When I first got my GPS I half expected it to bark out at me ‘You idiot’, whenever I went past my turn off or missed the assigned street. Why? Why not? Normally every other interaction when I had missed doing something that was assigned to me, I’d get blow-back – from my teacher, friends or my parents. “You idiot, what were you thinking”, was what I’d fully expect. So, it came as rather a pleasant surprise to just hear ‘At the next light take a right…’ along with new directions to where I had said that I wanted to go. Oh! No complaints? No criticisms? Not even a whine? Well, that is actually a more humane response – a more civilized way of interacting
Built into our culture and especially how we bring up our children is to question first with responses like “You didn’t? “You should have”! Our need to be right and the urge to shake our fist is built into our communication process along with questions like “Why didn’t you?”and so on.
The way competition is built into our way of interacting, we usually enjoy the opportunity to reprimand, to show up, to lord it over. It takes a lot of internal growth to restrain our urge to rub it in when you’re the one who’s right, facing someone who was wrong, or didn’t make the grade. That’s why habits that encourage competition over cooperation are really dysfunctional in an advanced society.
The more civilized way to respond could have been ‘Oh well you can do this instead’ without shaming the recipient and leaving both our dignities intact. It’s better that we build up the person that we’re dealing with so that everyone feels good. thereby creating a civilization of love and light, not the usual power and authority.