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Socratic Chisel


   As central as the Bit might seem when watching memorable trolling performances, to the Light Trolls themselves, it is actually one of the least used tools in the tool box. This is because the Bit relies on premeditation on the topic, as well as enough familiarity with presenting it that reactions to it can be anticipated across a wide variety of audiences. If that is the case, then one might wonder how a Light Troll could come up with a Bit in the first place...

   To answer this, we now turn to what is really the prime tool in the Light Troll tool box: The Socratic Chisel. We will circle back to how it got its name, but first a short description... Unlike the Bit which is used to navigate through well trodden ways, the Socratic Chisel is what a Light Troll uses when they are lost in the right direction. When a Light Troll hears another sharing ideas or opinions that seem to the troll to run counter to the expectations that they have formed, or the intentions they have cultivated, but not on a point the troll has reflected on enough to have a prepared Bit for, that is when they will pull out their Socratic Hammer. “The Socratic Chisel” is the name I have come up with for the process of dealing with misconceptions through a process of finding the next most appropriate question for the topic under discussion. Any Light Troll, knowing they are just a fool themselves, knows that they are in no position to tell that other person they are simply wrong in plain prose since in these situations they don’t know if it is their expectations and intentions that need refinement or the other persons...

“Vi Veri Venuversum Vivus vici: By the power of truth, I, while mortal, have conquered the world” - Goethe.

   ... the key to all of this is that if the Light Troll has simplified their character first, they’ve made a commitment to sincerity, and the expectations and intentions under question were derived under those conditions, then the Light Troll has no reason to fear questioning those expectations and intentions with the other person. So what the Light Troll will do in these cases is instead of reacting outwardly in a futile attempt to tell them exactly why they are wrong, they will instead respond to the other person’s statements inwardly first. They will ask THEMSELVES a question along the lines of:

“What they just said sounds wrong to me... if they are right, what would that mean I am wrong about? How did I come to that conclusion in the first place? Does this person’s statement refute that original conclusion?”

   If so, then I’ll simply revise the level of certainty in that conclusion. However if my original conclusion seems stronger than the statement currently being considered, then I’ll present the evidence that I looked at to arrive at my conclusion, and ask them how they reflect on it. The idea is that if one is always simply aiming for truth by trying to refine the most realistic expectations and the best intentions possible for themselves then questioning those assumptions with others can only either 1) lead one to better expectations and intentions if one finds they are mistaken, OR 2) they will take the other person back to the assumption that might have lead them astray, and offers them a better path suggestion to explore.

   It is in the description of this tool that we start to really see what makes the Light Troll invincible. For many, this process is a LOT harder than I make it sound because far too many people associate their own identity with the particular expectations and intentions that they hold, and to question them is to put what they see as an intrinsic part of themselves in jeopardy. The way the Light Troll mitigates that reaction is by the simplification of their character. For example, by keeping in mind that my character is that of a simple fool, I keep myself from getting too attached to particular ideas I have, so I’m perfectly willing to sincerely question notions that fool has like, “evil doesn’t exist” or, “we Don’t have an overpopulation problem” with anyone... I only still carry them because they have withstood all the attacks from others I have so far been able to subject them to.

   I say all of that to touch on a deeper point. KNOWING this principle, the Light Troll will know that many others still DO self identify with their particular beliefs, and that questioning on them can very easily make someone feel personally attacked, even if no hostility was intended. So note that when I say the Socratic Hammer is the process of working through misconceptions by finding the next most appropriate* question for the discussion at hand, propriety in this context applies to BOTH the sound logical substance of the question, and the poetic formulation of the question so as not to further entrench the person doing the answering... find a way to “sugar the pill” so to speak. After all, this tool is named after the method Socrates, one of the first Light Trolls himself, would use to try to get at truth...HOWEVER it was failing to take this last note about propriety that got him the hemlock when he asked too many probing questions at the wrong time, in the wrong place, and most importantly, in the wrong way.

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