Saturday, September 12, 2009

my social interaction: what a kingmaker would want to know

As an employee, my fate is determined by local politics. As a business, my fate is determined by kingmakers.

A kingmaker will want to know a little about me, how I act socially.

I am very concerned, in my social interactions, with the different education levels and how people react to each other from that point of view. I have given some thought to how to relate to people based on their level of education, and how to determine what that is with a minimum of words. Once I get some idea of a person's education level I can choose my agenda with them, if you'll pardon the expression. For a relatively uneducated person I might ask him, in as discrete a manner as I can, whether he ever uses the word, "agenda". This gives me a great deal of information on which to build a conversation, and how this person might fit into the set of relationships I have built already. If I succeed in getting a thoughtful conversation going, no matter what the level of education, I try to work in a suggestion that we put agenda on the agenda. This gives the person some idea of how I handle a whole range of topics, and creates a large volume of space in which to view each other's ability to adjust to each other's deeply felt positions on matters they consider fair game for discussion.

Sense of humor is very important. I like to relate to people, once we have gotten some of the more serious issues out of the way, with a good deal of frivolity. It widens the basis of our meeting, and solidifies what we have said to each other in earnest.

With the mentally ill in particular, and these are the people who are my living companions, it is possible to make ground by approaching them with general all-aroundedness, if I can put it that way, in the sense of where I am coming from in the conversational setting. The mentally ill suffer from what I call a "coordinated distraction." Events in the fixed place in space where they view them from come at them without a firm anchor in a consolidated world view up to the moment. Somehow they have been knocked out of this anchored condition and as a result they are the objects of distractions that occur within the existing coordinates of space which normal people build on from moment to moment and day to day. It is important, in coming at them with general all-roundedness, to be fair and to be truly universal in viewpoint, not being normative in the way that the mental health industry does. The mental health industry takes the approach of being generous in its judgment of the mentally ill, but it does not go looking for professional good practice among their numbers. As a result, when I crack open the formidable sheer surface of mental illness's veneer, and discover merriment in a very normal sense, fully professional, it is immediately interpreted by the mental health industry, in its adjacency to my dealings, as a violation of conduct standards, because the mentally ill are not acknowledged to have a potential for truly normal behavior. So that, in one recent case, I engage in a whimsical monologue in the presence of some of my comrades, and use the appropriate level of amplitude of my voice, staff runs to see what "the disturbance is" and I have to retreat from the social position I have created with great pains, in order to deflate the threat of being disciplined by staff for what in a different setting, among normal people, would be considered normal behavior serving to put everyone at ease to see such merriment. The stark compromise between the setting where this behavior "pus everyone at ease" and the setting where it "causes a disciplining threat" is extremely dissociative to the human mind. It is an obstacle to progress on my agenda for the mentally ill that this potential is a constant, omnipresent danger.