Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Who do you think you are?

A lot of the stuff I am writing about recently I may well have written about before but I am not revising old posts, I am not even looking at old posts I am just going on ahead and I will look back on them all in the future some time to see how my ideas may have changed or been expanded upon.

There’s this thing that we do and I do it myself!  I am sure you have all heard people make statements such as ‘speak for yourself’ or ‘you’re one to talk’, I am sure you hear such statements quite a lot and you probably say them quite a lot. These statements are a very subtle form of counter blame.  Much of what we do is done very instinctively so you will find people reacting sometimes quickly to things that are being said during normal conversations. 

I have been catching myself out a lot lately, I can’t let myself away with anything now because I am very aware of how I work and it’s like I have some type of internal mirror whereby I am not only experiencing life, I am simultaneously watching myself experiencing life!  It all sounds very complicated but it isn’t really, after you do it for a little while you get used to it but it doesn’t mean my social ineptitude is any less than it was it just means I am aware of it and I am getting much better at not being a dick.

When someone says something about other people which may have negative connotations sometimes someone listening will automatically address them with a statement which is aimed at making them look at themselves to see that they too are guilty of negativity.  I have noticed this to be very prevalent and you’ll find it happening to larger degree among people who have known each other for a very long time or among people who are in a very direct and competitive mode of being.

Equally when someone is talking about themselves in an overly positive manner people will say things like ‘who do you think you are?’ the way that these statements are used in a social sense seems to be a natural part of our very tribal state of being.  There is this constant to and fro between people, especially people who know each other well or people who believe they know others.  These statements are like tiny little acts of balance which people carry out to keep themselves in tune with the world around them and to keep the world around them in tune!

The onus seems mostly focused outside of the individual making such statements, obviously, due to the fact that they are talking about others but something which is much less common is individuals who speak about themselves in this manner.  This is a very clear indicator of how our society is structured, people will be more likely to try and redress someone else’s balance rather than looking at their own.  This is an example of what is known as ‘The Blame Culture’ and it is much more widespread than many of us may realise.

When you listen to the things that people talk about generally you’ll find that most of it is about other people and most of that is about what other people have been doing.  People are careful about what they say about themselves because they are constantly in competitive mode and they want people to like them so their behaviour will directly reflect this.  We are social animals so much of what we do is done in relation to others and that should always be considered when making judgements about people.  You will probably be less aware that you are doing exactly the same things that they all do!  We all behave like this but we are always more likely to overlook our own misgivings and focus on others.

Here’s the interesting thing though.  When someone is doing this they’re obviously not thinking about themselves because they’re speaking about the other person aren’t they?  So the very act of making this statement is in itself the same hypocrisy they are accusing the other person of!  It’s very useful to watch this kind of behaviour among large groups of people who know each other, especially males.  Men are much more likely to pass the buck in this way because men are less inclined to look at themselves and much more likely to not want to take the blame.  Women are better tuned to their emotions and less selfish generally, that doesn’t mean this is absolute because you’ll obviously get men and women who don’t quite fit their particular moulds but there needs to be some kind of generalistion in matters concerning billions of people.  The reasons for the differences between the sexes come I think from the very simple fact that women are built differently due to the fact that they are the ones who have the children so there is a more pressure on them emotionally.  This doesn’t mean that just because you’re female you can be a dick and get away with it of course, balance is key and knowing your own personal limits is crucial.

If go and look at a video on you tube of someone who is ultra famous and scroll through the comments you’ll see a whole lot of people talking about these people while saying absolutely nothing about themselves, of course celebrity culture is at the extreme end of everything but it doesn’t make it any less insightful in terms of how human nature works.  People are so often deluded by celebrity culture, it’s like we think that vast wealth and fame somehow make people Godlike but celebrities are no less human than you and I.

I have written before about our competitive nature, it is at the very core of who and what we are, it has been since the very beginning but people are not even aware that they are competitive and I often wonder why this is because it is glaringly obvious.  If you say something, anything, about someone more often than not the person will counter blame to try and make you look bad in return or conversely with complimentary behaviour.  You will also find that if people have emotional or social difficulties they will be much more likely to behave this way.  You need to be aware of this aspect of humanity so you can take it back to yourself and realise that things as simple as a debate in the workplace or the need to beat your mate on the Playstation will bring out the competitive side of you and thus lead you to behave in a kind of otherwise manner.  Indeed it is important to also realise that we are all constantly changed by people and situations whenever we interact, so you may find yourself doing and saying certain things differently depending on who is around or what is happening.

This post was born out an interaction with a mate. He responded to one of my posts on Facebook, the post before this piece.  I had written a poem about some boy who was gurning about Brittany Spears.  In the poem I was attempting to focus on how people do exactly what I have outlined here and Barry came on and started slobbering about me being just as bad as the people I was talking about!  Of course I hadn’t said I wasn’t, the point was to make people look at themselves and oule Quinn then went ahead and proved my point for me!  But here’s something unexpected, right now I am focusing back onto Barry and what he said and I have obviously now entered competition mode else I would not be mentioning this!  There is no better example for this type of thing than real life interactions.

No matter how far I go with my explanations on these matters I keep having to reign myself back.  I am writing a piece at the moment about individualism versus the collective and the crux of it is that society is not either or, it is in fact a constant merging of those two great philosophises.  No matter how far along the line you go you must always make your way back to the beginning and the simple fact that we are each ourselves and everything begins and ends with each of us.  How you interact with others, how they interact with you and how everything interacts with everything else is the way of the world but knowing yourself and being aware of yourself is crucial if you are to be successful in any endeavour.  

I have dispelled a lifetimes worth of guilt and regret by getting to know myself and getting to know my limits.  I am still prone to dickish behaviour, who isn’t?  I can still be a dick, depends on who’s around at the time! ; )  I am aware of it though and if you wish for change you must begin with the only thing you can change, you…

Listen to people and you’ll hear yourself speaking, speak to them and you’ll be speaking to yourself and next time you say to someone ‘Who do you think you are?”  say to yourself afterwards ‘Who do I think I am?’

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