Clichés: Enemies Of Thought
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This argument is used to justify all sorts of misunderstandings and irreducible differences; it is very important to refute it because in any sort of leadership process, the true reasons for the decisions take should always be left completely clear.
Pretending to justify great or un-surmountable differences to explain misunderstandings, mysterious failures, strange or unexplainable attitudes, desertions, etc. by saying to oneself that other people involved in the issue are way to different, is very easy and comfortable in the short run but in the end it always proves disastrous because it seems to save the discomfort of confronting issues and the introspection required to analyse any proceedings in which moral doubts usually arise. This false argument can be used - and in fact it is used - to judge superficially and thus, extract false conclusions as to why one leaves behind a friend, lets down a loving partner, cannot solve a political or business problem requiring diplomacy, etc. but the bottom line remains the same: Instead of truly irreducible or unsolvable situations the issue is that an easy way out is being sought, often for one's own peace of mind after the deed has been turned into a truly irreversible dispute, and that is very, very rarely the best solution for anything.
Nothing is impossible so there are no differences that may never be solved; this is not like trying to solve the mysteries of the lost city of Kanesh, and then again, those may one day get solved too. If day and night coexist in our world so can different people but to the metaphor we shall add that above all, anything, any dispute or difference can be solved by talking and conversation alone. The use of clichés avoids dialog or lowers its quality, not perhaps the intentions or the sense in which people talk, but the usefulness of those intentions by using poorly constructed or truly off-the-shelf ideas. Anything constructed with ready-made stuff remains ordinary, serially produced, and since situations are always unique pretending to use such alleged solutions will inevitably end up in tears.
Two contexts are those that find perhaps the most common or frequent use of the cliché that we are analysing now:
- Cultural exchange and the comparison between different nations and social classes. In this case we can start by saying that values change among such groups and it is dangerous to stereotype or judge people that we still understand only superficially by the skin of their beauty. We should not use our stick to measure their worthiness because sticks, in this sense, are also socially-accepted stereotypes, usually shallow, that will only end sentencing others to be "different" in a negative sense as regarding the values of the others when compared with ours. But ironically, among these people different perhaps as depth as their skin we may find individuals of superb value for our lives and quite compatible in the depths of their souls. If we contend ourselves to judge them by our own clichés, the only we may obtain is the same answer we expect to find: If we think that we are too different we shall always end up being too different, and in such a way, by locking onto a tree instead of the forest behind it, we will invariably lose otherwise rich experiences.
- Affection: In this department, particularly when love is involved, things can get hairy by using clichés in general because in this area understanding is required right from youth, and clichés can hardly give that but superficial placebos for true answers, as we have already established. We shall not dig deep in this realm for it has complicated ramifications in almost every case but let us say that every time any discussion or debate gets at least partially out of the purely rational level and feelings and emotions become decisive factors, clichés can only complicate things by adding up a lot of argumentative inflexibility to the already high orthodoxy imposed by passion. In other words, if you feel love for someone else who is "different" but it doesn't fade away, those considerations are secondary.
I have heard the phrase "We are too different" to justify the lack of attention of one person towards the other, often even before attempting to see if those alleged differences would turn the relationship between them - any kind - into something positive, neutral or negative. The cliché is used thus to get rid of some sort of bother for a selfish individual, but in a very unwise manner, for the best deal is the deal in which both sides win, because no one know what turns life would give and that person get ridden off may actually turn out to be more successful than the one giving the good riddance and so, such differences would bespeak of better qualities on the firstly despised and a sobering reminder of introspection for the arrogant reckless that likely has send his or her own fortunes to the garbage can. Never treat anyone with such disrespect.
Thus, persons using clichés with high frequency in order to define and establish their points of view should be persuaded or forced to dialog because this is the only way in which they could honestly manifest their own ideas, some of which may be correct while others not, and also, gain a transparent view of everybody else's points of views. Noticing differences may not be hard work, but what we do with them is what separates the commoners from the aristocrats in the sense that we have given elsewhere to those words: The first understand differences as a divide, while the second as something that enrich our lives. True plebeians - those that ultimately may burn witches and books - think that differences separate us and ultimately that is what they get, from broken relationships to ethnical wars, while for the aristocrat, differences join us all. Leaders should always strive to become aristocratic at hearth.
No one can say with absolute certainty that two people involved in any sort of relationship, be it commercial, academic, a love affair or anything else can be totally incompatible so as to believe a priori that things cannot work. Sustaining such inflexibility speaks a lot about the existence of yet more unclear doubts that deserve conversation, but above all, whoever makes such a statement as "We are too different" shows immense fear, maybe for what that person perhaps loves the most.
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