I've witnessed what I perceived to be very reactive remarks on public LJ blogs. At first I thought it was an aberration, but this happened over and over. Who will respond, and how they will respond, has become predictable. Those with elder status had the most predictably pointed remarks. They have years of experience teaching, leading worship, and generally being spiritual mentors. What's the deal? I got a clue today in one of my computer industry trade journals. The column 'Technically Speaking", in the December 2006 'Better Software' magazine, was titled "Believing is Seeing". The column was about "On the Perception of Incongruity: A Paradigm", a psychological study on the nature of perception that was done in 1949 by Jerome S. Bruner and Leo J. Postman.
As presented in the column, Gary Jaron summarized the study's findings as follows:
"Beliefs have the power to affect the mind's ability to accurately interpret incoming sense data. The stronger the beliefs, the stronger the convictions, the more resistant those beliefs will be to challenged by incoming sense data of any kind. Those strongly held beliefs will fight off any incoming data that appears to, and attempts to, contradict those prior beliefs."Do years of experience contribute to a purely reactive response, irresponsible of the quality of the incoming data? It is an incredible irony that experience can lead to intolerance by blindness, lack of compromise by deafness, and belligerence by rigid assuredness. Is this inevitable? Do all those with years of experience led to this trap? I don't know.
How can this trap be corrected if it does happen? More often than not, there is some event in the person's life that informs them that data does have different interpretations. Perhaps this occurred because of a reactive response towards them. Whatever the reason, and no matter how painful it may be, (IMO) it is good to be broken from the illusion of our fixed convictions.
It is better that none of us come to this end. Nobody has all the answers or can even pretend to. Why do so? I suppose we are human. Still, I hope this is not an inevitable conclusion to years of service.
Is this a WAG? Is there another explanation to what I've seen???