Monday, 11 May 2009

Caught in a Paradox

My mother was telling me how she met this woman at a bus stop and they ended up chatting during their bus journey. It turned out the woman's name was the same as the friend mum had just been visiting. They even had other things in common. Mum said their conversation got other people in the bus smiling.

"That was lovely," I said. "I'm so glad you were open to share the magic with her."

"She said I was very nice speaking to her. Usually people think she's mad when she talks to people and put her down. I told her I treat everyone the same. I said to her, 'Next time, if someone doesn't want to speak to you, just ignore them for acting so stupid.'"

"Hmmm, aren't you doing exactly the same thing?"

"What do you mean?" mum said.

"I mean by thinking people are being stupid, you are putting them down."

"But that's not what I meant."

"I know. You see what is popular known as the human ego either thinks it is superior or inferior to everyone else. So by thinking people are being stupid you are caught in a paradox," I said. "It reminds me of a piece I wrote recently about someone who accuses someone of being judgmental and not realising that by seeing the other as judgmental she is also being judgmental."

"What should I have said then?" mum said. "Surely people who ignore you when you are speaking are being stupid?"

"They are only stupid because that's how you perceive them."

"What about if I said 'just ignore them'?"

"That will work as long as you don't ignore them because you think they're being stupid," I chuckled.

"Now you're being stupid," she said.

"More put down!"

"I was only kidding!"

"I know."

I love paradoxes, don't you?


Related article: More Paradox