Saturday, February 22, 2014

Facebook Faith #39 Phantom Numbers

I am sure there is a psychological term for the sort of behavior that I am about to describe (and if any of you know it, please share).  In the teaching field it runs like this - A parent comes to me to complain that I am giving too much (or too little) homework.  Instead of making a case, they appeal to an argument of phantom numbers:

"Every other parent feels the same way!"

In reality, they have no idea who may or may not also hold this view.  However, it gives them confidence to enlist this phantom support group. I am sure that approach has its similar sibling in other professions, but that is how it goes down in mine.

I have noticed phantom numbers cropping up a bit on Facebook lately.  I tend to get involved in religious discussions which, for the most part, are about the issue not individuals.  However, I have a couple people in my friends list who interpret every inquiry that is not blowing flowers up their religion's rear-end to be a personal, full-on, frontal assault.  Within moments, everything about me as a decent human being is called into question... not just by these individuals but, in their estimation, everyone I know.

For example, during a discussion of where charitable inclination originates, one "friend" jumped in:
"Andy, once again, journeyed into a sarcastic, opinionated tyraid about what he perceives as what is wrong with everyone who doesn't see the world the same way he does. He takes his arrogant, condescending attitude and looks down his upturned nose at us all with contempt."
I did not feel any of the attitudes or emotions with which he labeled me.  When I tried to clarify that his use of "everyone" was a bit broad and that most of my friends are religious and yet they do not paint me in the light that he does, he responded:

"...most people are just way to [sic] polite with you to tell you how they really feel about you..."

The argument of phantom numbers.  This person knows my life and my relationships SO WELL, that he is able to kidnap them for his argument.

Everyone else has the SAME view as ME about YOU!

There is a term for this..... I will find it.

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