Get your nut around it

OK, I have to include this one… I have some distant relatives by marriage that I have had to deal with in a

business situation or two and it always turns bad.  Mostly because few people have a true honest objective

grasp on reality.  I have made a deliberate effort since I was young to see things for how they are and not

how I want them to be.  I have made an even harder effort to see myself as how I am instead of how I would

like to see myself.  In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the phrase, “To thy own self be true.”  I guess you could

read it as you should always do what you think is right or what you want to do but I have always

understand it as to have no illusions about yourself.  Be honest with yourself as to your own abilities and

weakness.  For if you can’t look at yourself in reality then you will never be able to see anything in reality.

I had come to the conclusion that my relatives where insane; unable to experience the real world.  They

existed in a world of their own creation.  One in which the disjoined and contrary thoughts they held could

be related to each other and spun into a cohesive vision of the world, that no matter how contrived,

allowed them to exist, do, and function as they did.  All the while enabling them to think of themselves as

the good and or just person in every situation.  They had to create a world in which the opposing personas

that they inhabited would all fit under the same umbrella.  They had to make up a world so they could get

heir nut around it all.

My wife and I enjoy both science fiction and fantasy in books and film.  Those genres enable you to leave,

if only for a short period of time, your normal day and go to places where anything can and usually does

happen.  Places where travel through wormholes and three headed monsters that speak English are both

perfectly acceptable.  I tend to just go with the stories but my wife often gets caught up on inconsistencies.  

She is more then willing to go along with the seemingly impossible in a story as long as it fits within the

boundaries that were set out in the beginning.  Star Wars and Star Trek can have ships travel at speeds

faster than light and have gravity in space because they can explain it in accordance to the rest of the

story.  There are whole books devoted to the technical explanations of the ships and the theoretical

phenomenon that exist in these stories.  I have heard Trekkies arguing over the minute details of a design

feature in order to verify its appropriate and logical place in the story.

It’s kind of like when you read comic books and a main character is killed in vol. 347 but is back alive in vol.

582 and no explanation is give.  That would cause a disconnect and should invalidate the hole series even

though it would be perfectly acceptable for the main characters to be able to shape shift into and animal or

fly.  When you are faced with apparently contradictive and incompatible situations the human mind has to

work it out.  This is were the imagination works its magic and develops a story line no matter how fanciful to

resolve the contradiction and allow a seamless understanding of events to flow.  Almost like when some

sticks or a bunch of leaves get put in front of a stream of water flowing down the curb in the street.  The

water at first is stopped and then rises and then it finds a new path either enveloping the object, possibly

carrying it along, or moving around the object to continue upon it course.

What we have are three basic visions of things.  One: the way we see ourselves (our own self image), Two:

the way others see us (which leads to how they respond to us), and Three: the truth of how we are.  The

closer these three views are to each other the more grounded in reality you will be and the more likely you

are to be able to deal with the world.  If on the other hand these items are far apart you will have to make

up a story; to create a world in which they all can coexist in order to function  This has little to do with

differences in preference or opinion.  It is not like saying apples are better then oranges.  It’s like saying

and apple is an orange.  The brutal truth is that there are plenty of people out there that you will have to

deal with that exist in a world made in part or entirely of there own creation.  A world that has little or no

connection to reality.  With these people the best you can do is to recognize that the situation exists and

account for it as just another factor in your decision making.  Example: John just does not accept that X

occurs so you don’t bring that subject up with John and you don’t put john on the X team.  You put him on

the Y team even though you could use his skill set on the X team.

A real problem occurs when the person has such a complete disconnect between themselves and reality

that they can’t figure out a way to make it all match.  Their peas are so far apart that they can’t get their

nut to cover all three.  As a result they have to go off the deep end.  This accounts for some of the horrible

tragedies that you hear on the news every so often.  Where the attacker says the victim wanted them to do

it, or that the monkey or pillow made them do it.  You have to be way out there for that to be the case.

I keep thinking about some of the shows that I have seen where this type of thing happened.  When the

writers have written themselves into a story line so far out there that even by the absurd boundaries of

their story they can’t make sense of it.  One case in point would be the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical

episode (Season six episode seven).  When a story about a teenage girl cheerleader who hunts down and

kills vampire and other demonic creatures while maintaining an apparently normal life and has an on again

off again love relationship with a vampire is not big enough to handle a story line you know you have gone

off the deep end and the only way to resolve it is to completely through away reality, or in this situation, the

accepted boundaries of the story.  You can almost hear the writers say, I don’t know man, I can't figure out

how we can make this make sense and not sound stupid.  And then someone says, what if we have

everyone sing there dialog and dance through the scenes.  Then the whole thing will seem so crazy that

the story line will seem normal.  In effect we will just get the audience to throw everything out and start

over.  I’ve gone on about this one a bit more then I should have so I won’t do more but it is not the only

show that has been in this situation.  One of my favorite episodes of Xenia warrior princess was the one

about the Land of Illusia (Season three episode twelve).  And again song came to the rescue of an

untenable storyline.  I do admit that when reality is replaced with the surreal it can be entertaining.  Kind of

like watching a stumbling drunk do something like walk up a set of stairs.  But remember its all fun and

games until someone gets hurt.

The Point:

You never know with people, at least not at first glace, whether they have a firm grip on reality or not.  It’s

one of the first things you have to figure out about people.  It makes a big difference in how you can and

should relate to them.  There are lots of people out there that seem ok but are way off the deep end.  

The Lesson to Learn:

People are screwed up and you have to deal with them so figure out where they are coming from, their

perspective, and do the math to equate that to reality and then do the math to equate reality to how you

view things.  I hope you’re good at comparing fractions.

The Brutal Truth:

People are complex and almost no one has it all together all the time.  This too is ok.  The trick is to be

aware of the situation and adjust you responses accordingly.  You have to start by getting and keeping

yourself as close to reality as possible.  It will make the math easier.