Saturday, September 17, 2011

It amazes me how two people's thoughts on anything can be light years apart-even, maybe especially, on things they agree on. The process of how people come  to an agreement is like watching a Mandelbrot fractal being born-you start off with chaos and make...chaos-just in a beautiful form, because even once we agree, we can never really understand each other's thinking processes or motivations. How do people ever come together when our interior landscapes span mental continents? How do we explore each others mental terrain and decide this person is my friend, my lover, my enemy- or even "this person is just like me!"-when the truth is, you have no idea. We will never truly know what another person is thinking, or why they do what they do. The rules of society help us make our decisions-but they aren't absolute and they change constantly. What's popular, right, moral- all decided, it feels, on a whim. And I'm an outsider loking in, who can't figure out the rules of the game. Some people are experts at moving through life, despite it's unpredictability. I think it's akin to being a mathematical savant who's never studied algebra- you can intuit an answer and be right, but never use the same process twice to get to the final answer. Which means when I try the very same thing that worked for you or even worked for me the last two times, the third time-Kaboom! When talking to people I feel, always and forever, a stranger in a strange land. I have no idea how to navigate the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships and usually wish I could just say "Screw it!", and not obey those damn unspoken rules of society everyone else seems to know so well at all. But I want to be a part of something. And people who don't try don't get too far in any direction.  And...I have to admit I'm not strong enough to bear society's censure for long. I wish there were an easier way to overcome our mental chasms. But maybe that's the point. Chasms can be overcome when people cooperate-when we strive to understand each other. Sure,I usually don't get it-but I am striving. I think we all are. And maybe one day, we'll all get it. For right now though, what I want is for someone on the other side of my mental divide to lend a hand and throw me a rope. Any takers?

"Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the furthest distance to be our friend."

Robert Brault

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