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From: Eddie ( -
Subject: Re: I know what you mean!
Date: June 26, 2010 at 11:49 am PST

In Reply to: Re: I know what you mean! posted by Jo Stepaniak on June 9, 2010 at 1:07 pm:

A good precaution about the internet: "here thar be trolls". Trolls live to create controversy within internet discussions. Some of the "in-fighting" you see may very well be manufactured. Of course, trolls have a fertile valley to sow, according to researchers, we human beings love to argue, even if we know we don't have a chance to win the person over.

Research has shown that expressing a viewpoint different from everyone else activates the part of the brain that is also activated when one is angry. Some people are better at recognizing and controlling that physiology.

It's seductive to assume that since we're such a relatively small percentage of the population that we must all think the same. Yet, especially now, people become vegetarian (at least) for many reasons. A majority of vegetarians now say health concerns are one of the most important driving forces for their decision. It may be expected that one that considers others' health and well-being as their primary consideration may not play well with one that considers their own health and well-being as the most important and vice versa.

Most people choose to be vegetarian at a young age - highest frequencies being 19,20, and 21. Does youthful zeal tend to lead to more absolute statements and hard-lines? I don't know, but it did when I was that age.

Internet discussion groups still tend to be dominated by men, even if not in sheer numbers so much anymore. Male discussion style tends to be different from female. Male style tends to be more adversarial, including strong often contentious assertions, self-promotion, and sarcasm. Females tend towards supportiveness and attenuation. I'd like to think that I, and other men who've chosen veganism, have worked to un-learn some of the socialization and counter some of what may be etched in our genes to contribute more deeply to discussions. But that may be wishful thinking.

Given the nature of veganism - a compassionate, non-conformist path based on strongly held convictions on a most basic, critical necessity of life - it's truly a wonder to me that there are not *more* arguments and more *in-fighting*. Believe me, I've participated in much more controversial, non-social movement discussion groups.

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