Thursday, October 25, 2007

My best thinking got me here

A blog post today got me thinking, which is not always a good thing. This post had a quote from poet Charles Baudelaire, "a vice is natural, while virtue is artificial because it calls for us to restrain our natural instinct ..."

I was watching Dexter the other night, the sociopathic serial murderer (is that redundant?) who believes he was born evil. His father, when Dexter was young, told him to "Think of your immediate reaction, then say the opposite" when Dexter was trying to pass a psychological profile test. Doing this, he passed.

I've been clean awhile, but I find that sometimes my immediate thinking is just wrong. If I acted on it, I'd have been in big trouble long ago. You'd think after years in recovery, that "wrong" thinking would go away.

Case in point. I had about ten years clean and I was at an ATM behind a person who used the ATM then left his card. I walked up, took the card, then didn't know what to do. The person with me looked at me like I was crazy, took the card from my hand, and yelled after the man, "Hey, you forgot your card." My mind was wondering what to do, what was the right thing to do, I mean, take the card and use it or...?

I'll admit, today I would know what to do, but I still have to think sometimes. In many cases, my thinking is just flat wrong.

A woman flamed me professionally the other day on a list I belong to because I said something that was incorrect. My first instinct was to flame her back. Instead, I did two things. First, I wrote her a pretty decent letter telling her I felt impelled to write because she embarrassed me in front of my professional peers and it hurt my feelings. (I won't mail it.) Then, I found her phone number via her email address and called her and asked her to call me.

People often behave ignorantly, and most of the time it's best to let it slide. But in this case, I really felt like I had to tell her how I felt. It was about how I felt, not about her behavior, if you get the difference.

She emailed me immediately and apologized, saying she was having a bad day and just after she pressed the send button she regretted it. This kept me from stewing about the situation.

I am not yet well, but I'm a darn site better than I was. Progress is a beautiful thing. It's a great fall day and I'm heading out. Until then, be safe. And don't flame people.


Shadow said...

thanks for your interpretation. i find what he said quite believeable. but if we all follow our instincts and first reaction, i think earth would have blown up long ago. so a certain amount of virtue is necessary to keep the planet running, moral intact, order and peace. so on further thinking, it's not quite so believeable after all. after all, our conscious and thought process is what differentiates us from animals, isn't it?!?!

An Irish Friend of Bill said...

ah yes. restraint of tongue and pen. easy to say. not so easy to do!
nice post

vicariousrising said...

Great post about how to handle a flaming situation.

And I love that show Dexter. Poor Dex. His foster dad Harry cracks me up. I'm not sure I'm supposed to find it all so funny.