Thursday, June 29, 2006

Words and Action in Accord

I'm dealing with a prejudice of mine. I like people who have a tight coordination between what they say and what they do. It used to be worse- I used to assume that almost any discrepancy in word and deed -say the schism between a stated religious or ethical belief and an action- was a deliberate deception. A sign of evil and betrayal and blah blah blah...

I've grown up a lot since then. Frankly, for most people, words are just shit that comes out of their mouth to make them feel less lonely. It's white noise. Not for every one and not for anyone all the time. It's just in my nature to think of words as tools and it seems obvious to me that tools should be used precisely. It took a long time to understand that most humans don't see the world in terms of ends and means and don't instinctively value practicality as the highest ideal.

So I watch actions and friends and relationships: not what a person says about waitresses and flight attendants, but how they treat them. Not whether they preach the sanctity of marriage but how they treat their wives and how many wives they've had.

So I've grown a little bit, but it still bugs me.

It especially bugs me when words and words are not in accord. That seems so simple. (Following example heavily edited to take out the jargon)

Deputy: Sarge, I think this person is breaking this rule, but I don't have enough evidence to follow up.
Me: Why do you think he's doing it?
Deputy: I watched him do it.

And this is the deep prejudice, because it's hard not to interpret that as stupidity- but the person isn't stupid. It's just white noise coming out of the mouth.


The Moody Minstrel said...

Be thankful you don't live in a cultural where lying is a cultural requirement and both honesty and frankness are considered a sign of bad upbringing.

The funny thing is that I am often told I command a certain sort of respect and even envy because of my gaijin tendency to tell it like it is.

Anonymous said...

The lower the self-awareness, the farther from reality speech becomes; criminals, etc., believe what they say is true, because it is to them. By speaking from the source of thought, speech has the three necessary elements: meaning, harmony, result. Ain't dat right?

Kai Jones said...

He doesn't think of himself as enough evidence. That's a person who should not be in the field--what are his reactions under stress going to be like if he doesn't trust the evidence of his own senses? He's already stuck in a loop, he's already frozen and nothing is even happening right now.

Aaaaccck. Those people make me anxious. They're not just neutral, they're actively dangerous to me.