Before I finish this sentence…

…some of you will already be mulling over your misinterpretations of the first half of the sentence and you’ll thus miss the point entirely. This, after you’ve asked me a question, pretending to want an answer.

In groups, you’ll sometimes actually be discussing your misinterpretations amongst one another before the sentence is finished. Technically, the preparatory clause is mistaken and you run with that, missing the main clause. Hey; it’s just like the left with the second amendment.

In other words you’re not interested so much in communication, i.e. the exchange of information for the purpose of coming to a better understanding of something, as you are interested in judgement, looking for weaknesses to exploit, in manipulation, determining a hierarchy of some kind, or just watching my mouth flap at your behest and hearing noises coming out. I think probably half or more of the population fits that description.

I’m tempted to be very annoyed by it, but then I realize that you don’t know what you’re doing, really. Of course there’s a will and an intelligence of sorts behind it, but you can’t help it. It’s reflexive.

I just don’t know how to help you, and THAT’S the main point (if you’ve stuck around long enough to read it).

8 thoughts on “Before I finish this sentence…

    • The whole world is paying bill, and it will get more expensive. I say I don’t know how to help, but I’m beginning to understand the mechanisms.

      People, often without realizing it because it’s become so natural, manipulate each other. It starts with parents. Parents feel at some stage that they must control their kids, and they convince themselves that they’re doing it for very good reasons. They may get impatient with their kids, irritated or even resentful. Every kid is shocked by this at some stage, the switch is flipped, and they begin to do unto others what was done unto them.

      Later, when people grow up and fall in “love” which is seldom love, they are almost without exception pulling on one another for something, each in their own way, hence there’s a lot of subtle manipulation in a marrage right from the start, and before the start, and eventually it can and usually does get ugly.

      So there’s a lack of trust that gets worse with time. We say it’s insane when spouse is seemingly always in the “I wonder what he meant by that” mode. It can be excruciating, but now I see a reason for it. It can be extremely slow to heal, and it will never heal unless one or the other sees and understands what’s been going on, and unilaterally stops it altogether.

      “What are you really up to? What’s your angle?” and so on, are legitimate questions in general, even if they’re not applicable to a particular moment. What seems like insanity, says I, may really be a lack of trust with plenty of legitimate basis. And so your “lover” is always trying to figure out what you’re up to.

      We (that is to say, our culture) talk about “love” a lot. Way too much I think, being as we use the term inappropriately. True love asks for nothing in return, because it wants nothing return. It wants or needs nothing in return because love can only come from a state of fulfillment.

      We have it backwards. You cannot look for fulfillment in love because without fulfillment you cannot love. You can only want and need. When you want it from some other person you’re always going to be disappointed or feel betrayed, because what you want is impossible.

      Culturally and nationally, this problem is the same. We look to some powerful political or cultural figure, or system, to give us a false sense of fulfillment, which turns out to be nothing but servitude every time, no matter how it’s tried or who tries it. We “fall in love” with figureheads and state power structures the same way we “fall in love” with individuals, because we want something we don’t understand and we’re looking for it in all the wrong places. It can never turn out well.

      And so ths is my Independence Day speech, buried in comments. As it is with individuals and countries alike, freedom can only come with independence, and independence means being self sufficient and whole on your own. Only then can an individual love someone else rather than want someone else. Only then can an entire country full of people stop pulling on and pushing each other for what they want.

      As it is we’re turning into a nation of bullies and cowards, each bully being a coward before bigger bullies, and each coward a bullie before smaller cowards. We have lots of nice-sounding ways of rationalizing it. We’ve gotten extremely clever at wrapping up the most horrible of motivations in a beautiful framework of glowing virtue, but that’s the culture that’s been growing, because we all want something from someone else that they’re not giving to us, that they never CAN give us, and we’re frustrated.

      Push, pull, poke, prod, give to me give to me, and if I don’t get it i’ll throw a fit (sometimes a very clever fit that is dressed up look like love or some other virtue) because I deserve it and it’s your responsibility to provide it for me. Look what I have done for YOU. You owe me.

      It all starts with individuals, who become selfish parents, who raise authoritarian, manipulating, needy kids, who grow up to become politicians and schoolmasters and parents themselves and repeat the cycle. Now we’re all supposed to be looking over our shoulders and covering our asses. It’s becoming a culture of confusion, fear and manipulation, just like the average marriage, becase as goes the individual so goes a nation, and it only gets crazier and crazier from here.

      You want to fix it? We’ve all been guilty to some extent. Start with that realization.

  1. Once when I was on the cusp of teenager-hood, I rode in my friend’s dad’s car from Scout camp with them, when my friend had done something that his father objected to. I forgot all the details of that day, except the dad said my friend wasn’t listening. He protested that he was, and the dad said, “no, you’re just waiting until you can speak again. You aren’t listening.” That stuck with me all these 45 years. The best rebuttals in court listen to what the other side said and addresses those points. Many lawyers only rehash their argument and hope more sticks the second time. I’ve even done that on occasion, knowing it’s not effective argument, but it was all I had.

  2. Luckily, I will ask for your help only if I think I need it and that you are willing and capable of giving it. This tends to cut down on unfruitful interaction and the asking of help implies some trust in you. See? Some of us stick around to the end to see if we missed anything obvious. :-)

  3. I remember the first time I noticed this type of thing. I was in a meeting, and two people were arguing very passionately with each other. The funny part is that they were arguing about completely different things. Man 1 would yell about topic A, and man 2 would yell back about topic B. The rest in the room were too busy being wrapped up in themselves to notice.

  4. I don’t really know what it is you’re trying to say, but I object to it on the grounds that all such statements contain generalizations.

    • That reads like a computer generated statement, applicable to any and all blog posts. The first half of it is the operative, or definitive, clause, and we’ll just leave it at that.

      • Methinks Sean was making a funny in that his objection to your statement containing generalizations itself contains a generalization. Or maybe I need more coffee which always makes everything better no matter what.
        And Lyle@1144: that’s some good sayin’ there.

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