I'm rereading We The Living by Ayn Rand for my book club. More Russian angst, 'tis true, but I selected this book. A couple of years ago I nominated Great Expectations as a monthly selection, but Mr. Dickens was declined. A majority of our members believed it would resemble a school assignment. I wanted to read Great Expectations because I kept hearing references to Miss Havisham and wanted to understand who she is, though obviously not badly enough to read it by myself. Now, thanks to this list, I shall finally learn about Miss Havisham. I believe her to be scary.
The other day a friend took issue with something I wrote about Bleak House. He disagreed that all people want the same things, citing those in Third World countries and their lack of clean drinking water. In my mind as I wrote that entry was the thought, "Taking into account Maslow's hierarchy of needs, when people have met the basic requirements of existence my opinion is that we have similar desires. Our journeys, though they include different languages, geography, culture, and creature comforts, are quite similar." It didn’t occur to me that it was necessary to actually write that part since one of my basic assumptions is that anyone reading this blog has clean drinking water and would naturally credit me with knowing that there are people in this world who do not. I didn’t see the need to add a disclaimer of that sort.
I turn now to Jung and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Disclaimer: psycho-babble ensues, but just as generalizations are generally based upon a kernel of general truth, I believe the Myers-Briggs to have some merit. My disagreeing (though not disagreeable) friend perceives the world based upon data and concrete evidence. He is detached and logical – me, not so much. It’s not that I don’t appreciate logic but that I tend to perceive the world through a different filter. This basic difference requires a set of communication skills to bridge the gap. Many of the people in my life are these logical and "detached" people. We tend to complement each other and get along well. They teach me about things like science and math and I get to learn only the interesting parts. I’m not terribly interested in the composition of a star, for instance, but prefer to focus upon the fact that when we see a star we are actually seeing the past. It’s like, all poetic and stuff to me and like, all hydrogen and helium to them.
In the case of the clean drinking water, my logically minded friends would argue that one should always add a disclaimer simply to be precise. So you see the issue here. I believe I am prolix enough without adding stuff that doesn’t further my argument, and I don’t want to insult fellow book lovers by insinuating that they don’t know that there are people in this world without the basic necessities of life. I know, they know, we all know, and hopefully we are all doing our small part to change that.
I could promise to modify future remarks so as not to make blanket statements without adding a disclaimer, but that will never happen. Oops, I mean that is unlikely to happen.