Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Little Exercise in Awareness

By Patricia Lefave, Labelled, D.D.(P)

When I am discussing something with people, I frequently ask them HOW they mean what they are saying.
Often, I receive a little smirk, amused eyes or a non answer as a response. Sometimes, it’s something like, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter,’ as they drop their eyes and smirk to themselves knowingly, no doubt believing that I can’t really see them or understand them.

Let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective.
If, when I hear something being said, I already know that it could be meant in three or four possible ways, depending upon the specific experience of the speaker, then I might ask the speaker to clarify his or her meaning, so that I don’t assume I know which way he or she intended the statement.

If, on the other hand, the speaker was aware of only one way to understand what he or she said, what might the speaker assume about the listener?

Might he or she assume the listener to be the less aware if the ‘obvious’ was not understood? Might he or she assume the listener to be stupid if the communication went no further?
In such a case, if the listener cannot get the speaker to clarify meaning, or even communicate beyond that point, even though the listener is aware of the speaker’s error in judgment, will not the chances of real communication between the two end there?

If the listener tries to explain the various possibilities and the result is to be scoffed at, or worse, how long should the listener keep trying to communicate with such a person?

In most of these types of relationship, the speaker who is less aware will consider him or herself to be more aware than the other who sees a broader range of possibility. This is a common reversal of identity and consciousness.

The one who understands less may consider him or herself to be more intelligent, because as far as that one is concerned, there is nothing more to see or understand than that which is already known.
This becomes a concrete problem with concrete losses to the other when the speaker holds a position of power over the one who understands more and questions the right of the one who understands less to control the other.

This psychology creates a paradoxical trap, used to invalidate the ACCURATE perception of the one who does not have the concrete power to stop the control of the other.

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