Passive-Aggressive? Fine!

ONE (behavior)

Passive-aggressive behavior is characterized by a pattern of passive hostility and an avoidance of direct communication”, says Wikipedia.

One specialization of this is the Malicious Compliance, intentionally inflicting harm by strictly following the orders of a superior. This is bad, I know! But who could tell that they’ve not been there?

Here’s a story for you : In France, a few decades ago, during a very cold winter, a private, during his military service, was freezing his arse off at the entrance of a base, shift time. Imagine him holding his rifle, taping his foot on ice and snow. At one moment the base’s big boss nasty general came with his car and parked near the front desk, asking the duty little soldier this : “Private! Come here! My windshield is full of ice. I order you to throw a full bucket of hot water on it, at once!”. Of course, the little soldier opened the faucet and waited for the water to be boiling hot (malicious complicance!) before sparging it (at once) on the glass – which, of course, exploded immediately.

There’s a joy into this, right?

 

TWO (words)

What we see daily, what we read daily, is passive-aggressive tone in words. This is very common these days. You just have to say something gentle, knowing (hoping?) that the other side will understand it’s sarcastic.

“Thank you for cleaning the table! It’s very kind!” to someone who did not, for example – instead of saying : “I’m sad that you didn’t clean it, we should talk about organization”.

The easiest passive-aggressive sentence is pretty common, it’s :

“Fine!”

or

“Whatever!”

…both mean exactly the contrary, right?

 

I really often read passive-aggressive speech on social medias. “Honestly he’s sooo talented it’s so amazing I’m so impressed”. A laughing emoji can help us realize this person writes the contrary of what they think.

“Oh what a great (function) he is!!”…

 

Curiously, there’s no joy (at all) in writing the contrary of one thinks. It says : “I’m too weak to fight, and I’m afraid to say my truth”. It says : “As a matter of fact I don’t want to fix or change anything”. Passive.

 

THREE

But maybe one day someone will grow up, and won’t answer “Fine!”. They’ll answer : “This is not fine, let’s talk about it and decide together something”.

Maybe one day someone will grow up and answer : “I don’t like this, I’m not amazed, nor impressed – let’s find out why”. But now there’s a problem : it’s that the readers are SO used to passive-aggressive tone that they’ll think one just said the contrary! Damned!

 

Using a passive-aggressive behavior or tone in front of someone is to acknowledge the other one is stronger than you.

  • It’s why it’s a joy when you use it in front of stupid hierarchy. Because it gives you a way out, a way to “win”.
  • It’s why it’s sad in front of people around you. Passiveness means you acknowledge the other one is stronger, or, at least, that you don’t want to fight.

 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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What is Truchement?

I read in a Paul Valéry’s book about Hals (a painter) talking to Descartes (a philosopher) – he made his portrait, which is very famous.

Valéry writes :

J’ignore d’ailleurs si les deux hommes pouvaient s’entendre l’un l’autre sans truchement

I don’t know if the two men could understand each other without… truchement.

 

Ah ah! What’s that word?

Truchement can be : a mean of expression (for example two persons talking to each other with… drawings), a trick, or an intervention or a middle-man (maybe, simple, a translator).

I don’t know exactly why Hals and Descartes would need that. Maybe because of the language (one is French, the other one is Dutch – from Holland). I read a little and found that Hals didn’t agree with Descartes, who maybe said : “the imagination as inferior to the intellect”. I also know that Hals gave Descartes a certain appearance in his portrait, which makes people think…

I’ll find out, probably, but I loved to read the word Truchement – which French people know, I think, but don’t use daily…

I love the way that two strong personalities couldn’t really understand each other, or like each other, or get along, BUT feel the need to find a mean to have a conversation in spite of them, anyway…

Why would they need to get along? To work together? Common interests? To have fun with their antagonistic minds? How do these two guys will invent a way to have a conversation with a truchement and without climbing into disagreement?

How does is work in the Art of Diplomacy? What are the means between representatives of two enemy countries? What are the skills needed? Psychology? History? Slowness? Written words? Handshakes? Win/Win knacks?

OK, that was my Truchement overthinking…

 

Have a nice day!

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Picasso & how to glean the best from letters.

Some Picasso‘s exes were writing him letters, sometimes daily, for years. I read that he loved these a LOT.

I’m writing an article about “Types of Muses”, idea given by his life & wives. Instead of giving a list of names with a few labels on each (intellectual/innocent, tortured/happy, silent/talkative) let’s say he met very different persons – which is common, but means maybe a lot more for a artist.

Daily stories, thoughts, attacks, melancholia, gossips, hopes or life moments, anything : Picasso opened the envelopes and loved them all with gourmandise, like love of good food, it “made his honey”, like we say in France (“Faire son miel”) : He knew how to glean the best from these letters.

Why, what for?

This leads me to some ideas or tools :

  • Keeping bonds with personalities that count.
  • A way to make excellent use of everything, extract or invent seeds of them.
  • A form of happiness – to be a “best gleaner”, a happy amor fati person, a dancer with what “comes”.
  • It also shows a strength. Knowing what he wants in his life, what he’s worth, in a way : “…but words will never break me”.
  • What would one do else with daily letters? Trash them? It’s a pressure, right? Some likes pressure from others, because it’s life?
  • Knowing that these persons think about him?
  • Simple entertainment?

 

It makes me wonder about the daily writers too :

  • Was it a promise – to keep in touch?
  • When you know you write to Picasso (even if he is your “ex”), you stand up differently, you have to be “up to the conversation partner”, which is great for steam and inspiration, of course…
  • Therefore it gives you a force, ideas, attitude, and a desire to impress, probably.
  • A displacement/substitution for love and conversation…

 

(Hmm sorry I’ll be Picasso-ed for a moment)

Thanks for reading!

JP

 

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Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

Why I talk to my exes

You’re great / You’re not great anymore

 

Judgmental

ONE

Decades ago, a was in love with a painter, who one days asked me – a bit solemnly – what I was thinking about her recent work.

Then, the day after, I told a good friend that I didn’t say the truth. I didn’t like her recent work that much, but “I couldn’t have the heart to tell her”.

My friend gave me a roasting (is it the correct way to use this idiom?), and told me something I never forgot :

“When you’re asked that from a person you love, you have to tell the truth, silly!”

I think he was right. And I never forgot this good lesson.

TWO

I talked one day with someone who explained me that the first quality of her husband was “he is not judgmental”.

This annoyed me a lot because I don’t understand why and how should this be a “quality”.

Secondly, we… don’t even have this word in French! Therefore, WordReference and other sites tend to turn around it : “To have a tendency to carry critics”, or “To be fast to make value judgments”. Pfff!

THREE

Thus, my brain works and tries to understand why and how non-judgmental could be a “quality”.

If you ask someone to be non judgmental, is it because you are a mess, a complicated drama person, or a weathercock nobody can understand? Or is it because you have terrible flaws? I can imagine a drunk asking for that… “He doesn’t judge me, phew!”. Is it because YOU are judgmental therefore your man can’t be (because you don’t like to fight)?

So : a non-judgmental person is perfect! He never bothers you, right?

FOUR

All of this aside, it’s very surprising, because I think (like my friend at the beginning) that an important quality of a spouse (besides kindness, honesty, etc) is exactly to BE judgmental.

It means that he sees you, he values you, he wants to understand you, he likes to talk about these things, he wants your couple to be better, etc. Judge, think, connect, talk, ask : that’s couple life!

Hence, for me, to be non-judgmental in a couple is a bad sign. It shows that you lost the spirit of your lover. Or that you did put her on a pedestal, where she is “what she is” (she’s a handful, awe), and you can’t even really get, reach, understand her.

Or maybe that you accept her and everything from her, “she’s always right”, to have some peace and quiet.

If you judge, you’d be attacked as a demon, you should be reeducated. You don’t understand her.

FIVE

Ever heard of a double bind?

Value your man because he’s non judgmental, then reproach him to not get you, to take you for granted.

What kind of ohlalala gap is that?

A good path towards craziness (or depression, or violence), double bind is…

(you can also have sex to shut it off)

SIX

I ask and will always ask my wife to BE judgmental. “Stay connected, love, this is our stairs strategy : tell me what’s good, what’s wrong or weird, let’s talk! I hold you hand. Let’s talk. And tomorrow, my turn, OK?”.

She needs to be valued, recognized, seen exactly as she is, complicated but genuine. She’s amazing!

OUTRO

I maybe don’t get how “judgmental” is radioactively charged in English. Therefore I don’t understand this word. What do you think?

And I am really convinced it’s an important problem. Judge me. Please do! It means you see me, it means we’re interlinked.

Thanks for reading!

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Too complicated to be bugs : Chronicle 34

If you’re passionate, if you’re a thinker, there are two types of spouses. When you begin a lecture about something you found, with “this” tone and sparks in eyes :

  1. Rolling eyes “Here we go again!”.
  2. Asking questions, loving it, helping you, smiling “I love your lectures, love!”.

zoid

I’d love my blog to be not some food, but some stimulant.

zoid

Someone who thinks only thoughts which (he thinks) are useful.

zoid

To me : “One mistake at a time, will you?”.

zoid

Criminy! Yesterday, someone took an article I wrote years ago, cut 95% of it and put it into the drafts section. That’s opening a few questions : who, how, why? Some occurrences are bugs, but some are too complicated to be bugs.

zoid

Cinematographer Gregg Toland worked with such directors as John Ford on “The Grapes of Wrath”.

“Toland’s trademarks included sharp, deep focus pictures, black-and-white film, ceilinged sets, low-angle lighting, and touches of Germanic expressionism”.

After much success in his early career, Toland remarked, “I want to work with someone who’s never made a movie. That’s the only way to learn anything from someone who doesn’t know anything.” He got his chance in 1941 with Orson Welles and “Citizen Kane”.

zoid

Exhausting : when people don’t hear you (and don’t understand) when you’re exhausted.

zoid

How come you could be trapped AND unmoored? When?

zoid

I reckon there’s a Meta-Talk Toxicity. When we communicate we sometimes have to talk about the ways and paths of… communicating. Sticking to it – and killing something. How and why? Develop.

zoid

Ask for a map.

 

Have a nice day!

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An empty letter from Madagascar (Silence Treatments Types)

I keep letters (and mails). All of them. It’s like a diary. It’s like traveling in time, being in two persons’ brains, “dialog archeology”, you feel the water under the bridge, too. And if the person died, you can talk with him/her endlessly.

 

I found an old letter in which a friend told me that she dated a guy and lived a few weeks of love before breaking up, because he was too intense, toxic, and jealous. Drama! He said he would left the country to live in Madagascar, and that he will never talk to her again! Then he disappeared…

One day, years later, she got an envelope. From Madagascar. She didn’t open it : it was empty.

She wrote me about her boiling brain since : Was it a mistake? Cruelty? A symbol? A paradox (“I think of you but I won’t talk”)? A “Hello”? In fact, she was so moved that it’s been good to her. It made her think about herself, about life, about him, about moving forward, etc…

 

This kind of cruelty made me think about the concept of “Silence Treatment“.

Silence Treatment always had many faces. And even in the Eighties and before, you already could play with it :

  1. To sulk in a couple (for days, why not)
  2. To disappear without an address
  3. To commit suicide
  4. Abandoned child
  5. Quitting your best friend for ever because he/she went too far

Who does that and why? To manipulate? To forget? Protection? Cruelty? Stupidity?

 

Now we have smartphones and the Internet, tools outnumber old possibilities. You can just BLOCK someone one Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Email, etc… – and all pertaining games :

  • you can block the blocker, so there!
  • you can unblock someone, say something and reblock him/her (just to imagine the boiling process – which, beware could steam back… where it can).
  • you can use real mail (paper) to bypass (I love when reality hits the virtual fan!).

 

I know a friend who has been almost destroyed by a lunatic pervert (living on the other side of an ocean) who constantly contacted her, flooded her with love and promises then disappeared for months for no reason, in a loop, keeping her disarmed in a boiling despair for years.

Silence treatment is dreadful (see, I learned a new word!), and we should only use it for protection.

 

Thus I’m back thinking about the empty letter from Madagascar. As an optimist, I choose this (because I choose to think people can’t be “that” mean) : It was a way for the guy to say “I promised I won’t talk to you anymore, but here’s something to show you I think of you, though”.

Awweeeeee!…

 

Thanks for reading!

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Irrelevant Fishes & Tetris Moods : Humans as Problems to Solve?

My previous article quoted S. Shore about photography :

“A photographer solves a picture, more than composes one.”

 

At first you want to think that it’s wrong – or at least “too easy”, but you have to admit there’s something intriguing here. To “solve” a picture… To find its balance, maybe? It’s stayed as a seed in my brain.

 

In the eighties I was in University and a friend of mine told me this story :

“I played so much Tetris these last days that this morning, as I was interviewed by a guy for a job, I saw all of his questions like Tetris tetrapods : I just had to move them, rotate them until they fit into my brain”.

 

OK, this is a puzzle. Here are some pieces :

  1. The idea of “solving” a photography
  2. Communication from another human being seen as a Tetris game (four square blocks geometric tiles moved sideways and rotated until it fits with no “gaps”)
  3. Marcus Aurelius’ constant pattern telling that the problem is not reality (therefore “the others”) but the way we react or not – which depends on us only
  4. The third Toltec Agreement : “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering…”

 

See my workshop table? Some of you will get me, will see me coming. Recenter. You decide. Logic against feelings. The limits of all this. Watching/listening to others. Empathy. Etc.

I’ll have to write a bit more to sort all of it.

Some say that to blog is a way to learn things, right?

The 3rd Agreement risk is to consider others like irrelevant fishes in an aquarium, or something like “the weather” – but it can be an asset. Could be.

(to be continued)

 

Have a nice day!

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