Weekly Blog #53 - The Facade of Ordinariness...

Updated: Mar 1

The essence of great stories and novels lie beyond the facade of ordinariness. Nobody ever said that, so I might as well claim this quote. Not entirely, however, I have to give some credit to the unhealthy amount of YouTube that I have watched recently on this and other related topics...

Beyond the facade of ordinariness...


But let's get back to the point: there are no ordinary people. I'm not saying that everyone is special. That's a false statement in itself. If everyone was special, we'd all be ordinary by definition. I'm rather referring to a thing that can be called the "the facade of ordinariness" - and that people are hiding behind this facade.


Whenever you get behind it, you will realize that people have extraordinarily fascinating stories to tell - true or not. Stories that only they know and only they can tell. But first you have to get to that point. That means, you have to get beyond the point of exchanging pleasantries, political correctness and even beyond the expression of ideologies and intrinsic motives.


That's tough because most of us are influenced by some form of ideology or idea without even knowing or being able to vocalize what it is - capitalism, socialism, communism, any form of materialism, minimalism, existentialism and all other kinds religious or atheistic canons and values...


Our motives also play a big role in how we express ourselves and engage in conversation with others. Do we want to influence others and feel the need for power? Do we want to achieve more than others and tend to be more competitive? Or do we just want to belong to a social group and feel the need for affiliation? These motives might stand in the way of getting to the core of a person's story.


Most of us have an idea in mind - consciously or subconsciously - that defines how we think and interact with others. But we need to understand that we don't own the idea. The idea could be vocalized by other people as well. A very fitting quote in this regard was once stated by Carl Jung: "People don't have ideas, ideas have people." However, it's important to realize that we can leave the idea behind if we want to and create a conversation that goes beyond what typically shapes our social identity and behavior.

Tell more stories and listen well...


We all love stories. That's why we like movies and tv-series and prefer novels over non-fiction. We learn and understand the world better if the stuff we're interested in comes in the form of a story, if it is relatable and has "character". A good narrative is key to what we pay attention to and what not.

So, why not seek this in conversations with others? Why not ask for a story that is more personal than just an idea that could be stated by any other person with the same ideological or sociocultural background? I believe that there are a few things that we can do to elevate the quality of conversations we have. And I mean each and every one of them.


First of all - and this is quite obvious but oh-so-hard - we have to listen well. We have to figure out if the person we are having a conversation with is obsessed with an idea and can be replaced by someone else having the same idea and stating the same things. If that's the case, we should try to politely intervene and figure out how we can make the conversation more valuable for us - and ultimately everyone else. One way would be to bring the conversation up to a more personal level. How does the person really think about what he or she has just said? How does what's been said apply to his or her life? Is there a story that this person would like to share that can instantiate and undergird the ideas that have been stated?


I am still learning to have these conversations - and to be honest, I'm a bloody beginner. I find difficulty in the fact that people typically don't just open themselves up and show you how interesting they really are. Someone once said that it would be nice to have a crank at the side of your head that controls the level of your own personality you put into the thoughts and words that come out of your mouth. However, I'm not sure if it's due to the fear of becoming vulnerable by telling personal stories or if people just can't switch off their ideological perspectives...


But I strongly believe that if we'd be able to see behind the facade of ordinariness more often, we'd be a able to better understand motives and ideas that drive our opposite's behavior and create positive ties with the people that we talk to. It would also help us to read situations better and make better decisions...


Ultimately, I believe there wouldn't be as much "black and white" in regards to whose ideas are right and whose are wrong. You don't support the radical left? You must belong to the alt-right then! You don't support alt-right movements? You're probably Antifa!... We live in a time of extreme polarization in regards to political views and socioeconomic and sociocultural perspectives. A time where not supporting an idea automatically means that you are against it or support the opposite end of the spectrum... But truth be told: there's usually a lot of space between the two poles. And - in my point of view - it's worth figuring out where someone truly stands by having more personal and open conversations and looking beyond the facade of ordinariness!

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