Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Vygotskyian Nightmare

I won't make names, but...

...there are persons that claim to be professionals, but these very same persons don't behave like ones. In fact, they mix personal childhood traumas with relationships with colleagues and that's VERRRRRY unprofessional (regardless of the profession!).

So, the ones that got neglected as kids cry for attention, and scream and yell and pout and pound till they get it. Then there are the ones that were raised by some passive aggressive persons, for which passive aggressiveness is like olive oil for Italians: no matter how unhealthy it is, they keep on using it. Finally, there are the ones that live in the "whatever my impression is, it's reality" frame of mind. A Vygotskyian nightmare.

This very last category is an interesting animal in itself.

For them meaning is constructed socially, so they have to discuss (over and over) what is clear from the get-go in what you've written and said. They hold no certainties whatsoever and they confuse their legitimate conviction with a stand anybody should have. For them, there is no reality, but just an endless "I meant - you meant" dance. They'd argue with anybody and anything just not to be robbed of their illusion (re: lack of reality).

The "best" way you can get in trouble with them is to logically build an argument that robs them of the illusion of uncertainty. They don't really care of whether they are delusional or making sense. All they care is not to be stopped in believing that nothing is certain.

As sad as it is for our sense of self-importance, most arguments aren't personal.

The typical argument goes as follows. There is a person saying something (it doesn't matter whether it's right or wrong, accurate or off-base, etc) and another feeling his/her identity threatened by that statement. The latter will react trying to hit on the former's sense of identity.

At that point, if you are the person that "started" it all by your observations, all you have to do is:
1. smiling
2. looking at the other one straight into his/her eyes, and
3. saying "I'm sorry if it bothers you, but if you can't discern what is being said from your interpretation of it, this is not my problem".

Learn to laugh them away. They aren't worth your time. For all the rest, smile. Thank God there are so many things in life that are more interesting than... persons.

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