Have you heard about the soon-to-be Squid Game reality TV show? Yeah, me too. Despite the fact that I have never seen any of the original Korean drama it's based on. I did hear an interview on the BBC with an applicant who hopes to become a contestant. They said this reality show being made at all completely misses the point of the original show, which was apparently meant to highlight the wealth gap and show the unfortunate lengths people will go to - including putting their life on the line - to escape the circumstance of poverty. So Netflix decided to televise desperate people competing "in a series of heart-stopping games" to win a giant pile of money. Missing the point indeed.
This is not a phenomenon unique to Netflix. It's not even unique to high-level, out-of-touch executives. As the discussion continues in the local contra dance community about discontinuing gendered dance-role terms, many of the folks resisting the change have definitely missed the point of making that change. So much so that I felt compelled to make a public announcement to explain we are not asking anyone to change their gender identity. I thought it was clear that we are asking everyone to separate their perception of other people’s gender identity from the role they are dancing. But it didn't land, so I attempted to clarify.
A lot of people are missing a lot of points lately. I used to take responsibility for other people's misunderstand of something I wanted to express because I prided myself on being an effective communicator. I used to think if I just expressed something more clearly, or in a different way, then people would be bound to get it. If I just worked harder, I could overcome the misunderstanding of others. But communication is a two-way street. The listener has to WANT to pick up what I'm putting down. Otherwise I'm making offerings to the void. And there's no sense in talking to a wall.
Even though I no longer take sole responsibility for the non-listening or non-comprehension of others, I do empathize with people who are at least trying to understand the other humans they interact with because it's difficult. Empathetic listening is a skill that takes effort and practice to develop. A practice made no easier by the fear and uncertainty swirling around everyone everywhere all the time. No one can be on their listening, understanding, or empathy A-Game when they are scared and exhausted.
The folks I don't empathize with are the people in power who are choosing not to listen because they don’t have to. Elon Musk is a classic example. He recently told employees they must return to the office or they can go "pretend to work somewhere else." Clearly missing the point of working remotely for most employees in most positions. And also revealing his apparent lack of respect for his entire workforce generally.
Most politicians are also frequent, unfortunate, and frustrating examples of this. Ignoring opportunities to roll up their sleeves and get some real work done in favor of making broad anti-the-other-guy gestures and statements because they think they have a better method to win votes than doing what constituents ask. The folks in the upper echelons of politics would do better to remember they are insulated from much of what's going on out here for the rest of us. It behooves them to make a more deliberate effort not to miss the point of our needs and requests.
Figures in supposedly non-partisan positions are just as prone to missing the point. I had a conversation with a fellow anti-fraud professional at a conference this week. She shared a little with me about a case she's currently working. It's been many years in the making and so far it's a harrowing tale of little old ladies scammed out of real estate by high-priced attorneys. The part that really made my blood boil was what the attorney for the accused fraudsters said on a call with the judge: "Don't worry about Ms. X suing us, we're untouchable."
This attorney happened to be friends with the judge, who also happened to be friends with the accused fraudsters. Maybe it won't surprise you to hear this case is developing in Texas, where this kind of philandering is apparently a common occurrence. Clearly they are all missing the point of not only this case currently before the court, but the entire court system and the rule of law. Gross.
Maybe someday her story will become a movie, like "All the Queen's Horses" or "The Inventor." Then we can all watch a skilled documentarian weave the intrigue and malfeasance into a compelling story of winners and losers and how the heavy hand of justice ultimately prevailed. Until that happens, the rest of us will just have to keep fighting the good fight. And the least we can do for each other while we’re out here working to build a better world is try to understand what is going on with each other.
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.