November 04, 2005

Every one of us has triggers which cause us to react, often blindly. Not one of us is exempt. The most that can ever be done is to identify those triggers for oneself, to identify from whence they arise: and so, a little, diminish their power -- but it is not a thing that can be done by any other person; and demonstrating their existence by continually and deliberately evoking them tends to make them even more difficult to see.

Knowing those triggers exist, knowing also how easy it is to touch one: is that a good enough reason in itself to provoke? To provoke: just because we know we can?

It is certainly a seductive thing, having identified a trigger in another, knowing that it is within our control to manipulate the other; that in this small way at least, we have utter power over the other. Children study how to exploit their parents from the moment they are born. Siblings and very social children additionally learn how to adapt such exploitation to peers and near-peers. Even as, left to itself, a violin string remains silent, mute: it is a necessary part of growing up, this mutual agitation, in discovering a mutual human harmony. Gradually a d├ętente is reached -- or not, where one makes themself clearly so dominant in the group that there is no longer any need to compromise with the other, to anything except one's own self-satisfaction. Do we justify our own self-gratification in pushing another's buttons by telling ourselves it is for their own good, that we seek to make the other aware that those triggers exist, as a first step to examining and then neutralising? Yet who can decide what is "good" for another person, in their best interests? Outside perspective lends one greater view, at the expense of personal awareness. Knowledge may not always be desirable, nor may it always be the right time to inflict it.

I would say, look in the mirror and identify first what must not be touched in ourselves: yet that for some reason, we avoid like the plague.

Do we deliberately push the triggers of other people, as a way of trying to hide our own?

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