Our October 2nd service featured a Moment of Science that reviewed a re-analysis of how many cells are in the human body compared to how many micro-organisms live in and on the human body. Instead of a quick-and-dirty calculation, these authors looked at different tissue types and came up with numbers that were roughly comparable. But we found that even with this we could “split hairs.” For example, it turns out that red blood cells far outnumber all the other cells of our body. But red blood cells don’t have nuclei. They don’t have their own DNA and do not reproduce. So are they really cells? Or just “bags of hemoglobin?” But we’ve called them cells from the beginning, so … It’s like asking whether Pluto is really a planet. And, in fact, these sorts of definitional challenges are ubiquitous.
Our guest speaker, Licensed Professional Counselor Fritha Robinson, gave a great presentation on “Complexities of Communication.” Communication is a critical part of human society and its institutions. But it is not so simple a process as it may seem since everyone has different communication skills, past history, and therefore ways of perceiving and processing information. Ms. Robinson pointed out that “people tend to think that if they present a reasoned case, ask nicely, bully, blackmail or threaten, that other people will comply and agree with them or do as they want.” Of course, the truth is that we only have control over ourselves. The flip side of this, happily, is that we only have responsibility for ourselves.
All of our lives can be improved by better communication. This may best begin by realizing our own cognitive distortions. One of these is the idea that everything that happens to us is because of something we do or have done. The fact is, though, that many things that happen to us have nothing to do with what we have thought, said or done. We don’t and cannot know, often, why other people say and do what they do. Another distortion is to suppose that there are only the options that seem obvious or that we can think of. Often, there are things of which we are not aware that affect our lives. Blaming is another problem area. “When we’re focused on who owns the blame, things stay the same,” said Ms. Robinson. Our focus, instead, should be on solving the problem when it is possible to do so. And yet another consideration is to refer to ourselves instead of others. “You didn’t do what you should have!” is less productive than “It makes me feel bad when what should have been done was not.” Another suggestion Ms. Robinson had was to find the humor in things. Humor is a great way to defuse the tensions of many situations.
Ms. Robinson also discussed briefly the problem of Autism-Spectrum Disorder and said that unbelievers seem to have more difficulties with communication that involves nonverbal cues. There was discussion of how the internet and electronic communication plays into making it more difficult for people to relate and, at the same time, sometimes making communication less emotional.
Postings about each monthly service includes topics discussed and an open forum to further discuss those topics.
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