Do Intermediaries Open or Close the gap Between People?

I left town in a hurry this summer. Just pulled up my tent stakes, packed my bags, and vamoosed. Didn't even leave a forwarding address or a phone number for the boss to call. Upped and left. That's me.

That assumption was the work of a secretary who sent me a letter that came back to her because she used the wrong Zip Code. When she attempted to phone me about it, she dialed a number that hasn't been in effect for almost two years. She called my cell and and expressed utter relief to finally get through after two failed monumental attempts to reach me. I was relieved, too; she almost undid my budget for the final quarter of 2007.

In the end it was a small problem--though she insisted blame lay with the federal government's failure to deliver her letter, not with her--but it got me to thinking how much power interface people such as secretaries wield in our lives. If she hadn't double-checked her false assumption based on her own mistakes, I'd be out of work in September. My peers and superiors might actually believe I'd blow out of town without a word. I'd be broker than broke and disgraced--and wondering what happened.

Secretaries, assistants, confidants, and general busy-bodies who assume the role of message bearer between two parties control all information--what each party knows, how much each knows, the shape it takes, its proximity to the truth. They control our perceptions and the nature of our relationships. Whatever we say or convey to these persons passes through the filter of their minds--their prejudices, personal goals, greed, mental illnesses--before it gets to the target audience. They are the fulcrums on our teeter-totters--as essential as they are small.

Once we trust these intermediaries, they own our minds. This is why monopolized media sources are so dangerous. Though we know it, how many of us actually entertain a variety of viewpoints to be well-informed? How much easier is it to find a mommy or daddy surrogate and surrender our judgment to that person?

How often do we talk to our perception of others rather than to others themselves? At what cost to our understanding and to the relationships from which we keep a distance? How surprising to discover the flesh and blood sentient beings moving through our worlds have complete lives outside the narrow walls of our minds, that they are so much more than our ideas of who they are.

See also: Gossip Makes Mincemeat of Nero, Nero Makes Mincemeat of Christians

Comments

  1. Anonymous8:38 PM

    It's easier to take somebody else's word about another than actually taking the time to get to know them to find out what they are really like...but it's not better. Caring people take the time to find out what's inside those they've heard about, especially when there is visible evidence that another's perceptions are misguided.

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  2. I especially liked your last paragraph! There is truth in it... "How surprising to discover the flesh and blood sentient beings moving through our worlds have complete lives outside the narrow walls of our minds, that they are so much more than our ideas of who they are."
    This reminds me of a post i wrote in my old blog about who we love...

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