Posted by JRM on February 22, 2001 at 14:02:26:
Over the last few days I've thought quite a bit about this topic. Several recent posts have again brought it to the forefront. Please do not read this as an indictment of any particular individuals, but as observations based on the trends I have witnessed here over the last year and change I've participated in this list.
I think that one of the fundamental problems suffered by people in sports like diving is their reliance on the sport to define themselves. They are "divers" rather than "people who dive". If I drew my self image as a diver, then anyone who attacks my methods, or questions my abilities is in fact assaulting me personally. If I define myself as a diver, and someone insists they are a better diver, then they also assert that they are a better person. And since man is a social animal, whether you choose to admit it or not, defining ones self as a diver places you into a diving society. You tend to hang out with people who also define themselves as divers, because you have a lot in common. People who don't dive, or who you define as inferior divers, are shunned. Social order is derived by diving status. And as divers aspire to climb the social ladder, they must do so by either becoming a better diver, or a more vocal one. Many of those lower in the social scale will join establishments in order to increase their prestige. This ascribed prestige is used to bolster their lack of earned prestige. Like many social establishments, converts can increase their own feeling of self worth by looking down on those outside their own establishment. Also, social status within the establishment can be increased by recruiting new members, "when I finally showed Eric the right way..."
On the other hand, there are those who avoid defining themselves by participation. Often, there are many sports and passtimes in their repetoire. Some might define this state as one of greater emotional maturity than the diver, but I think that would be selling the diver a bit short. Personal definition is personal. A truly self defined person would not look down on those who aren't. In fact, he wouldn't need to lower others to raise himself, because his definition of self is not based on anything external.
So what does this all mean? What application does it have for the board? Ahh, here is where the flames will start...
I think that many of the people who participate on this BBS define themselves by their participation in diving. As such, they take it very personal when someone questions anything related. Putting other's diving practices down increases their own feelings of prestige and ego.
So I have made several observations. I have no solutions. Personally, I enjoy the heck out of this board, well, most of it. I have garnered several good diving tips, and I think overall it has made my diving better. It's also a heck of a lot more flamable than the saltwater aquarium boards :-) (although it still doesn't live up to the climbing boards of a couple of years ago).
And no, I don't think I define myself as a diver. I do a whole lot more than dive. And while I do think that self is greatly influenced by the breadth of experiences one has, I don't define my self worth by any one hobby. So don't bother to set the phasers on stun. I really don't know any of you personally, and as such you probably think me full of !@#$. That's the beauty of opinions, we can all have them! I'll continue to read, and occasionally post in my own cynical, satirical style.
I think that some folks are starting to take themselves and the board WAY to seriously. It's a hobby folks. A passtime. It's supposed to be fun. If it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it. So instead of everyone getting hot and bothered about other's opinions, let's just agree to disagree and move forward.
--hey, if you guys want the ultimate in safe diving, visit your local tropical fish store. Or come over to my place, and we'll sit and stare at my aquariums. You can even solo!
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