Monday, February 23, 2009

Operation K-Mart and the Theory of Ideological Relativity

So, I have this friend, and he said something funny to me.

Essentially, he was telling me a story whereby his opinion or idea was blown off, and he said it was like Operation K-Mart. I got it right away. He was discounted. Dismissed. Dissed.

(And, probably, a little bit pissed.)

I had to admit, I can relate more than a little bit. I told him that I have my own catch-phrase, too...

"No one ever listens to me..."

That saying of mine is usually under my breath, or said withe feigned exasperation... It's less of a complaint or an accusation, and really, just a comment. The acknowledgement that try as I might, what I say doesn't always make it to the intended. Like my buddy, I am simply saying, Once again, I've been discounted.

I was in sixth grade when I announced (quite proudly, I might add) that I had a job doing cash flow forecasting for my dad's banking buddies, using a Microsoft, pre-Excel "spreadsheet" called VisaCalc, a DOS program on our cool Apple 2Plus.

(Yeah, DOS and Apple. This was way before the Mac. Don't mess with me. I'm old.)

And the response was something like...

"You don't have a JOB. What EVER!"

Well, I did have a job. Doing cash flow forecasting. Hey, I could manage. I was eleven, after all.

And then there was the time that I tried to tell a relative (and I'm not saying who...) that I "finally" published my first book.

(You know, THIS one...!)

And the response was something like...

"Oh, that's nice. Well, So-and-So [someone else related, and I'm not saying who] has written a book, too, you know. I'm helping."

Uh, yeah. But it sure as shit ain't available on Amazon, now is it?

(No one ever listens to me.)

(...Oh, there have been another 6 since then. After all, it's been a whole 3 months since I started publishing books. I've been busy. Give me a break.)

Hey... I guess my little books aren't such big deal after all. I sure know that the one person sure made ME feel like shit about it. Oh well... Family is like that I guess.

No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart in action once again.

The things I say are pretty unreasonable, I guess. I mean, the logic is pretty messed up, right? I don't know... You be the judge:

"The kids really want you to be a happier person. Please don't be so angry..."

"I could go into the air-force and learn how to be a rocket scientist on a scholarship..."

"The world would be exponentially better if-"

"I think that you are the most amazing person I've ever met, and I think you are also..."

All discounted. No one ever listens to me. Operation K-Mart.

Now, here is what I really don't get. (Stay with me now...) Why is it that innovation is suppressed. Suppressed. Notice I did not say repressed. It's an intentional thing. (Repressed, in case you didn't know, is not intentional.)

I used to work at the Houston Food Bank, and I told the CEO (who I think is a really amazing leader, by the way...) something like "You know, innovation is what helps an organization progress. Perhaps 'the way it has always been done' is blindly supported by mid-level managers, thus suppressing the attempts at innovation, which, in effect, affects progress of organizations like ours.

He saw my point on that one. I always did like that Brian Greene guy.

(Although he never did consent to my idea, of having our monthly company-wide meetings in the park. Thanks, Bri.)

...But it wasn't Brian Greene who said:

"You know, Lorin, we sure could use your HELP here, passing out name tags. [No matter that no one has arrived, but,] You don't need to be chatting."

Just so happens I was at a fundraiser, waiting for guest to arrive, and talking to Michael Marx of Kroger. We were casually, jointly theorizing on how certain problems might be alleviated.

Nametage? Oh, yeah. You're right. I guess problem-solving with Michael Marx of Kroger is a real waste of time.

No one ever listens to me.

(Although Brian Greene and Michael Marx and, oh yeah... End Hunger's David Davenport, did listen to me... Appreciated my views, in fact.) Others listen, too, if you want the truth. The really do. But the world isn't run by leaders. It's run by the front line. (Nuh-uh!! You did NOT talk to the auditor for the USDA! Nuh-uh!) The front line generally doesn't appreciate what I have to say. (In case you haven't figured.) Not that they dislike it... They just don't GET it. And without a little hard and fast credibility on my side, I'm dead in the water. So I'm discounted.

Operation K-Mart.

The list could go on... Things like "I want to study art in college" and "People are mistaken about what their kids really need" and "I am not too dumb to homeschool a child." are completely ignored.

Discounted again.

You know, I am nothin like Einstein. Nowhere as smart, not nearly as male, not close in age, and nowhere as cute. But I do want to use him in this theoretical...

Einstein was a person who "thought differently". He had different perspectives, different views, and approached problems from a different vantage point.

He was brilliant, of course.

So why is it that Einstein's views were accepted, and others'... Aren't?

Well, to be honest, BRAINS might have just a tad to do with it, but if you think about it, is that what really matters?

(I mean... really??)

No, I don't think so. (Disagree if you want; No one listens to me anyway, so I don't care if you don't either, if you want the truth.)

Einstein's intellect gave him credibility. But really, it was the fact that he viewed things from a different vantage point that led to all the amazing accomplishments that he had.

Perhaps his Theory of Relativity did not originate as a scientific theory, but rather one of interpersonal intellectualism.

Yeah, that's the ticket. (You listening now?)

I will bet you a Starbucks Latte that Einstein knew, before the whole E=mc2 business, that he thought just a little differently than the rest of the cats in his dorm.

"I think that special education shouldn't exist. Kids with special needs should just learn to work harder. That's the way the world is. That's the way life will be."

(That comment just about made me fall out of my seat. And I wasn't even sitting at the time. I didn't try for too long to explain the faulty reasoning in that perspective. Why reason with someone who is choosing to be unreasonable, after all...?)

Am I bitching too much? I think someone might have to take a compliment back if I keep on, if I haven't earned an "outta here" already...

The point I'm making is that Einstein (yeah, I was talking about Einstein a while back) thought about things differently. Relatively speaking, his perspectives were different from those who came before him. He had theories which he asserted, and were accepted.

Thankfully, due to his credibility. (LOVE that.)

So, if a guy like Einstein can be considered, with regard to his perspectives which were not of the norm, then what about the rest of us?

Granted, not everyone thinks out of the box. As you know, I have Aspergers, and, although I can't take the "credit" for that, the very things which can create challenges, also enable me to think a little differently. (Ok, a lot differently.)

As I said, I'm not as smart as Einstein. (Hey. It's EINSTEIN. I'm allowed to be slightly below The Einstein Standard, right?) But I do think differently too. So do my sons, my buddy, and others I love. We are all... Different.

But why stop there? Why stop with me, my kids, Einstein and my 29 year old hottie BF? (Was that believable? No? Not even a little?)

Anyone who thinks outside the box, at any point in time, and about anything at all, really, should be considered. Ideas. Ideas are good.

No, really. Even if the CEO didn't think of it.

You see, it doesn't take a genius to solve problems. It just take s a new view. And because someone has a different view, it doesn't mean they should be subject to Operation K-Mart. Solving the big problems takes a fresh perspective, clearly best if not immediately discounted... It takes a new theory on the view of the situation, based on a unique perspective. A new opinion, based on the relative juxtaposition of that person, and the problem at hand. There just might be a connection.


I'll translate... Progress=Acceptance+(an)Idea, even by squares.
...And you can call that my Theory of Ideological Relativity.

(Yeah, I like my latte flavored with French Vanilla.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you highlighted your books! They look like they will benefit my son, so I just went to Amazon and bought the set of three. Can't wait to receive it! Thanks for all you do.


Diverse opinions are not only welcomed, but encouraged! Innovation is the introduction of new ways to see something which already exists. Diverse opinions foster more diversity of thought and consequently, innovation! (I LOVE that!)

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