This is written in sort of a “Question and Answer” format. All of this is my own writing, but there is a separation between two voices. The bold text represents me (Kim)—I ask the questions and try to understand what is being told to me. The plaintext represents the force that is answering my questions. Call it my higher self, call it God, call it Bajeezus, or call it just plain Kim—it doesn’t matter. It’s but another way of playing with ideas.
There are certain
people who are much easier to converse with than others. Sometimes I run
into someone, and conversation flows quite easily for 10 or 20 minutes. With others,
I walk into the room, and there is dead silence between us. Trying to get a
conversation going feels like scratching my fingernails on a chalkboard. Why are
things like that?
In order to communicate with another being, there must be a shared context in which you can communicate. For example, the English language is such a context. If the only language-based context you know is English, then you can only communicate, via language, with others who understand this context.
Language, of course, is not the only factor in a communication context. There is also worldview and past experience. It would be difficult for a Quaker to converse much with a Nazi, because their worldviews are so vastly different. The overlap of their worldviews might be about 5%. The shared context in which they can communicate with one another is so small. The same words have very different meanings for each person. This makes talking very difficult.
When you find someone who you converse with easily, there is a substantial overlap in your worldviews. This creates a big enough shared context for you to communicate clearly with one another. There are few things more enjoyable in this world than clear communication.
There is a tipping point where the shared context is big enough so that this clear communication can occur. If the overlap is just a little too small, conversation will be difficult. If you could push that overlap just another few percent, you just might make a new good friend—or business partner, or lover, or any significant comrade of the sort.
Is it possible to push that overlap? Is that how social geniuses come around and make everybody feel fantastic? Or how they manipulate people, and get them (i.e. the people) to do exactly what they (i.e. the geniuses) want?
What happens is that People with high social intelligence can construct, in their imaginations, a model of the other person’s mental model of the world. They figure out, Ah, this is what this word means to this person, and this is what this person values most… I get how they operate.
That is only step one of the process. Many people can at least scratch the surface of step one. Step two, however, is what separates the men from the boys—the socially savvy from the socially average.
In step two, the social genius suspends his own model of the world. He is well aware that the other person’s mental model is not the same as his own. He gets that he and the other do not agree on certain things. He knows that he could debate with this person and try to get her to change her ways. Fully aware of all this, he is able to let it all go. He does not need to do these things. They are not important to him. Instead, his goal is to communicate. He wants to get inside the mind of the other person, and speak to her on her level.
The mark of the genius is the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts in his mind at once, and feel no need to dismiss either.
You see, the social genius suspends his mental model of the world, but he does not dispose of it. If he did, then he would lose his genius. He needs to maintain contact with his own mental model in order to follow through on his goals, whatever those may be for this particular conversation (e.g. to please, to manipulate, etc.). At the same time, he must be immersed in the mental model of the other person, so that he can communicate clearly with her.
Because social geniuses are a minority (“minority” simply meaning that they comprise less than 50% of the population), they would be unable to communicate clearly with the majority of people if they tried to remain within their own mental model of the world only. Of course, then they would not be social geniuses. Then they would be just like everyone else.
So, you CAN push the tipping point. You can “get on another person’s level” and enable clear communication between the two of you.
You have experienced this yourself: for several weeks, you find yourself unable to converse with a certain acquaintance. Then, one day, you come together and converse easily for many minutes—maybe even many hours.
Whoa. You’re right. I have experienced this. Maybe I haven’t deliberately pushed the tipping point—not like a social genius does. But I’ve definitely experienced the change in shared context with another person.
Of course you have. When your context of reality shifts, your shared context with every person on Earth changes. It either grows or shrinks, thereby either better enabling or disabling your ability to communicate with one another.
Now, would I ever want to deliberately push the tipping point? I’m not interested in manipulating people.
The first requirement of being a social genius is that you have firm convictions as to why you would want to “get on another person’s level” and enable clear communication between the two of you. A social genius has no need to ask such a question. They know what they want and why.
Well, we all know that Kim Wrate is no social genius.
Right. No secret there.
Hm. I think I have tried this before. But it seems to never work out. It seems that even when I try, I just can’t really see eye-to-eye with other people. At least, not certain people.
This is because you remain too preoccupied with defending yourself and your own mental model of the world. You have not suspended it enough to make room for the other person’s mental model. The social genius has mastered the need to defend himself. He is unattackable.
Oh. So in a way he’s a spiritual genius, too.
Sure, you could say that.
Well, it makes sense. Competence in one area makes competence in others that much easier. Most likely, anybody we’d call a “social genius” is an all-around genius. It’s like how Leonardo Da Vinci could draw and paint and win the favor of authority figures and invent things and plan out architectural structures, and God knows what else. The man was a genius, period.
Anyway, you’re tellin’ me that the critical step someone like me needs to take is basically to concern myself less with me, me, me, and put my attention on the other person. This conversation is not about me. My mental model is fine and intact. I know what I believe and value—I don’t need to protect those things. I can hold on to it as I converse with this other person, but it can be set aside. It doesn’t need to be front and center. This isn’t about me.
You are on the right track.
I have a feeling that it makes sense to do this even with people who I can already talk effortlessly with. It’s just much easier to have clear, enjoyable communication if I’m not so concerned about myself.
Sounds about right.
So the essential wisdom of the social genius is, I’m not that big of a deal. Correct?
You could state it that way. But the genius understands it a bit differently than that. The social genius looks into the eyes of the other and says, You and I are one.
But I don’t understand. Why would he need to immerse himself in a mental model that is not his own, if there is no one but himself?
We are one, but we took these bodies so that we might enjoy one another’s company.
Ooh. I like that one!
The social genius understands everything that has been stated here. He gets that if others were not different from himself, he could not know himself. So, he appreciates the contrast. This appreciation allows him to focus his attention on the other person easily, for he can do so gladly.
Wow. That is beautiful.
I always had this idea that people who are “smooth” just know how to create hype. I didn’t imagine they had any substance to them. That’s why I never cared to be like them: I figured if I had to keep to myself in order to be myself, then so be it.
A genius is a genius, period. Do not underestimate human intelligence.
Let me summarize.
You and I are one. We have taken these bodies so that we might enjoy the company of one another. We are different so that we are capable of experiencing ourselves—and each other. When I understand the reason for this contrast, I can appreciate it. When I can appreciate the contrast, I will immerse myself in your world gladly, thereby enabling clear communication between us. This clear communication is one of life’s greatest treasures. It is a form of reality exploring itself. If I can communicate clearly with you, I am better able to understand myself. My ability to communicate clearly with you demonstrates mastery of myself, for I’ve no need, in this moment, to defend myself or my ways.
Ultimately, this clear communication is a recognition and experience of our oneness.
How interesting! In order to experience oneness with others, I must first be grateful for our twoness.
‘Tis one of life’s grand paradoxes. Just as the path of goodness will expose your evilness, the embracement of separateness allows you to experience togetherness.
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