The Road to Hell...

The road to hell...

No matter how experienced, old or how widely I read nothing prepares me for the person who will not accept simple explanations of intent.

Experience, age and wisdom have however, taught me that it’s their issue and not mine.

A simple action undertaken is misunderstood by a person and is taken to an almost surrealist complexity in attack as the simple explanation is denied while their cognitive fictions flourish. Brief rationalisations are followed by screeds of aggressive countermoralism on the perceived offence and other, suddenly considered relevant, factors.

The way we behave is the indexicality (bound to the context in which it occurs) of our learning how to be, define, feel and act, in the world we have created together.

It is interesting is when the pattern is repeated. We don’t have to look far to find reference that behaviour is learned by operant conditioning (Pavlov’s dogs), and that some benefit is found.

Most interesting is figuring out what, for that person, is the benefit.

This almost falls into Ronald Aker’s social reinforcement of self-destructive behaviour, except there’s little social attention, no one who matters would attribute the antagonist as the victim, and in my experience other adults on the periphery look after themselves first.

Lewis Yablonsky’s ‘near-group’ where social deviance is encouraged shouldn’t apply.  The individual has certainly not been encouraged to deviant and engage in destructive behaviour – quite the opposite - oppositional defiant disorder perhaps? But I jest.

David Matza claims it’s a way to attempt to regain a sense of control and it involves choice, this discounts motivational issues, but upholds that all choices are bound by social contracts.  Morality is created in social order and my action, in their opinion, has breached their ideal.   

The last one is the most appealing to ‘rational economic Susan’ where people are utility maximising individuals, especially as I have a little more “perfect information” than I can supply my readers.

Every attempt I made to calmly explain my position and my intent was met with even more outlandish accusations putting me in what Greg Bateson describes as a ‘double bind’ position in which all and any response would be wrong (except I suspect falling on my sword, and even then I I’d have been accused of avoiding commitments). 

This is because I, or the wrong I’d purportedly done, was not the issue.

People make choices. They choose what to become involved in, and what tasks they volunteer for, and, if you find yourself over-committed to a position you don’t want to be in, make those changes like an adult. 

Fault finding to pick an argument so withdrawal is not your fault is a ridiculous premise, almost like gas-lighting.  Most people – if they really try – can choose how they react to a situation, especially if what you’re reacting to comes in written form and there is time to consider. 

Walk away.


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