Thursday, 6 September 2012
The Oblique approach or Looking at the World through the wrong end of a telescope
Never one to accept anything visual or verbal at its face value, I have always sought and sometimes found. other explanations than those which were more easily acceptable.
As a child, my father often described me as "the only man in the regiment in step". A rather weird concept, but one I fully understand.
Sometimes in these politically correct days, meanings become clothed in layers of obfuscation as people struggle to offend no-one. Blunt, plain-speaking is seldom appreciated at its true value and the vast bulk of the population slowly drowns in a sea of platitudes as what is being said disappears in the mist.
Even when very young I found that what was said was often not at all what was meant, and I found that listening to the tone rather than the words, looking closely into the eyes of the speaker, rather than the mouth was quite a good way of divining meanings.
Later this became a distinct disadvantage, as the inability to accept anything at face value turned to cynicism, and I found myself seeking meanings which simply were not there. This in turn produced a very strange way of responding to comments, since I always replied to what I felt rather than what I heard.
If someone wrote to me (remember letters?), I would invariably read between the lines and even now, when reading a blog for instance, it is always difficult for me to comment on what is written. Much easier to remark on what I think was intended.
In recent times (the past 30 years or so), I have heard this described as lateral thinking. Whether in fact, any thinking at all is involved, or whether it is simply a 'bloody-minded' determination to misunderstand, I really am not sure, but it makes life interesting, if difficult at times.
Not so much "the only man in the regiment in step" as someone in a different regiment entirely.
Posted by Ray Barnes at 11:51:00 am