eThoughts : April 1, 2012: To Be Involved or Not To Be Involved—That is the Question

Interpersonal interactions can be a bit frustrating. One wouldn’t think there would be so much politics in such interactions, but alas…

I get we’re all scared in some way or another. We all need help in some way or another. But until we learn that we don’t need others to be lesser for us to be better, we will not be better. What about being a lesser being? Personally I like it, it allows for lots of improvement. Besides, folks may not see you coming. That can be an advantage in the politics of interpersonal relations. But it can also be a disadvantage—the first impression syndrome can be a mighty mountain to overcome.

Here are some loose translations that may illustrate what we’re up against in interpersonal relationships:

If one is bringing a “we” when others are bringing a “me,” the conversation is likely to go sideways. We might as well be trying to discuss the nuances of a unified field theory of the universe by speaking in tongues.

Just because one is being assertive is not the same as being arrogant. As I’ve said before in these musings, if an individual is so easily distracted by personality, they can’t be all that solid in their own knowing. For all of this talk about the importance of diversity, we remain thoroughly thrown off by it.

I’ll not go into this next one much as I’ve recently written about it. Sometimes any individual can be the smartest or dumbest person in the room relative to knowing what’s afoot. But when we assume that smart sometimes is smart all the time, we’re now the dumbest person in the room. In other words, because one is smart or dumb sometimes, doesn’t mean they are smart of dumb all the time.

A position of authority is not necessarily the same as a position of knowledge. Good luck with those interested in their authority rather than their knowledge. Again, it seems to me we’re better off trying to get things right than to try and be right. Apparently that idea doesn’t work so well in the politics of interpersonal relations.

All right, back to the question of whether to be involved or to not be involved. There are two points of no return: One is the mechanical one and another is intent. A ship at sea headed for an iceberg has a mechanical point of no return—the point at which is simply cannot make a course correction to avoid the iceberg. Then there is a motivational point of no return. How long does it take a captain to change viewpoints? What if such a shift requires community action—how long before the community sees the need for change? If either of these latter abilities takes too long, the sheer mechanics of the vehicle will continue. So why bother with trying to convince people the ship needs turning if the time it takes to change motivation is too long? I am massively concerned that while I don’t see the mechanics of human interaction being past the point of no return, I am seriously wondering about the motivation to change directions. It doesn’t look good. I’m now sixty-four. There is the highest probability that I will retire in about six years and our institutions will still be in bumbling mode. The real problem as near as I can tell, is not really about the organizational structure, it is about the nature of human interactions.

Is it smarter to simply retreat or does one press on? It’s a classic hermit-like view versus a social-involvement view.

I suppose there is an interaction between the semi-isolated hermit view and remaining socially involved. If so, then it becomes a question of just how much involvement and how much away-time. Unfortunately for folks like me who tend to learn slowly and not so beautifully, my learning is greatly benefitted by quality interpersonal interactions.

Hmmm. Quite a conundrum.

I guess I may have to learn to love conundrums. After all, it’s always some kind of relationship or the other.

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