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.
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.