Saturday, December 05, 2009

expectations of traction, appropriate and otherwise

We've all got a bill of goods for sale, an accumulation of notions we believe to be true (or at least serviceable), some of which we may only part with in exchange for compensation, some of which we give away freely, and some of which we may push upon others aggressively, recoiling in astonishment if they react to our largess as though it were an invasion, or worse if they challenge our motives or the substantiality of the ideas we have striven to share.

"What do you mean you don't agree? How can you not agree? It's obvious!"

Well, no, quite often our cherished notions are not obvious, anything but in fact, if viewed in the cold light of reality. Sometimes they lack both validity and relevance, or more often they are relevant only for the fact that we believe in them, that fact constituting an element of our shared cognitive environment, complete with consequences, despite the notions themselves utterly lacking validity.

We should have a care how much traction we expect to result from decisions to share our cherished notions, or from actions taken in lieu of sharing. Others have their own notions, which may or may not align well with our own, and they may not appreciate our efforts to substitute ours for theirs, or to impose consequences. They may take umbrage, and in their eyes we may appear to be scoundrels or devils. This is often the story when cultures clash.

Generally speaking someone with valid, relevant notions to share has no need to push them on others, rather others seek him/her out and invest effort in understanding his/her thinking. In the best of all situations, this effort to understand is mutual.

We all live both in our own heads and within a milieu composed of the tangible behavior of others, also living in their own heads. None of us is competent to dictate to another how they should live their life.

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