Sunday, July 13, 2008

Advice

These days more and more often I find myself advising someone on this or that. It seems like everyone thinks that I have this fabulous thinking hat at home, that once placed on my head, can provide all the answers - I think people refer to that thing as thinking cap, and honestly I don't own one. I do have a small collection of ordinary hats that are either meant to be worn in the summer to keep the sun off my face or in the winter to keep my little ears warm, but no thinking caps at all.

In a way it pleases me (and my ego certainly likes an occasional tickle) that people trust me enough to ask for advice. I am not perfect or really good at something to feel sufficient to advise people, but it seems like what they really need is my opinion, as I am never afraid to speak my mind out, and say exactly what I think, without making things nicer. It pisses some people off, because this cruel honesty can be very hurtful, but those who really know me, know that I do this because I truly care. Of course I have a collection of masks I wear for certain circumstances and for certain people, because those people don't know me and they don't intend to stick around long enough to find out, who I really am, but the people that do care - sooner or later will learn to appreciate that cruel honesty, that proves to be kind in the end.

A while ago one of my students, started a conversation with me on ethics and asked for my opinion what is ethical and what is not, and I replied with a question:

If I go with a friend to a shop and she tries a dress on and it really looks horrible on her, and I tell her that it looks really awful is that ethical?
No - replied my student.
And if I tell my friend that she looks great and she actually buys the dress, and is going out wearing it looking really stupid, was that ethical of me to be "nice"?
It is not ethical either - she replied rather confused.

I left her wondering which of the non ethicals is worse than the other. Few days later she pointed out, that I have double sided thinking*, it made me smile..

This may not make perfect sense, but what I am trying to say is, that more and more people seem to care what I think. I love to help and if I can I will, but now I have this sensation as if all those people are looking up to me and asking what to do, where from the beginning I have always told them that they have to make their decisions and not me.

This could be a sticky business because few months down the line I may find myself being blamed for anything and everything because of my advice, but in the meantime, while I am brewing this mess, I can make it even messier and share more of my honestly cruel (or cruelly honest) opinions, because my ego really likes this - please remind me of this few months later when I will start moaning.

*I think what she wanted to say is that I try to see both sides of the coin, but as she rushed off after that statement, I will not find out the true meaning of that statement for a while.

4 comments:

Anyja said...

Hello :) well, first of all, thank you for the comment. And no, I don't make blog templates by myself, I search a lot to find something that I really like and I add them with some things. I always write the desiner, It's in a "thank yous" :))
I also often think why people are asking me for advice, maybe it's partly because I don't think that my advice is a best thing to follow :D

Richard said...

Ethical? The only ethical thing to do is what is right. Period. I don't believe in choosing the lesser of two evils. Choosing evil or wrong or the lesser harm is choosing what is not right. It is like being a little bit pregnant. It just doesn't happen, you are or you aren't.

I like to take my cue from Plato's Republic (I disapprove of the Republic, but I love the discussion leading up to it). You can read my summary of justice, here.

double-sided thinking: I like that expression. There is nothing wrong with seeing multiple sides of a view. The problem is that most people don't. They see only their point of view and they refuse to consider other points of view. And if they do consider other points of view, it is only to try and find arguments against them.

Now, there is nothing wrong with having definite views. I know I do. However, I also try to see things from alternate perspectives. In some cases, I know that I simply cannot - for example, why someone would choose to deliberately consume intoxicants for the purpose of intoxication - in that case, I gather intellectual knowledge, but no real understanding of the view point.

As well, I do not hold firm to many of my views. I have been accused many times in arguments of shifting my views, of contradicting myself. I never see it that way. I see myself arguing for some Truth, however, language and expression are often insufficient to describe it, so I may dance around it and describe it from many perspectives (sort of like the six blind men describing an elephant). Unfortunately, most people clutch firmly to their perspective, screw their eyes shut and babble loudly to drown out any other sounds. I think this can be best seen with anyone who is on the radical Left or Right. They seem to delight in painting themselves into corners and holding onto the most ridiculous and notions only because they are unwilling to consider that, possibly, they are wrong and the ideas and notions they espouse are wrong.

jayant said...

Hello again!
You're one of the few people who have the guts to speak their minds out, no matter how harsh the thing is and I appreciate you for this.
Hats off lady!
maybe I'll drop in for an advice sooner or later :)

carra said...

Anya than you for visiting, as for advice, usually the good advice givers don't even know they're good at it, so I would not lose my sleep over it ;)

Richard, can you please explain what is right and what is wrong, because, believe it or not, I don't think either exists. What is right for me is not necessarily right for someone else, but does that make my right wrong? I mean things are not just black and white, there is that huge gray area too, yes very cliche sounding thing, but it's true.

Unlike you I try to stick to my views, however as I grow and develop as a person, I change and so do my views, but I always try and admit it once it happens (and it's never easy).

Double sided view is difficult, because one can end up living in constant guilt, however as I am very liberal and refuse to judge it also gives me a better understanding of other people.

Jayant well, I always try to say what I think, and if people don't like it they can always look for the door... Now you won't need my advice you know what you need to know already ;)

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