Complicated People, Simple Relationships

Feb 14, 2014

We humans often do not understand each other very well. I heard a retired industrial worker recently lament, "My boss never understood me or any of his employees, and I never understood anything he did." I heard two radio news commentators recently discussing the tragedies of politics, diplomacy, and warfare continuing to unfold in the Middle East due to a lack of understanding.

It isn't surprising. People are complicated, fickle, and unpredictable. But because we live and work together, we must try to deal with it.

Individual people constitute great bundles of intellectual, emotional, behavioral, spiritual, and physical phenomena, internal contradictions, and anomalies. Social scientists tell us that societies exhibit similar complexities. It is all very complicated and difficult to understand.

Any relationship can be evaluated very simply by testing two vital signs: mutual benefit and mutual pleasantness. let me repeat. If both parties are benefited by the relationship, and if both parties are enjoying it, then the relationship will be healthy. How much simpler can it get? If either person is being harmed or threatened, or if the association is unpleasant for either person, then the relationship will be weakened. The greater the harm and displeasure, the unhealthier the relationship will be.