Tuesday, April 01, 2008

april fools.

contested facts often lie at the heart of moral injuries. from the outset, apologies stand a better chance of bearing significant meaning if the offender and the offended share an understanding of the facts relevant to the transgression at issue. although our interpretations of events may evolve over our lifetimes, much of our understanding of our selves and our world results from piecing together ambiguous fragments of information into a moral narrative. not only do we want to understand what happened after a confusing or traumatic event, but we also want the offender to share our understanding.

nick smith
[i was wrong: the meaning of moral apologies]

a lot of traumatic events are two-way traumatic. she feels hurt, and so does she. you feel wronged, and so do i. we stay busy telling ourselves the story of what happened, rehearsing our own monologues. i wish we tended to rehearse each other's, instead. wouldn't it be a miracle? you could tell yourself her story instead-- her story from her perspective, and then (fairly, unguardedly) from yours-- and she could tell herself your story, too, like you might tell it, and then like she (this new, better version) herself might. and you could both feel just what you've inflicted as if you had inflicted it immediately on your own self. if i could tell your story, instead, and you could tell mine, it might be energy better spent. defensiveness is the worst sort of laziness this side of passive-aggression-- don't do it, and don't stand for it, and don't wait on someone else to give in first. don't get trapped in the moment. take a deep breath and do a perfect handspring right out of yourself, right in to yourself.


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