Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Response to a Recent Comment

From Anonymous on Recent Post: 

It seems that you're ignoring the fact that a lot of strategic projecting of their image that people do is done unconsciously. Just because you answer a question without (conscious) regard to creating a favorable image of yourself doesn't mean you're answering honestly and without regard to your image. Self-deception is very powerful.

This is undoubtedly true, and a great point.  Much of our signaling to others, that is, the code of the combination of our actions and communications in the world, is not under our control, even if we want it to be the opposite.  Two quick responses.  First, though the above holds, it still allows us to have some control regarding our communications with others and how they'll think of us, and to the extent that we maintain some control, without raising the question of how interaction and image formation work, we can make conscious decisions to be more honest.  True, our honesty must be based on something, and, also true, many people may not even understand how to act honestly in this situation.  The recent post was a shot toward people who have built small lies into their lives, such that they operate with ongoing and different narratives depending on their audience.  For those people, I advocate some higher level of open communication.  The second response, really part of the first is that, if you cannot control certain things about your projected or interpreted self, then you simply cannot control them, and therefore cannot start to pay attention and counter them, somehow.  Unless they are recognizable (and perhaps they are), in which case, then, well, maybe there's something to do about it.  I'll have to think about that a little bit more.

To be much more specific: I'm talking to myself, again, of course.  Without knowing it I kept what I incorrectly classified as harmless secrets because, I thought, if those secrets were known, they would become unnecessary problems.  A nice way to say that Ignorance is Bliss, but in this case, I thought I had a real claim toward bliss and ignorance, unless it/activity becomes obvious to the person who should remain ignorant-then we've got some not so blissy conversations to have. Here's the catch: if the behavior would have been previously revealed, then bliss would remain and no real conversations would have had to occur--in essence, the hiding part was really unnecessary.  I wasn't hiding my drinking, mind you, I'm still sober, but if anything, the experience was instructive.

Now, as far as unconscious signaling goes, I'll have to do more reading and thinking about it, but I'm not sure what drinking symbolizes in this context.

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