Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Bit of a Shorty

I'm in a bit of a down mood at the moment and know if I let myself get into anything in depth it'll end up being a downer post. Let's just say some people take workplace rituals a little too seriously. What follows has no bearing on my experience today, but is a recurring line of thought I was reminded of by a radio piece I'm listening to right now.

I'll just leave you with this: I think it's difficult for people to consider the complexity of what it is to be human. We love complex characters in drama, at least the brighter members of the species do, but in our everyday dealings with other people we tend to lack that grasp of the complexity within even the most simpleminded person. It's not even a matter of the scared, reluctant kid screwing up his life by shooting someone in a botched robbery when he could have gone to college and lived happily in the suburbs had he had one more positive role model. I'm talking about the guy who shot a guy twice, point blank in the face, can barely read, but breaks down Hamlet with a critical eye that I wish more of my college-bound students were capable of and worries about his daughters' safety despite being perfectly comfortable with the way his world works, that strong-eat-the-weak culture of gangs and prison. We even tend to deny our own potential for evil that we keep safely buried thanks to training and circumstance. How exactly do you balance the absolutism of the right and wrong of morality with the relativism of reality and manage to understand and deal with others coming from different places without forsaking right and wrong?

Whoever can figure out that puzzle and convince the majority of the rest of us of his or her answer's truth to the point that we act on that instead of what we're used doing would pretty much explode into a rapidly expanding wad of energy that would destroy the world. But what a way to go.


Chris said...

I often wonder how different I might be had my circumstances been different --- had I not met my future wife at a young age, had I not attended our college alma mater, had I not grown up the son of a minister.

I think in my heart and mind, I am fairly understanding of people's bad choices and missteps in life. But I don't think those sentiments get me any closer to knowing how to treat certain kinds of people --- who might turn their life around if you gave them a second or third or fourth chance, or they just as well might rob you or shoot you in the face.

Mickey said...

Good on you, Chris.

My response was just going to be "huh?"

No, I get it, but I don't have an answer for you.

Jacob said...

Perfectly acceptable answer Mickey. In fact I spent all those words to say basically the same thing.

Julie said...

We can sympathize with a criminal in a movie because we are forced to see the aspects of that character that the director or writer has chosen. In real life, we see only what we are conditioned to see by the stereotypes we know. We would never take two hours of our own time to dig deeper and seek out anything other than the anectodal encounter we had with this criminal person.

Think of Mickey and ICW. She was a total stereotype except that he was forced to be around her and listen to her for so many hours that he learned about her past and her current good deeds that make her exceptional.

Jacob said...

Wow, Julie, wow. Great comment. That's not saying that your normal comments are vapid, but that's a seriously deep comment.

And how in the hell do you manage to slog through 10 posts or so of mine at a time? Are you also cutting yourself simultaneously to make the masochism complete?

Mickey said...

That was a good comment, Julie.

And a good comment to Julie's comment, Jacob.

Julie said...

My determination short circuits my instincts for self-preservation.