Observation + Interpretation with a Dash of Humility — A Terrible Blog Post #15

“pathway in forest” by Kirill Nechmonya on Unsplash

I think I take too much pleasure in creating titles for blog posts that don’t have the classic formula for engaging people. I should probably name this post something like “How to use your powers of observation and interpretation to put a dent in the universe” of “This guy discovered a superpower that changed everything, you can too!” I’m not into selling my writing though. I’m just here to write with the help of my personal writing style coach, the happy poop 💩 emoji. Terrible is the name of the game here people, because look how happy that little emoji is!

Yesterday I was writing about emotional distress. In the end I briefly touched on the idea of observation and interpretation and how important it is to work with those concepts in order to get through the emotional distress. I want to see if I can go a little bit deeper with these two concepts and draw out something actually useful. I won’t pretent to be an expert in this, but I do get a lot of enjoyment out of thinking about these concepts and playing with them in my mind. The big problem is that in the end I often don’t come up with a useful way of expressing the discoveries that I make by my internal analysis so when I try to talk about it I end up sounding like a moron.

Before I get into that, I want to introduce a third player onto the game board. This little guy’s name is humility. I think he must live in a cabin in the woods because no one really seems to know what he looks like and when they do discover him they’re always a little shocked and horrified. Maybe Yoda from the Star Wars series would be a good avatar for this guy. It’s interesting to note that I picked a male for the humility avatar. Perhaps it has a lot to do with my resistance to portray a woman as an oddly deformed and smelly forest dweller. If I were to pick a female avatar for humility, I’d have to go the other way completely. I’d choose the Lady Galadriel of Lórien.

Now that I think of it, Galadriel is a much more fitting avatar for humility. Outwardly misunderstood (called a terrifying witch by outsiders) but in truth she is outstanding in beauty and nobility. She even faces the temptation to claim power for herself and passes by putting herself second.

“I pass the test”, she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.”

I think my rambling has finally revealed to me what I’m trying to talk about. What does humility look like? Would you be able to recognize it if was right in front of you? Would you be able to project it so others could see it in you? I think this strikes me as a deeply nuanced and interesting question.

First of all, I suppose, we should talk a little bit, Dear Reader, about what humility actually is. I won’t pretend any great expertise or authority on the meatter instead I’ll just share one of my interpretations. Humility is the ability to see past your own 💩. At last we come to it, and I have to admit the truth; Poop Emoji, you’re holding me back bro!

One thing to note is that I’m being explicit about the fact that humility is an operation of seeing, or perception. Humility enables us to see our weaknesses and our position as a part of a whole, not the center…

“person on parachute sky diving under cumulus clouds” by brittany gaiser on Unsplash

I think it’s time to pull the eject lever and parachute out of here. This terrible blog post is ending abruptly. I’m out of time; I’m not ready to say goodbye to my personal style consultant (💩); and I’m just stuck mentally and not sure how to verbally draw together the two ideas I’m trying to connect. I’ll have to sleep on it. Truly this makes for a terrible post among terrible posts. Self high-five! Terrible FTW!

I have to wrap up though, even if just briefly. I was able to clarify a couple things for myself at least. What I’m interested in is what humility looks like. I don’t think it looks like one thing, but I think it depends on the situation. Humility in Japan probably looks different than in France or the USA for example. Where I want to go is to consider how we observe and interpret things and how we can apply humility to that process. It’s going to require a lot more time and planning though to tackle this one, I’ve discovered. TTFN Dear Reader!



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Chris Dwan

Crafting software and teams for 20 years. Committed to whole people belonging in whole teams as part of whole organizations. Also write stuff sometimes