Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Are you stiff?

The sense of what is appropriate and inappropriate practice is only a sense and does not come in the form of rules. Given particular stimuli which we are trained to recognize, we do not respond by following a rule which dictates exactly what it is we can do but only a guideline which sets the parameters of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate practice.

People who have a good feel for what is appropriate and inappropriate practice are capable of coming up with inventive responses to stimuli because they have a good sense of how far practice can be stretched without going too far. People who do not have a good feel for what is appropriate and inappropriate tend to give the standard responses as if they were following a rule. In colloquial terms, they are stiff and are often advised to relax.

The other possibility is that people who are considered by some to be stiff simply have a different sense of what is appropriate and what is inappropriate behavior. They simply appear to be complying with a rule but in reality they are doing something which comes naturally to them. In other words, they are only stiff from the perspective of those who call them stiff but from their own point of view, they are not stiff at all.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Are you misunderstood?

People, through their collectives, have the ability to recognize stimuli and have a sense of what practice is appropriate as a response. Weird people are those who do not have a sense of the appropriate response to particular stimuli or who do not recognize the stimuli in the first place and therefore do not respond to that stimuli appropriately. Weird people are also those who end up giving all the wrong signals and therefore end up generating reactions they do not expect (and thus they feel misunderstood).

Weird people are those of us who are not included in the private (collective) joke or who do not find funny what others think of as hilarious. Or they try to be funny but are hopeless at making people laugh. They do not know the correct punchline or do not know how to deliver it.

No one is inherently weird. We are only weird in relation to a collective. To be weird is to be inadequately familiar with the codes and corresponding sets of responses.

It is not easy, however, to learn the codes and the appropriate responses because these can only be learned through life-long practice and mostly through subconscious learning. A transplant (someone unfamiliar with a collective's sense of appropriate and inappropriate behavior) will always end up engaging in practice in a different way simply because it is difficult to leave behind your upbringing or social formation. A Filipino may look Thai but will speak Thai with a Filipino accent (especially if the Filipino is old and in tagalog we say, matigas na ang dila)