Calm and Intelligent Discussion
In a single, illuminating moment this image expressed a frustration I've felt many times: It's hard for me to compete in break-room discussions.
Typically I find myself on the fringes of the discussion, participating inwardly only, hesitant to jump into the fray, reluctant to appear as hardheadedly opinionated as some of the others, although I know that I actually am hardheadedly opinionated in many ways.
I just don't want to look like it.
It's extremely difficult for me to respond immediately to controversial issues. I'm unable to recall any of the succinct, brilliant one-lines that can stop bickering and posturing in their tracks. The times that I've yielded to emotion and expressed myself cannot be properly described as "expressing myself". My words are halting, my logic confused, my sources unknown, my knees shaking.
Here's how I wish break-room discussions would go: someone sincerely concerned in my opinion would notice my silence. They would make a mental note to corner me and ask me about the issue. The corner in which they entrap me would have chairs for each of us (my opinions take time to express adequately). My interviewer would be emotionally invested in the issue, but truly interested in my perspective and experience. The discussion would be two-way, with both of us learning something new, both of us leaving encouraged by the other.
There are several problems with my "ideal discussion". It takes much time. It requires a quiet corner. It's liable to attract attention from idle gossips or recreational debaters.
It's also impractical, with little connection to reality.
All the historical figures whom I admire had often to put themselves on the edge of controversy, without the luxury of a quiet corner, chairs or a calm and intelligent interviewer. If a topic is worth spending much time discussing, if it's something important and influential, something with serious consequences, it's something that involves all of a person: head, heart, body and soul. The important things in life should make us shake inside, either with rage or rejoicing, and that shaking will affect our voice, our knees and our emotion.
Still, I really like this sign.
Anyone want to talk about it?
Image of protest sign provided bytwentytwowords.com, no attribution available. If this is your sign, or if you photographed this sign, let's talk about it.