Friday, January 23, 2004

Cliches are a form of social control. I wrote it as a comment, but I want to elaborate. Cliches, like eye brow raising, head shaking and tongue clucking are a way to get you to stop doing the socially unacceptable thing you are doing- such as referring to objective reality, or feeling something inappropriate. Like when someone is sad, and instead of listening to them, you drop a platitude on them, you are trying to get them to be in a more socially acceptable frame of mood. I should do an example.

Normal Person: HI!!

Sad person(in a sad tone of voice) hi...

Normal person: The world's what you make of it! Now smile! It takes more muscles to smile than to frown!

Here, not only was the normal person being a douche, he also was not helping the sad person's situation at all- the situation wasn't attended to, the sad person was only exhorted to change their mood for the normal person's pleasure. The normal person merely wants to exhort mood control, not help the sad person. That is why sometimes this sort of advice is resented. So try to listen to the person you want to help, instead of being a douche. If you still don't understand,let's say your computer broke, and instead of listening to your complaint, the person on the other end of the line said "Your computer problems are all in your head" and hung up. Yea, that helps the other person, but would you be happy?

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