"I would like to say Ann's arguments had no effect on me, but I cannot state this, realistically, as True. I have to acknowledge what I wish I could ignore or elide."
Quite aside from ssm, I'm very interested in the mental processes — the emotional metabolism — in forming opinions and making decisions. It's hard even to observe your own. You try or bumble into affecting the mental processes of others, but you don't really know how to do that. Imagine what would happen to us — politically and economically and personally — if others knew how to persuade us. Ah! It's impossible! There are so many politicians and salespersons and stalkers making their pitches. Even if the pitches were perfect, there'd be cacophony, ruining everything.
Persuasion is a mystery. But I will say that I have a superpower here — a strange superpower (which makes me a better lawprof than lawyer) — and that is that I don't feel any need to win. To me, the expression is complete in the writing. I blog for the intrinsic reward of writing and having readers. Thinking out loud — it's so thrilling and intimate and human! You give up the best part if you rework the expression in the hope of manipulating another human mind.
There's a place for writing as a means to an end, but it's not this place.