Des (deskitty) wrote,

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A couple quick notes before I sleep.

A couple things dawned on me (or at least, presented themselves differently) while I was in the shower tonight.

It is impossible to have a relationship with someone else that is better than the relationship you have with yourself. (You can even specialize the definition of "better" however you like.) You can try all you want, you can say, "Oh, he/she/it completes me!", but it Just. Won't. Happen.

I realized this when I realized that in many ways, the relationships I have with others are mostly reflections of one or more aspects of the relationship I have with myself.

So ... if I ever expect to find the Perfect Person(tm), I had better make sure my self-relationship is perfect first.


I think the reason I meditate is to stop lying to myself, which I guess is a simple way of saying, let go of all the preconceptions and expectations I impose on myself, and by extension, the rest of the world.

But ... I'm not sure yet. That's a thought I'll have to play with a bit more. It may or may not be right, but in any case, it is certainly in need of refinement.


So there's this class of communications issues I've noticed. So far I've only had them with a couple people in my life, ever, but more than once is enough to make me sit up and take notice. These issues are issues of relative weight.

Consider, for instance, the statement "Chemistry sucks.". Were I to utter this phrase in casual conversation, I'd probably use a decreasing pitch to indicate annoyance, accompanied with appropriate body language. Thus, there are several components that make up the overall meaning of that statement. There is, of course, the semantic (or literal) meaning, which is a sweeping generalization about a scientific discipline. But there is also the emotional meaning -- the meaning conveyed by tone and body language which says, "I'm annoyed, I'm frustrated, and I want to bitch about it.".

When interpreting the overall meaning of such a statement, I tend to weight the emotional overtones far more heavily than I do the semantic meaning. That statement first says to me, "I'm annoyed.". Then, only after I've processed the emotional meaning do I consider the semantic meaning, wherein it whispers, "Chemistry sucks.". Most people I know tend to weight meaning this way, even if they aren't consciously aware of it.

(Incidentally, I think that's why it's so easy to drastically misinterpret text communication -- we involuntarily assign our own emotional meaning, which may not be true to the intention of the writer.)

Some, however, seem to weight in almost the exact opposite way. They consider the semantic meaning first, and the emotional content is a distant second. Where an emotion-first interpreter hears an expression of annoyance and frustration, a semantic-first interpreter hears an overgeneralized, unsupported and logically fallacious statement.

So it's little wonder an s-f interpreter would get pissed off on hearing "Chemistry sucks." from an e-f interpreter who is just venting, and is probably only vaguely (if at all) aware of the semantic meaning of his statement.

Again, I'll have to think about it a bit more. Like all models, this one is oversimplified, but it seems to work well enough in the limited context in which I am applying it. I haven't quite figured out its boundaries, though.

-- Des
Tags: wisdom-in-a-can

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