June 10, 2004

Silence is the equivalent of absence on much of the Internet: but there are many times where I might wish to say something, knowing that hearing it is what the other needs (or else nothing would have been said in my hearing), but I remain silent because I don't know what to say, what another might seek, or need. If I am told about a close miss by lightning, do I exclaim in wonder? or wince? Do I commiserate? or shudder? Do I tell in turn about my own close misses? but the other doesn't want to hear about my own experiences, do they? but about my reaction to theirs? All of these would be truthful - but I don't know which, if any of these, the other needs to hear.

Most often, this silence of uncertainty happens in situations of shared grief or sought support. I have no background which allows me to see the gentleness of social contact in a harsh situation; quite the contrary. At some point in my life, I seem to have learned to look at the event dead-on. One of my earliest memories is that of disguising emotion to what those observing would expect.

Even so, I can see the point of such social interaction - from outside. I speak sympathy with an awkward foreign accent.

Were I to speak, I might well automatically take that step back from immediacy and see with a cold and analytical (and simultaneously passionate!) eye ... as those who know me best know full well, and have not infrequently experienced. I have learned, through my attempts to see through the eyes of others, that most people find this simultaneously distanced and passionate reaction disconcerting - and at the moments of high emotion in their lives, distinctly threatening. I have seen the results of such speaking at such times, my own and that of others. I have not seen that any benefit arises therefrom.

Whatever drives me, it is not such as to force my speaking, my writing, when it would be personally intrusive ... not usually. Hence, if I can identify what constitutes "personally intrusive" in time, I try to remain silent. Sometimes I even succeed!

Smile of the day:

On a recent, worldwide survey, the only question asked was:
Would you please give your honest opinion about the solution to the food shortage in the rest of the world?

Debaucle was perhaps predictable:

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