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SeventhSense's avatar

Is Fluther just mental masturbation?

Asked by SeventhSense (18874points) February 18th, 2010

Not that I have an opinion either way. Self explanatory or at least
I imagine it to be.
Hopefully the Mod Squad will allow this one to stay open and not force some elaboration. I think the open ended question is best. Otherwise we start to respond to questioners rather than questions.

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21 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

It’s not self-explanatory to me. What do you mean by “mental masturbation”? It is a glib phrase but I would be unable to define it.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Correct me if I’m wrong but I think “garbage in, garbage out” applies here.
Diamonds in, diamonds out also applies.
I think this is why they have the “good question” thing happening, yes?

SeventhSense's avatar

Well electronic means of communication are most peculiar in that they are more individualized and about the self more than any other type of communication and to what extent is that just a foray into ones own mind more than an actual communication.

wundayatta's avatar

Well, it sure ain’t physical masturbation!

Sorry. Just jerkin’ your chain.

faye's avatar

It is an addiction but I don’t think it’s masturbation, I don’t get mental orgasms, some laughs though. Unless some of the angry comments that end up removed could be that, hmm.@Captain, that’s what I told my kids about tv shows for years!

SeventhSense's avatar

Edit: never mind

tinyfaery's avatar


faye's avatar

@SeventhSense were you trying to say i was spewing garbage?

augustlan's avatar

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it masturbation, though there is definitely pleasure involved. Maybe more like… stimulation. << Still feels good, but no end goal in mind.

SeventhSense's avatar

I give up. I can’t pose a question.

Steve_A's avatar

Are you saying that possibly in some cases we are not getting anywhere but rather just dong it for the sake of get our “mental masturbation”? As in open ended questions?

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes except for the part about open ended questions because I believe they raise more questions. I am more interested in questions than answers. I don’t believe there are anything but solutions so if we can ask the right questions we can implement the solutions that are already here.

Steve_A's avatar

Thats a good point, in a sense we need to be more specific?

SeventhSense's avatar

Well, I think more open ended questions which seek more questions are best. I think we have many specific questions of which we have or really don’t want to know the answers. For example. How can we stop or prevent a global crisis in financial markets again? Experts know our system of fractional reserve banking is flawed. Experts know that it will inevitably happen again. The fact that the average person has debilitating debt that is unsustainable and the whole sytem is essentially a house of cards. I’m no wizard but I knew 5 years before the last fiasco that it was going to collapse as did many others. Why did they not plan for a restructuring after the anticipated bailout? But we resist difficult truths or just want to stick our heads in the sand.

So the question is what other questions can we raise which will eventually decimate denial? Essentially shooting holes in the insane resistance to rationality. We meanwhile pass the time in happy diversions. But maybe I’m just frustrated with liars and people who keep insisting that it’s not as bad as it seems as we all pass the time in happy diversions with a big smile on our face toting a designer credit card emblazoned with our mug.

augustlan's avatar

OK, now I think I have a better grasp of your question. I’m very interested in this myself. I think finding a way to bring everyone to the “logic” table is extremely important (not on Fluther per se, but in the wider world). We can’t even get people to come to an agreement on thin or thick crust pizza, let alone the nature of the Earth, whether health care for all is good or bad, or determining what type of government we should (or do!) have. It seems people get more pigheaded by the day – more insistent about keeping their blinders on – and we get farther and farther apart. Meanwhile, we’re just ‘killing time’ with diversions… like Fluther, yes? If that is your point, then I am in agreement with your basic premise.

That said, I do think this makes a difference, small though it may be. I think of it like the ripple effect. All of the intelligent discourse that goes on here, along with the warmth and care that most of the community shares can make a difference. All it takes is for one person to walk away more enlightened, more hopeful, and they will spread that around. In the end, that’s how change is made… one person at a time.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

In a way, sure. I’m a fan of controlled chaos and at times that goes on in fluther. We come here and get a feel for each other’s online personas based on structured questions but from there, anything can happen. I can be online with several people I know in real life and we’ll interact and share through questions and comment-inspired questions we might not have if we’d just been hanging out together irl for a day. There is often no specific goal other than feeling out others and reflecting off of that and maybe learning something new in the process.

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s interesting. I don’t know anyone on here from real life. If I did I think it would change the dynamic for me.

liminal's avatar

@SeventhSense I think this is a wonderful question.

I have said this elsewhere, I think a majority of what happens on fluther, through most electronic communication for that matter, is an individual internal process. Meaning people often find themselves refining and expressing what they believe along with why they believe it. I know it is often true for me and I think it is a positive thing.

I also think it is important to put energy towards engaging beyond mental masturbation if we really intend to have authentic conversation. I have great respect for people who notice the perceptions of others and engage with them, particularly, when they open themselves up to change of perception.

I have heard you talk about cognitive dissonance before. It seems to me figuring out how to write questions and answers that stir our dissonance, yet also move us to learn, instead of running away or fighting would go a long way towards gaining truth and authenticity. I haven’t figured it out how to do this yet. I keep pondering it though.

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s why I can’t hate you even though you’re a mod and I’m a rebel. You’re such an optimist and a hopeful. Not everyone realizes how much of an optimist I am as well. I should have given up years ago but I’m driven towards something. We stand in the gap between past and future. We’ll all fill it in eventually and cross over.

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