© americanifesto / 場黑麥
Yesterday, while playing disc golf with a few friends, I was granted a glimpse into the inner workings of my psyche. At about the 12th hole my spirits began to flag and I unconsciously decided to allow the innocent banality of the others' conversation bother me. Having said nothing during the first part of the game about people grunting approvingly and saying “Nice” every time someone else even touched a disc (regardless of how that disc actually flew), I finally explained the course etiquette to the new member. “When a person says 'Nice' while someone else's disc is still in the air, it's called nicing the disc,” I said. “And nicing a disc is a breach of course etiquette, especially when the disc does not in fact fly well and the person who niced the disc then retracts his initial statement and says something like 'Uh never mind' or 'Bummer dude'.” The man laughed dismissively and I noticed the two other men in our group stiffen slightly around the groin. As soon as I registered these reactions to my brief explanation about nicing discs, I realized that the only reason I had said anything was because I was trying to exert power over the other players, to make them stop grunting and moaning and cursing out loud whenever a bit of colorful plastic didn't fly exactly the way they had hoped it would. Thinking back I realized that most of what I had said that day had been in part intended to make others dance to a tune of my liking, to get them to see things the way I saw them, to coerce them into adopting a pattern of My choosing. This realization flooded me with awareness and as I traced my subsequent actions back to their source I found that most of them – from using my netbook instead of focusing fully on the other person in the room to the topics I brought up for conversation – were somehow related to the exertion of power within the dynamics of a group. The need to feel powerful pulls subtly but inexorably at the cockles of one's heart, and one of the best ways to keep it in check is to remain humble, speak little, and remember that each person is entitled to his or her own opinion, that each person walks a path of his or her own choosing. The power that comes from controlling others pales when compared to the might of self-control. Aho.
© americanifesto / 場黑麥
blog updated Fridays, usually
I bicycle, write, surf, and strive.