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| Communication Responses 1

In critically examining problematic, yet habitual communication responses, whether our own or another’s, the most penetrating insights can arise by simply looking towards the opposite of the following five states. These states cover most troublesome responses, namely bias, assumptions, generalisations, emotions and controlling.

1. Bias

Closed-minded and expressing a confirmation bias.
Opposite; open-minded and curious.

Consensus of a one-sided crowd, or authority.
Opposite; look to dissenting, and original thinkers.

Cherry picking evidence.
Opposite; what about other relevant evidence?

Apparent but actually false factors.
Opposite; expose the deeper, hidden reality.

Disregard this.
Opposite; regard it, and re-regard it.

Accentuated words or promoting issues backed by vested interests.
Opposite; look with a reasoning ‘why’ at the evidence.

The lesser of two evils.
Opposite; think laterally beyond the two given choices.

Opposite; expose and reveal irrational beliefs.

2. Assumptions

How do we really know what we believe to be true?
Opposite; question and ask why?

Opposite; challenge them and their foundations.

Broadcast, internet, print or radio media, seeing and hearing is believing.
Opposite; question all that is being presented.

Believing that repeating assumptions confers credence.
Opposite; expose the repetition, along with enquiring about the foundation of the assumptions and beliefs.

Ignorant of the incongruities.
Opposite; expose and reveal them.

Stuck perspective.
Opposite; take a larger perspective.

Inflexibility and default thinking.
Opposite; flexible, critical and creative thinking.

Blind spots.
Opposite; reveal them.

Particulars and definite’s.
Opposite; look to a more open, boundless view.

Black or white, or either or thinking.
Opposite; look beyond to other possibilities.

Consider just one or two things.
Opposite; consider as many things as possible for example by brainstorming.

Limited status quo thinking.
Opposite; unlimited, independent, unique thinking.

3. Generalisations

Stereotyping and cliches.
Opposite; expose by using particular and personal examples.

Opposite; challenge with specifics.

Acceptance without enquiry.
Opposite; question and enquire.

Narrow perspective.
Opposite; alternative or different perspectives.

Closed beliefs.
Opposite; reveal the limitations of holding closed beliefs.

4. Emotions

The use of any negative emotion or tone.
Opposite; learn to develop facing the emotive person with calm, open, inclusive feelings. Along with a flexible, non-judgmental response, whilst endorsing any signs of positive experience or understanding. Then ask a rationally based question, such as, “What makes you say or think that, so I can understand?” Keep asking appropriate rational questions until the foundations of their beliefs, knowledge, ignorance, false ideals or standards are revealed.

5. Controlling

Divide and rule.
Opposite; come together with purpose.

Doubling down.
Opposite; open up and expose.

Controlling language.
Opposite; ask, “What makes you say or think that?”

Dogmatic or intolerant experts and intellectually entitled positions.
Opposite; express common sense and coherent wisdom.

Blaming and scapegoating of others.
Opposite; reveal them, but are we ourselves always innocent? Reveal them too.

Who does it serve, what are the payoffs?
Opposite; find out and reveal.

You are either with us, or against us.
Opposite; embrace a higher, more universal view.

Loaded questions or answers.
Opposite; unload them, and reveal their intention.

It is this way.
Opposite; but who, what, where, when, how and why says so?

Hidden causes and effects.
Opposite; if possible reveal them, or if not, look at the possible likelihood of causes and effects.

Opposite; reveal the hidden meaning.

Bureaucratic speak, complexity, or delivering a snow job.
Opposite; simplify, expose, and turn it around upon the proponents.

Over complexity.
Opposite; ask, “Does it pass the common sense test?”

Might is not necessarily right, whether it is a group-think crowd, an authority, the media, or a group of experts.
Opposite; the burden of proof is with the proponents or authority, but seek the truth beyond, by observing, enquiring and researching.

© Aaron John Beth’el

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