Wednesday, December 7
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
On our cultural aversion to diplomacy:
Perhaps diplomacy requires that one accept feedback two ways, between oneself and one's enemy. It's fairly common for people to avoid feeling insecure or guilty by cutting off feedback with the person or group that triggers those feelings. Someone who has a knee-jerk reaction against anything French isn't likely to be getting a lot of actual feedback from France. France becomes abstracted, a placeholder for bad feelings rather than a geographic reality populated by three-dimensional human beings. But at some point, reality asserts itself. A shallow, cartoon idea of the world can't coexist indefinitely with the actual world. So when the bubble is popped, there may be some anxiety and lashing out as a one-way feedback channel is flooded by information flowing the other direction.