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Thursday, January 17, 2008


Exactly how specific people come to decide on ideals that guide courses of action is fascinating to me. As I become close to people who reveal their core experiences to me, I have observed that these core experiences that guiding ideals come from are some extent cultural and based on training, and to some extent they can be petty, disillisionist or self-seeking, which must be compassionately understood as the human condition. But in some rare people, their motivational ideals can be based on admirable deliberate responses beyond the irresistible call (or ravages) of conditioning and circumstance.

I think of it as "diversity in action." Each of us is essentially our own microcosm of meaning.

Practicing and sharpening my ability to "read", to second-guess, to emulate, to soak up or adopt other people's can be described in so many ways. A friend of mine describes this skill of mine as "shape-shifting." Honing my skill to be able to do this is what makes people so fascinating to me. Every once in awhile I will encounter someone with an especially unique view of reality that has been working for them quite well - as well as those who are quite dysfunctional but charmingly unique. I find myself being friends with people who are quite difficult for others to get along with, and somehow, I tend to dodge the ways most people get into trouble being close to them.

Especially when I meet people, I regretfully find myself not listening to what they are saying - but I am paying rapt attention to how they are thinking as they talk. I'm observing what might motivate them to jump from one subject to another, what are their associative pathways? What sorts of guiding ideals would motivate a comment such as what I am hearing? Rather than settling on the first motives that occur to me, I check out and test my hypothesis about them over time. At some time I might ask them directly, which throws some people for a loop and charms others. Sometimes people can't answer me, which sometimes has meant they have interesting reasons for hiding their motives from themselves.

Why would I do such a thing? Doing all this allows me to understand someone's motives for action and response. This gives me a number of advantages for my own education as well as for communication. For instance, I can emulate what I might later regard as their most useful thinking strategies for how they operate in their unique world definitions in certain, more appropriate, situations for which these responses were crafted - or for at least the time I spend communicating with them. As I recognize the appropriate circumstance, I might think of it as wearing the thinking hat of "so and so."

My skills are a little disconcerting for others. For instance, some people feel proud about being the product of their conditioning. These sorts of people cannot understand my ability to choose my orientation of appreciating different world-views, to "shape-shift" - let alone my skill to be able to change my appreciation of "alternate" realities or ways of thinking at will. It freaks them out that I can do this "shape-shifting" and they cannot, or it makes them feel sorely limited and this upsets them. Or they believe me to be dishonest for being able to switch my orientation world-view. From others who suppose that I truely am what I appear to be, I have often had the comment that they regard me to be "just like they are." Because I supposed that this was impossible for me to be "just like" so many different people, early on I reasoned that this must have to do with a natural talent I seem to have. So, I polished this "talent" and this is where it has brought me.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Franis,

    thank you for this insightful article! I seem to understand your words, when you commented on one of my blog posts in June, much better now.

    Can you describe in a little more detail how you sharpened your "shape-shifting" skill, and what makes the difference between "genuine shape-shifting" and "applying your own thought patterns to the assumed other perspective"? I believe I still tend to confuse these two. Thank you! :-)