19 September 2009

Paradigms and Perceptions

In my Organizational Communications class (COMM250) we have been discussing lens or perception, also known as paradigms, that people use to perceive the world. We talked about how paradigms can keep us from seeing everything that can be seen. Sometimes the lack of broad perception helps us not be swamped down with superfluous details but it can also prevent us from seeing better solutions to the problems we are experiencing.

Recently Red and I were talking and after the words I was struck by a paradigm limitation that both he and I have experienced. The conversation went something like this:

Red: Girls!
Daniel: What about them?
Red: Well, I was talking to my friend and she said that she wishes that people would be frank and honest with about their feelings.
Daniel: Which is true.
Red: Then she says "my friend thinks that you still like me. Do you?"
Daniel: Oh, wow. That was sly.
(Random laughing.)
Daniel: What did you tell her?
Red: I didn't answer.
Daniel: Do you?
Red: It would never work.
Daniel: Why?
Red: I don't know.
Daniel: But you do like her.
Red: Yeah, but it wouldn't work.
Daniel: Do you like her more than the other girls you've dated?
Red: Yes.
Daniel: I think you don't think it will work because you are scared of where it will lead.
Red: Why would I be scared?
Daniel: I would guess that you like things that are predictable, and she isn't.
Red: True.
Daniel: There are two kinds of dating: the first is the 'hi, I like you and want to get to know you' the other is 'I really like you and need to see if this will work'. I vote that you move into the second mode of dating.

We continued the conversation a bit more but I think you get the idea. What I realized is that in matters of love it is very common to have a very narrow and shaky lens that keeps us from seeing and processing information clearly. The behaviors and actions that Red was not able to see were so clear to me, but when I have been in Red's shoes the same behaviors and actions were as unclear to me as these had been to him. We each had been limited by our own lens while also being liberated by someone else's.

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