Facts and the Stories we tell about them

One of the biggest sources of unnecessary and often extreme friction in human interactions is the assumed context applied to observed facts.

People make up stories to explain an event, based on an assumed context for the event.

Better patterns could be found by asking what actually happened and listening to the participants’ observation of events.  Instead, the facts are mentally re-arranged within some new assigned context which “perfectly” aligns with and supports some new story that is assembled.

First of all, all facts are contextual for their meaning.  Much much much more so than most people realize.   This applies to facts of all shapes and sizes, whatever materials or medium they are composed of.

And humans, drifting around humanoidally as they are wont to do, have a deep tendency to view the world lenticularly – similarly to viewing through a lens,  they see most magnifiedly what is central to them ideologically or closest to them physically. And like Galileo’s accusers, feel they are quite entitled to assume that what they see and where they stand is somewhere close to, or at least within sight of, the center of the cosmos.

The assumed context for any fact, person, or occurrence which comes close enough to be viewed,  is typically some portion of that context which functions as the matrix for all other events which one is accustomed to.

An example of this is laid out in the following story:

An homage to Neville Chamberlain’s umbrella

Have you ever had a case made against you, or gotten a bad review at work, because of someone’s assumptions of a completely different context for a factual event?

If you’re at all intelligent, especially if you’re an outside the box kinda person, I’ll bet you have.

Not so much if you’re a follower and blender inner play it safe type.

I’d like to hear your stories.

Parenting Skills License ?

The idea of some kind of education, practice, and testing on parenting skills has considerable merit.  However:

The core problem with comparing a child license to a driver’s license is the “right vs privilege” clause.

Given variance in parental decisions, including circumcision, sleep and curfew times, home vs public or private schooling, use of leisure time, vaccination, food decisions, etc. ; having a bureaucrat in some agency decide that you were a bad parent, revoke your “license”,  and exercise its authority to A) Prevent your reproducing , or B) Take away custody rights,  could quickly and draconianly become a nightmare.

A less invasive system might be one based on rewards, rather than punishment by removal of basic rights.  For example, a discount on health care, free or discount/upgrade tickets to sporting or community events, membership in clubs or community pool,  after passing parental exam.

On the other hand, in cases where there has been abuse or neglect, especially if the kids have been put into the social services for some reason, having an available authorized official  parental class would give the parents a way to redeem themselves, get on track,  give some measurable way to “prove ” that they deserved another chance at parenting,  and provide a clear path toward getting custody of their kids back.

In Response to: http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/08/22/freakonomics-poll-should-being-a-parent-require-a-license

xpost of my comment: page-4/#comment-263345

 

Problem Solving – Cat Poison

Some of the elements in the Bole city problem-solving scenario work, other elements not so much:
  • Putting stray cats to work, instead of eating or euthanizing them: WIN
  • Effective method for controlling rat population outbreak:  WIN
  • Combo use of rat poison with release of cats into the rat area: FAIL
The common types of poison which kill or disable rats will also poison the animals that eat the poisoned rats.  So the most productive of the cats will die horrible internal bleeding deaths.
just sayin’
Re: Associated Press

Stray cat ‘army’ battles west China rodent plague

BEIJING (AP) — Stray cats rounded up in a remote west China city are being used to catch rodents that have infested surrounding pasture lands.

Some 150 strays — dubbed by Chinese media as the “cat army” — were turned loose on the range lands outside Bole city in May to fight what the government calls a plague of rats. The state-run Xinhua News Agency says that the cats were brought in, along with tons of poisonous rat pellets.

The Bole government said in late June that rat holes had decreased by more than half. The Xinhua report on Friday quoted a Bole official as saying the cats were proving valuable.

Rodents and other pests have grown more troublesome on the vast grasslands as a result of overgrazing and killing off traditional predators like foxes.

Compromise vs Defined Resulters

The results of the recent congressional debate and legislation on the debt ceiling and US budget highlight a chasm between those who work with others by communication and compromise, and those who have a fixed product, goal, or benchmark that they insist on seeing others comply with.

One way of resolving issues is by communicating more, by sitting down with each other and speaking and listening.

An opposite way of attempting to resolve issues is by cutting communication when there is a perceived lack of compliance, walking away, often accompanied by a perception the other “side” is inadequate or deficient in some way because they don’t “get” it.

Clearly there can be operational conflicts between these two methods.  By “operational conflict”  I mean a conflict or problem in the basic or meta mechanism, in this case a communication style, being used to achieve an end-result product or concept.

There is a place for both methods.

During a situation of an absolutely intolerable problem – for example abuse, where one person is striking the other, it makes sense to make an absolute statement and/or just walk away.

But on the other hand, how about a situation where the key element is preserving the relationship between the participants, and the specific issue or item on the table is not life threatening ?