Standing atop the mountains you feel like you are walking on the dome of the world, with the rest of humanity so far below and the horizon so very far away. In context, we are small, indeed.
Archive for June 21st, 2012
I have a weakness for learning about human psychology. How do humans think? What approaches are more and less likely to cause the listener (or reader, for that matter) to have the intended reaction? I think it is fascinating stuff.
One reason the results of psychological studies and experiments are so interesting is that it’s easy to translate the information to your own experience. It’s like looking in a mirror. It’s impossible not to consider how you match up with the results. It’s nice when they indicate that your modus operandi is sound — but it’s hard to take when the data reveals that your approach is hopelessly wrong.
We all look in the mirror countless times a day, but often we don’t really recognize how we are perceived by others. It’s like the shock you felt when you first heard your own recorded voice and realized it didn’t sound to others like it sounds in your own head.
How do you react when you see someone unintentionally do something that is completely off-putting, counterproductive, or inflammatory? I always wonder how the person could be so clueless — and I find it unnerving because I realize that I also could be blundering through life, deeply offending people I’m actually trying to impress or persuade.
We’d all be better off if we spent more time studying the human condition.
Walking from the town center back to my hotel tonight, I crossed a blue-lit wooden bridge over a rushing stream. The sound was soothing, and the blue light was a nice complement to the murmuring of the tumbling waters.
On one of my flights today, I clipped a pen to the magazine holder sack on the rear of the seat in front of me. You know — the one that holds the in-flight magazine, the instruction card on what to do in the event of a water landing, and the SkyMall catalog.
The pen fell into the inside of the sack, and without thinking about it I stuck my hand in there to fish out the pen. It was humid and sticky inside the sack, and kind of disgusting. I immediately retracted my hand, like I’d received an intense electric shock, and I never did reach the bottom.
It reminded me of the pouch of a kangaroo. I read somewhere that a kangaroo’s pouch is warm and wet and sticky — not surprising, since it’s where a baby kangaroo spends most of her time. The pouch on the back of the aircraft seat similarly isn’t given a lot of attention by the cleaning crew.
In fact, as we were leaving the aircraft, I noticed that the cleaning crew folks were wearing the sanitary gloves, to protect them as they fished old newspapers and discarded plastic cups out of the seat sacks. That probably tells you something.