Please Look Me in the Eye When You’re Talking to Me.

Sounds like a simple enough request doesn’t it?

And for most people it is.

But I have found over the last few years that looking people in the eyes when I’m speaking to them is something that does not come naturally to me.

I can do it for brief periods of time when I really concentrate on it.

But in those brief moments of time I find that I focus so hard on reminding myself to look the other person in the eye, that I lose track of whatever it was I was saying in the first place.

No matter how badly I may have wanted to communicate an idea, whatever train of thought I might have been traveling on at the time, quite simply disappears.

It’s as if I can’t do those two things at once.

Because whenever I don’t try to rein my gaze in, even though it may wander all over the place, my though processes and communication skills remain clear.

I wonder what this says about me and how it affects the way others react to me?

I know for instance, that the idea of being able to look someone in the eye while speaking to them is often perceived as a sign of honesty.

It’s meant to indicate that the person speaking is telling the truth.

So what must people think of me when I’m speaking to them, yet not looking at them?

Sometimes the person I’m speaking too will actually turn around to try and see what it is that I’m looking at as I speak.

It is in those moments that I become acutely aware that I’m staring at a random spot on the wall or gazing at nothing more than the patch of invisible air just beside the person’s head.

Then there’s always that empty space just beyond the other person’s shoulder that somehow always seems to hold me spell-bound, for no apparent reason.

It seems I will look anywhere but into the eyes of the person I’m talking too.

One of the things I find so weird about this though isn’t just the fact that I can’t seem to look others in the eye when I’m speaking to them, it’s that I can easily, sometimes almost obsessively, look other people in the eyes when they are speaking to me.

It’s as if, when they’re speaking to me, eye contact  is not just Okay, it’s mandatory, but when I’m speaking to them, eye contact becomes an additional sensory burden.

It’s almost as if I can’t do the two things at once; Speak and look into another person’s eyes at the same time.

I do not understand why this is.

I only know that for some odd reason, I can’t seem to do this thing that comes so easily to others.

I’m not sure if it’s getting worse as I get older or whether years of noticing people’s strange reactions to me have simply made me more aware of it.

I’m also not sure whether or not this indicates that I have Aspie (Asperger) tendencies,  as I can look people in the eye, so I don’t actually have a fear of looking people in the eye, it’s just that I can’t  look them in the eyes when I’m talking.

Does anyone else experience this or know what it means?

 

The Human Condition… Delusional Goodness or a Good Delusion?

The Human Condition (album)

People like to believe that human nature is essentially good. That on the whole humans look out for one another. Perform more good deeds than they do bad and generally choose to operate in a way that promotes goodness and kindness.

For most of us, during our lifetimes, we will indeed see evidence of this goodness and kindness.

But we will also see evidence of human attributes that are other as well.

We will see greed and corruption.

We will see cruelty and discrimination.

We will see unkind actions and hear unkind words.

We will see or experience bullying, sexism, racism, agism, disablism and so many more isms’.

We will witness acts of violence and be shown on our TV sets evidence of human atrocities.

We will come face to face with other’s who will disagree with our opinions, beliefs or values and treat us badly because of these differences.

So how, given all of these things, can we choose to believe that goodness and kindness are the predominant virtues of the human condition?

If goodness and kindness are supposed to form the base line for the human condition then why is it that we need policies and laws to try and ensure that all humans are treated fairly?

Why is it that when push comes to shove, few people these days feel able to stand up and do what’s right instead of what’s safest, easiest, or more profitable for them?

Are we to believe that goodness and kindness can only prevail amongst humans if there are sanctioned consequences for not being good or kind?

Or that kindness and goodness can only manifest in circumstances in which it is safe, easy and profitable for humans to engage in such ways?

Yet history tells us that neither safety, ease nor profitability are required for kindness to occur.

There have been many examples to show that in times of great persecution acts of great kindness can and do occur.

Often at the personal risk of those engaging in such acts.

Stories such as those as Schindler’s List give us hope and reinforce the belief that deep down we are all good people who will stand up for what’s right.

Yet the truth of the matter, especially in stories such as Schindler’s List, is that the vast majority of people at that time, did not stand up for what  was right.

They did not put themselves out to help those who were being persecuted.

Instead many engaged in that very persecution.

Some actively, others silently.

And yet, even when faced with this evidence of overwhelming contradiction, we still choose to believe that the human condition is one of ultimate goodness.

Just how is it that we come to such a erroneously delusional and short-sighted conclusion?

Why is it that even today, when we know full well that there are corporations out there who routinely value profits above human life, we still choose to walk blindly up the path of ‘progress’ while ignoring the growing list of casualties strewn along the way?

Perhaps the human condition is not one of goodness but one of delusional fortitude?