Cross wired

September 11, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

When I hear someone suggest that as humans we’re all the same I cringe.

Thankfully, we are not all the same.

Each of us is wired differently than the others. Sure, we have much in common (thank goodness), but what works for me might not work for you.

The differences in our wiring can often lead to frustration and head-scratching. How come what makes sense to me doesn’t make sense to you?

That’s the problem with different wiring. I like to think of it as a circuit: input a signal into one circuit and compare that circuit’s output to that of another. Different.

Same input, different circuit, different outcome.

Which is why we need to make a good case for tolerance.

The more tolerant we are of other wiring schemes within people’s heads, the easier it will be to get along with them.

And getting along with each other is a generous gift we can all give.

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43 comments on “Cross wired”

    1. Living about 32 miles north of the 9/11 site I am more familiar with the tragedy than I ever wanted to be. Last night I made a fool of myself. CBS news had a 2 hour special about how the CIA failed to figure out how to thwart the attack 20 years ago due to mostly human error. My wife and I agreed to see if show would be interesting or so boring that we would switch it off. It turned out to horribly depressing. I drank way too much, used profanity to the point that my wife almost left the room and I almost threw objects at the TV twice.

      The bungling before the 9/11 tragedy is a case of what I call crossed wires. US government agencies that should have been working together seamlessly were not even close to being on the same page because they were not even on the same book. Yet once the tragedy had happened Americans were more united than any time since WWII.

      Today we have an even stranger and worse case of crossed wires. 2977 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. Recently the death toll from Covid-19 has been slightly more than 1000 people a day in the US. That means that about every three days we are suffering the same loss of life from Covid-19 that we did twenty years ago on 9/11. The vast majority of the deaths were people who were not vaccinated. Yet instead of this horrible loss of life uniting us it seems to have divided us worse than any time that I can remember.

      1. Whiskey well drunk, Tony. It’s healthy to let your anger out. And even healthier to refrain from destroying your TV set. An equivalent comparison to yours would be four commercial airplanes falling out of the sky every day at random. How many of us would fly then? Covid is a real “wake-up call” for our country, and the entire planet. Unfortunately, too many people do not see the big picture. Be well.

      2. Tony,

        I was a little more than 32 blocks away.

        I was in my office in Midtown Manhattan listening to FM radio when I heard a news item that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. I assumed it was a Cessna or something that experienced a mechanical failure.

        I went into the trading room to watch the news on a giant television screen. Most people in most office buildings in Manhattan walked down their staircases and onto the streets. No one was keen on remaining in a prominent skyscraper.

        The big avenues in Manhattan were flooded with people. There was almost no vehicular traffic.

        As I was walking South on Madison Avenue to my apartment I walked past a variety of stock brokerage firms. People in each street level office were crowded around televisions.

        Every time I stopped to check the latest news on a TV visible from the street some other disaster happened. At one stop I saw the crash at the Pentagon. At another stop I saw the announcement of the crash in Pennsylvania.

        As I continued walking South on Madison Avenue one of the World Trade Center towers collapsed. The Southern part of Manhattan Island was completely encased in an opaque curtain of dust and debris.

        That walk home was surreal.

        1. Ron, Are you OK or do you have any effects from the toxic dust? At the time of the attack I was working at an IBM site in southern Dutchess County. I was called into the executive conference room were I and my boss and our two executives watched the TV coverage. When we saw the second plane fly in on live coverage we knew it was terrorist. About an hour later security had found an unmarked package in the lobby of the building and we all had to evacuate.

          At that time we lived high on a hill ( as we do now, but on a different hill ) and I got my TV OTA. The only channel we had after the attack was CBS because they had stayed on the Empire State Building instead of moving to the twin towers. It took about 4 months for the other TV stations to get back on the antennas on the ESB.

          1. Tony,

            I am 100% okay. I never heard of anybody who was not much closer to the World Trade Center having toxic dust issues.

            But answering your question reminded me of something else. At the time I lived in an apartment on the 42nd floor of a condominium building facing South. Prior to the attack I enjoyed a clear and direct view of the twin towers.

            When I woke up the first morning after the attack the entire South portion of Manhattan Island was completely obscured behind an opaque wall of dust and debris. Your question made me remember that that high elevation afforded a very easy barometer to see how quickly the dust and debris was dissipating.

            Every day I would wake up and look outside and see if I could see anything. I don’t remember exactly, but I think it was at least a full week before that tenacious wall began to dissipate at all. I think I thought it would dissipate in two or three days — more like smoke from a wild fire. I think I remember being surprised at how long it took for that wall to begin to clear, and then surprised at how long it took to evaporate completely.

  1. Negotiating is something that we do, often more than we realise. I do it for a living. In the UK the aim is to resolve as many differences as possible before going to court and so people advising in an expert capacity have to discuss with their opposite number where they agree and disagree, and make a written statement for the judge. That is a fact of opinion based approach. Other approaches are mediation, which is not to find the truth, but to get people to reach an amicable settlement. Arbitration is a process of getting an independent expert to resolve the issues.

    Having done this for upwards of 30 years, you learn a few things. One is to remember that you are more than likely to find yourself negotiating against the same people repeatedly, so don’t make enemies. Two, some people will never be convinced, so long arguments are pointless. 5 minutes is often my limit. Three, the other person may actually be right and, if so, you might consider agreeing with them.

    Perhaps the hardest thing is to understand where the other person is coming from. What is their motive? With manufacturers, it is usually to sell stuff. Nothing wrong in that. When you understand someone’s motive their behaviour becomes almost predicable. Years ago business owners were asked to draft value statements, not just to explain to customers what their business objectives were, but to understand what their own values were. Often they had no clue why they were doing what they did.

    Without understanding other people, nothing ever gets resolved. You just have two or more people shouting at each other.

    As far as audio is concerned, there are some people who consider the whole thing can be reduced to numbers and statistics and everything else is irrelevant. Others think price and value for money is critical. In my case, what was most important was that the colour of the speakers matched the curtains. These criteria are useless if, respectively, you don’t know anything about electronics, have plenty of money or live in a basement without windows.

    I see a lot of this with people who want their children to reflect their values. Lawyers who breed lawyers, bankers who breed bankers. Sometimes it can be pretty tragic. No chance of that here, everyone in my immediate family does something completely different (finance, therapy, design, politics) and none of us have any real understanding of each other’s occupation. Maybe that’s why we get on so well.

    1. I am a retired environmental geologist who worked most of my life for a state regulatory agency, but also a civil engineering firm between undergrad and grad school. My late wife was a speech/language pathologist for our local public school district. Our only child is a public school teacher, initially 2nd grade and currently kindergarten, so closer to her mom there. She is married to a PhD computer science professional. They have a 2-1/2 year old daughter who loves the beach, playgrounds, zoos, but also books and cuddle toys. So the Venn diagram is all over the place, numerous tangents, but not a whole lot of overlap.

    1. Talk is cheap and Covid is killing people…the whole world over.
      Actions speak louder than words. Take the shot, save a life, maybe a whole bunch of them.

  2. There is a science fiction novel entitled “Abaddon’s Gate by James S. A. Corey (the nom de plume for Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) where the protagonist Jim Holden is ‘talking’ to a dead acquaintance of his who was a detective employed by a private security company that had the contract to handle police functions in the Ceres colony within the asteroid belt. Anyway the apparition of the late Detective Joe Miller was a simulation of a subsumed actual person being projected into Holden’s brain and was giving him a general explanation of how this was being done to try to minimize the freak out factor.

    Miller explains that the human central nervous systems, while they all follow a general template, are all custom grown and even with its vast capabilities the artificial intelligence would be hard pressed to run a second simulation, stimulating hundreds of billions of neurons in just the right so that Holden could ‘see, hear and talk to this ghost of Miller as a belter born human in a cheap suit floating in front of him in the hard vacuum of space.

    There is a lot more than this, of course, but that is the part generally applicable to the subject of this Paul’s Post.

  3. Being wired different isn’t the problem as much as cross wiring can be.
    Being tolerant of others should be a relatively basic human skill.
    Getting along with any given individual is a two way street. Whether you think you understand them or not. It’s depend upon the judgment you made / make. Along with the judgement someone makes of you.

    Sitting on an east facing beach right now watching sunrise. Myself, a coffee, a 4 legged companion, and nothing but the horizon to obscure the view. This is easy to tolerate….

    Later all…

  4. I read Paul’s early morning posting.
    And also, I read all the comments that came after it.
    But I couldn’t help but to think about all the things I learned about the past in world history class, when I was in middle school.
    For quite awhile, white people couldn’t get along with black people and vice versa.
    When my teacher told us about that, I thought to myself, that doesn’t make a bit of sense to me at all.
    I went home and asked both my mom and dad about that.
    But to give you all some background on my parents, my dad was a white man.
    My mom was a black woman.
    That right there, is what made me wonder about how they were able to get married in 1956.
    Because even back then, a white man couldn’t be caught hanging around a black woman without the woman fearing of loosing her life.
    And when it came to going to any store to do any shopping back then, the blacks always had to go to the back of the store to pay for whatever he or she happened to be buying.
    All the white people paid for their stuff at the front of the store.
    And as for public bathrooms, they had them labeled both black and white.
    And the bathrooms for blacks, were always either out of order, or they weren’t ever cleaned.
    Boy, I’m sure glad I wasn’t born daring those times.
    But to the point of what Paul was saying, everybody is different.
    Perhaps Paul didn’t say it this way, but this is what he mint.
    Lets all live, and let live.
    Lets all love, and let love.
    Nobody is really gonna see eye to eye on everything, every time.
    So what you have to do, is agree, to disagree.
    Paul, if I’m wrong, then please correct me.

    1. Can’t speak for Paul, but as a superficially pale and pasty dude from not far from the geographic center the contiguous 48 United States, I am in total agreement.

      Detailed analysis of the human genome confirms what hominid paleontologists, evaluating the incomplete record in the rocks, and anthropologists have been saying for quite some time. Every single human being alive today are direct descendants of two people from Africa. They are generally referred to as Mitrochodrial Eve (mtDNA Haplogroup L1/L0) for human females and Genetic Adam (Y-chromosome Haplogroup A, marker M1) for human males. These two individuals are not the Biblical Adam and Eve as presented in the Book of Genesis from the Torah. In fact Mitrochodrial Eve lived and died many thousands of years before Genetic Adam. Nor were they the first or only early members of modern H. sapiens (a rather pompous self-designation for our species, in my opinion, but it is the thoroughly established/entrenched now, oh well), but they are the two whose lineages have survived over the millennia. Within and from Africa, our globe trotting species has spread out, mutated, and diversified in response to the widely varying environments here on the Big Blue Marble. But at our fundamental core we are still the same species. From Africa. And now some music, plus:

  5. You got that right Fat Rat I live up the street from the bucks county Pa Garden of Reflections where we memorialize the 50 local residents who lost their lives that tragic day twenty years ago.
    I will also add that those events lead us into a twenty-year war costing a similar amount of lives but wounding over 20 thousand others and costing over 2000 billion dollars! And for what two weeks after our pull out Afghanistan is back where it was at the beginning. When will our country learn Vietnam was not enough to show us the folly of wars over ideology. We are now in a battle that is a greater threat to our democracy between those that want to continue our democratic republic and those who favor giving up our personal freedoms for some looney-tune traitor. Frankly, I wish we could divide the country in two to form at least one more “perfect union”.

    1. Scottso, Be careful what you wish for. The last time people tried to divide the country it caused the Civil War. We do not want that. Some historians think that after the Civil War the most divided the country has been since was when you were either “Wet” or “Dry” ( No Prohibition or Prohibition ). The almost 50 years of that divide left the country with three major changes. Two of them on purpose and one of them certainly not on purpose. First, women got the vote because the “Drys” knew they could not get prohibition through without the woman’s vote. Second, was the Income Tax that has lasted to this day. The federal government’s main source of income before the Income Tax was the Liqueur Tax. If you outlaw booze without replacing the Liqueur Tax the federal government goes broke. Finally, the third consequence of Prohibition was the rise of organized crime. The many small crime families realized the needed a nation structure to efficiently manufacture and distribute bootleg booze as well as smuggle in and distribute foreign booze. Prohibition is long gone, but organize crime is still with us. Be careful what you wish for!

      1. Not to mention that during another Civil War, without general geographic boundaries this time, the opportunistic Xi and Putin would probably make their moves, culminating in World War III (total elapsed time: 1-1/2 hours) and the 7th global mass extinction event. Not recommended.

      2. Tonyplachy all good points but without getting into it we are indeed a house divided. My idea is a fiction of course but it is wishful thinking, nonviolent by mutual consent we agree. A great movie plot for sure anyone want to help me write the screenplay?

  6. When I look at the telephone pole outside my house, what used to be a simple single telephone cable below the high voltage lines, with a single line extending to each house, is now a mass (or should I say “a mess”) of dozens of entwined telecommunication cables, going hither and yon, many of which are abandoned and no long functioning.

    The unique wiring in people’s brains begins in the womb–sensations, vibrations and sounds. Then in childhood and adulthood our circuit wiring is influenced, for good or bad, by parents, teachers, friends, media, experiences and our own imaginations and perceptions. By the time we discover Paul’s Posts our wires are indeed crossed and in disarray. Getting everyone in agreement would require desoldering, rewiring and a new set of chips, or at least a major reprogramming.

    Can Ted do the reprogramming? Or should we go higher?

  7. ConfusedSteve Doubtful for the reason you indicate. Sadly we are well on our way into the 6th mass extinction, if it occurs we won’t need the 7th unless it is an inevitable consequence of the 6th.
    Humm what music would be fitting to be my last listen? Got it Stairway to Heaven.

    1. 6th or 7th, it depends on whether you consider the Capitanian (260 Ma) and the Permian-Triassic (252 MA) as a single or two separate extinction events. But hey, what’s 8 million years in terrestrial/cosmic time? Periplaneta sapiens civilization might have some concerns over the following event, though.

      Yeah, I can go with “Stairway to Heaven” for the last song.

      And so to bed.

      1. Steven, You would know this better than I would. Was the latest mass extinction 65 million years ago when a massive meteor struck the earth and ended the reign of the reptiles and allowed the rise of mammals?

        1. Yes, the Cretaceous-Paleogene was the last mass extinction event. In addition to the Chicxulub Impactor that hit along the Yucatan Peninsula and Gulf of Mexico, some geologists argue that toxic outgassing from the massive basaltic lava flooding that formed the Deccan Traps in north central India was a significant contributor to making this a world spanning extinction event. Sort of a one-two punch combination.

  8. The possibility of any human being the same as another based on the number of possible permutations of the combinations of the genes of the parents of each of us is approximately 70 trillion to one. That makes it virtually impossible for any two of us to be same.

  9. Well I’m not hardwired to self destruct. 😉
    Tolerance is a human gift and has a strong relation to patience, but of course not everyone is wired up the same or that way to see it.

    In a couple of thread topics ago, in regards to “Change & Disruption “ I affirmed and afforded my act of tolerance. I read a lot of posts one after the other that at first made me quite frustrated, but in the end the better half of my circuitry came to a rational which lead to me having to respect ones ignorance and blindsided views. I know that sounds ridiculous, but the conclusion I came to is that I won’t alienate anyone here and i am not in the interest of doing that because I respect the common ground we all have for the love of audio and that for me supersedes all.
    However, as a community it is still important we share to some degree how we are all wired in relation to world issues.
    Sometimes it is important to kick out the jams. 😉

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