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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Receiving Insights About Yourself From Others

Bohm had called insanity "sticking with a point against evidence that it is incorrect." But can "evidence" be seen when one is blasted with it and when there are imperfections in it, and when delivered by someone that one doesn't particularly like (which seems to be a guaranteed aspect of this process), and when "evidence" is tinged with strong, insulting words? - Irene from Dialogue

Most people cannot receive new information about themselves, even if it is skillfully and tactfully delivered. Even then, most people cannot do much about changing their behavior to take the new information to heart. So often, changing yourself takes practice, no matter how much will-power or good intentions you might have.

What most often happens is the messenger's motive is questioned, and the assummed answer is negative, paranoid and defensive. Watching the cop shows on TV, I can't help but notice that the most upset person is usually arrested.

I can think of a situation where someone might get a clue: multiple unrelated people are making the same insistent, clumsy complaint about your behavior. Only in that situation might it be likely for you to realize that this pointing everyone is doing is important, because everyone is in agreement about you without knowing each other.

For instance, here David Bohm responded with the "generalized labeling" motive. I would imagine that this was an attempt on his part to distance himself from the phenomena in order to examine the pattern. This is constructive, because then the pattern of habit could be recognized at an earlier stage when it could be more easily redirected. It also communicates his lack of personal involvement, leaving it up to you to do whatever you want with what he is saying. Obviously, David Bohm valued personal freedom.

It gets even more interesting when you trust the people with whom you are in conflict. Makes me think of my own mother's admonition that when people bother to get upset with you enough to tell you about it, it's because they care. Why is it that people can't seem to assume a loving motive? Assumming trust, we came up with the idea to make a pact with each other to signal the other person when one of us saw "we are both doing it again." This implies we are both capable to "try something different" at that point, rather than doing what the pattern dictates what we "must" do. This is not always possible; in fact, it is rare. Fortunately, we had no idea how difficult this was when we tried doing it. We were able to practice enough at it that we eventually succeeded.

The more often people are willing to go together to this unknown state and "try something different" together means sooner or later they are going to stumble on workable solutions that make it possible to do - because it seems that changing oneself takes some practice. This is the basis of Dialogue and how great relationships are made and not found.

...It's also how many psychological answers to relationship issues get hatched, but then someone seems to have to hold conferences, write a book, etc. for the insight to reach beyond whatever agreement two people privately come to in their own relationship.

I'm not sure why, but somehow in our culture, people cannot just "share their experience" without setting themselves up to be some sort of authority which parades their "right" for it to be taken seriously. The motive to have things work out for both of them can become a contest of who is going to control the outcome of the situation.

That's why I am fascinated with how couples/family groups deal with prioritizing on the fly. How do those who are in relationships determine who's needs gets answered and how long does everyone else have to wait for their needs to be answered - and how does everyone get what they need at some point? The answer to this question is fascinating, not for its content of unfairness or fairness, but because it is a some sort of a workable solution that the members of the relationship are happy with or at least find acceptable.

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