Thursday, June 25, 2015

A life to a life. Is it a discussion or a pissing contest?

I stand by my words when I say, "If you want to see the maturity of a person, then observe how they handle information."  You will learn quickly the current capacity of that person and a bit more. When we talk to each other (no matter the level of communication) we are only communicating the information and experiences we know up to that point. We are presenting only a part of the overall spectrum as an individual. So discussion --to me--is like doing an active version of putting together a giant puzzle rather than a battle ground of good vs evil or right versus wrong. Discussion requires an attentive and leveled mindset geared towards putting the pieces or parts together. A lot of metaphors? I know, but bare with me.

Information is more powerful than money and like nuclear energy in the hands of the average individual. It takes a good understanding and level of self-control to establish a wisdom that makes something useful and good with information. Otherwise, it just creates extensive problems. Yet, I hear people say, "We are in discussion", or (and my favorite) "we need to have these discussions." regarding serious matters. It's a funny thing to me when you see how people handle information on the day to day and make these discussions futile. I fall into this as well at times when I don't pay attention. What do I mean? When we present our current knowledge, we often speak from a personalized standard expectation or idealistic image of others. At the same time, we talk as if we know people are variable but seldom do we truly embrace that idea that not everyone is like us or like the ideals and expectations in our head. That with variability,we all have varying strengths and limitations to who we are and what we know as an individual. Instead, we present our understandings and project them or ourselves on to others and often condescension and further offense ensues for our strength and opinions as we begin to speak more led by our passion and deviate from the structure of a actual discussion. At this point, we've lost self-control and are more hazardous to ever gaining anything. When this becomes a possibility, we must turn conscious and tap the brakes on ourselves a bit.

While exchanging our understandings with hopes for clarity and resources, sometimes what we know (in our individual scope and limitation) gets the best of us and we stop becoming receptive to information. Our goal shouldn't be to conquer and insult the other. To hold a discussion, you have to have self-control. Otherwise, we easily slip into giant pissing contest and trying to play king of the hill and kick down the next person for different ideas and methods. We have to not only be mindful towards and police the person across from us but conscious and mindful of ourselves. People can get the best of us and we ourselves can definitely get the best of us or counter what we intend to do.

Our intents can be wonderful and inspirational but people have a funny way of doing the right thing the wrong way. Leading influences for derailed efforts are normally ego, emotions, bad tact, and lack of knowledge or experience. An example is when we get carried away by how we feel or our emotions tugged at in a conversation. I'm not denouncing emotions or feelings, they do have their place in discussions but they too require checks and balances. If one isn't careful, they get carried away and are more destructive to the discussion doing things such as insulting, degrading, becoming overbearing, excessive in blaming, and--in the worst cases--they just give up and walk away or run the other off the table (carried off by emotion). What stands to be gained there? I learned that from a gunny. It's bad enough that (in the harder discussions) often people are quick to look for an escape. Any type of escape they can find such as a name, the tiniest detail to change subjects, or blatant distraction. To someone aiming for progress--It's like fishing or talking someone off a ledge. I sincerely hope this changes. There is much to be gained. For all the good I hear people protest for, advocate for, and dream of--I hope they grasp the fundamental concept of the importance of maintaining a steady exchange with the person across from them rather than invalidate them and taking swings. It's important to understand the person across from us and what we both put on the table to see what we truly have in our hands to use and deal with rather then operating off one piece of a puzzle. At the end of the day, I do expect people to be human but my optimism towards developed wisdom lives as I occasionally come across people who do and can hold a useful exchange. We will agree, agree to disagree, or disagree but we will have something useful out of our exchange.
Discussions are eye level. Any other height would mean we are talking down to someone or talking to ourselves. 

It's important to understand the person across from us. Well, at least to me. We must be ourselves but mindful of those we hope to learn from or educate. We present a piece of a larger puzzle to each other everyday and that is a gift regardless of how it is wrapped or delivered. Make the most of it.
Oh, and telling someone "they'll never understand"---does not help either. It kind of defeats the purpose and any chance of progress.

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