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Author Topic: Fluffy Bunnies and Fundies  (Read 27454 times)
macushla
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« Reply #15: May 28, 2009, 01:52:03 pm »

It's not about beliefs, it's about willful ignorance of reality. 

I'm not talking about agreement of theories or of the cultural bias of various histories,
but rather,
acknowledgement of depth of experience.

If the experience is limited to what can be spoken of, one's perception of realities is governed by their verbal vocabulary
(an endless frustration even to a polyglot).

No amount to talk is going to resolve that.
At some point the rhetoric amounts to a distraction from the actual experience.

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« Reply #16: May 28, 2009, 02:03:06 pm »



It's not about beliefs, it's about willful ignorance of reality.  I don't say boo to people's beliefs (though I'll sometimes point out their incongruities when appropriate--"Here's why being a Christian Wiccan can be tricky", f'ex).  But when someone starts playing fast and loose with facts, I call fluffy.

Brina

That is about the point where I call fluffy too. Though in my “old age” I tend to just think it Wink

I recently came across an example of the reason not to point the fluffy rabbit foot right off. In another Forum someone called themselves a “Wittan” (Edain McCoy wrote a terrible book on “Irish Wicca” and well it’s terrible, but one of the main bits that get me is the “ancient Irish Potato goddess”). Someone posted a well written dissection of the book, and well a week later the poster came back and was “wow I had no idea that was crap” and we had no issues. If I’d gone in with steel toe boots (like I do to fans of Douglas Monroe, on a bad day) I would have probably caused someone to STICK to the belief.

I think pagans throw the term around (as an insult) too easily. I’ve had it used to try and annoy me at times. They know I’m a recon and it’s about as far from the truth as you can get, but I got on the wrong side of the wrong “elder” and lo I was “Mr. Fluffy bunny” for a week or so. Shame I was out of the country and missed it all Wink
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« Reply #17: May 28, 2009, 02:36:45 pm »

I'm not talking about agreement of theories or of the cultural bias of various histories, but rather, acknowledgement of depth of experience.

If the experience is limited to what can be spoken of, one's perception of realities is governed by their verbal vocabulary
(an endless frustration even to a polyglot).

No amount to talk is going to resolve that.
At some point the rhetoric amounts to a distraction from the actual experience.

Uh...what?

My point was I don't call fluffy on people because of inexperience.  Inexperience is expected for all newbies.  "Fluffy" is a moniker I reserve exclusively for those who are given independently verifiable facts and choose to ignore them.

Sorry if I wasn't clear, but your posts in this thread seem really...tangential to me.

Brina
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« Reply #18: May 28, 2009, 07:06:48 pm »

Now who is "fluffy bunny", who is "fundamentalist", and who is the open minded tempered with enlightenment here?

In the example that you have given, none are fluffy or fundy in the way the terms are most often deployed here. One type of fluffy beer drinker would be one who says that all beer contains a secret ingredient that is gathered by virgins on the first new moon of the year in Siberia and who continues to insist that this is so despite all evidence to the contrary; the other type is the sort that insists that beer drinking never leads the True Beer Drinker (TM) to a level of intoxication where they are obnoxious and dangerous to those around them. When faced with drunken morons, such a bunny will claim that they cannot have drunken real beer.

A fundamentalist beer drinker would be one who insists that because they enjoy beer on a Friday, but not on a Saturday, that all people must drink beer on Friday and none can drink beer on Saturday. The two can be combined to derive a person who insists on beers on Friday and decries beers on Saturday, because the ancient Ascended Conga Line Masters always intended beer to be drunk in accordance with these rules.
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« Reply #19: May 28, 2009, 07:30:00 pm »

I am, for what it's worth, very in the Yewberry camp as far as definitions of 'fluffy bunny'

One way I look at it might be helpful, though - and that's someone who has particular kinds of boundary issues. There are a bunch that might be in play, but some include:

- the difference between fact and personal preference/opinion.

- boundaries about different choices. We don't need to see the world in the same ways, or want the same things, or do them the same ways, and someone doing something differently from me doesn't diminish me or what I'm doing (or shouldn't.)

- boundaries around acceptance and community. For example, the idea that everyone needs to accept *everyone* or treat everyone with 'perfect love and perfect trust'. People get to decide where and how they spend their time and energy, and who they open their homes, hearts, and deeper selves to.

- a certain willful denial of stuff they don't want to deal with. There's a big difference between someone choosing to focus on the light and love and happy things, but recognising that harder stuff exists and needs to be dealt with sometimes - and someone who refuses to admit it's there at all.

- boundaries about personal interactions, especially overreacting about initial interactions meaning more than they really should. (Example of this one below. )

... but who can define who and what true Fluffybunnies and Fundies are and when is the particular time where (which?)* it is not longer expedient to talk with them?
Only  yourself, or not?
And to check this out you have to talk to them, haven´t you?  Wink

Maybe, you are so "ignorant" to say: "It doesn´t interessts me enough, to engage my time and my energy".
This point of view is ok, but it is definetly not mine.
Because I like to understand why people think what they think, and I like it too, to scrutinize somethink, so that I can form my own, well foundet oppinion about something/someone ...  Wink

I like to understand why people think the way they do too - but I also recognise that I've only got 24 hours in a day. I have to sleep, and I have to go to work, and I have a lot of other great conversations competing for my time and attention that are *also* about how people think, and what matters to them.

One of the frustrations for me with many more fluffy people is that they can't articulate *why* they think something, and many times, don't even seem to be interested in doing so. They want to say their say, and be done. There are times that's totally fine (someone's blog post, for example), but it doesn't necessarily make for a conversation where I can understand why something's engaging for them.

The way I balance it looks like this.

- I read fast, (and write fast), so I'm willing to give a lot of people online an exchange or two to see where things go.

- I try a couple of questions, phrased fairly gently. ("Oh, that's interesting - why do you do that?" rather than "Boy, that's wrong." or "Here's what I do, and why... what do you do, and why'd you pick that?") I see how those go.

- If someone's either refusing to bend on factual stuff (given reasonable time, resources, etc.) or is being persistently stubborn about listening to *me*, I might keep going - but more probably, I'm going to go off and spend more time in a conversation that's going deeper and further.

Potential face to face contact:
I have a coven, and we're currently open to new members, so we've had occasional expressions of interest every so often. One of the things we're actively looking for is someone who is open to engaging with new ideas and concepts - even ones that challenge them. (I'm a librarian, and my co-founder is an engineer, so we want people who will find that process fun and intriguing, not people who will find it upsetting or too stressful.)

We got an application from someone this spring where I went "Willful ignorance" fairly early on. She didn't read our website clearly, and asked several questions  that are covered there. In her introductory letter, she didn't answer several questions we ask. (Pretty basic stuff, like background, scheduling, etc. that give us an idea if a face to face meeting was worth everyone's time.)

And after reading her second email, I sent her a 'thanks but we don't think there's a potential fit." I got back a pretty heated email from her for making that decision without meeting her. I don't like the fact that decision obviously hurt her (who would?).

But I also don't owe her a precious free evening if I'm sure she's not going to fit well with how we work, just to make sure. What I owe her for sending an email is reading that email, taking it seriously (which I did: I read it in detail and made notes about specific things she said), and a polite and timely response. That's a healthy expectation for an initial contact, in my opinion. A deeply hurt response to some general questions is worrisome.

Is she fluffy? It's a little hard to tell from what she sent - and again, I would likely never use it to someone's face. But I *do* use those criteria as part of my choices about "Do I spend my spare time talking to her this week, or do I go have other conversations instead that look like they're going to be more rewarding and deeper."

(All of that said, I maintain a balance. One of the reasons I like online conversations is that it allows me to go deeper without wasting a lot of time if a particular interaction isn't meaningful for me. I can just move on to the next conversation and spend more time there. I spend a fair bit of time on newbie-focused Pagan boards for that reason - lots of new possibilities, but low obligation unless something clicks for the people involved.)
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« Reply #20: May 29, 2009, 10:15:06 am »


Grr you bashed my thread. Oh no I must be a fluffy, boohoo. Thank you for the time you put into my experiment! Glad to have everyone's wonderful input!

Labels.. pshh. You are what you are, and you are who you are. No one can make you do something you don't like if you really care so much about it.
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macushla
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« Reply #21: May 29, 2009, 11:11:03 am »

Labels.. pshh. You are what you are, and you are who you are. No one can make you do something you don't like if you really care so much about it.

I concur
(not that you need my validation Wink ).

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« Reply #22: May 29, 2009, 02:08:07 pm »

"Fluffy" is a moniker I reserve exclusively for those who are given independently verifiable facts and choose to ignore them.
Isn't the problem that often the interpretation of those facts are still subjective?

"You do not have to be initiated to be a Wiccan".

Fluffy or not?  For me, that would depend entirely on where you're standing...
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« Reply #23: May 30, 2009, 02:12:48 am »

Labels.. pshh.

Critical thinking = bad.  Check.

Brina
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« Reply #24: May 30, 2009, 08:09:55 am »

Labels.. pshh. You are what you are, and you are who you are.

But without labels, it is hard to talk about what you are, let along how similar or different what you are is to what others are.
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« Reply #25: May 30, 2009, 08:22:46 am »

But without labels, it is hard to talk about what you are, let along how similar or different what you are is to what others are.

Exactly.

And I notice no one's addressed my "24 hours in a day, and most of us need to make decisions about how and with whom we're going to spend that time *somehow*, and that is almost certainly going to involve some categories somewhere."

Does saying "people I want to spend time with" and "people I don't so much want to spend time with" sound better? Maybe. But it's also sometimes less useful than terms like "chosen family" "interesting conversationalists" and "fluffy - not the conversations I want to have today" when we're talking about groups of people in aggregate.
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macushla
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« Reply #26: May 30, 2009, 12:57:45 pm »


Does saying "people I want to spend time with" and "people I don't so much want to spend time with" sound better? Maybe. But it's also sometimes less useful than terms like "chosen family" "interesting conversationalists" and "fluffy - not the conversations I want to have today" when we're talking about groups of people in aggregate.

Then again, there's a lot of folks who can spout the nonfluffy talk without sounding fundamentalist but who its nothing but talk, nothing but empty verbal parroting.

The way they live and the results of that lifestyle proves otherwise. They're all theory without actual involvement.




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« Reply #27: May 30, 2009, 01:55:34 pm »

Then again, there's a lot of folks who can spout the nonfluffy talk without sounding fundamentalist but who its nothing but talk, nothing but empty verbal parroting.

The way they live and the results of that lifestyle proves otherwise. They're all theory without actual involvement.

Well, yeah. But they're probably a separate category. (I've seen this one referred to as 'armchair occultist' or 'armchair witches' or whatever other group noun makes sense.) In my personal 'where is my time probably most meaningfully spent for me, personally', they rank a bit above the purely fluffy,  because there's often seeds in those conversations that I can take away and do other things with later.

I'm trying to be careful here to avoid 'productive' as a descriptive for how I approach conversation. I don't think every conversation I have needs to have deep meaning and productive outcomes, because no one can live like that.

But I do like to keep an eye on the balance in conversations, and to spend the vast majority of my time - say, 75 or 80% in conversations that do one of the following:
- get me thinking in a new way (some fluffy conversations will do this, but in general, chatting with new folks who are trying to dig deeply into something does *more* of it in a way that's more enjoyable and satisfying for me. As of course, do conversations with people who have some experience under their belts.)
- help maintain relationships I care a lot about (chatting with friends counts here!)d
- let me help someone find info or resources they care about. (as a librarian, I'm inclined towards this particular one by nature, even when I'm not at work.)

Pure amusement, entertainment, random superficial chats with someone I don't know very well, etc. all fit into that last 20% or so and there's a lot of competition for that chunk of the pie! In general, I prefer to spend it chatting with people I've got multiple points of connection with, since those are most likely to turn into ongoing conversations and interactions I'll enjoy and thrive with down the road.

The labels, such as they are, are an internal way for me to keep an eye on that balance without getting into excrutiating detail. If I say to myself "Y'know, I'm feeling a bit cranky today, and I've spent three or four hours this week answering posts from people who started out asking for info, but whose responses are increasingly fluffy"[1] then maybe, it's a good idea for me to go do something else. 

I could put something else in place of the 'fluffy', but a) we're talking about an internal monologue here, and I know what I mean when I say that word and b) spending detailed time breaking down each interaction at that particular point (where I'm already a little cranky, frustrated, or just want to have a good conversation about a new topic) doesn't improve anything. Figuring out what *will* make those good things happen is my goal, so getting there promptly (via a label and quick internal check-in) makes a lot of sense.

Same way, having a "Hey, got an inquiry, but there are bits that seem a little fluffy." to my covenmate about a prospective person means I can quickly convey a basic 'read' on someone interested in our group, without going into excrutiating detail (since we prefer to read it independently and then see where our takes match up the next time we talk in person.) And it gives us a shared starting point for questions we might want to dig more deeply into.

Same deal goes occasionally for backchannel conversations on various forums (which I don't do very often): a quick shared label can get us started further into the conversation than a painstaking "Well, in her second sentence, she might seem to come across as ignoring the actual history of the witch trials." In that case, I might go (again, to someone I know shares the label's definition or is at least aware of how I use it) "Fluffy about the history, but I liked what she said about X, and I'm trying to figure out how to respond her second question, Y - if I say this, does it make sense?" (so that I could then go and post in a way that engages conversation and develops it.) 

[1] I hang out on several newbie friendly boards - one of the reasons I've stayed here for so long is that this *doesn't* happen very much here. I find it incredibly restful as a result, because my chances of 'good conversation' are so high. But it does happen a fair amount elsewhere. Or, the closely-related response, of "Yeah, but..." where person asks for help, person then spends lots of time explaining in detail why all the solutions suggestions just plain won't work, person demands more solutions. That gets tiring after a while.
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« Reply #28: May 30, 2009, 05:18:34 pm »

Same deal goes occasionally for backchannel conversations on various forums (which I don't do very often): a quick shared label can get us started further into the conversation than a painstaking "Well, in her second sentence, she might seem to come across as ignoring the actual history of the witch trials." In that case, I might go (again, to someone I know shares the label's definition or is at least aware of how I use it) "Fluffy about the history, but I liked what she said about X, and I'm trying to figure out how to respond her second question, Y - if I say this, does it make sense?" (so that I could then go and post in a way that engages conversation and develops it.) 

This points out something we don't discuss much. it's possible for a person only be "fluffy" in one particular area. For example, a physicist I used to know who believed in UFOs and that the government was covering up all sorts of encounters with aliens. No amount of evidence could have convinced him other.  He was non-fluffy about just about everything else but so fluffy he could rot teeth when it came to UFOs and alien encounters.
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« Reply #29: May 30, 2009, 07:16:10 pm »

The way they live and the results of that lifestyle proves otherwise. They're all theory without actual involvement.

On the alternative side, with what are people involved if they have no theory? Can their behaviour truly be involvement, when they have so little understanding of their actions?
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