When we wonder why there is no respect for authority in our society, we need only to look to the homes that raise children with the mantra that the rules apply to everyone but them.
I have heard it said that your real character shows late at night when you are alone, and no one can see what you’re up to.
While that is probably true, the problem for the rest of us is that no one is there to see you, so we cannot figure out your character.
Maybe your character shows on a nearly deserted beach like this one near Emerald Isle, NC. At least someone might catch a glimpse of what you are doing.
Actually I think technology has made it much easier to see inside that protective coating which keeps most people from knowing who we really are. It has nothing to do with cameras or surveillance.
So how does technology reveal our character?
Sometimes it is as simple as technology providing anonymity through a nickname with instant messaging.
Most often it just provides distance or a buffer from real personal interaction.
What better to really tell someone off than in a voicemail or perhaps a cell phone call where the connection is so bad that they can’t even fight back?
Then of course there is the flaming email which is well known to all corporate dwellers.
In a sense people really do hide behind the technology. Technology lets the real person sneak out without fear of consequences that might come from a face to face confrontation.
The other day, I had someone go off the deep end in a phone call. They said things which they should have never let slip out of their mouths. I seriously doubt if the conservation would have been anything near that had it taken place in person or face to face.
What it did let me see is the real person who masquerades behind a facade of civility. I now know that the person is someone whom I probably rather avoid, especially in business dealings.
I recently had another illuminating moment with a business partner. His real character wasn’t revealed by technology but the way he said something had almost the same effect.
He decided that he wanted to get out of a joint business deal with me. Instead telling me directly, he waited to dump it all on my wife while I was at work. My wife had not been involved in setting up the deal, and actually wanted no part of it. She had even recommended against it.
It is probably one of the more cowardly episodes that I have ever heard. It is perhaps something that only a very small minded person would do especially since it almost knocked my wife into depression.
His actions showed a complete lack of real character. It was pretty obvious that his only consideration was his self. I actually cannot think of someone who has so grossly violated the code by which most men of honor operate.
I guess it goes to show that while technology can reveal a lack of character, those completely without character don’t need technology’s help in showing their lack of worth.
I have an interesting post on the concept of “Sour Grapes” at my Blogger site. I wrote it after an Apple maniac decided my purchase of a Windows laptop was based on dissatisfaction with my former career at Apple.