Sometimes, “people” just don’t matter…

Often people expend  a lot of energy and time trying to figure out how other people think.  Marketing and public relations experts feed off of this task, they live and die by it.  For the average individual, the focus can be on figuring out what/how others think, sometimes – in the age of social media and cable news – people may never know.  Authors write books trying to explain how one gender thinks one way and another gender thinks another; although I suspect that the literary volume and value of such an exercise is heavily slated to one end of the spectrum.

Much of this is wasted time and energy that is better focused elsewhere; instead  trying to become part of the amorphous and often faceless “Collective of Consensus” in society – whose speakers are better rejected –  it’s better to focus on a smaller community or even an individual.  Instead of trying to decode  the secret of a group or entire gender, hone in on the person in front of you: who are they?  What do they think?  How can you invest in the person across the table?

This quest to know how “people” think, what they’ll do and why, is often a striving for “special insight” or “secret knowledge” – not to mention a desire to use such knowledge to manipulate behavior –  and that is something that C.S. Lewis addresses in his graduation address, turned essay, The Inner Ring.  Lewis talks of how the greatest lure of the Inner Ring is that you’re “in” on something; whatever the secret knowledge or special insight there is to be had in a given context, you have it, and possessing that alongside a select group of others creates a greatly desired bond of intimacy.  It is this, more than “tangible profits”, that drives the desire to be on the inside and it is this desire, Lewis says, that turns some men into scoundrels (not of the Han Solo or Mal Reynolds sort).  Lewis also makes the point that often, once someone is on the inside, the Inner Ring is less than what it was imagined to be on the outside.  He drives home this point via the character Mark Studdock in That Hideous Strength via Studdock’s “successful” quest to join the NICE, an organization bent on ruling England; all the subsequent trouble that arises for Mark, ending in an elite group of people adopting an every-man-for-himself attitude.

Chances are, the group one spends so much time trying to demystify isn’t going to care in the end.  Nevertheless, the individual across the table might; the person(s) time is spent with and life is walked through alongside with no ulterior motive or agenda.  It is better to do as Clark Kent did and make the world small.

What Inner Ring of people do you spent too much time trying to enter into?


Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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