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Posted by Harvey on July 9, 2003 12:35:59 UTC

Hi Kyle,

Your analogy about the government asking Americans to buy American cars has some merit, since obviously if we bought inferior quality (or perceived inferior quality), the situation would only encourage American manufacturers to continue to produce inferior quality (or continue poor marketing practices). Maybe by treating Mike the way that he 'deserves' to be treated, will have some kind of positive effect on him and things will be hunky dori.

But, alas, this is the real world. The behavior of individual humans is not the same as the behavior of group behavior. Groups include many people whose idiosyncrasies cancel themselves out in a larger group. For example, there were people who bought into the government's idea to buy American no matter what, but then again, there were others who stopped walking into American dealers altogether because they were turned off by this government 'interference'. For the most of the group, however, they did nothing different in their behavior. The two ends of the extreme cancelled themselves out.

In the case of Mike, his behavior would never reduce to a formula of how others treat him, nor mine, nor yours, nor anybody else. For individual human behavior, it is determined by childhood love and acceptance of parents, siblings, and close friends and relatives, early childhood experiences, and possibly major events that have happened along the way. Had social pressure been taught as a high priority determining our behavior, then surely we would conform to whatever social pressure was brought before us in life, including little interludes on a God and Science forum.

On the other hand, if social cooperation for the sake of social harmony had not been seen as important by those who raised us and influenced us in our lives, then there's a chance that we might be an individual who would only react with more anti-social behavior when pressured by those seeking to change our behavior by being rude, unpleasant, and critical.

As everyone knows well, every individual comes from many walks of life in a public forum setting. We know (and should always be reminded) that it is to be expected that when you enter a forum where the general public is participating, that you almost have to expect that people who were raised under quite different circumstances - some where critical childhood needs might not have been met properly - are either reading our posts or even participating in those posts. This is especially true of any religious/scientific/philosophical site since it represents what many consider to be the crux of our existence. I say that because the crux of our existence brings out many who had typical social acquisition childhood backgrounds, and also many who have not. The reason, I suspect, is that the crux issues of life seem more important when you see more of a need in your life in answering those issues (or at least seeing how other people answer those questions).

Anyway, I think the question is how to react in this kind of circumstance where you are possibly dealing with certain people who have less tendencies to react like most others on a social conformance level. The answer, I think, is that you give them what they most need: special attention. Special attention is almost laughable in our society where you don't get it under most circumstances. We simply brush those who need special attention away, we often avoid them, and many even get mad if they are forced to park further away (for example) to give special attention for the physical handicapped.

Special attention doesn't mean pity, and it doesn't mean that we don't have some kind of expections. Rather, it means we recognize the person's situation, and adjust to it. In the case of many poor minorities in this nation, it might mean giving special attention in the way of affirmative action programs, in case of mental intelligence handicaps, it might mean special schools in some circumstances, etc.

We are better off as a society (and in a micro sense as a forum) to observing and following certain protocols to meet the special attention issues of differing people's needs. The lone assailants who suddenly go off on others that you hear about every so often (such as Mississippi yesterday), are very frequently reports of how those around the individual failed to give special attention to the person struggling with tough issues in their life, and possibly compounded their dilemma by poking fun, possibly cricizing them in sometimes cruel ways. Heck, if you don't give special attention to some people driving and cutting you off on the road, this too can lead to a provocation on the road.

What I discovered here, is that Mike doesn't need much in the way of special attention. All he needs is for those around him to build a trusting environment where he is not criticized - even encouraged a bit, and then everything is fine.

Okay, so new posters will continue to come in and learn the situation. Most will probably leave because it is a lot to ask of people to give this kind of special attention. Heck, if there were a store that had no handicap parking, those people would probably shop there too. But, this is a reality that we just don't find ourselves in, so why contribute to the problem that hasn't been solved any other way than to give the kind of special attention needs that do solve the problem?

Perhaps the most important thing we do here is not to meet some 'fun need' to converse about subjects that many people rarely discuss (e.g., interaction of science and religion), maybe a more important need is to give a break to someone that didn't have it so good. Maybe that's our little corner of the world that we can help clean up?

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