Said and Unsaid

Yesterday Apple announced its new OSX  update, “Mountain Lion“. With over 100 updates, this update will allows macs to become more deeply connected with the online world- twitter, flickr and vimeo. Read more about it here

But what I found more interesting than what was said, was what wasn’t.

one word:facebook.

Facebook is not just a social media, it is the social media. 100 million active users testify to that fact. So why not have Mountain Lion integrate with Facebook?

It could be because of technical issues, the fact that (the enemy) Microsoft owns a small part of facebook or, more likely, facebook is too big a competitor and apple do not believe in the proverb, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Language is fascinating isn’t it?. Often what we do not say has more power than what we do.

Consider again the expenses scandal. When MPs claimed they had done nothing wrong as there were simply, “following the rules”, what they were really saying was “I know what I did was wrong but the law allowed for it so its okay. I’m not too blame”.

When apple announced all the companies they were integrating with but did not mention facebook, what they were really saying is, “we do not want to work with facebook”.

It gets me thinking about the kinds of unsaid things that are said in the church I work for.

“We have a youth led service every two months” could really mean “we give young people their own service every couple of months so we can keep things the same the rest of the time”.

or

“we’re bible believing Christians” could really mean “we believe in the bits we agree with and ignore the rest”.

Now maybe that’s cynical and maybe that’s not what is really being said but I believe it’s a good question to ask.

So, what kinds of unsaid things are being said in your church and youth work?

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2 responses

  1. As a professor in Miami for over 16 years (3 universities), a therapist for 7, a federally funded researcher for about 10, and a single mother for 22, I have to say I stumbled upon this site doing a search for Snow Patrol’s spiritual influences (if any), and found your ability to question concepts/ideas while educating to be a wonderful source. I have almost as much experience in the history of science, specifically, the history of psychology, which (though it was primarily formed by 3 independent groups–who appear to have hit a critical point b/c of the onset of the Industrial Age…and the VERY appealing idea of progress that accompanied it–medical drs like Freud; animal researchers like Pavlov and a very small group of philosophers who decided that over 5000 years of studying human problems was no longer sufficient, and that it was better to do something than nothing…yes, a conclusion/decision rife with assumptions) should be properly called the study of human development, and goes back even further than philosophy. We have several solid epidemiological studies from Harvard demonstrating a mental illness rate in the U.S. that is significantly higher than anywhere else (about 1/2 of Americans will meet criteria for a disorder). Epidemiology is NOT psychology and is free of many of the problems of psych research. I don’t believe that number is inflated. I do think we need to question how we got here, though. And if the country doesn’t like the number, specifically b/c of the way we diagnose, then discussions need to be raised about that (the DSM), etc. But in reality, we do use the DSM at this point, and since the beginning of any sort of official clinical work, so we can compare, and we are more ‘mentally ill’ now. It shouldn’t surprise anyone as the graph matches that of diabetes, cancer and many other diseases, and clearly the ‘mind’ and body are connected. We are a nation with problems that need addressing.

    Many factors affect whether a person can throw off the conditioning of their upbringing (not constrained to their parents), such as chance encounters (an educated, moral coach; a move to a new town; a national tragedy). Even with those available, we are in decline and statistics (snapshots of a specific pattern at a specific time, at best) show we aren’t the first choice for non-U.S. families to send their children to college. This is relatively new; our educational performance problems obviously aren’t. College was always one of those chance events that could change someone’s life (changing their perspective, leading to questioning, and ideally leading to at least a few years of trial and error in philosophical questions, beliefs, desires, habits, self examination and so on). I have taught in 2 very large, urban universities that were filled with commuter students who live at home and 1 small, private Catholic university which was probably slanted more towards students moving here and living in dorms. I don’t use Powerpoint, multiple choice tests, hence the 3 universities:) but I do have them write. Constantly. I can tell you that immigrants from anywhere write more accurately, with a deeper understanding of how to communicate, with skills to interpret my instructions and ‘get them’, regardless of the grammatical issues (or sometimes the outright use of Spanglish, which in the scheme of things, is the lesser problem, and easiest to fix). US students cannot write, cannot articulate clearly, cannot help but operate on the idea that more is better, thus they make things up (even gifted students), and most professors don’t read, by their own admission, so this is a common practice that isn’t even on the radar.

    As its unethical, not practical and possibly harmful to bring people with mental difficulties into the classroom, and the films made for these students are abysmal, I have my students (roughly 1,000/year for 10 years, then about 500/year the last 7 yrs or so) observe human behavior, and attempt to find an example in real life of a concept I taught. They then write a summary of the lecture (recall) and describe as neutrally as possible (really really not possible for them most of the time; even when intstructed to use “appeared”, “seemed” and “may”) an event they believe is related to the lecture topic (recognitition). My students have ranged in age from 16 to 75, and by now I have a rather large amt of material of how people in school think, how it has changed, who are the anomolies, almost any question you could imagine. I will also use films (primarily Glory, as nearly NONE have seen it, and if so, the historical importance was stressed. I make it very clear that the history IS important, but its the only movie (IMO) out there that does just an incredible job at somehow showing human behavior in its infinite variety, including how we form assumptions, jump to conclusions, how early experiences affect later ones, how genuine interest and attention is needed–a need, not a want–how an event may affect a person…and that would primarily depend on whether or not the person participated in said event. MENTALLY, EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY. I get that a person could physically be in the right place if so ordered. Its a normal human response to check out of a painful situation though, and many people have talked about this, Nietzsche for one said its absolutely not guaranteed that something that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Certain conditions have to be met, most importantly, you need to feel. Not just the pain, but all emotions that may be part of the event. Early mystics knew this, and Rumi in particular has pointed out beautifully in his poem The Guest House that emotions should not be chosen (as in its better to be positive), and that they are messages from another world. I use any and all ‘things’ my world affords me (stories, news, case studies from my practice), film, music, questions and material from former students, academic films if they can be of ANY use, my children (who try to charge me $5/story as 4 boys who now are 16 to 21 and all in college, either undergrads or Ph.D. students, and no, I don’t pay:) to dislodge ideas that currently form the structure of my students personalities? Thinking patterns? Motivations? Then I try to steer them towards curiosity, enthusiasm, and using college as a vehicle to be exposed to a variety of ideas, while learning how to work with different authority figure’s expectations (absolutely necessary for job success/satisfaction later).

    I wish I had hard numbers but this will do: very very very few students can withstand this process. I always let them know on the first day I am different, they can drop the class w/out penalty and pick up another (as I’m friends with my colleagues, we can make sure that happens most of the time a student wants it), b/c the actual content of the course takes about 6 weeks to cover, regardless of the course. The rest is devoted to human development: primarily theirs, secondarily beginning to break out of the conditioned shell they have existed in and really connect with others. I test accordingly, meaning mostly from the book, as the challenging task of studying human development pretty much takes them out, and grades would complicate it further. Because of that factor alone, IMO, I am a popular professor and no complaints are filed. They could be, given the climate today, and the pain that is often associated with realizing you have been operating on a false idea. The saving grace is that all humans have these issues, and they can be improved. I often use passages from blogs to be analyzed, not like ‘typical’ psychologists do, but more along the lines of the purpose, use of language, how the topic is presented, how that may affect the way the reader forms an opinion, etc. I will definitely be using your blog.

    I hope you didn’t mind the length of this post, and possibly now have an idea how important taking topics and asking questions is.

    Have a good day,
    Kelly

    1. Thanks for your feedback Kelly. appreciate it

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