Usual Error Bits & Pieces

by Megan M. on April 27, 2007 (Blog) |

Whew! It’s been a busy week, somehow, and now we’re nearing the end of it and I still haven’t processed my latest Usual Error notes. The triad gave a condensed version of their entire presentation this last weekend, during my fabulous Bastrop camping trip, and I picked up a few extra bits and pieces to add here. Many of the subjects they covered I’d already heard once or twice or more, but because their project is organic and growing, they keep explaining items in new and fabulous ways! I think I’ve already mentioned how that’s one of my favorite parts… gush… :P

I wanted to get these notes processed and blogged today, because of course there’s another workshop tomorrow! This is going to be about Boundaries, and it was so frickin’ useful to me the first time I went. (I have a boundaries thing. And yeesh, I’ve been having boundaries things lately, too! It’s weird… a lot more solutions can be found using boundaries-related ideas than you’d think.) Even if you missed the first one, Boundaries is a really great workshop to start with. I think it was my first one too, not counting the overview presentation I attended when the Usual Error was a younger concept.

So, here are my notes. Are you ready!?

First of all, I was reminded that the technical term for the usual error is “projection bias”. I really like keeping things like that around in case I need them, to research or expand on a concept—also, “projection bias” is kind of a sexy phrase. Ha ha. :P

When explaining the usual error at the beginning of the presentation last weekend, Sera said something that resonated with me. She said, we have a limited model of other people. And what she’s saying is that other people are always going to be at least a little bit of a mystery to us—we’re not inside them, we can’t experience what’s happening in there. And this means that it’s extra-easy to fill in the blanks with feelings and understandings from our own experience, and it happens all the time, and it’s the Usual Error! I think I had been searching for new ways to explain that idea, that we have a limited model of other people… and although I’m going to keep searching for something even better, I really like that one.

A part of the presentation dealt with communication styles, and we talked about “idiolect”, which in other words is “idiosyncratic dialect”—the way you say things, the way you express them. The grammar and syntax you use, the sorts of phrasing, the way you learned to communicate. I think this is a way interesting topic all on its own—and actually, Vixen lent me a book called That’s Not What I Meant! which is all about differing styles of communication. I’m not very far into it yet, but it’s really nifty.

Speaking of sexy terminology—I’m jumping away from the Usual Error for two seconds now—during another discussion I had last weekend, we were talking about how different phrasing affected different kinds of people in different ways. (I bet if you do a search for “different” in my blog you will come up with billions of instances…) For instance, “have a seat” versus “sit down”. Each version would garner a more successful reaction from a certain kind of person. I don’t understand it extensively, but it’s very neat. I don’t remember who was there talking with us who suggested it. But I was trying to come up with a word that described that idea, and Pace jumped in with “implicature”. And implicature is all about what someone directly means instead of what they have literally said. And I love that! So I got all flushed and started fanning myself. Whew! Sexy terminology, like I said, hee!

Anyway, stepping away from my curious fetishes…

I have often noticed how smoothly the Usual Error material integrates and blends with all of the interests I have right now. All of the other reading and research I’ve been doing in the last year or so covers very similar blocks of concepts; communication and learning and understanding how people function with one another… and even, in a way, my exploration into business development theory, and information on sexuality, and what I’ve been reading about hypnotism and neuro-linguistic programming. I feel really lucky to have been discovering Pace and Kyeli and Sera as friends, I feel like I’m traveling the right path. It feels good.

There was some talk during the presentation about not being psychic. This is pertinent because so often we expect the person we’re communicating with (or not communicating with!) to just know what we want or what we need, to just do what needs to be done without having to be told what that thing is. And even knowing this, I hint—god how I hint!—because often I feel that what I want is unreasonable. Unreasonable for me to want it, unreasonable for me to ask for it. I so often don’t know what to do about that, don’t know how to solve it, but I think it’s possible that the reason I feel that way is because that thing that feels so unreasonable isn’t what I need. That’s why it feels so nebulous and unspeakable. But… if that’s the case… what it is I need?

I believe we were talking about the ways that computers make it easy to remind ourselves how other people care about us…

“Love + technology = awesome.”

~ Serafina Smith

And the last thing I have written here is that somewhere near the end of the presentation, I think it was during the part about Fierceness, Pace was explaining and said, “Passive is peaceful, docile is doormat…” and I thought, we’ve already joked about the Usual Error Jr., and now we have the Usual Error, as presented by Dr. Seuss!

I love Dr. Seuss.

So really, that’s all I have. I had a great time. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Can you imagine that? I’m looking forward to attending a workshop I’ve already attended—a workshop I already took extensive notes on, no less. Dude. This rocks.

Boundaries is happening at the Human Potential Center tomorrow, April 28th, from 4pm – 6pm. The number is 512-441-9899, ask for Bob or leave a message to RSVP, and come have fun with us. :P


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