To feel or not to feel...Reflecting on current communication.


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Thread: To feel or not to feel...Reflecting on current communication.

  1. #1

    To feel or not to feel...Reflecting on current communication.

    I was browsing mindlessly through my list of 'to read', which grows larger by the second instead of shrinking, and curiously I clicked on an article by The New York Times a friend of mine had sent months ago. The next few seconds I became engrossed in my own thoughts and reflections, as this amazing opinion sent me spiralling into a twirl of memories and made me think twice or thrice about every single thing I have said in the past that I was not satisfied with.

    You see, this particular article not only talks about how, for millennials mostly, communication has become so apologetic we are always seeking to have a way out, as if we are afraid of being confrontational, but also about how with all the rallies in universities and "calls for safe spaces" are creating this image that humans are so fragile they will not be able to bear any sort of obstacle or argument they are faced with.

    Reflecting on my past, I guiltily accept that I have victimised my speech and opinions, diminished my words and sought a way to balance the way I express myself for the purpose of simply not upsetting the next person. Although, in the article it is expressed as if this generation is the most empathic generation, a thought I disagree with, due to social media being a monster at curbing and twisting empathy in ways I thought not possible; Videos of social experiments with millions of likes and outcries for social justice, yet the striking desolate contrast of status quo that can be seen by walking down any street, of any country.

    We are warriors of words at closed doors, ready to argue, go to war, rally against any injustice that happens to be of fashion in the online social bubble, yet at the time of a trade off with human faces, our thoughts become muddled, toned down from our infuriated calls, we simply chose the easy way out. I am unsure if this is as widespread as I make it look, however I have experienced this outcome hundreds of times, guiltily I confess I have actively participated in diminishing my opinions for a better outlook.

    It suddenly seems as if communication nowadays is less asserted and more victimised. The word "feel like..." expressed in several occasions in the article and the centre of the opinion, rings as an empty shell of nothingness. Yet, searching deeper makes me wonder if my communication has also been influenced by my incursion in eastern societies and culture.

    I have always been a curious cookie, deeply passionate about eastern cultures mostly as I grew up heavily influenced and surrounded by western history, in my childhood places such as Japan, China, Africa or any other country that was not the Americas or Western Europe were mysterious lands that existed somewhere inside Earth but were not deemed important enough to be taught in school, thus yes I had millions of biases that disappeared with the passage of time, study and travels.

    In my journeys and interest, I found that asian countries, influenced by ways of life such as Buddhism or Shintoism, tend to be non-confrontational in their day to day exchanges. For instance while I was traveling in Japan with other friends for an immersive cultural exchange program, we were at a restaurant with a group of japanese students that had taken our little group for a get together and funnily enough, we overheard a conversation from a tourist couple that was talking about their time. We didn't really pay any attention to the couple, and the only reason I remember vividly this couple was because the japanese students had this funny shocked expressions, and were trying very hard to avoid any visual contact with the couple. My friend asked them what was wrong, and then between whispers and translations we came to know that they thought the couple was arguing and were worried it would end in a fight. We giggled at their behaviour, thinking it was kind of cute, and we readily explained to them that it was just them expressing their opinions.

    From this experience and many more, I came to know that it is considered extremely rude in Japan to say what you want or desire in a fortnight manner, their language has this roundabout way of saying things or asking for things that always provide a person with the option of bailing on the request. According to them it is their way of being thoughtful on other people, although I admire many of the traits japanese culture has, having this roundabout way of communication is honestly quite difficult to get through.

    Funny that unbeknownst to me I would end up doing my university in Australia, a country heavily influenced by eastern cultures. Do not get me wrong, I love Australia to bits, the food, the diversity, the always having something new to do is thrilling, you do not have time to get bored, however at the same time, communication becomes a challenge you have to find your way through a mashed potato of languages, dialects and accents whilst trying to express your point across.

    I have lost count of the amount of small fights and headaches I have had with my asian friends and colleagues because either I was too honest or too forward. By now I probably have done a mini course on understanding subtleties, finding the right words to express my point in a not so forward way and reading minds through small actions. Here I thought that we women were already engineered for these kind of tasks!

    All right, although I am unable to read minds my question still remains, has communication been affected to the point in which we are unable to confront and argue without harming the feelings of the other person due to social media and globalisation, or is just an evolution, a shift, in the way we ought to communicate moving forward?

    Personally I am curious and look forward to any reflections or changes that will happen over time, however I now am conscious and will make an effort in being more assertive whilst facing the challenges ahead.


    If you are interested in reading the article you can Google "Stop Saying 'I Feel Like' Molly Worthen, The New York Times."
    Thank you for reading!

  2. #2
    People have always been guided by their gut instincts, which is another way to describe the "I feel like" mindset when forming opinions. The big difference is, in this day and age, we have instant access to information, or more specifically, to facts. Yet many people choose to believe information that is not consistent with reality if it fits their world view and will not be swayed no matter what, even if information that contradicts their beliefs is incontrovertible.

    A lot of people just don't care if they're delusional. They hang out with people who share their beliefs, so changing their own belief system would be an existential threat. They want to fit in, and in that respect, it's an evolutionary benefit to keep believing pure crap because it helps them survive.

  3. #3
    Wɾʇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostmobi View Post
    has communication been affected to the point in which we are unable to confront and argue without harming the feelings of the other person due to social media and globalisation, or is just an evolution, a shift, in the way we ought to communicate moving forward?

    Well, has communication got to the point where we are unable to confront and argue without harming? Or is it simply that we don't know how to do it well? That's the question being begged here. If so, then we could do worse than learning both how to speak our harder truths to one another without upsetting apple carts, and hearing them from others. It's definitely a skill work working on, imo. It also honours the person by saying, in effect, I know you're strong enough to take what I am about to say. In theory And I actually don't doubt that this is true. We just seem to have put the ability aside because it's occasionally ugly and uncomfortable. To our detriment, I would add.
    Last edited by bdcharles; November 1st, 2019 at 09:28 PM.


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  4. #4
    It is strange how I can spot long sentences that need ordering and breaking up when I am so accused of writing them myself This is full of them, and it makes it quite a difficult read in places. For example,
    "I have always been a curious cookie, deeply passionate about eastern cultures mostly as I grew up heavily influenced and surrounded by western history, in my childhood places such as Japan, China, Africa or any other country that was not the Americas or Western Europe were mysterious lands that existed somewhere inside Earth but were not deemed important enough to be taught in school, thus yes I had millions of biases that disappeared with the passage of time, study and travels."

    That is all one sentence, try breaking it up into the constituent parts.

    I have always been a curious cookie,
    deeply passionate about eastern cultures
    mostly as I grew up
    heavily influenced and surrounded by western history
    in my childhood any other country that was not the Americas or Western Europe were not deemed important enough to be taught in school
    I had millions of biases that disappeared with the passage of time, study and travels.

    Firstly it will highlight things such as, does 'mostly as I grew up' refer to your passion for Eastern cultures, or being influenced and surrounded by western history; or the switch from singular to plural of 'any other country' 'were not deemed important'
    Secondly it allows you to consider the order they are presented in, that is actually not so confusing in this sentence as it is in some.

    I reckon you want three of those 'bits' of information in one sentence maximum, sometimes one is enough, look:-


    I have always been a curious cookie. Deeply passionate about eastern cultures, mostly as I grew up (I was) heavily influenced and surrounded by western history. In my childhood places such as Japan, China, Africa or any other countr(ies) that (were) not the Americas or Western Europe were mysterious lands. (They) existed somewhere inside Earth but were not deemed important enough to be taught in school, thus yes I had millions of biases that disappeared with the passage of time, study and travels.

    I have put ( ) around the bits I had to change to make it work. I am pretty sure it makes it an easier read.

    The other thing that struck me was the first sentence, try paring it down to make it taut and brief; again, look:-

    Browsing through my list of 'to read', which grows instead of shrinking, I clicked on an article a friend sent. Then became engrossed in my own thoughts and reflections, as this opinion sent me spiralling into memory.

    Qualifying words !! We usually think of them as 'Adding something to the bare statement'. They make it weaker!

    Consider what I have just said compared to 'Actually, they usually make it slightly weaker !'

    I do hope this helps, Olly.
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