Sun sea sand

Sun sea sand

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Give The Lab Rat Some Cheese

I’m pretty much a straightforward kind of gal. I don’t like to lie, and I don’t take well to people lying to me. I often tell people what I think, or if I don’t want to do that, I’ll say nothing. Yes, I’m guilty of small white lies, like telling a boss "I’m sick, oh poor me" when I’m just slightly under the weather. That’s more exaggeration with a touch of self pity.
Yes, I do get in trouble for shooting my mouth off, and I may not get everything I want because I don’t know my diplomatic speak (I’ve read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, but have not learnt from it), but I’ll most likely tell you the truth, even if it hurts.
I mean what I say, and I say what I mean – a principle I generally live by. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind – that’s a woman’s prerogative – but at the moment I promise something, or say that I would do something, I mean it.
And I get so annoyed with people who say things like, yeah I’ll call you when I’m next going climbing or playing badminton without having any intention to do so. Why lie? Just tell me straight that you can’t be bothered. I probably won’t be your friend for long, but isn’t that what you’re after anyway, since you don’t want my company?

At least this is not as bad as a guy I once knew who lived in a parallel universe. That would be the only explanation of how he could tell others that he had seen things which no one else did. Case in point, he told his friends that while we were out, on a pedestrian bridge in Brickfields, I had argued with him and in a fit of pique, had thrown my umbrella over the side and into the river.
That so did not happen. Yes, we argued, but I did not fling my brolly over. That was among other things that he told his friends happened. So I was really curious. Was he, really, in a different universe, where in truth I did chuck my brolly – with him truly seeing it flip end over end in the air, and then with a splash hit the water to be swallowed up whole by Sungai Gombak, never to be seen again?
That would merit scientific experimentation, but I didn’t bother, and just dumped the Loser. Because it would be bad enough if he were lying to me, but worse that he was lying to others about me.

However, that’s all just straighforward lying (or being insane).
The more complicated part of life, I’ve just found, is when people practise lying to suss out who you are.

Recently, a friend related to me a conversation he had had with his wife about me. At the time, I said nothing as it didn’t strike me as particularly noteworthy. Later, though, after ruminating on it, I felt that his conversation with his wife had ended on a nasty note, with one party being judgemental, and wholly unjustified about it.
When I told him that, he admitted that no such conversation had taken place, and he had made up the whole thing to see how I would react. He said it was done in the spirit of conducting an experiment, of sorts, him being a bit of an amateur psychologist and all.

What am I, a lab rat?
More importantly, now that I know he likes to fabricate things, how can I ever believe whatever else he has said before and what he will say in the future? Is it all a test?
And worse, now that I know that he can, and probably will, in future, lie to me, should I be overthinking everything I say and do? If I know that any given input would or could be fabricated, would that cause me to alter my reactions? Would I have to mull over what a particular comment, say, could mean, and then weigh up my answer to fit? Or not to fit, whichever I thought would suit my purposes better?

That would be tiring. Imagine, if you will, that he said my hair looked lovely today.
I’d have to think – is he sincerely complimenting me or is he trying to push my buttons to see how I would react? And then, if I chose one over the other, would I just say "thank you, I had my hair done at the salon" and cause him to think I am frivolous both in vanity and financials? Or to say "oh this old thing, it’s just get up and go" and have him, if he were not sincerely praising my hair in the first place, to think that I am completely lazy and go out with a whole rat’s nest on my head?
You’d never really win, and anyway, it would be completely exhausting.
This is also why I’m crap at chess, or checkers, or card games where you have to weigh other people’s (possible) hands before making a move. Or gambling.
Even in the world of conversations and making judgements about people, there are several million permutations on the "why did he say what he did" and "what should I respond" scenario.

This would also cause havoc in the world of empirical studies: If lab rats had mental consciousness (like humans), and they found out that scientists were manipulating their world in order to get results, would they, too, be driven to overthink their instinctive actions?
Just to make it easier to understand what I’m on about, let me give you this example of lab rats and a maze:

Straightforward lab rat (Me):
Day 1: Yumm, cheese!
Day 2: Yumm, cheese!
Day 3: Cheese? [Run around a couple of corners] Yumm, cheese!
Day 4: Run around the same corners. Yumm, cheese!

Mind-game lab rat:
Day 1: Yumm, cheese!
Day 2: Yumm, cheese!
Day 3: Cheese? [Run around a couple of corners] Yumm, cheese!
Day 4: Wait a minute. The scientist could be messing with my mind by putting the cheese around several corners. His action can be constituted as X, therefore, expecting my reaction to be Y, thus achieving result Z.
However, if Y[complex mathematical equation] = I am, therefore I eat cheese / X[more complex mathematical theorum], then I therefore should react by just sitting here and pretending I don't know Who Moved My Cheese, and give the scientist a skewered result. Yes!

I guess I’m not a rat and I have the consciousness to weigh what I say and do, but to have to overthink everything in case people are lying, or being diplomatic, is just such a waste of time. I take people at face value and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are good people and sincere in everything they do. And I want them to see me in that way too.

And as for the liars, I take everything they say from then on with a pinch of salt. And when push comes to shove, I’d rather they shove off from my life. Because, truthfully, I don’t want to play that game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

itu lah masalahnya bile kite mula imaginasi mula menguasai pemikiran kite....