A few weeks ago, Eli and I had a conversation with two people who may or may not be characterized as trolls. This can be found on AS298. In the beginning of that recording, Eli made a bit of a speech on empathy which contained a lot of insight but also wasn’t quite perfect. We both got some pushback from it, and Eli wanted to get together to try to clarify and pin down what he was shooting for. The result was a highly interesting conversation in which Eli opened up about his history in a way that he hadn’t done before and that I very much appreciate.
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31 thoughts on “AS304: Clarifying Empathy, with Eli Bosnick”
Hey, I really appreciated your clarification at the end, that your willing to criticise SJWs when they are wrong. That’s really the only thing I disagree with. I don’t think I’m unreachable at all, but feel free to correct me.
I think free speech is important as a legal and social norm. I think SJW memes hurt the goal of social equality between men and women, as well as racial equality. I don’t really think poor black and brown people care about the same things white liberals do, and I think they are right to eschew the hypersensitivity of SJW nonsense.
There is definitely a place for criticism on both sides, but if you think that hearing an opposing viewpoints = endorsing racism, then you need to examine your worldview.
Subject: debate someone your own size
In the world of online celebrate, people usually will not engage publicly with someone who has a far smaller following. I would imagine this can explain much why Dave Rubin and Sam Harris will not engage with you. In 2004 Sam Harris wrote is first book as an unknown author. In 2005 he would go on just about anyone’s podcast. But now he will only go on a select few podcast. He and David get 100s of request for podcast all the time.
I still feel that is is probably better to engage publicly with someone who has a following rather that just some random troll on Facebook. That being the case, I have a few suggestions for YouTubers that might provide in interesting discussion. I haven’t watched everything published by these people. Going from what I have seen, it seems to me that when there ideas are challenged, these people would form a coherent argument. They would be less likely to make an ad hominem attack or go into an incoherent rant.
With small a following of 2-5K views per video “Wizard Of Cause” seems to be someone who would not consider “Serious Inquiries” an insignificant operation. Wizard is rather eloquent in his speech. He and I share the view, the left has the better basic philosophy. However he feels that the left has gone overboard in many of it’s endeavors.
“Kraut and Tea” with 40-80K views per video seems left compared to the U.S. political spectrum. His biggest disagreement with the new left is it’s failure to recognize the danger of Islam. Judging from his videos, it seems like he agrees with Sam Harris more than Eli agrees with Harris.
“Vernaculis” with 12-50K/video and “Armoured Skeptic” 100-600K/video seems not as left as the previous two.
“MundaneMatt” with 20-60K/video and “Harmful Opinions” 20-70K/video defiantly talks about how they disagree with the left more that how they agree with the left.
“Sargon of Akkad” 200-800K/video also seams to disagree with the left much of the time.
“Black Pigeon Speaks” 30-150K/video has defiantly made some videos where he has espoused opinions that I would classify as socially conservative.
Shit, that was supose to be a root post not a responce to cuntipeed
I am not unreachable. Please dm me on twitter or Facebook if I am totally wrong about something, and you can tell me why. I don’t like Twitter’s 140 character limit, and I didn’t feel like I was having a real conversation with E Boz. Don’t tweet at me.
I called Dustin and Michael, Brian and Matthew, lol.
AS 304 is an amazing episode. I had to listen to it twice. I’m glad to hear a return to form. You’re podcast isn’t a platform for shitposters, it’s a platform for honest people. I’m happy to hear an honest chat from E Boz, occasionally featuring you. I find this episode very relatable.
Oh look: it’s another podcast where Eli is recanting/retracting/clarifying the inane b.s. that spews forth from his lunatic mouth. Eli Bosnick gave a condescending speech talking down to people who disagreed with him politically because he’s an ideologue and a prick.
I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of listening to the beautiful destruction of Eli Bosnick over years now. His little condescending diatribe on ’empathy’ in that debate podcast was just Eli going full circle (better yet horseshoe) and shedding the defender of the meek facade he’s cast upon himself and fully embracing the holier than thou preacher he so obviously is.
Bosnick is well spoken, intelligent, and can be quite funny/charming at times. The only thing that is holding him back from greatness is the fact that he’s an absolute lunatic.
I disagree with Mr grave and his sarcasm. I feel that I agree with what Eli said in AS304 than in his previous “debates”. But I do have firm points of disagreement.
For an episode with the title “Clarifying empathy”, you did remarkably little to explain what you meant by it. Paul Bloom explains this every single time: empathy could be interpreted in two different ways. a) understanding/caring about other people’s feelings, looking for ways to help (this he calls sympathy or compassion) and b) sharing them (this is what is empathy and what he is against). An emergency responder should have a but not b. So should politicians, jurors, … It’s not about “excessive empathy” as Eli said, it’s not about “this word salad of a distinction” as Thomas said. It’s a crystal clear distinction actually and it is one he makes every single podcast I have heard him on (so I assume it’s also in his book, multiple times) and I’m quite disappointed that you’d mention him several times yet never managed to give him a fair hearing. Sorry I’m a big fan and will remain one but I like Paul Bloom a lot and I was looking forward to you explaining which of a/b you meant and got frustrated that you spent 90 minutes discussing but never even came close.
And this is not just a “Paul Bloom fanboy rant” as actually this is what the dude (troll#1, not sure which is which) meant right in the beginning of the trainwreck episode: empathy is understanding or sharing (it was the dictionary definition) he meant understanding, Eli meant sharing. Eli ignored the distinction then and he ignored it now. For the record, I don’t think the troll really did understand it, or did not understand that what he wrote was wrong. But that’s not empathy, it’s just not being a dickhead. Oh well.
This empathy vs compassion is also exemplified to an extent in citing weird stats. Let’s not bring up the wage gap or campus rape here, how about Donald Trump saying in one of the Hillary debates “4k people have been murdered in Chicago since Obama was president.” Ok.. But how much is that? I mean, is it more or less than under GWB (lazy to look up but pretty sure that it is much less)? Is it more or less than the national average? What measures can we take? etc. You need to first have an accurate appraisal of the problem, then act. (Of course protesters need not abide by this, but the decision makers really ought to). Similarly for “one X dies of Y every 15 minutes”. Ok I just don’t understand. It’s an appeal to empathy but I don’t know how to help or to compare the problem to others and weigh the impact of a donation I make there vs charity Z. Maybe this last paragraph is reaching a bit but I thought this was characteristic of what Eli was saying about attacking (allegedly) misleadimg statistics .
Do you mind if I ask whether Bloom addresses research that finds surgeons and physicians who practice emotional detachment tend to have worse mental health outcomes than those who incorporate empathy into their practice? As I understand it, these studies specifically address empathy (i.e., feeling) rather than compassion (i.e., acknowledging) in the sense Bloom defines the terms.
I notice you mentioned first-responders in your comment, and while I don’t know that it’s a wholly valid comparison, I remember being floored to find evidence refuting the culturally held assumption that clinical detachment is a protective factor for clinicians.
I have never heard of this research addressed by PB, but I wonder if this may not be another example of talking past one another? (I just got his book on my Kindle so I don’t know if he has or has not addressed it, i just listened to him a lot up til now) What I mean is, emotional detachment already sounds a bit bad to me and not something he’d advocate. In one segment, he compared 911 dispatchers being calm/reassuring vs. literally going through everything the victim goes through (of course toned down but still), aka freaking out. I think we’d all agree we don’t want the 911 person freaking out when the caller freaks out. In another (in the latest one with Sam Harris), he recalls a letter from a husband and wife who were both first responders, I think after the actual 9/11. The wife was too emotional and got drained after a few days while the husband was “cheerful” (his word) but managed to help a lot more people than she did.
So I wonder under this “understanding”/”feeling” paradigm, where does “clinical detachment” really fall? I honestly don’t want my oncologist to cry with me were I ever to have cancer. I do want her to understand that telling me “you have 3 months to live” is not the same sort of message as “this month’s cell phone bill is $75, please pay it by the 15th.” I don’t want a doctor that sighs/rolls their eyes when I don’t understand his/her instructions but also not one that treats me like a child when I act like a child.
And finally, even if this were true on most patients (that, unlike me, most patients turn out to prefer a very personal and feelings-based doctor rather than a comforting but objective one), we actually don’t know how this would work out in the long run. If a feelings-based doctor heals a net total of 100 patients but burns out in 10 years, we collectively should prefer a facts-based doctor who does not burn out at all but heals a net total 75 patients for a total of 30 years.
In all of the above, I was substituting empathy/feelings/warmness/etc and Paul Bloom/objective/facts freely, betraying my bias, but I hope it’s still understandable.
Sorry I couldn’t respond earlier, I’ve been away from the computer. I think I see where you’re coming from on this, and I don’t think you’re wrong about this likely being a case of talking past one another to some extent.
I take your point, and if it were the case that enhanced empathy (either in practice or innate empathy-proneness) could be linked to increased likelihood of burnout, I’d definitely agree with your conclusions, as far as the arithmetic is concerned (although… I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least consider the possibility that a rotating workforce of highly empathetic people might be the best of both worlds).
That said, I think it’s worth challenging the assumption that empathy acts as a risk factor for burnout. Taking a cue from Eli, I won’t dismiss Bloom’s work without a more thorough look, but I am concerned about the assumption illustrated by that letter. Recent research on burnout seems to be focussing more on professional ethical behavior and congruence of values rather than on one’s capacity for empathy.
Here’s a link on burnout and professional ethics:
I don’t mean to propose this as a direct refutation of the points you’ve made, but just to note that what we assume to be true about the causes of burnout (i.e., too much emotional investment, overexposure to trauma, overidentification with others) may not reflect the data (i.e., rates of burnout increase when professionals feel their values are not reflected in their practice, when ethical guidelines are ignored, and when this incongruity can’t be addressed).
Also, I definitely don’t want to generalize beyond what can be supported by the data. It could very well be the case that what’s good for the oncologist may not be what’s good for the 911 operator.
Hey Some Guy,
I’ve enjoyed conversing with you. I will get back to you after I’ve read up on this (chiefly, Paul Bloom’s book and the studies you showed.) since until then I’d be just guessing. Merry Christmas and talk to you soon, hopefully.
I guess I misread your whole post when I replied to it (I read it right, of course, right after pushing Reply). You meant that empathetic doctors are actually healthier themselves than “non-empathetic” ones. Do you have any links to these studies? Paul Bloom has mentioned this study (with Matthieu Ricard) several times, which contrasts loving kindness (favored by Paul Bloom) to empathy (opposed). http://www.matthieuricard.org/en/blog/posts/empathy-and-the-cultivation-of-compassion
Thank you for the article.
I do think there’s something interesting in the argument that empathy alone is not a benefit, although I think the same could be said of compassion (e.g., what is compassion without action?), and so on with any rigidly defined aspect of emotion/interaction. When it’s presented as it is in this article (i.e., empathy alone is not a silver-bullet), I feel I get a better sense of what Bloom might be arguing.
I think I’d be much less concerned about a book titled “Against Empathy Alone” or “Empathy’s not Enough,” or something equally less catchy.
All that said, I do have to take issue with this author’s supposition that “compassion fatigue is not possible.” Maybe there’s some sort of poetic truth to it, or another semantic mismatch, but compassion fatigue as a description of behavior (i.e., failure to act compassionately or to view others with compassion) is a commonly accepted phenomenon.
I found a link to an article which cites some of the studies I referenced, if you’re interested.
I also forgot to mention that patient outcomes are better when doctors practice empathy. Apologies.
(I wrote the previous posts before looking at the study you cited, this one after trying to make a sense out of all this.)
OK I think a lot of this really does have to do with empathy vs sympathy vs whatever. We need to define our terms very very accurately before we even start talking about any of this. Take this quote from this website
“…doctors are at risk not only of personal distress but eventually burnout if their feelings of sympathy and compassion for patients override the more nuanced stance of empathy”
OK so what is this “nuanced stance of empathy” ? He explains:
“Doctors need to imagine being the patient undergoing the patient’s experience, rather than imagining themselves undergoing the patient’s experience. This more sophisticated approach requires mental flexibility, an ability to regulate one’s emotions and to suppress one’s own perspective in the patient’s interests.”
Which is precisely the opposite of what Paul Bloom calls “empathy.” He calls *this* (imagining the patient undergoing the procedure rather than imagining oneself undergoing the procedure) “compassion” whilst he’d call the bad, too close one “empathy.” So I think most of this is a disagreement in terms, which would be very good to clarify, rather than dismiss as “word salad” or “oh he is just being sensationalistic, in fact he agrees with me.” I guess you could call clinical detachment the scenario in which the physician doesn’t try to imagine anything, he/she just performs whatever invasive procedure is necessary.
Not to be redundant, but I agree with you 100% that our (by which I mean everyone involved) not sharing definitions is probably a substantial part of this disagreement, though maybe not the entirety.
As I read the quotes you provided, my understanding is that the first instance would be more akin to compassion (e.g., how would I feel if I had to undergo surgery?), whereas the second sounds more like empathy (e.g., what is this person feeling having to undergo surgery?). To me, the first feels like speculation, whereas the second seems more about being receptive to the patient’s experience.
I think I see what you mean though, when you propose (I believe) the opposite (i.e., what would I feel = empathy; and what do they feel = compassion).
Hey Some Guy
I forgot to mention in the last comment but I am enjoying your discussions of these issues.
I have to admit that sometimes I have defered to your conclusion on a source I have not read because we came to similar positions on the ones I have.
Please don’t abuse this trust!
Of course, it’s always possible that you’re wrong about everything and that I’m just biased because we have the same last name!
I’ve been reading through this tread and it appears that you seem to be approaching the “this is turning out to be semantics” conclusion. (Apologies if that’s not the case)
I will admit to not having fully read your citations yet but I thought it might be worth asking about this anyway:
It seems Bloom is using the terms “Empathy” and “Compassion” a little bit loosely to make his point, have I got that wrong?
It’s just that within academic psychology those terms have similar but distinct meanings. They are associated with different areas of the brain and they appear to have arisen at vastly different times in our evolution. Perhaps counter intuitively; we currently suspect that compassion arose first with empathy much later. When Bloom uses these terms it sometimes appears that he slightly twists the meanings with a view to portraying one as either good/bad and also that the “direction” (for want of a better word) that the term’s definition changes, is not consistent.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject, I’m happy to be proved wrong. I have a little psychological expertise to call on but I’m in no way a Bloom expert.
I’ll hunt down a few citations if you like but it might take a while. This isn’t entirely my area.
I just finished reading the book, what a great read! I think you would enjoy it as well. I don’t have too much time right now, but suffice it to say, most of it indeed is semantics. He has a small section of his book in which he attacks two common empathy scales for conflating all the fluffy, good stuff with empathy. If all good feelings are subordinated to empathy, then yes, it will correlate with a lot of good outcomes. Similarly, many psychopathy (which can be defined as a pathological lack of empathy) scales conflate lack of empathy with things like parasitic behavior (not obviously linked) and a criminal record (talk about stacking the deck!?!???).
We started this out with you asking about any studies cited regarding physicians and empathy. He writes a bit about physicians, psychotherapists, and first responders (as mentioned before), but mostly at a rather anecdotal level and making the case in general. The one study that he does cite in this regard was from a book “Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice” by Martin L Hoffman (2001). Here is Paul Bloom summarizing this study:
“[it] found that nursing students who were especially prone to empathy spent less time providing care to patients and more time seeking out help from other hospital personnel, presumably because of how aversive they found it to deal with people who were suffering.”
Another quote (I hope copyright is not yet going to kill me):
[after mentioning that empathy is an “essential learning objective” by the AAMC]
“For the most part, I’m all for this. As we’ve seen, people often use the term *empathy* to include all sorts of good things, and most of what goes on in the name of empathy training in medical school is hard to object to, such as encouraging doctors to listen to patients, to take time with them, and to show respect. It’s only when we think about empathy in a more literal sense that we run into problems.”
so, TL;DR: yes, it is almost entirely a question of definitions. But it makes a lot of sense to make a distinction between emotional and cognitive empathy, if we consider one of them good and the other one bad (at least in some contexts).
PS to the TL;DR: I object to Eli summarizing Paul Bloom as (I hope I am not misquoting him) “oh well he just means that you shouldn’t have *too much* empathy” and “Paul Bloom wrote that empathy is bad for charity but you still need some amount of empathy” which is plainly not what he wrote (he wrote that compassion is a good motivator but you don’t need to imagine yourself be the starving child etc etc). And I have no idea how this distinction is a word salad as Tom said.
To anyone reading this. A “quick” summery of Paul Bloom can be found when he is interviewed by Sam Harris on the waking up podcast. You can find Sam Harris waking up episode #14 The Virtues of Cold Blood on Soundcloud.
The latest one is also a very good summary. (#56, Abusing Dolores) Paul Bloom goes out of his way to clarify that he is not against what others call “cognitive empathy”, only against “emotional empathy”, and he only calls the second one empathy. It is NOT a question of misapplying it or that he is talking about “excessive empathy” and that is what he is against; he thinks there are better ways of getting the good outcomes of empathy and that we can avoid the bad/immoral outcomes of empathy by chucking it. So on balance he is against it and he convinced me.
BTW his book is fantastic. Haven’t gone through it all but anyone who likes to listen to him talk will also like his writing (although a lot of his biggest punchlines will be familiar to you, a bit like reading Hitchhikers Guide).
This video just came out 2 days ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SmYlw2O6fM
Still working on the book, I’ll get back later!
I really appreciated this conversation. I’m grateful that you have a place where people can be this vulnerable and thoughtful.
I had similar thoughts about Bloom’s work (forwarded to me by my father). The argument seems less that empathy is harmful and dangerous, and more that it is, by nature, limited, and our reliance on it to make moral decisions should reflect that. Additionally, I’m glad you noted the way parsing “empathy” and “compassion” in this conceptualization feels like trying to walk back attention-seeking titles.
You mentioned wanting to do a show on empathy and the autism spectrum. People diagnosed with intellectual disabilities are not my area of expertise, but in general, based on both clinical and personal history, I know there’s a lot of nuance to experiencing, processing, and contextualizing emotion. On top of that, there are societal norms and expectations about being in control of your emotions, which tend to muddle things further.
Like Bosnick (see? I listened), I’ve had periods of depression and anxiety, and for much of my 20’s, I struggled with emotions. My baseline was a general sense of numbness, and occasionally, I’d be overwhelmed with intense/debilitating empathetic responses to both evocative and innocuous situations (e.g., noticing others who seem to be struggling with stairs due to mobility issues would leave me deeply and profoundly sad for hours).
In therapy, I began to realize that what I took to be my intrinsic ability to feel was, in fact, the result of convoluted processes across multiple life domains. A super abridged version: Derealization and depersonalization (i.e., feeling like the world isn’t real, and feeling like you are not you in some meaningful way) are common aspects of anxiety, feeling numb or muted is a common symptom of depression, and I come from a culture that really values dealing with your own shit.
As I spoke with my therapist, I realized that I wasn’t unable to feel emotions so much as I was lacking an emotional vocabulary, my learned thought-processes were reflexively dismissive of emotions (i.e., highly analytical), and I didn’t have anywhere to discuss emotions in a way that would be validated and accepted by others (America is an emotionally illiterate country). It wasn’t that I could only experience emotion as this spontaneous and overwhelming surge, so much as I was really good at unwittingly ignoring lower and moderate levels of emotions and only recognized them when they were strong enough to knock me on my ass.
I don’t want to paint everyone with my biased brush, but I suspect there’s some overlap between my experience and that of others in the skeptic community, for whom highly analytical thinking has been validated by those around them (e.g., excelled in academia, gained the respect of fellow skeptics, won a lot of arguments on the internet).
And, I don’t mean to pathologize rationality on principle — if it’s working for you, I don’t want to rock your boat. What I will say is that, for me, things got better when I recognized and acknowledged the emotional aspects to my experience, when I stopped misrepresenting myself as a wholly rational being, and when I started accepting and respecting the emotional experiences of others as valid and important.
Also (if I had more time, I’d try to fit this in more fluidly), I think it’s worth pushing back against this idea that people are more genuinely themselves in public or private situations. I think there’s a false essentialism that occurs when we try to invalidate parts of our experience that we don’t want to represent a “real” us. The self is a complicated thing that exists in our body, in our beliefs about our relationships, and in our interactions with others.
Several big concepts I kind-of disagreed with in this. Overall very thought-provoking, and I tend to agree with Eli or at least understand his point of view (whats the word for that again?).
I’m not sure if this is the best way to contact you Thomas, just thought I’d say that while these topics maybe are tiring of their novelty, this is, to me, a super valuable topic to return to.
Thomas, I know you probably think people are getting sick of these types of shows, and maybe they are, but I just want you to know that this topic has gripped me over the course of you talking about it. I can never have enough now and my brain chews on every minute of every show you do on social justice.
My thought on this episode was that Eli made some great arguments, I just wish he had made them in that way while talking to Dustin and Mike. That episode, while entertaining and informative, was hard to listen to because I kept thinking “Eli why are you verbally attacking them? Even if they deserve it, it just makes you sound like an asshole.”
I think that this community had a problem (this community being AS, CogDis, Scathing etc and the people who listen). There has been so much time spent roasting dummies on the other side that it’s become hard to leave roast mode. Eli at times during that conversation sounded less interested in persuading the two guests, and more interested in getting a quick jab at them for the sake of sounding witty. It was frustrating.
I think those conversations could work really well in the future if the arguments take front stage. Getting mad is fine, I actually really enjoy listening to you and Eli get angry at stupidity. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to let that anger guide the conversation.
Thomas & Eli, thanks for a wonderful show. You mentioned Milo making fun of the trans student as a good litmus test for determining the irredeemable from those with compassion. I am curious if you, Thomas, looked into it and if you still feel the same way. I also think it’s a great example of how people can distort something for rhetorical effect. I assume this is what you’re referring to: youtu.be/-t1ufzttyUM?start=2959&end=3094 .
I do really like the point at the end that anti-SJW skeptics should be careful that they believe their own opinions over the considered opinions of experts in the field. That’s definitely a good point, and, to play off Eli’s point, I think that’s actually the best point in the favor of religion over skepticism. On the other hand, there are many many fields of study such as astrology or homeopathy that are studied very carefully by intelligent experts and yet remain complete crap.
Thanks for providing a link to that video. I’m not sure what point you were trying to make with it (e.g., that the speech has been distorted?). If so, I’m trying to figure out what part of this you felt has been misrepresented.
The guy prepared a slideshow to humiliate a trans student.
Here’s an article that contains the student’s response to the chancellor’s statement (i.e., I won’t stand for this kind of thing). She discusses the experience, what it was like to have a speaker humiliate and sexually harass her in a room full of laughing peers, and how infuriating it is to have concerned officials talk about not standing for this sort of thing while doing absolutely nothing to prevent it.
Hmmm. I will admit I only watched three minutes past 49. Is there some later time when this horrible stuff happened? Or am I correct to infer that you feel the article you linked correctly represents around minute 50?
Subject: in defense of anonymity
I respect your position and background, However I have a different background and position of on-line anonymity
I am a lifelong atheist who came of age in the Bible belt. I was in the 6th grade in the 80s when I told my mother I was an atheist. My parents were agnostic theist/Christians, they were ok with it. I only had two real friends at the time. Mike and I would visit each others homes. Mike had a religious mother. One day Mike was talking about evil spirits. It came out that I did not believe in Satan or God. Mike was not bothered. But once the news got to his mother, I was forbidden. That was the first time I realized that there were consequences for telling people that I did not believe in god.
Some years later in the late 80s, I got a commodore 64 and a 300 baud modem. I soon discovered BBSs and on-line communities. At that time everyone had handles, I liked Physics so I became “The Fizz”. I learned that in the on-line world I could speak my mind without being ostracized. I discovered that I could actually debate logically on god’s existence. I did not have to worry about consequences in the real world by speaking my mind.
There were trolls back in the 80s, but in the world of BBSs there were consequences. “The Fizz” was my moniker that I used for years. The community was smaller. Part of your reputation was length of time on a board. Short term members were less trusted. If I just started trolling then “The Fizz” would be kicked off. Even if I tried to create I new account, I would loose all the status I had build up as “The Fizz”
When I first got on the Internet back in the early 90s Usenet was still a thing. I disliked my old moniker and started using my real name and primary email account for Usenet. The net was still a nerd haven.
Around the 00s, more and more non-nerds were getting on the Net. I did not feel a need to join MySpace, even though it was the dominate social media. I started listening to Internet radio shows (before they were called podcast). One recurring segment on my favorite show was people that would loose there jobs because of things posted on MySpace. That was when I decided to use monikers again. I also swear-off MySpace/Facebook for good. That makes me an aFacebookist.
I now have three monikers that I use. One is reserved for forums where I discuss computers. Forums I am encouraged to use at work. I do not talk about porn, politics religion or atheism (P.P.R.A.) on those sites. I do not even use that moniker at home to talk about P.P.R.A. on any forum. I have a moniker I only use on porn sites and I have a third moniker that I use for P.R.A.
Maybe I am border line multiple-personality disorder, but I feel I can deal with the real world using these monikers and I don’t have to worry about straining relationships or my job by being who I am on-line.