Saturday, August 3, 2013

Humans have wills of their own

Imagine if objects were out of your control. Playing chess, you put a piece down, but it slides to another square.  Cleaning house, you empty the dustpan into the wastebasket, but the next day, you find the dust has climbed out and traipsed about the house.  Cooking dinner, you find that the peppers you chopped to add to the onion have jumped into the cookie dough instead.

We expect objects not to move around of their own volition.  Apparently, some people have extended this attitude to other people.  The parent who gives his adult son advice which the son does not follow complains to me, "He never changes."

Indeed, he doesn't change because he is himself.  He is not going to become a chess piece moved by his father's will.

Many of the people I see who are miserable seem to have a sense of frustration and impotence over the fact that they are not in control of other people's behavior.

I feel that frustration because I can't stop people from telling me what I should do and how I should feel.  At least all I want to control is how they treat me.  I don't want to control what they do with their own lives.

There's an administrator where I work whose method of operating is to yell at people and force them to say, "I was wrong, I'll do better next time" before he will grant the approval that needs to be granted.  He does that especially when it's clear that the mistake was his.

To me, that is impotence.  He is incapable of working collaboratively with people.

A group of people all with individual volitions may choose to come together and choreagraph a dance in which all their individual volitions come together into making something larger than themselves.

He does not have the ability to do that, so he resorts to trying to control people like they are chess pieces.

Anyone who tries to control people like they are chess pieces is setting himself up for frustration and failure.  You can work with others, or you can work alone, but you cannot expect others to be without wills of their own.

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