The useful dog

Me, I’m pretty argumentative, I’m always disagreeing with people and there was a time I used to tell them about it a lot but two things happened. I saw that reason rarely influences opinion, not that all my views were rational mind you, and I began to understand the ascending role that fear plays in the context of personal expression. Fear, in the way people attempted to invoke it in their opponents with increasing regularity and the way it moulded the expression of their own opinions. It’s pointless arguing with someone who is not just scared to say what they think but has actually regressed to the state, where they’ve lost the ability to form their own opinion through fear. Once you get to a certain point though, fear, far from suppressing argument, actually makes people more combative, belligerent even. You can recognise this with something I call the useful dog scenario. What does a useful dog try to demonstrate to their master? Their utility of course and they do that through demonstration of their eagerness to fulfil that utility. When fear is a primary motivator, that eagerness will be all the more conspicuously demonstrative.

I’m pretty certain that you recognise the useful dog analogy, it’s just a so ubiquitous mode of behaviour but its relevance is not universal. I’ve got news for you, not only is the useful dog’s relevance, culturally specific, in that it’s prevalence is not uniform across cultures. That prevalence is further stratified, by social divisions within a culture. That principle can be summarised with: the more you have, the more you have to lose. So does that mean that the useful dog is exclusive to those with a stake in their society? No not really, yes you will see the useful dog raise his snout, during celebrity infighting, between people whose position is dependant on public approval but this pooch, is almost as likely, to be manifest though people with almost nothing at stake. Aspiration is the key to their behaviour, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Woof woof

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~ by deadspidereye on February 28, 2016.

4 Responses to “The useful dog”

  1. Nice in defense of ambition and argumentation. But you can trim here. First sentence you don’t need me. And i`d replace the second i with a comma.

    • Hi Jason, I’m halfway through a bottle of rum at the moment, so please forgive me if I’m not making sense. That’s a particularly interesting, though teensy bit didactic comment. What can I say in my defence, -me- it’s just a way of avoiding starting a piece with, -I- and I like me, you know -me and you and dog named Sue-. Anyway, when I sober up, I’ve gotta remember to read Rabbit Foot Blues. The title’s a killer off the bat.

  2. Didactic is my nature. I’m an ex high school english teacher. But saving words is always better. Your work is strong, but it will punch harder once you’ve trimmed the fat of thr piece. Nobody likes to read more than they must. Sadly.

  3. And i must admit: I’ve got a masters in writing and i had to look up a couple of your words. I enjoy learning new words, but most don’t. Just a note. Never dumb down. Though there’s always an easier way to something intelligent.

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