People talk about attitudes every day. The subject is always revealing. This morning I came up against it yet again, but in a different way. Let me explain.
I was brushing my teeth a while ago when I heard the toilet flush. Ours is a split bath with the lavatory separate from tub and toilet. I was startled because I’d not noticed Sister moving past me, either going or coming back.
I immediately inquired if she’d done so, to which she said, “Of course!”
Color me surprised. I replied, “I must have been really focused, since I didn’t notice you walking past me.”
Her response was, “Oblivious would be a good choice of word, too.”
I’ll tell you what I told her. “I choose to take a positive stance on this one, rather than see it as negative.”
This whole exchange may sound silly, but it addresses an everyday choice we make as humans. I prefer to think of the episode as “being focused.” The opposite take is “being oblivious.” I was focused on what I was doing and what I was thinking at the time; which just happened to be what I was going to write for this blog post today.
Sister considered it as less aware. One the one hand, she’s correct. I was unaware of her presence behind me and of her proximate activity. From her perspective, what I was doing took little thought and, therefore, I should have noticed her movements.
At the same time, my perspective informs me of my concentrative ability to screen out irrelevant activity while working on the mental plane. This does not happen when I’m in unfamiliar terrain or in uncertain situations. I see it as indicative of how safe and secure I feel in my own home.
Different perspectives? Certainly. Different attitudes? Again, yes, though those attitudes are informed by expectations as well. My expectation was of safety in my home. Hers revolved around momentary awareness of my surroundings.
When we move around our world, we carry expectations, and perspectives based on them, with us and draw conclusions from those factors. Whether those conclusions are viewed as correct are, for wont of another explanation, dependent on how other individuals interpret those conclusions.
The behavior of the world’s populace is based on these factors. Until consensus of perspective arises, there can be little hope for consensus of behavior. At least, that’s how I see it.
If one small action—my brushing my teeth and not noticing someone move behind me—creates a schism between positive and negative interpretation, how much more dramatic are divisions surrounding vast actions?
Give me your thoughts on this question. How do you see perspective and its role in the daily behavior of those two-legged creatures called humans? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.
Until then, a bientot,
- Get Perspective Not Opinions (lookingforsunshinethebook.wordpress.com)
- Mental Toughness: Attitude or Behavior? (stack.com)
- The Other Perspective (positivitysquared.wordpress.com)
For much of my adult life, two places crop up on a regular basis as the location for whatever dream happens to need a country setting. Both of these locations belonged to my grandparents. These two houses, with their small farms attached, figure prominently in my transition dreams.
Let me explain.
When my current life puts me in a state of transition, whether related to work or home or state of residency, my dreams take me back to one of my grandparent’s homes from my childhood. The emotional depth of the transition seems to determine the intensity of the dream and the larger the crowd of family members within the dream. Sounds spooky, doesn’t it?
For instance, if I’ve lost a female friend, through whatever agency, I will dream of being at my father’s parents’ home. I take a good look around the yard; remember the games played with my cousins during visits there. Red Rover and Red Light/Green Light still echo around the front yard of those dreams.
I sit with one girl cousin or another and laugh, joke, and share secrets for however long I stay within the dream. I wake with a smile on my face. I’d been able to recapture that tenuous relationship for a short while and enjoy it. I can tuck it back into my mental file box for later retrieval, as I will be able to do with the current lost friendship of a female friend. My transition is made.
Conversely, if I’m feeling lost–perhaps due to a major shift in my living situation– I return to my mother’s parents’ house and grounds. The scene is always built on the same framework, but the details move and shift, even as I watch within the dream. The moonflower vine covers the front porch instead of the back kitchen wall, or the gold fish pond under the weeping willow has koi in it instead of the small orange darting variety once used.
I can wander the orchard, smelling the winter storage apples that are not-quite ripe but close. I can traipse down to the barnyard where the transparent apples are dropping from their branches. Climbing for choice golden orbs results in a skinned knee from bracing against the trunk and from higher branches I can see the entire farmyard.
A couple of sheep graze to the right, chickens cluck and peck at seeds outside the small holding pen at the barn’s edge. Sunlight baths everything in that early autumn glow that hastens the turning of leaves and cooler temperatures.
Here, in this place, I am safe and sheltered. I carry it with me wherever I go. I never have to leave this warmly remembered haven.
When I wake from such a dream, regret flows with the tears of separation from those days of perceived iconic childhood memories. I recognize that much of it wasn’t real, that shifting images were brought about by changes in life. It is this recognition that allows me to transition easier to a new living arrangement.
I think we all have places within our family memories that help us deal with things that are going on in our lives today. Places of safety, people of soothing influence, and images that allow for reconciliation between the known and the unknown that helps us move from one stage of our lives to the next.
Whether we see our family members often or only every few years, they never leave our sides. They travel with us everywhere. And in doing so, those are our major influences in our lives.
Anyone who takes the time to think about it has realized how much of our communications have devolved into graphics and monosyllabic use in the past couple of decades. Technology use, rather than the technology itself, appears to be the culprit in this case. Keep in mind the EMOTICON.
Shorthand was a human skill, a hand-written encoded form used as late as the early ‘80’s, when the Dictaphone took over operations. All well-paid professional secretaries were required to have the skill. It’s fantastic for taking notes in university classes, too.
It fell out of favor, considered labor intensive and inefficient around 1980 and was replaced by dictating machines. In this century we have Dragon and other voice recognition specialty software that will take your dictation and produce your text.
Of course, Dragon can only do what its user tells it to do. It’s fast and that’s deemed important in today’s world. It takes dictation and writes it to a file. All punctuation, word choice, syntax, etc. must come from the user, which is as it should be. Yet, none of these conveniences can help the user until the user has “taught” her dragon how to recognize her speech patterns and the like.
In the “old” days the one dictating expected the secretary to come fully loaded (no pun intended) and already programmed with all the skills necessary for the job. Dragon doesn’t expect a paycheck at the end of the week, which gives it another advantage.
What does any of this history have to do with today’s use of the shortcuts in written communications? Actually, it relates well how our use of language evolves and changes within its mediums of expression.
Verbally, people can have entire conversations without using more than one hundred or less real words. Comedians do skits about this truth all the time. Ask Jeff Foxworthy.
We use verbal shorthand and probably always have used it. Hmm, um, ah, oh, huh, etc. are all part of the lexicon of communication’s shortcuts. Body language falls into a sister category of communications. Recognize the pattern here?
If you follow Foxworthy, you’ll know many of the Phrase-Turned-Word combinations which complete a conversation which uses only one real sentence and the rest filled with PTW combos.
PTW’s, such as “yantu”, “j’eatyet”, and of course, “y’all” all get used on a regular basis, and not just as Redneck words used in the South. Common use words like “gonna” or “whatya” can be heard anywhere on any day. These “words” are comfortable and easily transfer from one region to the next. That reason alone might be why the word “ain’t” could never be successfully stomped out of use and was finally added to the dictionary.
Humans redefine and create new language each day. We do it for convenience’s sake, for jargon needs, and just to bug other people. “Bug” See what I mean. The old ‘50’s-‘60’s word still gets used and understood so many years after its creative definition shift.
We use emoticons to express emotions without having to verbally define them, a visual cue to our body language when line of sight is impossible. Graphic display of emotions serves the same purpose; expression without words.
Writers must use words to create mood, express characters’ emotions, etc. Today’s technological shorthand both encourages expression and redefines its use. The quality that disturbs some writers like me, however, is whether its use will soon disrupt an individual’s ability to express herself in words instead of graphics.
I’d like to know how others feel about the rampant use of verbal shorthand across today’s world. It brings us together, allows one to say much in a small space, and affords quick communications, but does it add to our lives anything other than speed? What is its intrinsic value? Will it be decipherable a century from now?
You tell me. Until next time,
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