Tuesday, March 20, 2007

We All Do It

While I hesitate to speak for all of humanity, it seems a common affliction, the if-you-just-knew-what-I-knew disease. And certainly, as someone who enjoys discussions where people share their thoughts, motivations, and ideas, and who enjoys sharing her own, it makes sense to me. Certainly I don't consider myself an expert on everything, but also I know a good deal. And so, I often encounter a stance or decision that I can only make sense of by believing that the person must not have all the information. Or at least the right information.
And I try to watch this, because certainly not everyone thinks like me. And certainly, just as I have (and likely will, again) made choices that are not in clear alignment with the information I have, my expectation that others should do so, is unrealistic. And - to borrow from "Grey's Anatomy" - it is possible, that even in my condescension, I am also correct.
And of course there are certainly discussions and forums and spaces and places that lend themselves to expressions of partial viewpoints. I'm certainly not suggesting that political debates or even all cocktail conversation should move away from partisanship. I am simply reaching an awareness, that just as telemarketers who are trained not to listen to your objections, that I sometimes don't know when to stop. That by recognizing that there are other ways for people to get where I want them to get, or not.
But it is hard to find that balance. To say to someone that you feel they are missing information, and to share it but to let the information speak to them as it will. This is not to say that I strive for objectivity or anything like that. But it is hard to remember to leave space for others to process the information themselves. Just as you wouldn't hand someone a great book and tell them what they should think or how they will feel once they read it. So, that's something I am working on, sharing the information I have, but letting people process it for themselves.

1 comment:

EnnaVic said...

I was thinking along very similar lines yesterday.

I got an alumni magazine from Auckland Uni (here in New Zealand) and in it there is an article about Dame Joan Metge who is a well known social anthropologist and Auckland Uni alumna). She won the Asia-Pacific Mediation Forum Peace Prize last year.

This quote is included in the article:

"[It] is all too easy to assume that our way of seeing the world, that is our way of interpreting and valuing what goes on around us, is the universal, human way... and all too easy to fail to realise that other people have and act on different ideas."

-Dame Joan Metger, from her book,"Talking past each other", 1978.