November 19th, 2012


Supertramp: Breakfast In America

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person," Dave Berry said. Character is what you are in the dark. Dave Barry also said that humor is a measurement of the extent to which we realize that we are trapped in a world almost totally devoid of reason. While I agree, I don't find it funny.

What I want, is for everyone to be amicable toward one another, unconditionally. That is to say, no matter the circumstance. It is this that I am teaching my children, and this that I endeavor to live by. My father did this later in life and he wasn't the man I was familiar with. Confused, I asked him why he was behaving in such a manner. "Just being neighborly," he replied. Granted, it was many more years until I understood that. Its not just being helpful to people you know or like, but people you don't know, or even harder, don't like. "Liking" someone is not a prerequisite for attending to them and their needs. This is how I've learned compassion - by acting like to a friend to those I do not care for. Compassion isn't compassion if its limited. Its universal.

Of course I still have a lot to learn about human behavior. Because I laugh at all the rules people think they have to live by in certain circumstances. Its a paradigm, people. It can be broken, and it will empower you. Why should you break paradigms? Because they were more or less established by the majority attempting to mimic each other. You can see how that's flawed, right? No one wanting to step out of line, so they wait to see what others are doing - who are all also waiting to see what others are doing - and then in some sort of critical mass mob mentality, a paradigm was born. Everyone was behaving how everyone else was, because everyone else was.

In attempting to be amicable myself, I require information. Some people are hesitant to ask, others simply assume. Not a showstopper. Unless you then believe you know something from that assumption, or worse - act upon it. I try to not act without information. Yes, that sometimes slows me down. But I prefer to radio back to headquarters to confirm my target before firing. For some people carpet-bombing is also an effective strategy. Of course there is often collateral damage in that approach. My way is not necessarily better, just don't pretend there is no such thing as collateral damage when you execute your own maneuver. Instead, own it.

The only problem I've run into to date, is when information is sought from me, but not believed. My first question in return is very nearly always, "What is my motivation to be untruthful?" More often than not, I am not believed, but its unknown why. This is enormous fail, and honestly? I haven't found a way around that one yet. I mean, the simple answer is to plug these values into a critical thinking equation. But when you're trying to make the data fit your own world view, you're going to run into disbelief time and time again.

It breaks down like this; you feel you know something, but there is another perspective - one perhaps that doesn't make any sense to you. What you chose to do next is very important. You can endeavor to understand the other perspective, or disbelieve it. One of those two choices is extremely limiting, whether you believe it is or not. How do you want to be remembered in life?