Saturday, August 08, 2009

Why so much friction?

Why is there so much friction between people, cultures, races, nations?

In the words of Jack Nicholson as the Joker, a homicidal maniac bent on killing everyone in Gotham City... Why can't we just all get along? Oh, the irony in that statement is a thing of beauty.

The answer lies in the way our minds work.

The book of Proverbs declares, Every man is right in his own eyes. We all, inherently, consider ourselves infallible. Consider this, every problem in human relations, from a marriage on the rocks to rockets pounding the Gaza Strip, all stem from this one flaw in our perception of reality - we assume we're right. As Milton observed, evil is never so foul in our own eyes.

Henry Robinson's The Mind in the Making
We are incredibly heedless in the formation of our beliefs, but find ourselves filled with an illicit passion for them when anyone proposes to rob us of their companionship... we not only resent the imputation that our watch is wrong, or our car shabby, but... that our pronunciation of Epictetus... is subject to revision... We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to it. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.

Damn, that last statement says it all... most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.

So what should you do when you find yourself in an argument at work? Remember, truth is the first casualty in any war. What actually happened or what was actually said (unless recorded on tape) is irrelevant. It's not what was said that's important but the reaction to what was said. Passion in the heat of the moment will have more to do with offended pride and the need to save face than any kind of logic or reason.

Dale Carengie said the little word "my" carries the greatest impact in life. If it's "mine" it must be right, it must be the best, it couldn't be wrong, it is beyond dispute, it is divine.

Don't forget, it's easy to see this in others. It takes courage to see it in yourself :)