Monday, December 11, 2006

Discussion - Part I

The discussion rambles on with the same arguments that are futile and wearisome. Many of the arguments focus on peripheral issues that seem to offer a point of weakness and the opportunity to inflict pain or score points on some personal score card. Though I think I try, I feel handicapped and unable to see the other side and wonder if they are trying to see my point of view. Are we seeking solutions, understanding, agreement or are we hopelessly circling with no goal, no destination and no hope? I have no desire to win. I want to stop, to quit, to escape but these not an options – or are they?

The subjects of the discussion are many – terrorism, globalization, politics, racism, Freedom and freedoms, patriotism, immigration, separation of church and state, social security, health care, economy, ignorance, entertainment, education, environment, empire, war and peace, the UN, genetic engineering, sexual orientation, the role of government, the definition of marriage and family, marketing, sustainable growth, welfare, energy, news media and democracy, human rights, torture, wealth, resources, population growth – and the list continues.

My frustration grows and my anger increases at the futility of the discussion. It’s time to call a break and to reorient.

Daily, in my work, I am presented with problems to solve. I begin by asking questions to understand the problem. Once I understand, I develop theories to explain what is happening.. I identify possible causes and rank them according to probability. I create a list of solutions and evaluate them in terms of time and difficulty to implement – and risk associated with causing other problems by implementing the solution. As I begin work, if things seem inconsistent I stop and go back to the basics, to what I know to be true. These are not conscious steps. They are habitual, unconscious steps that have become ingrained by years of work solving problems.

Will this approach work with the subjects above? Probably not! People are not rational. We – yes, I include myself – are emotional and respond to unconscious threats and needs. Perhaps the way to reorient is to identify our needs. If we know our needs, we can discuss solutions that provide for our needs. We can look for win-win solutions.

I know some of your needs. They are the same as mine – food, clothing, and shelter. Basic physical needs are easy to identify but these are not the source of our problems in the western developed world. (Perhaps that’s part of our problem. Hungry people don’t argue about sexual orientation and gay marriage.) Our needs extend beyond the physical to the emotional, social and psychological. We need security – freedom from fear and threat. We need people who love and support us. We need self esteem.

What do you need beyond basic physical needs and elementary emotional and social needs? I don’t know and won’t pretend to know. Instead, let me illustrate by telling you what I need. This may give us a beginning point to talk and work together to find understanding. Agreement is not necessary. Respect and trust are.

(Work prevents me from finishing this post today. I'll continue tomorrow.)

3 Comments:

Blogger Buffalo said...

One hell of a good topic, Paul. Looking forward to the next installment.

12/11/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Michael said...

I already know what I need. I need to read your next post! grin.

12/12/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger whitesnake said...

E=mc2.........just aint enough!

Tardis=
Time And Relavant Dimensions In Space.....

That's what I need........

12/12/2006 07:27:00 PM  

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