Shocked by Reality?

It seems that many are. This is because they have a whole list of  “supposed to be” things, which predicate their expectations of how the world ought to be. In the last post I suggested that stalking and spying on someone you know, is like perving at someone as they undress from behind a lace curtain or venetian blinds. The mind can come up with some pretty strange justifications. “He obviously wanted me to watch him take his shirt off.” Of late there has been a massive backlash about dodgy male behaviour. “Isn’t it shocking that a bunch of rich bankers {rhyming slang} groped some young pretty hostesses? Tut, tut…” But women can be pervs too! I have noted, in science tutorials, at a top university, women less than half my age perving at my biceps. I have had my arse pinched, a long time ago, in a night club. Serves me right for walking through a hen party. I was obviously wearing too tight trousers, what a slag. And I have been handcuffed and paraded around a pub, by some girls, again a long way back. People get shocked at all sorts of things. Maybe they need to get out more and see a bit of life.

I have a hypothesis that says people in general are way more weird than they let on to others.

What goes on in the minds of sane people can be damn strange.

What do you reckon, is this hypothesis any good?

The problem is that when supposition and actuality do not overlap “it” doesn’t make sense. This is shocking. The natural order, according to the suppositions, is broken. Oh my! What to do? One can try to retro-fit, or one can be shocked, stunned, gobsmacked. In some cases, the reality isn’t faced at all. We can pretend that “it” never happened. We can go deep into denial. And if someone has views which differ markedly to our own, they are obviously stark raving mad. We must therefore go “la-la-la-la not listening”, like any sane person should.

Having cued this up

Do I ever find myself shocked at what happens in life?

Am I shocked by the opinions and views of others?

Who is the loony, me or them?

How Well Do You Know Someone?

In the blog it may have come across that I am not a great fan of assumption and supposition, this is true. Neither am I a fan of using what “they” say as an inviolable source of reference. Nevertheless, all of these are common methods of building a story about someone. We form opinions based on shitty data. Further the internet, bless its unfailing accuracy, isn’t all that reliable. I’ll hypothesise that we don’t know people as well as we think we do. They may add to this by hiding behind a façade of unreliable shininess. I was talking with God the other day and he said that the planetary number count of angels is on the extremely low side, and that superheroes are actually fictional. Well that told me!

Now we may think we know who or what we are dealing with and be so far off the mark. We could stumble across the blog of someone we thought we knew and in stalking them and spying on them, find out a whole different side to them we hadn’t imagined. If they were aware that we might be stalking them, they might start to mess with us. What to believe? I know, let’s ask “they”, they will know, they always do. We are back to square one.

The only way to get to know someone well is to spend a lot of time with them and in a variety of circumstances. That way you have personal experience. Even so, they may still surprise us by doing something we hadn’t considered them capable of. One of the people who came to see me in a pastoral care role told me that they could not see how this boring git, who lectured chemical kinetics, could be any use. That is until we got talking. As it turned out I was helpful, and we have had a good laugh about this, subsequently. This is a minor example. But I’ll guess we have all had a few surprises in respect of the behaviours of others, some pleasant some less so.

I am a fan of finding out, but that takes time.

Having cued this up:

Have I ever been convinced that I knew someone only to be proven wrong?

If so, does that suggest that my convictions generally are not as sound as they seem?

Might this warn me about premature conclusion and pre-judging?

Is there anything in this world as reliable as direct, current, personal experience?

Selective Perception and Supposition

It is not uncommon for people to imagine things very different from how they actually are. For example, the notion of cancer patient rarely conjures up a hairy fifteen stone guy with a full head of hair and still in possession of most of his own teeth. And the idea of quantum mechanics does not sit so well with a working beef farm. In the two clips previous, nothing has been faked or photoshopped. It is just like this. There is a big stack of patents and papers just behind me and outside I wait for Mr Pheasant the chicken fancier to make an appearance as he does usually, at this time of day.

The written word can easily be subject to selective perception. My speaking voice is as it is in the clip and I am nearly always calm, so if anything else is imagined, imagined it is. People will select from a whole bunch of perceptions and fit them to / with their suppositions. Many selective perceptions are so wide of the mark. Unless you have current personal experience of someone, chances are your perceptions are out of date and inaccurate. Once you have fallen off the cliff of selective perception, there can be no going back.

People make all sorts of shit up. It is weird but true.

What Fries Your Brain?

And no, I am not talking about puzzles, quantum mechanics or freaks of nature. I am referring to the more mundane, the day to day. There are a set of rules, commonly held, about how life situations are meant to evolve. Things are supposed to go one way according to some set of precedents. There is a sense of established patterns, a kind of predictable causality. “If I do this then so and so is likely to do that”. There is a kind of protocol, that may work. Many attempt to manipulate situations according to an established method with a view to a particular outcome. We have the “cunning plans” of Baldrick and Black Adder. In TV land there is a comedic outcome, in reality when things don’t pan out, it can fry your brain, blow your mind.

This supposition can lead to a “what the fuck just happened?” moment.

These quirks, these unexpected things, can really mess with the set of world-rules which people have. There ought to be some kind of reliable trajectory of causality, some predictability even certainty. Humanity, as a whole, is coming to terms with an end of certainty in so many spheres. Yet there is still marked complacency in regard of the general applicability of world-rules. Life is more volatile these days.

When cunning plans go wrong, as they can do, people can be crest fallen. Life, for whatever reason, does not comply with the terms which we seek to foist upon it. Many persist in trying to shoe horn their terms onto life, to make it fit the shoe of their expectations. The universe can throw multiple spanners in. The narrative of how it should be, can fail. And even should it fail people do not like, how it is.  This conflict between the actuality of is and the insistence of should, causes suffering and angst.

Sometimes, in life, it is just like this and not how we deem it meant to be.