Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Texture of Personality

What distinguishes people is the texture of their personality. It is often lableled their character and it is woven into them by birth, genetics, education, lifestyle and random events. Whatever the amalgam it is assured to inspire differences of opinion from others. As amused as we are in particular to study the character flaws of others, it is oddly an inclination to avoid examination of one's own texture perhaps because we assume its causality is self-explanatory or otherwise redeemable no matter what the appearance.  Besides it is far more entertaining to indulge our passion for reflecting upon others even though we'd likely admit if pressed that we're no better or worse than they.

While it is characteristically human to object to the behaviour of others I have come to the conclusion that to do so is a wasted effort.  First and foremost people don't change.  So no amount of well-intentioned analysis will likely have anything other than possibly an ephemeral effect.  There is the added consideration that others don't give a damn about what we think in any event. This dismissive conclusion may acquire further gravity if the insinuation is either that it isn't our place to comment or that we are poorly positioned or qualified to make any judgement in the first place. If you don't like having fingers snapped at you it might be advisable to avoid the fray.

As dedicated as we might be to flattening others, it would be an odd result if we were successful. Pounding the bejesus out of someone will likely have the undesirable effect of removing all their texture, their very feel, touch, appearance, finish or quality.  I suppose that if we were content to lobotomize humanity with undiluted uniformity and tepidness then that is the way to go.  Otherwise we risk contaminating our human experience with dissolving acid.

Clamming up in the face of objection is never easy.  Too often we are spirited in our condemnation of others by our perceived insight into their obvious failings.  Granted some behaviour is unquestionably unsettling.  But while we shouldn't be expected to tolerate repeat performances of unpleasant exhibitions, neither should we be so uncaring not to excuse occasional lapses.  This is only sound social strategy, not unlike the allowances we are regularly urged to make for children.

Quite apart from the diplomatic utility of forebearance, there is undeniably the less than altruistic goal of preserving what friendships we have.  If you're like most people, you haven't a lot of friends; and getting the ones you have has no doubt taken time and energy.  A moment's reflection is usually all that is required to remind us of all that we have been through with our friends, that our familiarity wasn't always so intense and that our penetration into their souls while perhaps alarming was hard won.  This is no small compliment to any project and certainly one which merits value.

The reality of most associations of any substance is that they are destined to collision from time to time.  I know of no exception to this thesis and in fact I have a jaundiced view of anyone who says otherwise. This of course does not prohibit people from voicing their disapproval; and in some instances nothing short of parting is acceptable. But that latter choice is one to be made hesitatingly and only after considerable contemplation and discussion.  I don't know anyone who hasn't on occasion regretted what they've said or done. Lest we too speedily join the ranks of mourners it behooves us to practice the art of conciliation.

In the end it is ironically the flavourful additives which elevate the personality of ourselves and our friends. To imagine that we dwell in a world of santized emotions and conduct is preposterous! But it does require a measure of wisdom to stay the course in the midst of a squall.

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