Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lethal distractions

Pretty Lady is having so much fun with this online music thing that she's in danger of Complete Ossification. Fortunately folks have been calling, and so she will be forced to leave her musical chair presently for Real World Activities.

She keeps remembering songs she hasn't heard or thought of in years, and searching for them, and adding them to her playlist. She apologizes if a great many of them are too sappy, dorky, lugubrious or just plain irritating to endure. You will note that clicking on the 'play' button is completely optional, and that if something comes along that annoys you, you are free to hit 'next track.' You are free to hit it as many times as you like, in fact.

Our recent civilized discussion on the Nature of Evil reminded her of that Morcheeba song, which if you wait or click long enough, will eventually come around:

Fear can stop you loving
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you loving...
But it's not always that clear.
Sappy. Dorky. Sentimental. But pithy. That last line encompasses the nature of Tragedy better than anything else she's ever encountered; it may be the swell of sentimental, synthesized violins that make it seem so, but hey, cheap thrills.

Anon (but I know who you are ;-)) writes:
When people get obtuse and philosophical in response to a simple, rational proposal, they are often feeling threatened. (Defensiveness is also, often, why people lie.) Whether they "ought" to feel threatened is pretty much irrelevant; you have to work with them where they are.

Some dastardly people use "facts" to bludgeon others into "agreeing" with them. They say stuff like, "If you don't understand that these facts inevitably lead to this conclusion, then you are stupid. Clearly, we've reached a sound conclusion."

If a person has someone pull that stunt on them a few times, they deny the existence of "facts" out of self-defense. Even smart people can get freaked out by dirty debate tactics, and at the first sign of disagreement, they start defending themselves rather than trying to solve a problem.

Maybe a question to ask in such a situation is, "if we all agree that something is true, can we then (and only then) treat it as a fact? For the time being, for the purposes of this discussion? So we can solve (X problem)?"

If you help someone regain their sense of control within a process, sometimes they feel safe enough to open up & participate rather than throwing up irritating roadblocks like "facts are relative."

When you're trying to figure things out with other people, often you also have to work, in a sense, with every jerk who ever insulted them, scared them, or taught them how to fight dirty.

Well, of course, darlin'. But the question is, do we want to figure things out? When it's so much more fun to fight dirty?

This is where, it seems to Pretty Lady, most of us go Right Off the Rails. We forget that we are actually seeking functional solutions to actual problems, some of the time. We forget that those solutions, in order to be functional, need to take into account all the variables. Those variables necessarily include the thoughts, feelings, requirements and Issues of other persons. This makes things difficult, to say the very, very least.

It's so much easier just to Win.

Pretty Lady recalls, back in the dark ages of junior high school, putting herself through some extra labor to be a Very Good Student. It wasn't that hard, but she exerted a bit--just so that no grade of B+ or lower darkened her Permanent Record. At the end of the year she was publically presented with a piece of paper, declaring her the Valedictorian, or some such rot.

She remembers very clearly looking at this piece of paper, and thinking, 'It's a piece of paper. I worked for this?' So Not Worth It. From that day forward, she discarded all concerns of Valedictorianism from her consciousness, and was a marginally happier person.

Sometimes, dears, we have to Win merely in order to prove to ourselves the axiom that Winning Isn't Everything. Some of us have to prove this over and over again--in fact, this process can become quite addictive. Pretty Lady, laissez-faire though she generally is, cannot help wanting to put an oar in this cycle; she asserts that not only is winning not everything, it is, in fact, Nothing. Nothing at all.

Because it's not love. Some of us forget how much fun Love really is--it's nice and all, but sticky, and difficult, and hard to come by. We'd rather press the Win button and get us some instant gratification.

Pretty Lady would like to do a bit of sappy cheerleading for Love. It's so fuzzy! And sweet! It's Good Company, it keeps us warm and fizzy on the inside, it's interesting and exciting and adventurous! It's roaring fireplaces and good wine! It's introspectively picking things through! It's Amazing Insights! It is Revelation and Genesis all rolled into one!

Not many people would disagree with Pretty Lady about this, on the surface at least. It's simply that so many people have approached us with Fake Love, in order to propagate a hidden agenda, that we don't believe in the real stuff anymore. They come at us precipitately with phrases like 'I just want to help' or 'I just want you to be happy' or 'these are the Facts.' Which may all be true. The trouble is, they're not terribly helpful if they're not loaded with a great whopping dose of the kind of Love that is patient, and unconditional, and open to the idea that being wrong is a possibility. And that being wrong isn't the end of the world.

UPDATE: Speaking of being wrong--it does seem as though, if you want to hear a particular song and keep clicking until it comes up, it NEVER EVER comes up. The system appears to be tuned to one's desirous vibes in order to thwart them.

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