The Trolling Parallax

Betsy Calabaza
4 min readMay 23, 2021


When entering a conversation, the accepted standard is to first acknowledge some boundaries that when respected will produce a back and forth that effectively communicates prudent, underlying and hidden boundaries that must also be respected. To discover these boundaries and to explore them is destined by the way the communication is carried out.

If you and I enter into a conversation, your willing participation, what you voluntarily contribute to the canvas, depends on rules and principles you follow and abide by regardless of me. What does it take for you to regard and respect me and my contribution? It’s not just what I say but the context of how it’s said that establishes a platform for you and I to explore together.

I, being part of the conversation, have a responsibility because my actions, whatever I do, will have a direct consequence on the platform you and I will stand on and experiment with as we explore the endless possible world of meaning.

On me end, I’m respecting the boundaries of colloquial English in the 21s century. This broad application of respect will allow those that can explore colloquial English and can respect the boundaries of it to reach meaning through participation.

Again, what meaning you reach will depend on my contribution but also the existential you will have a role in meaning.

For your role, you’ll acknowledge and respect boundaries that come from your roots. As a philosophical creature, some of the roots we entertain are metaphysical. For example, PTSD is metaphysically rooted in a conditioned response cemented by trauma that can be overcome by loosening the cement of trauma and re-conditioning our metaphysical responses to the physical world.

The significance of the word “metaphysical” is very strict in this sense. In this example, metaphysical means that the trigger for our conditioned traumatic response is not “appropriate” for the occasion. In our time, I don’t even have to make the argument that these traumatic responses are not just depended in the person but also on the environment.

Environment, here, also includes the people that may influence or play a role in triggering traumatic responses. Thus an example of what it means that, as time goes on, all participants are somehow rooted in the moment as an existential creation.

With this line of thinking, it’s easy to see why today western science has, even at an abstract, objective level, continued to find a greater importance in compassion, group acceptance, and a feeling of belonging in our ability to easy the traumatic responses people may have from PTSD.

This doesn’t mean that we smile, hug, and tell each other we love them. To show compassion, group acceptance and a feeling of belonging means each person is a potential trigger to something that threatens the stability of the platform we all walk on to communicate. How we respect this environment through our own actions is what allows this environment to exist.

To explore this environment we need to have perspectives we cannot have. We need to have faith in each other because trauma is caused by various things and not all of us are receptive to the triggers. We discriminate and are discriminated against. Discriminate in the abstract sense. A lion discriminates you to find what you mean to it and we can understand that a lion does this only in the abstract. Since we don’t know how a lion discriminates us specifically. We can just assume it sometimes sees us as food but it could have other, more complex thoughts about us.

We usually use the word “discriminate” in an objective way. “This person refused to see me as anything other than how they wanted to discriminate me. This person did not allow me be me by not being receptive to my participation. They created an environment, platform that was torturous to me.”

This is all metaphysical. We don’t really know how another person feels. Not because we don’t trust them but because it’s an experience that cannot be trivialized. There are objective facts about an existential response that cannot be uncovered by another person. We can approximate each other’s emotions but this goes back to meaning being a platform we each help sustain with our contribution, our actions.

In general, when we communicate in an environment that aims to be a healthy environment, we help by trying to actively validate the responses of others in such a way that through consistency the responses themselves change in a maturing, strengthening, positive way.

The question then becomes, like a Chinese finger trap, does trying to do good result in doing good? Does really really trying with all your might in creating a healthy environment really the best way we can contribute to a healthy environment?



Betsy Calabaza

blooms — crazy rants masked as abstract experimental philosophy. s/o CS Peirce