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Unread 07-05-2014, 06:28 AM
Birch Dragon's Avatar
Birch Dragon Birch Dragon is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2013
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Re: Do you think people are more like their opposite sings?

[sigh]
And now I find myself in the difficult position of having to defend my motivations. I also find myself, like so many of the actual, good, knowledgeable astrologers once on this site who have been turning away from it as of late, saddened and turned off by what I’m reading.

This thread has turned into exactly the kind of poison that I don’t have time for, with my friend greybeard’s initial, harsh post as the seed of that poison. And I would accept that I can simply stop reading and let that poison go on without me, except that I’ve foolishly let myself get dragged in.
The last two posts by anne3 have insinuated, most obviously by putting quotes around “keeping the peace,” that my motivations were something other than keeping peace. The insinuation is that my actual motives were to defend greybeard and in the process justify anne3’s victimization. The insinuation is that I see the greybeard/anne3 incident on this thread the way anne3 does – as a fight between greybeard and anne3, where one side must be in the right and the other wrong – and so in suggesting as I have that she might try a certain empathy for her attacker/enemy, I am actually, de facto, siding with greybeard and effectively attacking her in the fight (or at least granting legitimacy to her attack).

I find this insinuation to be just as rude, painful and besmirching of my character as greybeard’s initial post was to anne3. In fact, this is the first time on this site – except for my initial squabble with greybeard – that I feel like I have been the victim of an attack. And it changes how I see this site. Suddenly I feel much less secure about what I say here.

I knew typing that post was a risk – the inherent superficiality of an internet site is not the place to attempt a little reconciliation - and I lost the gamble. So be it. Except now - because every thread, by its nature, winds up being a kind of narrative - my motivations are left to be read through anne3’s misguided interpretation of them. As much as I just want to avoid this thread entirely, I feel I can’t let this stand. I have to decouple anne3’s interpretation of my post from my actual motivations behind it. As much as I don’t want the drama, I am forced to say something to defend myself.



I am a citizen of the AW Astrologers’ Community site. I believe I am a citizen of good standing. I bring some value to this site, and this site is of value to me in my life. I have given good will to this community and received it in return. I give the benefit of the doubt to posters I deal with and believe I’ve earned the same in return. Except for my initial fracas with greybeard, which was relatively quickly reconciled, I’ve never had a negative issue or, as far as I know, been the cause of a negative issue with anyone on this site. And that’s how I want it to stay. I care about the integrity of this site and the integrity of my persona on this site – and the previous posts where anne3 insinuates that I am not genuinely, primarily concerned with conflict resolution threatens that integrity.

I defend myself here for posterity. It’s crucial to me, to my integrity and to my sense of security on this website, that fellow community members whose opinions I respect, and who hopefully respect mine, now or in the future, do not read my previous post through anne3’s eyes.

To which end, I reluctantly elaborate on where I am coming from.
(And I say “reluctantly” for this reason: This is an anonymous site and because I am to some small degree a public figure – in my life off this site; the life I don’t share with you – I’m nervous about saying this much about myself. Yet here I feel forced to say it.)

I am a professor. Of strong intellectual pedigree. I am also a trained mediator. I am not an astrologer. I teach broadly in the liberal arts but my research focus is largely on peace and conflict. That research focus is a manifestation of my personal and spiritual character. Who I am has led me to it. I write about and have lived in real conflict zones – places where people murder each other, and each other’s children, over ideology, identity, where you live, squabbles.
I know a great deal – from both study and experience – about what it takes to live through and get past conflict. I also know a great deal about what creates obstacles to the resolution of conflict.
It is simply in my nature – and I’m sure the good astrologers on this site see this when they look at my chart – to wince at conflict and at least take a quick stab at resolving it. On an internet site there is little at stake and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. So be it.
One factor that maintains conflict is clinging to narratives of right and wrong, victim and victimizer. That’s not to say we can’t identify actual victims and victimizers. But all cases of conflict, to truly get resolved, have to push beyond that perspective and into deeper considerations of what‘s at play. Sometimes what we think solves conflicts is simply crushing or delegitimizing one party that we see as (and who may well be) in the wrong. But in that, almost always, the outcome is that conflict and resentment continues to fester.
What solves conflicts is when the conflicted parties can begin to see why the other side did what they did. What solves conflict is when the two parties begin to empathize with the other – and shift their perspectives and positions.

I see now that empathy-guided resolution is way beyond where we will ever get with the small conflict that erupted in this thread. Again, if my “keep the peace” post is rejected, so be it. But I make it as someone who comes from the perspective I’ve just described. In quarrels, even in the rare cases where someone is clearly wrong and the other person clearly right, resolution doesn’t occur by simply insisting on the rightness of one party and the wrongness of the other – even if there is truth in it. Resolution comes in trying to get each party to start to see the other as a flawed human (as we all are) with troubles, psychological complexities, and yet still something positive to offer. In that – and in the end, only in that - does conflict actually dissolve.
The high spiritual edict of Jesus Christ to “love even your enemy” is not merely Neptunian utopianism. It has very real, pragmatic, practical application in the world of human beings. Higher spiritual edicts really do help us live better lives.

My post above, where I attempted to humanize greybeard to anne3, was nothing more than a quick, brief, superficial, impotent effort (as posts on an internet site must be) to suggest this vital principle to anne3 – empathize, love your enemy – as a way of dealing with the conflict that greybeard initiated. That was my motivation. My method. And it is a high one. Anne3 may not be able to believe that someone really has such a motivation, or believes in such a method. But I do. And if I am to continue on this website I need that to be known.

In making my initial post I knew the risk was that readers would simply respond – “Hey, I’m not looking for conflict resolution. Nobody asked you to butt in and try to resolve anything.” So it was a small gamble that I lost. That is fine and I accept it.
Except, again, the insinuation is clear in previous posts that my motivations were less than what I presented them to be. Which deeply offends me.



To be clear, I need to clarify why my "peace" post seemed one sided. Why I suggested to anne3 that she essentially forgive greybeard, but didn’t also suggest to greybeard that he apologize. (When greybeard and I had our one altercation, he apologized (unforced, unsolicited), and it was the crucial moment that broke conflict and allowed reconciliation). This seeming one-sidedness appears to be, more than anything, the evidence anne3 is suggesting for why I was not really trying to “make peace.”
So let me be clear about it (and rather than make assumptions and insinuations, anne3, I would have appreciated it if you just asked me, or engaged in further conversation.)
That post was aimed at anne3 and not greybeard because greybeard is no longer reading this thread. Why would he be? So I was talking to anne3 only. Greybeard was not listening. If I were talking to greybeard, I’d say other things.
To show good faith and equanimity, I’ll write now, in public, what I would say in kind to greybeard --- and hope this doesn’t simply feel like an attack on greybread, only deepening the poison this thread has managed to materialize.

“My friend greybeard, you remain one of only a relatively small number of real, knowledged, committed astrologers on this site. I suspect that you, like the several good, actual astrologers I’ve watched leave this site over the last two months or so, are increasingly frustrated with the Astrologers' Community. And I’ve noticed as of late some of your posts have been more curt, snippy and even ruder than usual. The problem is: that way of getting your point across doesn’t help. It adds to the frustration and aggravation on this site. We need you to be a leader, because many of us look to folks like you on this board. We come here to gain knowledge and have insightful astro-conversations, and you can teach it and give it. But when you bark at any one of us, we all cringe – and we lose you as the leader we need you to be. An apology to anne3 would be good for everyone. Pragmatically, it’s a matter of psychology – something you’re usually so deft at. By way of human psychology, you’re snippiest quips don’t help get your useful messages across. They hinder it. Yes, we are annoying amateurs who say we want answers and then don't listen to - even argue with - the people like yourself who actually have some answers. But I’m begging you to have patience with us because we don’t know better yet. When you bark at us we all lose you.”

What I seem to be forgetting here is that the raw rudeness of treating anne3 the way greybeard does in his post is just itself an inherent problem. It goes against the ethos of this website, if not general decency. Granted. But I’m not convinced that it’s the opener in my gambit for reconciliation that would actually reach greybeard.
It IS what anne3 needs to hear. That she came on to this site innocently and was smacked in the face by a post that as far as she can see came out of the blue. It’s entirely understandable that anne3 needs to hear that there was just something flat out wrong about that. So let’s say it. We all see that. Greybeard was rude and the harshness of his post was disrespectful.
It doesn’t actually resolve the issue to just leave it there, though.
You see… I’m not seeing this from anne3’s side or greybeard’s side because – like all conflicts – it’s not really about “us vs. them,” “me vs. you,” “anne3 vs. greybeard” – or who’s right, who’s wrong. It’s about the people and relationships on this site – how they have come to this conflicted place and how to de-escalate and turn them back into something harmonious. Greybeard’s feelings and perspectives, frustrations and hurts – from whence his snippy post initially stemmed - matter too. Just as much as anne3’s righteous indignation. Or mine.
If we are genuinely light-minded, spiritually-minded people, we will not settle for simply attacking greybeard back, casting him out or defining him as the bad guy. We will care for him as well as anne3. Has anyone asked where the snippiness in greybeard's post came from? As if it came from nowhere. As if greybeard is just a monster. If we actually are people of light, we will feel for anne3 and greybeard equally, and try to ease both their pains. Nobody just writes what greybeard writes without some pain behind it.



Now, finally, however any fellow reader of this thread wants to respond or not respond to this final post of mine, I want to note that I’ll not be reading those responses nor responding to them. Once this is posted I’ll not be returning to this thread. This post is an Announcement of my stance and perspective – again, primarily to try and save/maintain my integrity on this site. It is an account of conflict resolution that carries more authority and weight than the anonymity of this site allows me to make clear. It’s not up for debate or discussion here. I myself don’t plan on having any further conversation on the subject. The reason being that I don’t trust that anything I or anyone else has to further say on the matter can do anything but add to the poison I already see festering here. I’ve allowed myself to get dragged into something seemingly small but that has wound up, ever-so-subtly and utterly falsely, leaving a stain on my character.
And for whatever reason other posters come to the AW Astrologers’ Community website, that poison is decidedly not what I come here for.


Last edited by Birch Dragon; 07-05-2014 at 06:47 AM.
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