taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

How much honesty is it possible to have with another person? I'm not even asking those deep questions about the accuracy of language or the nature of our own truths. I'm just wondering, is it possible or even desirable to be as open as you can with another human being?

Our shifting identities and roles, the inadequacy of words either written or spoken, and the ability to even know what you're thinking and feeling, of course, make totally open communication impossible at some level. But let's say you really want to try. You want to never lie, omit, elide, or evade any issue that comes up. You want to confront things quickly and from your heart. You want to say what you mean and mean what you say. Can you sustain that? Are there times when it IS better to lie and evade and omit? And over time, what does that do to the interaction between you?

And of course, you can't tell someone everything... you'd have to narrate it in real time, and even then your thoughts move faster than you could explain them. So on some level, you have to edit anyway. Isn't that very fact proof that you're always presenting a constructed identity, an avatar of yourself?

Finally, what about when you come up against something--an issue, a feeling, a conflict--that's essentially unresolvable, or that causes great pain? Should you continue to be honest and open, or should you shut down the entire conversation on that topic? Once you've censored the interaction that way, doesn't the whole thing become colored with this avoidance--the elephant in the room?

3 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I k what you m. But you just have to go by feel-- take it as it comes and do your best with it.

You could drive yourself nuts worrying about the whole thing. What if you worried about that kind of interaction with EVERYONE you cared about? Were you giving them the best, most honest morsel of your time/existence/attention/whatever. You'd lose it.

So, you do the same thing you do with everyone else: Make your best try. Don't flog it and don't ignore it!

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger The Cybrarian said...

To a certain point I don't think people want total honesty. I'm for the honesty where you're not telling someone any more than they need to know, and perhaps sugarcoating it a little.

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger sweetney said...

you just left and OF COURSE i'm online, reading what you wrote before you were physically here, talking about writing a blog, and identity, and all that crap.

[head explodes]

i need to process all of this...and all of what we talked about tonight. i need to figure out what intimacy means now, in the age of information and the interweb. what reality and connect and truth and self mean. i haven't got shit figured out -- i'm just a monkey reacting to my environment and stimulus, and yeah, there's a lot of fear-driven behavior. considering the possible consequences, why be completely open? what's the benefit? am i wrong in my manufacturing an identity, in editing things down, in omitting stuff that exposes the tender, white underbelly? i dunno. honestly.

and no, i haven't check my stats. yet. shut up.

xoxo

 

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