal time & effort editing the HTML in the quote, since the <PRE> tag was doing the wacky. Mind you, editing the style sheet would have involved even less time & effort, if I knew the first thing about CSS, which I don't.