Friday, May 11, 2018

Bite my tongue

There are some who enjoy a good fight.  They appear to survive on conflict. My preference is opposite.  Which is not to say that I shy from disagreement but rather that my method is different.  If I can't get what I want my first choice is to move on.  This is however only so if I do not calculate any advantage in doing otherwise.  Essentially my object isn't the dignity of winning, it is cultivating behaviour which in my opinion properly resolves the disagreement.  If I perceive that no amount of naysaying or objection will succeed to alter the other chap's inclination - and if nothing critical turns on his inalterable decision - then I'm out of the picture. Pyrrhic victories hold no sway for me.

My guess is that most conflicts in life haven't any more than fleeting significance. I have no intention of exhausting my intellect or energy to elevate my alleged capacity if there is no truck in the result from my point of view. I dwell upon the lack of substance in the debate because it promotes this vagabond spirit in me.  If on the other hand I were certain that either I (or someone whose interest I represent) stood to lose appreciably from the outcome, then the boxing gloves are off and I'm eager to do battle.  Until then I bite my tongue.

Being generally assured of myself (a product either of arrogance or credibility) I find the blunt pragmatism of conduct is the best guide - though I willingly admit that getting me to that level of sophisticated analysis isn't instantaneous. Like any firmly held belief it's propriety tends to outweigh the issue at stake, leading at times to clouded perceptions.  For the most part however this is but a temporary withdrawal - curtailed once again by biting my tongue.  This obviously implies that the appearance of reticence may amount to mere disguise.  And so it is, frankly.  I won't pretend that my moral fibre is so strong as to avoid dissension; rather it is purely sensible (realistic) as opposed to theoretical.

Before engaging in unpleasantries with others it is worthwhile stepping back to formulate a larger assessment of the dispute. Once again the motive is neither evaluation nor winning, rather characterization of the ultimate gain or loss (a far different estimate than one of pith). This broader scope instills an examination of the many elements of association which currently exist.  It may for example expose a tenderness on a different level, one from which the conversance is best left undisturbed. With few exceptions most hostilities arise among people who are familiar with one another and among whom varying strengths and weaknesses already prevail. One must accordingly be wary of igniting fires under smouldering ashes.

To listen to me going on about this is to imagine that it is a well oiled cerebral resolve.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Each time I confront the necessity to bite my tongue I am effectively submersed already in a boiling bath of purely visceral reactions.  It irks me to distraction to tolerate what I consider impropriety of any order.  I have virtually no patience at the best of times, all the more perilous when angered. Yet somehow I have been able to pull myself from the trap even in these heated moments (though it kills me to do so). Inevitably it is only after a prolonged period of abstinence from the scene of the crime that I regain anything approaching plausibility.  But with equal regularity I am afforded the bliss of sanctimony. Relying upon one's gut reactions can be a tiresome experience.  Better to endure the momentary inconvenience of silence.  This isn't a recipe for purity or diplomacy.  It is just a step up from social warfare.  Arguably there are some who would find this particular posture to be utterly humiliating. I don't however consider it shameless strategy. Perhaps I haven't the appetite for blood sport. Perhaps the cognitive stratagem is merely a distinction without a difference.

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