Summary of Feelings are helpful, but not for idiots

In her post Feelings are helpful, but not for idiots Diana Coman discusses the correct way to utilize feelings and how a misunderstanding of them may be the root cause of a behavioral pattern she noticed. She begins by noting that she grew up in a different cultural space than the English speaking world. Having lived in various places with a collection of cultures, she acquired an interest for studying the differences between groups. She notes that examining what appears to be only a small difference in behavior can reveal deep information about a culture.

Upon first interacting with English speakers, she was surprised by a quirk: namely that they would ask how she felt about something in situations that called for thinking. They asked questions such as, "What do you feel is a fair price for X?" Diana Coman states that the reason for this has always puzzled her, but she has recently acquired information that has lead her to consider that the aforementioned behavior may be an attempt at flattery.

Diana Coman links to a post written by hanbot, Your Feelings are Out to Get You. She uses this piece as an example of how she came to believe some English speakers have tied the importance of their feelings to their self worth. She figures that consequently someone in the role of a "sales person" may be taking advantage of this cultural phenomenon of feelings being tied to self worth when they ask what someone feels about something. She states that this attempt to make someone feel important by asking how they feel would not work on any sane person who thinks as well as feels.

Diana Coman continues her piece by explaining how to actually benefit from feelings and the consequence of misusing them. She explains that feelings can be useful for revealing information about oneself, but not for understanding the outside world. She claims specifically, "What you feel about something can tell you a lot about your own -and at times very deeply buried- expectations, assumptions and investments." But she also states that feelings by themselves do not infuse one with this self-knowledge, that can only be obtained by a close examination of those feelings. Finally, she concludes with a warning about the misuse of feelings. Feelings will continue to show an image of the self despite one trying to use them to determine the state of the outside world or to measure one's self worth. If feelings are continuously misused, the image they show will become too clear to misinterpret causing one to have to choose between giving up their stupidity or giving up their life.

3 Responses to “Summary of Feelings are helpful, but not for idiots

  1. Diana Coman says:

    This reads like a very careful-stepping, first attempt at a summary, more like point to point paraphrasing than a retelling of the whole. What's the difference between those two?

    There are a few bits that you got/expressed wrong in there, for instance "Having lived in various places with a collection of cultures, she acquired an interest for studying the differences between groups" (it's the other way around, lolz) or "She uses this piece as an example" (no, not an example but as a source) or "someone in the role of a "sales person"" (no, it's about a pattern of behaviour not about a role). What's the difference between an example and a source and why is that piece a source there and not an example?

    The initial attempt to state the message is a good way to start but you need to get better at it really. I can see that it possibly tripped you over a bit there as it was my text and so you approached it from a certain angle but don't confuse a text with its author. Focus on what is the claim of the text (and be aware that this is all it ever is, a claim and nothing more, no "correct way" as a given), how is it structured, what is the scope it discusses, what arguments it brings and what conclusion does it reach. Re-read the piece a couple of times, it helps and question more what you read, it's the only way to actually acquire something for yourself out of it - whatever knowledge you gain, it can't be just transplanted like that, taken from one text or another verbatim or at most paraphrased.

    P.S. I really like though your choice of words here: "feelings by themselves do not infuse one with this self-knowledge."

  2. whaack says:

    The difference between a point to point paraphrasing and a retelling of the whole is that the paraphrasing maintains almost an identical structure to the original piece and is just a rewording/reduction on the piece. A summary is also a reduction on the original piece but it doesn't need to keep the same structure as long as it makes the same argument including the most important points along the way. I am guilty of doing the former as you say.

    An example is an element in a group that is shown to give general information about the rest of the elements in the group. A source is a place where information originates from. The linked piece is not an example, because it is not being used to give information about other pieces that you have read. The linked piece is a source because it is a place where the information comes from that brings you to your conclusion.

    Re my wrong point on the "sales person." I want to make sure it was my wording that was poor and not my comprehension of what you wrote. From my understanding, this behavior emerges when someone is trying to sell something. This doesn't need to literally be a sales person, it can be anyone trying to be persuasive.

    When you say "the initial attempt to state the message" you are referring to my attempt to write the summary, not just my first sentence / paragraph, correct? (I spent a lot of time rewriting that first sentence.) I'm not sure what you mean by confusing the text with the author. Perhaps you mean that when I am summarizing I am switching between prefixing sentences with "Diana Coman stated" and then having statements such as

    " Having lived in various places with a collection of cultures, she acquired an interest for studying the differences between groups. "

    There's no information that the above is in the text itself. (ik, it wasn't actually in the text and it was my incorrect inference), So a reader may think that I am giving background information.

    --

    And ty, the benefit from more carefully digesting the information in this piece is probably >> than the benefit from the exercise of writing a summary.

  3. Diana Coman says:

    "When you say "the initial attempt to state the message" you are referring to my attempt to write the summary, not just my first sentence / paragraph, correct?" - both really. The first sentence is clearly worked on and that shows, yes, but it's not yet what it should be.

    "I'm not sure what you mean by confusing the text with the author." - the "correct way" wording you chose in that 1st sentence statement suggested here that you accepted the text's conclusion/judgment upfront, hence my don't confuse the text with the person. If that's not what happened, all right but still see above: be aware that this is all it ever is, a claim and nothing more, no "correct way" as a given.

    You're welcome. And keep at the more careful digesting of information, certainly.

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