Monday, February 1, 2010

Conformity as an enemy of self-esteem

Conformity is the process by which one adjusts one's behavior, values and beliefs to those which one holds as acceptable by other people.

If one observes a child or an adult trying to conform, one can see that the underlying emotion in their behavior is fear and a sense of loss of control.
They are driven by fear to say certain "acceptable" things that will make them feel that they belong. They are always in a pursuit of pleasing some external authority and never find the serenity of self-approval and self-appreciation.

Conformity is not just a harmless habit, which comes down to nothing more than making sure to wear the right brand of jeans and to exhibit the right kind of opinions and interests - these are merely the symptoms, the external manifestations, of a deep spiritual, psychological problem.


Conformity is a damaging idea that targets nothing short of an individual's entire spiritual life: One's self-esteem, sense of personal identity, enjoyment of values and the possibility of any fulfilling relationship.

Most parents not realizing this, encourage their children to conform, thinking that "a child needs to have friends", "a child needs to learn to be socially acceptable to succeed in this world".
Little do they know that they ensure that if the child has any friends by this method, there is nothing left but an empty puppet to enjoy them.
If an individual cannot enjoy friends, what's the point of having them? But the damage goes much deeper and eliminates not just one's ability to enjoy friends, but one's ability to enjoy - anything.

Teaching a child that conformity is good does not take a full blown indoctrination - it can be done by hints. For example, if a child expresses concern that he is "not like the other kids" in some regard, the parent can either ensure him that being himself is the good, or the parent can help the child be like the others, in which case, the parent would be implicitly teaching the child that this is the right course of action.
Parents can teach a kid "not to make a fas" about his or her personal emotions in order to maintain a socially acceptable image, or they can teach them that the child's inner life matters more than social appearance by showing such preference themselves.
Then, parents also teach their kids how to judge themselves by showing what they themselves appreciate about what the child does. If parents show no appreciation for a child's independent thinking and creativity, but show great pleasure when he brings 5 friends home - what kind of lesson are they teaching their kid?


When one accepts conformity, one accepts a standard by which to judge oneself - one attempts to switch the role of the judge to other people. However, by the nature of SELF-esteem, that is not possible. One's subconscious then attempts to evaluate one's worth by how well one considers oneself socially acceptable, how much and how many people like him or her, how comfortable people feel around him, how much they would appreciate his jokes, how well he falls under what people consider "the norm".
One turns oneself into an empty vessel whose worth is measured by how well one can read the social circumstances and adjust to be liked and to fit the social standards. Being an "outsider", different, someone who is not socially accepted by others creates, under this standard, a feeling of inadequacy, guilt and self-doubt. One thinks "if others don't like me, something must be wrong with me".

Externally, one picks one's clothes by the impression they make on others, not by one's own preference (which is never allowed to develop). One attempts to get friends that are "cool" - not ones that one has personal interest in (personal interests are eliminated over time in favor of the "acceptable" ones). If other people in one's environment have a girlfriend or a boyfriend one feels compelled to get one too, otherwise one feels inadequate - lacking worth. If other people have a certain amount of income or lifestyle, one tries to "live up" to it.

Internally, one gradually loses sense of personal identity and loses touch with one's values (depending to what extent one accept conformity as valid). It is not possible, under the emotional pressure of trying to pretend to be someone one's not, to continue to feel affection for one's values. One's values become worthless if they are outside social acceptances.
For example, if one has a socially unacceptable hobby (say, a guy that loves the ballet), one feels that to be any good, one must denounce it to fit into what is socially acceptable. If one finds certain things funny, but others do not - one attempts to change one's sense of humor.
It is not merely approval in the eyes of others a conformist seeks - but approval in one's own eyes by changing who one is.
It is in one's own mind that one feels inadequate if one fails to be "like the other kids". Approval from others becomes not a nice emotional bonus, but a pathological need.

However, achieving approval does not solve the chronic self-doubt. Even the most popular kid in the class is still driven by chronic fear, even more than others who are less popular. Why is that so? The reason is that conformity undercuts self-esteem, regardless of how well one becomes socially accepted by others.

Imagine you were asked to walk on an invisible bridge above an abyss - would you feel any better if 100 people told you the bridge is there once you make the first step? You reach down and feel nothing, you try to knock on it but nothing shows any resistance nor makes a sound. The same thing works in regard to self-esteem. When using conformity as a standard one can only rely on others to know that one is worth something. One has no personal evidence of it - no achievement (they are all discarded in favor of social acceptance), no spiritual traits one considers admirable (they are all discarded), and one learns that one cannot rely on oneself to protect one's values on the fly. A kid that accepts conformity may discover one day, to his or her amazement, that they threw away a favorite toy in the blink of an eye to prove to someone that they are "cool".

One learns that one is not trustworthy to maintain one's life, to achieve things or to protect what matters to one.
Even the most popular kid in class (or in adult life) experiences this - and the more popular they are the more detached from personal values they become.
The feeling of having one's personal identity disappear in the presence of others creates a chronic dread from the company of people, especially public speaking and makes one very hostile to independent people. It also prevents one from developing intimate relationships because one always sees others as something to "please", not as a real person.
Healthy relationships are built on mutual appreciation. One cannot enjoy appreciation nor give it if one gives up personal identity and a standard of values.

Since conformity is subconscious and automated, one may not even realize why one is experiencing such emotions, but only that, one feels tremendous pressure to act in a way others would approve of.

It could be limited to a feeling of pressure to smile to others and act pleasant and "normal", it could go deeper into a need to make one's jokes fit that which is "conventional" or in severe cases, an individual loses all personal identity and becomes a bitter clone of "the perfect social man" (in which case, not accidentally, they are preoccupied preaching acceptance of others, altruism and compassion and take every opportunity to crusade and blame anyone who is not "social" as a way to rationalize their emotional situation).

To concretize better how conformity is a psychological problem, let's contrast it to healthy self-esteem. How can one maintain stable self-esteem?
Self esteem comes from staying loyal to one's standard of judging people and of having one's standard grounded in reality.
For example, if one notices while growing up that lies and dishonesty are disastrous to human beings and one concludes that honesty is a virtue - then one clings to it no matter what. Suppose some person comes along and says "telling the truth is for suckers. The cool ones are those who can deceive others and get what they want from them" - then one does not surrender one's value of honesty in favor of living up to the other person's standard. If one does this consistently, one maintains healthy SELF ESTEEM - in the full sense of the words, and this feeling of serenity and confidence is always present in one's mind regardless of the circumstances or what other people think of one.

One gains self esteem from living up to one's ethical values and placing nothing above one's own judgement of what those values should be, based on one's experiences and knowledge. The hallmark of self esteem is selfishness - by which I don't mean the conventional term for "selfishness" as exploitation, but someone who always acts for his or her own benefit - in every second of the day one places nothing above one's own enjoyment (long and short term).

The trouble with conformity is that it becomes, after childhood, a subconscious, automatic way of thinking and feeling. One may act in ways that do not seem to be in pursuit of one's happiness, but to satisfy some other subconscious need. If one accepts the idea of conformity even for a limited time in childhood, then if left unchecked one is likely to suffer some automatic reactions relating to conformity as an adult.

The way to solve it, as with anything else, is to develop self awareness. To become aware of one's feelings and subconscious thoughts and then to correct them time and time again (if they are in need of correction). It is also important to go back to childhood memories and remember cases in which conformity was an issue. Thinking back to such cases and realizing what would have been the right course of action and the right response is another step in reprogramming your subconscious with the right values and standard.

Self-esteem is not automatic. It requires effort, judgment, refusal to compromise on one's values - but the result is a sense of serenity which is at the base of happiness and enjoyment of life.


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16 comments:

  1. Great post. I'm only not sure how valuable is to go back to one's own childhood to dig for the source of the problem.

    I find that as a mother I have to comform a lot, to be selective about what to say and what to talk about with others.

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  2. I'd read the post on purpose of your blogging and the rationale behind donation.

    I did not respond there, but here I partly do.

    While, money could be one of the modes of compensation for the effort you take in writing your posts, there is another form of compensation that you receive from readers putting in the effort to understand your posts and then responding to them. Plus, compensation also comes from the fact that many other readers also write their blog-posts, some of which you might come to value.

    In that sense, blogging is like helping an injured stranger lying on the road. The stranger may not immediately compensate you for helping him. But the underlying reason for your helping could be a form of shrewdness - I am helping this stranger today; when I am in need, some other stranger might help me. Likewise, through blogging I am disseminating my ideas, which others might find useful, and if I read others' blogs/comments, I too might come across ideas that I find useful.

    Personally, I am afraid and worried that you should not stop writing. Because you write beautifully, and I love reading what you write. My expressing this love and fear is only out of my selfishness, and I anticipate and hope, it will neither serve as a deterrent nor encouragement for you to continue writing. Because currently I am unemployed and not in a position to donate. :)

    In your current post I sensed at one point you had made a passing remark not just on conformity, but even its degree. As in, you acknowledged that conformity (and accompanying compromise of what constitutes the 'self') - both have degrees, and are not merely absent/present. Am I right in gathering this from your post?

    I ask this, because there are many occasions in real life when I do not reveal my true convictions (usually, related to my being atheist). But yes, I desist from lying. My justification for doing so is I do this to people who I do not value, those to whom revealing the 'self' is immaterial. But never do I forget my core beliefs, and the reasons behind them. And I do not lie to those who I value.

    You could read more about all this in a 6 part-post I had done. Here (click). After reading your current post I realized, some of your and my ideas are very similar on conformity. My post begins as an abstract piece, but gets more technical ahead.

    Take care.

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  3. Leo: This is a great comment because it is something that deserves its own essay.
    I think a lot of people believe that the only way to survive in life is by conforming - that if they don't act in a way that would make others like them they are doomed, would never get a job, friends and everyone would be hostile to them.

    This, however, is not true. Statically there is plenty of evidence for it, but not all people are like that. If you conclude that this is what is to be expected of people you are granting victory to those who are collectivists at heart and denying yourself of those people whom you could enjoy (in a mutual way).

    Granted, the world does not make it easy to form a positive view of people, but those good people are out there and the only way to find them is by being yourself.

    Let's examine in practical terms if what you think is indeed true... is it possible to survive without conforming?
    Let's take the most basic thing required for survival: a job. Is it possible to get a job based on your skills even if you spend the entire interview letting your face reflect exactly how you feel? And I tell you: Yes it is. I have gotten several jobs acting like this. In fact I even got one while insulting a test I was given.
    Some people do appreciate independence and open-ness. Especially people who are good for more than just talk.

    Your fear is based on a false generalization that it is impossible to survive being you. (It is a Dominique premise from The fountainhead, otherwise known as a malevolent universe premise).

    By conforming you are causing yourself damage because you create an emotional distance from your real values, you live in fear and never get to find like-minded people in real life.

    If you would want to change it it would require constant self-awareness of that fear and always reminding yourself that the world is not as negative as you imagine (I am assuming you have evidence of positive things people have to base such change on).

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  4. With time, if you can act like yourself consistently, you will also start seeing the world in a more positive view because you will see that some people do respond to the real you in a positive way.

    Those who do not are not worth the damage conformity is causing to your sense of values anyway.

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  5. Ketan: Regarding degrees of conformity - I'm glad you brought it up. I was considering writing more about it in the essay but it was long enough.

    Conformity can come in degrees: It can be more external, when a person thinks that they cannot survive unless they conform, or internal and going all the way to the core: A person actually considers themselves inadequate or a failure as a human being if they fail to match what is "socially acceptable". It could go in between if someone accepted conformity in childhood and created a habit of acting to please people but then later changed it as an adult, leaving a subconscious residue.


    Another point that I need to comment on is the circumstances in which to "act like yourself". The guiding principle here is rational selfishness. In other words: always keep your goals in mind and act accordingly. If one keeps that in mind then the need to "punch your boss in the nose to express disagreement" never arises. One keeps in mind that a relationship with a boss is about mutual productivity, and not sharing childhood secretes. One, therefore, does not need to stand on a podium and preach everything one thinks, but only discuss one's opinions with a purpose (enjoyment of a rational discourse, finding friends, strengthening bonds with other like-minded people etc').
    One should not feel under interrogation in daily life, but as the navigator of a journey to achieve one's values and goals.
    Being open about who one is is not a duty, but a tool to enjoy life.


    Regarding donations: I expect people to donate for only one reason: If they have a selfish desire to see more content published.
    I do not see other blog posts as a reward for my work. A reward for me is to make money.

    When I do get benefit from something, like a blog, or a series of lecture I do donate to my ability - simply because I realize that people need some reward to put in effort in what they do. In most cases a payment is required, so there is no need for a donation.

    I do not expect people to sell their pants to make a donation to my blog, nor am I expecting anyone to donate if they barely read the blog or barely mind if it is up or not.
    I think people should donate in correspondence with their hierarchy of values. If they gain a lot, it is in their interest to donate, if not - then not.
    I myself don't read a lot so I promise that I hold no bad feelings if someone places very little value in my blog. Each their own life and priority.

    Comments are most certainly not a reward for the hours of writing. I do enjoy them but they still take work, to understand, essentialize and in some cases a complex reply in required.

    For me a reward is money with which I can buy things I need and like. I expect my readers to understand that values need to be paid with values. And if I provide values then I should be getting something back as well (again, taking under account a reader's hierarchy of values and income).
    If the psychological visibility and social relations you get from your blog is enough of a reward for your writing - good for you. This is not the case for me. If I wanted fun discussions I could write in a much more lazy and less articulate way on some online forum, not wrecking my brain over every single piece (which, nonetheless, I enjoy doing).

    Well, that sums up what I have to say on the subject..

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  6. Ifat: You are right, but in the present context of my life, I find it hard to put it into practice.

    There aren't that many opportunities to socialise for home educated children, so I do comform a bit, by keeping to myself, in order for my offspring to get to enjoy the learning and friendship opportunities the groups offer.

    Once I felt tempted to wear T-shirts like "Enjoy Capitalism" in a group we used to go to (and even wanted to make a T-shirt "Test on an animal to save a child") but just decided to quit going. He had develop friendships with other children from that group which are worth to keep at this stage, for the purpose of play. I didn't want to jeopardise playdates by being openly antagonistic to their parents' ideals.

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  7. Thanks Ifat for the clarification on choice in situations to reveal one's real self and how it should be directed towards serving our happiness.

    When I talked of your receiving comments, the value I was talking of was not that a particular number of comments that would be received, or that it would strengthen your internet presence ("psychological visibility and social relations"), but that some comment might contain ideas that add value to your experience of reading them. For instance, some ideas might be such that you would have never thought about them, and find instantly appealing. Some could be such that they make you check your premises, and alter some of your conclusions. Some would be such that on surface they seem to challenge your belief-system, but on further thinking, you would end up satisfied with what you anyway had been believing in. In each of the three cases (assuming you value ideas, too, despite their being nonmaterialistic things), you take something from the commenter (in decreasing order, of course in each of the three cases). For instance, if you find something of value in one of my comments, how would you compensate me for that?

    And I don't know if you realize why I mentioned being unemployed currently, because of the currency exchange rate between US$ and Indian rupee!

    But anyway, I am not fundamentally opposed to your idea of donation at all. I just wanted to point out that there already might be some sort of compensation (in the ideas that the comments contain) that you could be missing. Exchange of ideas is like barter, but with a significant difference that in barter you know exactly what is the value of what you are getting in return, whereas in case of ideas you realize the value after understanding the exchanged idea. Yes, considering how advanced your thought process is, there will be very few ideas that you will find new, or will value to a great degree, but, a few ideas that you value to a small degree would be a case of 'inadequate' compensation, but not 'no' compensation. Also, just sometimes, there is a possibility of overcompensation, too! :)

    If you feel, in your responding to some specific points from me, more effort would be required than the value (satisfaction) you would gain in return, you need not respond....

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  8. ...Lastly, if it is a case that you will never visit the links I leave on your blog, then do tell me to that effect, because I type these comments through my cell phone, and if not mental, doing so takes a lot of 'digital' effort! ;)

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  9. If I would ever be at the point of learning from my readers more than I am offering to give them, I know I'd be running a lousy blog.

    When I want to learn from someone I go to a book by an author which I already know to be knowledgeable on a subject, I do not expect to find my education in comments on my blog. My blog is a place to pass on knowledge, not to request others to teach me and it has certainly proven to be just that.
    As much as this may hurt your ego, I do not seek my education in your blog or comments, but in books that I choose.

    The reason you leave your links on my blog is to promote your blog, not to benefit me as you'd like to pretend.

    All your comments so far here and on my other blog were questions - questions which I have answered using knowledge of Objectivism which took me years to gain.

    Your sense of entitlement that I am suppose to "feed" you and be grateful that you are fed as my only reward is not one that I respect.

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  10. It seems that you find the whole notion that I deserve payment for writing a joke.

    Does it bother you that I value my writing so much to think that I deserve money? I do. I know it is good and I know it deserves to be paid.

    If you can't handle that, fine, but don't waste my time trying to convince me that it is silly to feel entitled to get paid for writing. I don't.

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  11. Leo: That's an interesting story. I think it involves the same premise as before.

    How do you know that if you wear that T-shirt or reveal what you think that other people will shy away from you? This is again, assumed based on a negative view of people.
    You might discover that such a T-shirt might evoke an interesting conversation with some parents.
    Some may dislike having their views challenged - in which case you are jeopardizing the relationship, but you are doing so for the chance of finding parents which would share your love of ideas and thinking.
    For your kid this means that when he sees his mommy talking to others he gets the feeling that the world is safe and good because people can enjoy one another instead of talking in fear and trying to appear normal. you would be doing him a much greater service passing on these values and the value of independence and selfishness than if he ends up losing a friend or two (which, again, is not guaranteed to happen at all).

    Granted, if you are subconsciously convinced that people are bad, you might be more quick to attack for no good reason in which case you might loose some good people - but if you simply try to give people a chance and not assume negative stuff about them right away - you might be surprised.


    I know that a lot of people out there are afraid of any independent thought, of ideas that do not belong in what their "group" finds acceptable. Everyone at some point or another has to deal with such a person, and require something from them. For example, I had a lab guide in college that was a really nasty person. I had a commander in the army that was jealous and evil - My values depended on them (the commander could give me extra shifts or put me on trial for minor things and the lab guide could give me bad grades which I would not deserve).
    It is inevitable that some of your values would depend on bad people. However, to play by their rules is not in your best interest. Surely there is no reason to antagonize them on purpose - the best thing to do is to minimize your interaction with such people, but never to surrender your spiritual values and your emotion just to please them - that is a choice that will kick you in the ass, so to speak both in the long run and in the short run.

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  12. Ifat,

    Your comment was hurting - yes. But still, some of your assumptions/conclusions are wrong.

    "If I would ever be at the point of learning from my readers more than I am offering to give them, I know I'd be running a lousy blog."

    I have made an explicit mention of the distinction between "inadequate" compensation and "no" compensation, by which I obviously meant, through however much and whatever interaction occurs on your blog, the reader will take much more than you will get back. Did you miss this point? This is what I had said about the quality of your ideas:

    "Yes, considering how advanced your thought process is, there will be very few ideas that you will find new, or will value to a great degree"

    "As much as this may hurt your ego, I do not seek my education in your blog or comments, but in books that I choose."

    I have never implied or suggested that you seek knowledge from my comments. But if it is your belief that even inadvertently, nothing I write or one of your blog's respondents write could add something to what you already know, or have thought, then in my opinion, you are mistaken. You are entitled to believe that my opinion could also be mistaken.

    "The reason you leave your links on my blog is to promote your blog, not to benefit me as you'd like to pretend."

    Yes, no doubt when I leave a link, I do desire that you read it. You could call it promotion. But I do so only because I have been curious of what you think on the same issues on which I also have thought (and blogged). What are the differences in the conclusions you have drawn from mine, and why.

    Will this benefit you?

    I cannot be certain. If you are certain it will not, you have the option of not visiting those links. If you feel the links make the comment section of your blog cluttered, you can tell me and I won't leave them.

    Will your reading my blog-posts and commenting benefit me?

    Yes surely, because I have noted your thought process to be very systematic. If you find this relation (of my definitely benefiting and your definitely not benefiting from visiting the links I leave) parasitic, then I repeat, you are free to not visit the links. Where have I "pretended" that you will gain in knowledge visiting my blog? I have merely talked of a possibility. If you do not want to make a distinction between possibility and claim of an imminent occurrence, then I cannot help it.

    "All your comments so far here and on my other blog were questions - questions which I have answered using knowledge of Objectivism which took me years to gain."

    I have never disputed this fact! In fact, I am very grateful. And I know, my gratefulness is of not value to you, hence I do not mention it repeatedly. Though, it might seem a digression here, when I question you, you need not answer only what objectivism states, but I am more curious of what YOU feel. For instance, what I asked you about free will had nothing to do with objectivism, but your knowledge, and opinion based on biology and naturalism....

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  13. ..."Your sense of entitlement that I am suppose to "feed" you and be grateful that you are fed as my only reward is not one that I respect."

    Again, you are making me repeat this. I have explicitly stated that the number of comments is not the value I was talking of. No, I do not expect you to be grateful for "feeding" me. By the way, if you feel (from you usage of "feed") nothing of what I read here or what you tell me has ever been thought by me, then you are wrong.

    "It seems that you find the whole notion that I deserve payment for writing a joke."

    This is also an assumption - and wrong. While, I am capable of being sarcastic, I have not been sarcastic even once on your blog. Yes, mildly jocular, but again whatever I have stated on your blog up till now has been with the greatest sincerity I am capable of.

    "Does it bother you that I value my writing so much to think that I deserve money? I do. I know it is good and I know it deserves to be paid."

    No, I do not think of it as a joke. I value your writing a lot. I have stated that on more than one occasions. I have no reason to believe you should not value your writing to the degree you do. Why did you reach this conclusion that only because I was trying to point out one more thing of possible value to you, I have entirely disregarded the idea of your being paid in form of money?

    "...don't waste my time trying to convince me that it is silly to feel entitled to get paid for writing. I don't."

    Now, where did you get this idea that I am trying to convince you "that it is silly to get paid for writing" from? Which sentence of mine? This is what I had said in this regard: "But anyway, I am not fundamentally opposed to your idea of donation at all."

    I do not know why you had problem believing what I said at face value. Was something in my pattern of behavior making you doubt the sincerity? Okay Ifat, the best I can say is you have years of experience in judging people. Despite my clarifications, if you do not change your views about my intentions, there is nothing further I could do.

    The tone of your response was one of anger. Possibly, you are positively angry. And considering the fact that this is the only comment of mine that you have responded to, am I to take it that you do not want me to comment on your blog? I am not asking this with anger. While, what I comment is not of value to you, commenting indeed does take me effort. And if that effort is definitely not going to yield the result I desire (your opinion in form of your comment), there would be no point in my commenting.

    Do you want me to stop commenting? Do you want me to stop asking you questions? Do you want me to stop posting links on your blog? Whatever you tell, shall be done. Whatever ask to be not done, will not be done. If you ask me to stop reading your blog, I cannot guarantee that as long as your blog stays public, because I enjoy reading what you write.

    You wish that I pay you to the extent I find your blog valuable? I do not have a credit card.

    Anyway, thanks again for all your comments and effort!

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  14. Ketan, let me try to summarize...

    I do benefit from the comments, *but not enough to consider it a reward for writing*. Writing my last post about conformity, for example, took around 6 hours alone, not including the time of thinking of the presentation and the topic. So you might see how a suggestion that a comment is a reward for that might antagonize a person...

    I understand now from your last comment that you meant to suggest additional value and not to suggest that I should see it as my final payment, although, jolly, it sure seemed like that is what you were saying!
    You never expressed any agreement with my thought that I deserve to make money if I provide people sufficient value, but only suggested other things as a reward and added a joke about the time it takes you to post your links as worthy of payment. This communicates disagreement with my original point rather than suggestion of additional value.

    In any case, I want to emphasize that I do benefit from comments, when they are on the topic and raise important subjects and questions - they are of great value! Even if I disagree with them, so long as they are relevant to the topic and are not "out there" in terms of content they help me make a better blog and they provide more material for me to think about.
    I have enjoyed some of your comments so far because you have brought up essential points.

    I do not enjoy these comments which turn into a personal exchange. Please just writing it directly to me in the future at ifat.glassman@gmail.com

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  15. Now, if everything is cool... I hope you won't mind if I start devoting my time to writing the next post!

    Please feel free to continue commenting. When the comments are on topic they are very much welcome.

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  16. I am about to sleep in some time. For me, this misunderstanding, though unfortunate, is actually very funny.

    You felt my following sentence was a disagreement with the idea of your receiving payment for your posts:

    "...Lastly, if it is a case that you will never visit the links I leave on your blog, then do tell me to that effect, because I type these comments through my cell phone, and if not mental, doing so takes a lot of 'digital' effort! ;)"

    If it is the 'winky' that made you think so, then I only want to tell you that I had used it because the 'digital' was a relatively unconventional usage for 'fingers', which I use to type. And it was a very pragmatic question considering you had stated in your previous comment that: "I do not see other blog posts as a reward for my work." So, I would save myself the effort of copying, pasting, putting HTML tag, and hyperlinking a blog-post, if I would be sure you would not visit it!

    And no, I did express my agreement with the idea of your receiving payment as a reward for your posts, and in fact I have quoted that sentence in the prior comment, too. "I am not fundamentally opposed to your idea of donation at all." The way I look at it, if I do not disagree, I agree.

    Yes, you finally got it; I was only trying to make a distinction between zero- and nonzero compensation. Nonzero could be highly inadequate, but still is not zero. Lastly, usually I am very inclined to use humor in my comments, but I have learned the hard way, it is risky on your blog to do! So though I will avoid using humor, if by mistake I do indulge in it, please do ask me as to what I would have meant! I am stating all these prophylactically off-topic things because prevention is better than cure in matters of misunderstandings, too.

    Yes, please do continue with your next post. I see interesting topics lined up. :)

    I too will try to answer Leo's concern (with your permission, as the blog is yours) tomorrow, but now I have to sleep!

    Take care.

    PS: I will take special care to not go off-topic.

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