Sunday, May 25, 2014

Packaging Your Message 2

But the larger reason that it matters that we take care to communicate with empathy and thoroughness (see yesterday's post), is that we could be wrong.  Our assumptions that a) what we're saying is coherent, b) that it is logically represented, and c) that we have stated it lucidly, are self-serving and hard to check, especially when we are emotionally engaged with the material.

This is probably worth a larger post on its own, but I'd argue that our capacity to understand that we could be wrong in any given situation should be used much more widely than it is.    Why assume that you make sense?  Isn't that the lazy way out?  If you're the rare person that doesn't have to make sense when talking with someone else (and who could this be?  even billionaires, or especially billionaires, have communications that demand precision), then don't worry about it.

But I guess my "test" or way around this problem is this: assume you are wrong, and then communicate from that starting point.  Seek less comfort.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Packaging Your Message

At some level, it is disagreeable to think about the way that one's words might be received, and to alter those words according to perceived reception.  After all, we then must frame ourselves contingent on our perception of other people's perception of us--that is, we must guess at how they might interpret our message and have a quick mini-conversation with that phantom conversation partner prior to actually communicating.

This is, in a very real sense, how severe anxiety manifests itself, partially because it might in most cases prove impossible to corner all possible interpretations in time to actually communicate.

But it is also disagreeable to contour our speech for consumption at a more guttural level, one that provides the bravado of a good "fuck you" and the satisfaction of outrage.  Why should we cater to others at all?  Why think about how our expression is or is not received?  At an abstract level, the answer is that language is contingent on multiple nodes, each person necessary but not sufficient alone to produce it.  There's no real language without the capacity to understand one another, to have a degree of "inter-subjectivity" -- to be inside each other's heads.

I think the reason we find it disagreeable to change our speech is that we feel as though we're compromising our message, that somehow it isn't as pure or authentic if we change it.  I'd argue, or at least I feel, that this is a highly selfish and almost narcissistic or conceded way to operate.  Making sure that other's understand what you're saying, or what you mean, assures that you get what you want, and it also helps the larger functions of the interaction you may be having proceed--whether at work, a traffic intersection, or in an unfamiliar setting.

It is also incredibly hard to concede what we don't know, at times--say a board meeting, or anytime we want to impress our superiors.  But I'd submit that the capacity to hone in on what we don't know, what remains ambiguous, or what is not being communicated clearly, and to distill it (both the gap, or space itself that isn't being successfully bridged, and also a way to synthesize that gap and move forward), is something that takes time to learn, and that builds a tremendous amount of character.  It certainly isn't always intuitive, especially in a toxic self-centered culture, and it certainly doesn't mean you have failed, if you chose to acknowledge it in real time.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

It Is Possible To Be Unhappy Anywhere

Let's all play a game, whereby we run.

We could run from anything, parents, teachers, peer pressure, social outings, or inferiority in general, en masse.  We could figure out a way to see the negative shit in any situation, finagle, pull, and coax out the layers embedded in normal discourse that represent the darkest most angsty and inward interpretations, lexical touchstones that reify what we "always knew" anyway.

We could let outrage bloom.  We could allow it breathing room.  Outrage at everything, anywhere, all day, all night.

We could frolic with the narcissism that accompanies not taking anything seriously.  And we could certainly froth with the stubborn refusal to self-correct.

That would be easy.

And then we could keep on running.  All day, All Night.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Absurdest Comments: Drinking to Celebrate Not Drinking

Every once in a while a comment comes in that just irks me in a deep and fundamental way.  You see, it is illogical, this comment, the smiley face following the admission, for instance.  It drives me crazy, nuts, batty.  I won't delete it.  But I will highlight it thusly:

SOBERDUDE?  Listen up.  Listening?  You're not fucking sober if you're drinking.  I don't know how else to say it.  You can be one or the other, not both. If you chose to be one, and post on my blog, I appreciate your honesty, and your willingness to share your experiences, but I wholeheartedly disagree with your logic when you think you can be both.