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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » How Our Feelings Betray Us (Page 2)

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Author Topic: How Our Feelings Betray Us
The Flying Dracula Hair
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
Originally posted by steven:
[qb] "A part of what Arbinger is saying, and why this applies across cultures, is that it's the game that's the problem. This idea that we have to decide who the good guy is in any situation and who the bad guy is so that we can decide who gets to have their way."

How might this apply in the area of the penal justice system? That was just the first thought that crossed my mind, when I read that passage.


I dunno, I think being punished for doing something illegal and being punished for offending a particular individual's self-assesty morality thing is disconnected enough. If you know what I'm sayin'.
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steven
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"I dunno, I think being punished for doing something illegal and being punished for offending a particular individual's self-assesty morality thing is disconnected enough. If you know what I'm sayin'."


No, I don't. I don't know what you mean by "self-assesty". Can you explain a little further?

Edit: I figured out what he meant, I think. See post below.

[ March 27, 2008, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: steven ]

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steven
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"I dunno, I think being punished for doing something illegal and being punished for offending a particular individual's self-assesty morality thing is disconnected enough."

Is it? Somebody has to make the laws, somebody has to interpret them. Not all of us are comfortable with having our morality dictated to us all the time. Maybe a law is unjust, or just needs to be changed a little. Or maybe I'm full of crap. I'm just not sure I see any real clear divide between the personal and the public. I think it's a continuum. Of course, I could be full of it.

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The Flying Dracula Hair
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Yeah, I was thinking about that. But if were forced to say something about it I'd say I think most laws are there to prevent one person from harming one or more other persons. It's not placing blame, it's prevention. You punish to uphold the law.
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steven
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" You punish to uphold the law."

How is the law not simply another "box"? And if it is, then you would punish (imprison) for the purpose of protecting the populace, not because breaking the law is somehow, in some absolute sense, "wrong". IMHO. Perhaps. Dunno. Your thoughts?

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docmagik
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Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this.

The key to answering your question lies in remembering that "the box" is not about actions. You are never, ever, ever safe to say, "I performed X action, therefore I am out of the box."

I am also never, ever safe to say, "Wow, he performed X action. He is so in the box."

Therefore, there would very rarely be a time where this philosophy and law would come into conflict.

In fact, where this philosophy orignated, in the business world, the essence of this philosophy was usually summed up like this:

"Too often, people are more focused on how they seem to others than they are on getting results. Often, they will take greater lengths to make themselves look good than they will to actually solve the problem. In fact, often they will simply let problems go unattended, as long as they have someone to blame it on or some other way to still look good when the problem reaches a climax."

If you want evidence of this, simply watch any reality TV show. My favorite for this was Kitchen Nightmares. It was show that was on Fox for a while, with the same people who did Hell's Kitchen (the orignal show is still airing on BBC America).

The plot of it was that Gordon Ramsey would visit these failing restaurants and turn them around in a few days.

The astonishing thing, to me, were the number of problems that were obvious to everyone, but that absolultely no one was doing anything about. Everything from rancid food to overly complicated menus were justified away, either by saying "That's not my job," or by people convincing themselves that every single person who came into the restaurant was wrong.

In other words, self-deception.

And it perpetuated itself. Because the kitchen staff didn't see the rancid food as a problem that needed to be solved, but rather as their proof that the kitchen manager was as incompetent as they all wanted to prove he was, they all went right ahead and served the food to the customers, feeling no blame--or responsibility--whatsoever.

What Arbinger teaches businesses is to get away from thinking about clearly deliniated lines of blame, but instead to focus on the end results.

Had the kitchen staff in the restaurant either thrown out the bad food or simply refused to serve it, that would not have been an "I suck, I suck" mindset. That would have been an out-of-the-box, results-oriented mindset that might have gone a long way towards saving the restaurant.

By taking the emphasis off "Blame," it's actually putting the emphasis back on responsability. Personal responsability.

The law of the land is about results. Let's say you drive drunk and you hit somebody. If you're in the box you might blame it on your girlfriend who called you up and said mean things, "making" you go to the bar. Or you might blame it on your genetics, your pre-disposition to alcholism.

To the law, none of that stuff nees to matter. It's about your actual result--an actual result that society has come together and agreed we're going to take certain actions on.

Let me explain it another way:

Being out of the box does not mean, "Take no action." It doesn't mean it for society--we can be out of the box and still take action against criminals. It doesn't mean it for individuals either--the out-of-the-box father is still either going to get out of bed and help with the baby or ask her to get up because he's got a meeting in the morning.

Does that make sense? If your spouse hits you, you can leave. If your boss is a jerk, you can leave your job. If you're in love with someone you can ask them out.

Just do it.

The part that's unneccessary is all the extra effort we go to to justify what we do.

Like having to figure out all the reasons why the guy who hit you is actually the most evil man in the world. He's willing to hit you. That's reason enough to leave him, isn't it? If you start to get into how he's so evil, and that's why you had to split, than does that mean you have to go back to him if he starts working at a homeless shelter?

Same thing with the mean boss--if you're not digging him, go. Or talk to his supervisor. Or tough it out. The problem isn't what action you decide to take--the problem is when you stop seeing him for who is really is and start interpreting everything he does in the worst possible way, even getting to the point where you think comments you overhear him making to other people were secretly snide remarks directed at you. Chances are much better he's not thinking nearly as much about you as you think he is--like all of us, he's mostly worried about himself.

The problem isn't the action--the problem is the other part. The part where we wish the person who hit us would just love us instead. That we wish the boss who treats us like crap would just understand what good workers we were. That I think I can only be happy if the girl I love would just see how amazingly attractive short guys are.

What Arbinger teaches is that our efforts to try to make others change for our sake does not solve the problem, but actually drives them further into their own boxes, as they justify their own reasons for being the way they are and feel more and more threatened by you.

It says the only way to really help someone change to is to:

A - Sincerely feel that you want to help them change for their sake, not your own.

B - Have them come to believe that.

While A can sometimes happen, B doesn't always. And that means we can't always change other people, no matter how out of the box we are.

But the key point is that B can never, ever happen without A, and A doesn't happen as often as we deceive ourselves into thinking it does.

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docmagik
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You know it's interesting--I'm finishing up a course on contract law, and it seems to me that there are remarkable applications of these priniciples in contract law.

Contract law is the law dealing with any kinds of agreements where two people agree to do things for each other, usually regarless of whether it's written down or not.

Usually, it ends up in court when one or another fails to keep their end of the deal.

What I found fascinating is how little value the court places on who was in the right and who was in the wrong. And by little value, I mean the court won't make someone give you money just because you were right and they were wrong.

All the court is interested in is solving the problem.

For example, let's say that I had agreed to sell you 1,000 bags of Skittles for favors at your wedding reception for 50 cents each.

That sounds kind of silly, but they're actually vital to the whole thing. Your relationship has in many ways involved Skittles--when you met, by coincidence, you were both eating Skittles, and when you proposed you did it by hand lettering "Will you marry me" onto a bunch of skittles and carefully arranging them into a candy dish. You've repeatedly emphasizes to me that it is absolutely, positively, vital the skittles be there.

The day before the wedding, I tell you I can't do it. I tell you I'm going out of town for an emergency (actually a comic book convention), and you're going to have to find some other way to get your Skittles.

You and your friends are forced to run around frantically to try to find Skittles, and you find that Costco is having a sale on Skittles for 23 cents a bag. You have to go to two different Costcos to get them all, but you have enough for the wedding.

But you're still furious. You want me to understand how bad what I did is, so you decide to drag me through court to teach me a lesson.

You go to court, and you win. Court finds me in breach. Your award?

One dollar in nominal damages.

Normally, the court would give you the difference between what we agreed to pay and what you ended up paying. But in this case, since you got them a whole lot cheaper, there's no harm there. Even if you factor in the gas, you still spent less than you would have if you'd have had to pay me the full amount.

The court will recognize I was wrong and you were right, but all they're going to do about it is give you one dollar in nominal damages.

So what if you hadn't bought the skittles? What if you just decided that you were too busy, and you would just sue me?

Well, you've probably heard of having to "mitigate your damages." This means that the court actually requires you to go out and try to solve your problem before you bother the court with the case.

So you don't buy skittles, and you sue me, but I show the court that during that week Costco had Skittles on sale for 23 cents, and you could have mitigated your damages for less than the contract price.

Once again, you still win, but you still only get one dollar in nominal damages.

So let's say you decide to nip this in the bud when you make the contract. You decide to add a clause to the contract that says, "If docmagik breaches this contract, he will be obligated to provide my bride and I with 1,000 bags of Skittles a year for the rest of our lives."

You feel this would go a long way towards ruining the specialness of your wedding, by providing the two of you with your candy of choice to contribute to your marital bliss.

While you would still win if you sued me, the court would strike out the clause that required the extra "punishment" for failing to keep my oblilgation. You would still only get one dollar in nominal damages.

I find all of this to be very much in line with arbinger principles.

1. Being able to blame someone does not give you any special "bonus" damages--you only get to consider the actual measurable harm they did to you.

2. Having someone wrong you does not take away your own responsibilities. You can't use someone else's mistakes as an excuse not to still try to do what's best for yourself.

3. There is no justification for punishing someone beyond the scope of their error.

Since Arbringer principles are done in regards to relationships, and contract law could also be called relationship law, I found these parralels fascinating.

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pooka
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Now I want skittles, and it's all your fault.

[Wink]

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Sachiko
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quote:
Originally posted by docmagik:

In fact, where this philosophy orignated, in the business world, the essence of this philosophy was usually summed up like this:

"Too often, people are more focused on how they seem to others than they are on getting results. Often, they will take greater lengths to make themselves look good than they will to actually solve the problem. In fact, often they will simply let problems go unattended, as long as they have someone to blame it on or some other way to still look good when the problem reaches a climax."


Wait. I think that being results-oriented and worrying about what other people think is the same thing.

For instance, what if I have a daughter who refuses to participate in church activities? I might worry about what others will think of me, as a parent. They might look at the actions of my child, and judge me to be less righteous because of my child's choices.

Maybe I will choose to exert pressure on the child--maybe I'll tell her that if she doesn't start showing up every week at youth group, I won't give her her allowance. Maybe I guilt-trip her. Somehow, I pressure her to go, even though her heart is not in it.

So, viola, she is there, and the right result is achieved. But the process sucks . For those of your Mormons out there, this kind of compelling-others-to-do-right is not the Plan *I* chose. I don't want to choose it here on Earth, either.

I find this Arbinger theory interesting, as I found The Peacemaker interesting and uplifting and difficult (difficult because I am sometimes a hard-hearted person).

I'm not in the business world (I'm a homeschooling SAHM of 5) so I can't compare business/interpersonal conflict resolution to family/church interpersonal conflict resolution.

I think it is Process vs. Results. I dislike the school of thought that says "So long as I do X, Y and Z, I am 'righteous' and have done good."

What we see and judge others on are Results. What we experience and usually judge ourselves on is Process.

That it, is is wrong to apply our will to another and force them to do anything, even if that thing is a nominally "good" thing--it's wrong to pressure someone to attend church, for example.

My personal example of this was when my husband didn't feel like coming to church, sometimes people would pressure me, to pressure him, to come.

Though of course I would have preferred he accompany me to church, I did not want to push him into having "correct results", even if that would have gotten people at church to lay off both of us for awhile. [Razz]

So what am I missing? What am I not understanding?

Also--

I worry about people using this philosophy as a way to pressure others into permitting abuses. I'm sure you have a good answer for that; assauge my concerns, please.

And, if we cannot trust our thoughts, then can we trust our thoughts, that tell us we cannot trust our thoughts?

Does this mean I need to take off my tinfoil hat and start listening to the silver in my molars again?

[Hat] <------ tinfoil hat

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pooka
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It depends on which "other people" you are worrying about. For a person who believes in God, that is the only person to worry about, further, knowing who God is is key to whether we "worry" about things in the right way. That is to say, God-fearing.

If one doesn't believe in God, it is a matter of ideals and values, I supposed, and that's where the Covey programs try to unite people without getting into their very personal beliefs.

It's deeper than behavior and deeper than words. If it could be expressed clearly in a few words, what would there be to discuss? I mean, you can take the words "one day at a time" and yield "eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die" rather than the method of sobriety that it is used as more popularly in our culture. You can take the law of the old testament and turn it one way or the other. You can take the law of the new testament and turn it one way or the other. There is no safety in any particular position, but only in whether you have your eye single to the glory of God (or whatever).

P.S. We think of fear as a bad thing, but it's only bad to the extent it's false. We have no reason to fear other mortals, but fear of God is just a clear and accurate assessement of his majesty and glory, and it is not fear but love.

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docmagik
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Wow, what great issues.

Let me see how well I can address them--

Your first concern is with the suggestion that Arbinger is results focused. You feel (correctly, I think), that being too results focused can lead people to a get-results-no-matter-the-cost mindset which you say (again, correctly, I think) can be completely counter productive.

Where I think I see it a bit differently is on the idea that they system is proccess-vs-results. That the important thing is more about how you do it than what it is you get done.

What Arbinger says to me is that it even goes a bit deeper than that--it's not about how I do it as much as its about who I am when I'm doing it. More specifically, it's more about how I feel about the other person when I'm doing it.

In other words, whether I'm trying to get my daughter to go to church or whether I'm paitiently waiting for her to decide to do it on her own--which strategy I'm using isn't nearly as important as how I feel about my daughter when I'm doing it.

I can be patienly waiting for my daughter to change to her mind, but if in my heart, I'm seeing my daughter as the problem and blaming her or seeing her in any distorted way, my "patient" waiting will come across to her as being as hostile as if I were pressuring her. My tactics are different, but the goal is the same, and she's going to pick up on that and resist it.

So it's not the thing we're after, and it's not how we go about getting it--it's who we are as we go about it and how we're seeing the other person.

So this is how that applies in the business world and in our home lives and what this has to do with results:

It's about taking responsibility.

Both in the hypothetical with the daughter that you described and the business situation I hypothesized, the people are seeing the problem as being out there. It's that person who is the problem, that person who needs to change for things to happen.

But such blame keeps people from asking the better question.

"Regarless of how we got to this place, is there anything I'm doing that's keeping us here? Is there anything new I could contribute that could help us move past it?"

Taking responsibility means thinking more about what you can do than what others can do. It means thinking more about how you can prevent that situation in the future than about how you weren't the one who caused it.

In a business situation, this means sincerely thinking about how to solve problems or overcome challenges before (or even instead of) thinking about who caused it or whose "fault" it was.

In a home life, while it can mean the same as the business world, it also means sincerely thinking about whether we've given others a reason to resist us--whether we're witholding the love or respect or kindness that they need in order to open their hearts back up to us again. Or perhaps, for the first time ever.

Heck, that's even true in the business world. I remember reading a customer service paper that said, "Trust and respect require reciprocity, and your company needs to be the one to initiate it."

Where trying to force another encourages them to use force back, love invites them to return love. The same way cycles of collusion draw people apart as their mutual mistrust wedges them further and further apart, cycles of love draw people together, as each new loving day makes the other feel open to love and trust back.

Notice I do not say "each new loving act." Because again, loving acts can be done for selfish reasons. I can make breakfast in bed for my wife for Mother's Day from a place of sincere love and respect, or I can do it from a place where I'm doing it in spite of how I'm feeling about her.

The former will invite her to return love, and the latter will invite her to resist me, return the contempt I'm actually feeling for her.

Of course, that's all I'm doing is inviting.

She's perfectly free to respond with love and patience to the meal I serve with a bit of contempt, perhaps feeling a little bad for me and the box I'm in, the desperate need I have to prove I'm better than her through acts like this.

And she's capable of responding to my genuine display of sincere love with contempt or ingratitude.

All I'm actually doing is inviting her to respond differently, not forcing her.

But since I'm doing the act out of love for her and not out of a need to have her see me a certain way, I won't feel the same anger and resentment. Those feelings would come from hurt over what she was doing to me. Since I didn't do it for me, I might feel sadness or regret, but not anger or resentment.

If I'm genuinely inviting someone to church for their sake, and not because thier going to church will make things better for me (because people will lay off me, or our family will look better or the people at church will lay off)--if I'm honestly and truly doing it for them, then I won't get the same sense of frustration and anger if they say no as I would if I was doing it for myself. That's not to say it won't create feelings in me, but resistance to genuine concern and caring creates very different feelings in us than resistance to our own agenda.

We can usually tell who we're doing something for by how we emotionally react to their desires being different from ours.

When we're engaged in self-deception--when we're doing things for selfish reasons that we're trying to convince ourselves are noble and selfless--there are three signs of this:

1. We accuse others.

2. We excuse ourselves.

3. We portray ourselves as victims.

This leads to your second worry: Will actual victims remain in their victimhood based on these teachings?

I'm actually going to quote Terry Warner on this one. This is from Bonds That Make Us Free. (I know it's kind of long, but the real point of the quote is in the first paragraph. If you don't want to read the whole thing, just read the first paragraph and then skip to the end of the quote.)

quote:
There is a very big difference between portraying oneself as a victim . . . and actually being a victim. To the extent that we are actually being victimized, we bear no responsibility for the bad things that are happening to us, such as being mugged on the street or falling ill or being discriminated against because of our gender, race, or religion. But we are responsible when we present ourselves as victims in order to excuse or justify ourselves. There are indeed real victims, but acting and feeling victimized does not make a person a real victim.

One way we can make ourselves out to be victims is by failing in some aspect of life; our failure "proves" how badly we have been treated. We have all known someone like Heather, who "just knew" no man would want her. She was attractive enough, and fairly often men would make overtures. But she would interpret everything they did (even their innocent actions) as some form of rejection, until finally they would give up. Those who knew her best reported that finding evidence of rejection seemed to be her primary interest. "Yeah, see, he didn't call back," Heather might say. A roommate, trying to be helpful, would explain, "But he did; he left a voice-mail message with his number." "No, if he was really interested, he would have kept trying till he got me." Heather's tone in such reactions would be triumphant, as she once again successfully defended her theory of why her life didn't work. These losses in love established her as a Great Martyr, and in her mind this excused her from treating men considerately, as fellow human beings.

A businessman who coaches tennis in the summer says that after watching tournaments for many years, he came to an intriguing conclusion: Except in a very few matches, usually with world-class performers, there is a point in every match (and in some cases it's right at the beginning) when the loser decides he's going to lose. And after that, everything he does will be aimed at providing an explanation of why he will have lost. He may throw himself at every ball (so he will be able to say he's done his best against a superior opponent). He may dispute calls (so he will be able to say he's been robbed). He may swear at himself and throw his racket (so he can say it was apparent all along he wasn't in top form). His energies go not into winning but into producing an explanation, an excuse, a justification for losing.

It is no different for those who amplify their victimhood in everyday life. Their particular way of going against conscience and evading responsibility is to look for reasons why someone or something else is to blame for their loss. Their key concern is not with winning, enjoyment, or getting a job done but with being prepared with an excuse when they lose, so it will be clear that they have been unfairly deprived of what was rightfully theirs. Failing to win, succeed, or become important is acceptable to them as long as they collect evidence that they deserve to have won, succeed, or become important—and they would have done so if they had not been unlucky or treated unfairly.

Often such people go to extreme lengths. Some put themselves at a severe disadvantage, falling behind in the economic or social struggles of life, or making shocking sacrifices, in the way they suppose a genuine victim might be forced to do. There are people who make fools of themselves in public, lose a job, or even take their lives just to prove they are victims—just to prove that someone else (possibly the whole human race or even God) has treated them unfairly.

Losing out in the affairs of life is not the only way to display oneself as a victim. Victimhood can be just as readily displayed by those we think of as successful or powerful. The successful may view themselves as victims when they perceive others as trying to take advantage of them and then redouble their efforts to succeed. Hitler may be the most extreme instance of this. He called his autobiography Mein Kampf-—"my struggle." He had originally planned the title to center on the idea of "a reckoning" or "a settling of accounts," but then put this idea into the subtitle instead. He wanted to convey in the title something about the wrongs he had suffered and the vengeance he was taking. He stands as an extreme example of people whose preoccupation with their own victimhood leads them to seek power so they "won't have to suffer abuses anymore" and so they can "give them (their abusers) what they deserve."

The point is that this philosophy does not teach that it is wrong to be a victim. Sincerely horrible things happen to people.

The problem comes when people use their victimhood, whether real or imagined, as an excuse for acting contrary to what they know is right.

This doesn't mean its easy. It's hard enough for a person who is simply caught up in a collusion of mistrust and disrespect with another to get past that and start seeing the other person as a person again.

It's even harder for the person who suffered abuse in childhood to let go of that as an excuse for not being tender with a current spouse. It takes courage and genuine love for a person in that situation to reach out be loving for the other person's sake, when their circumstances have made it so hard to see past their own pain. But when they come to see their spouse as a person, they realize witholding their tenderness would, to some degree, continue the uncaring attitude that led to their own pain.

For a rape victim, it might mean taking the stand in a trial and reliving the whole experience. While painful for the victim, she is seeing past her own pain to the pain of the other people the man might abuse--she is, in that moment, seeing them as people and acting out of concern for them, despite her own personal suffering.

Again, from Terry Warner:

quote:
Please do not misunderstand: I offer here no excuse for poor performance or low expectations. Letting one's colleagues or students or teachers or family down is no more caring than it is honest. I am not speaking of lowering our aims but of raising them.
*****

Your last question is whether, if we can't trust our thoughts, we can trust our thoughts about not trusting our own thoughts.

Of course not.

The mere fact that our thought patterns are getting this complicated might mean we're engagin in ever more elaborate self-deception. After all, if you think about the times when relationships are at their best, when things are flowing, these are generally not the times when we were quadruple-analyzing our thoughts. They were the times when things were just flowing.

The days full of peace of harmony in our relationships and in our households are most often the days we're putting the least effort into them. We're not quadruple checking our actions towards others because we're just enjoying being around them.

Again, from Terry Warner:

quote:
One summer our family drove to our friend Bob Amott's cabin on the Snake River in Idaho for our vacation. On the way we sang together for what seemed like hours: "Barges" and "Mrs. O'Leary" and the Jell-O commercial and a couple of dozen other rounds, faster and louder and more creatively with every mile that passed. Nobody got tired. What stopped our singing was someone's saying, "Anybody remember the time when . . . ?" Invariably Matthew's recollections were the funniest because he could remember every detail of everything that had ever happened to him and could mimic all the people in the story. The windows were down because the station wagon wasn't air-conditioned, and all the children had their feet out to feel the breeze around their ankles and through their toes. I could tell that Susan had freed her mind of the lists of doings that preoccupied her at home, and I thought, "This is exactly how it's supposed to be."

What does it take to achieve such emotional intimacy? The fundamental ingredient is an awakening of each individual to the others and a willing effort to respond without any personal agenda in exactly the way that seems most right, considerate, and helpful. Susan had opened herself to a lively gratitude for the closeness we were all feeling for one another—even though, to her embarrassment, we had left the flowerbed by our front stairs still unplanted. I had tossed overboard my worries about the work deadline I would not meet, as if they were baggage too heavy for the trip. Andrea was not thinking about Cassie's having broken her water-color box that very morning; diffident and cautious though she was, she accepted and appreciated her rambunctious little sister without any reservation. And when Tim leaned his head on Emily's shoulder and later draped his legs across her lap—invasions of her space that had thrown her into a tizzy on other occasions—she did not find him the least bit annoying, but instead became his older and wiser sponsor and read him stories when the others slept. No one expressed appreciation out loud—indeed, I may have been the only one thinking how happy and perfect was this day—but for each of us the others mattered more than defending our individual rights and ensuring our personal comfort. The profound sense of connection we felt one to another that summer's day would not have been possible except for the capacity in each of us to sense one another's inward yearnings, fears, and love.

There's none of the anxiety when we're out of the box that there is when we're in the box. Out of the box, we're simply recognizing the needs and feelings of others and responding to them as we understand them, not trying to work out in our minds the way to get them to fill our needs. The former is easy and less stressful and generally never meets resistance--the latter is headache inducing and, ultimately, generally unattainable.

But don't despair! This isn't to say that worrying about our thoughts about our thoughts is wrong.

What is wrong is if we're not questioning our thoughts. It's perpetually believing that we could be wrong, even in our doubts about our doubts about our doubts, that we leave ourselves open to, at some point, seeing truth.

As long as we're actively open to the idea that there might be a better way to handle the problem, or that our perceptions of the other person might be wrong we are infinitely closer to opening ourselves up to that person than if we decide we already knew the solution and what the other person is thinking and feeling.

Anyways, this post has become insanely long. What are your thoughts on all of this?

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Earendil18
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I like it. I'm trying to recollect various situations where this victim mentality has popped up in myself and others.

quote:
The problem comes when people use their victimhood, whether real or imagined, as an excuse for acting contrary to what they know is right.
That's really the only part where my head exploded. Trying to reconcile this with my homosexuality, the evidence we have so far, societies views, personal views, personal choice, nature vs nature, whether I'm being a victim, or if I am genuine or "ok" despite it not being "right" or "the norm".

Who decides what's right? To some it's God, to others it's society/socially driven, to some personal choice, to other biology...

I just keep thinking of that line from Days of Future Past

Cold hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is grey, and yellow, white,
but we decide which is right...and which is an illusion?"

So again, the above is really the only bit where I was like "ehhh??? *splode*"

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Sachiko
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Docmagik,

Points one and two ring true to me, based on my life experience. I absolutely agree that we must cultivate true, unstintingly love towards others, mostly because we are not able to hide impatience or contempt so well as we think we do.

I think the leap of faith is hoping, then believing, then finding, that truly loving and accepting another and leaving them to their own choices is the most powerful catalyst for change out there.

These ideas on striving for true charity within ourselves first also correlate well with what I've read about how to treat and prevent codependency.

That is, truly loving others may seem to make us vulnerable, but it also makes us strong and protected, too.

The pity here is how little it's practiced. I gave an example of how I was pressured by results-oriented people at church, to pressure my husband, to have the "right result".

But I suppose that the only way to fight that emphasis on action regardless of inner desire, is to set the example, since this philosophy is inconsistient with using any kind of force or manipulation to change another. [Smile] Ironic.

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Sachiko
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Oh. I forgot to reply to point #3--about meta-thinking.

I have OCD, so I *could* go around in circles about this, but right now it's only an academic thing.

And, I have a safety valve. Being religious, I can decide to question my thoughts until a divine Thought enters and settles the issue, should I be listening well enough to hear that.

But doesn't that idea--an external actor on my thoughts, guiding me to truth--disagree with this philosophy's concept of needing to "own" our thoughts?

For the record, I think this philosophy is as good a secular explanation of the freedom Christ offers as any I've ever heard. I'm just making sure I'm thinking correctly about it. [Wink]

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beverly
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I enjoyed reading this thread. [Smile] Thanks docmagik for your reflections, it seems you have a good grasp of these concepts.
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docmagik
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quote:
Originally posted by Earendil18:

Who decides what's right? To some it's God, to others it's society/socially driven, to some personal choice, to other biology...

Part of what I enjoy about Arbinger is that they don't really get into the debating of what actions are right and what actions are wrong. And their teachers specifically do not give advice on how to handle situations students bring up.

Because ultimately, it's the whole idea that "X is the right thing to do" and "Y is the wrong thing to do" that creates our ability to self-justify and cling to false certainty.

Arbinger is not a rules system--it's more of an awareness system. It's a way to recognize if we're embracing an attitude that's encouraging other people to embrace a certain attitude towards us.

To that extent, it ends up calling into question the morality of our actions, because it asks us to really question, not what someone else is telling us is right or wrong, but the reason we've chosen to do it.

Am I doing it because deep down, I really feel like it's the right thing, or am I doing it because it gives me a certain reward I'm seeking from my community?

So in the end, as much as many religious people turn more towards God as a result of learning these principles, ultimately this takes away their crutch of being able to say, "Oh, I know I'm okay, because I'm doing the checklist of things my Pastor told me God wants me to do."

Some religions (and other organized groups of thought) might consider this dangerous--it's asking people to question whether what they're taught is genuinely true and moral.

There's a Hasidic saying that's something like "Sin is anything you can't do whole-heartedly." I think that comes pretty close to describing the closest Arbinger comes to saying what's right and what's wrong.

Call it conscience, call it whatever, but ultimately what's right and what's wrong comes from deep down inside each of us. The trick is learning whether we're really listening to it or not.

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docmagik
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A website with a short film for the new edition of Leadership and Self-Deception:

http://www.bkconnection.com/leadership/

And an interactive website with videos that talk about some of these principles. I'm not sure how "live" this site is--it still has some typos and such--but the info is there.

http://trueeducationfoundation.org/Arbinger/

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docmagik
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The second link in that last post is no longer working, but if you find anything intriguing here, Arbinger does have a podcast you can subscribe to of "Community Calls" they've done.

http://www.arbinger.com/cicfiles/feed.xml

If you've never heard of them before, the podcast on "Speaking Arbinger" is a good place to start, but you can see from the topics this reaches into all areas of life.

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docmagik
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Sorry to keep bumping my own thread, but I'm excited. TED has discovered Arbinger!
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