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TALKING TO THE ANIMALS

Posted by Tim Bryce on September 21, 2012

BRYCE ON OUR CHANGING WORLD

– The death of discourse, another casualty of the 21st century.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Have you ever noticed how people tend to be kinder and more understanding to their pets as opposed to the people around them, be it family, friends, coworkers, shopkeepers, or whoever? The contrast is startling. Whereas some people bristle at others, pets have become their pride and joy. So much so, people have no problem paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for dogs and cats. Years ago you could pick up a pet for as little as $20, with papers. Now, not only do people shell out big bucks for pets but lavish them with expensive food and toys, not to mention grooming and health issues which can also cost hundreds of dollars. Their teeth are now brushed, their nails painted, and hair carefully coiffed. Frankly, nothing is too good for them. It’s a bit disturbing though, when the pet receives more attention than the people surrounding the owner.

People tend to believe their attraction to pets is because of the “unconditional love” they have for their owners. Dogs can certainly be loyal and possess distinct personalities, but I think it is a matter of the love and attention bestowed on the pet as opposed to the other way around. People like them because they know the animal will not challenge the person’s authority and will live according to the owner’s rules. They will even have conversations with their pets in an attempt to communicate with them. Deep down people know they cannot respond so they invent a reply for the animal to give. Some people have whole conversations with animals as opposed to the people around them. The pet depends on the owner for care and feeding, and the owner depends on the pet for an interpersonal relationship. This forms a strong bond between the two which is often stronger than those between humans.

I think a lot of this is due to our failure to properly socialize. Thanks to technology, we as a species, have become more reclusive. People would rather plug in and tune out as opposed to talking to the person sitting next to them. When we try to converse, we either become sensitive to political correctness or attack the other person’s point of view viciously. Instead of engaging in an argument or stepping on somebody’s toes, many people prefer talking to their pets, probably because they know their response will be predictable. Since pets do not talk back, people prefer their company as opposed to human contact which I consider rather odd.

If you could somehow track it, you would probably discover a parallel between the increased use of technology and the boom in the pet industry. People want the touch and comfort of another organism, just as long as it isn’t human.

I happen to participate in a weekly get-together with a group of men. In addition to enjoying some libations and a good cigar, we talk. Frankly, we talk about a lot of different things. We discuss politics, religion, history, current events, sports, humor, right and wrong, and just about everything else. We do not see eye-to-eye on everything which often leads to some interesting arguments, where we must ask questions and defend our positions. This is not destructive discourse but rather constructive instead. By doing so, we learn from each other and have cultivated strong interpersonal relationships. It’s refreshing to sit among people where you do not fear offending anyone or starting a fist fight, but rather to address a subject rationally. Sometimes, these discussions can become spirited, but there is no malice in them, and by doing so we find them to be enlightening and somewhat therapeutic. I feel fortunate to be among such men and relish our weekly discussions. To be able to talk on the level, where the challenge is to seek understanding, and where a person’s word is their bond, can be both informative and comforting.

I have mentioned our weekly discussion group to other people I know. Most are envious of such a venue where you can speak openly and frankly without fear of repercusions. Many have told me when they get together with friends, neighbors, or business associates, the discussion is rather shallow and meaningless, and nothing like what I described. This makes me believe we generally have a fear of openness, something that is not an issue with a pet, where we can be who we really want to be.

There is something to be said about looking a person in the eye and telling them precisely what you think without fear of retribution. You certainly cannot do this through social media. And I do not care how smart you think your cat or dog is, you cannot do it with them either.

Just remember, the fictional character Doctor Dolittle was considered an oddball eccentric, certainly not normal.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
COMMON COURTESY – A simple form of communications which reflects our character.


Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, (12:30-3:00pm).

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3 Responses to “TALKING TO THE ANIMALS”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A B.K. of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania wrote…

    “Another good one!”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A C.W. of Tampa, Florida wrote…

    “From the outset…I am GUILTY AS HELL! That said, my personal experience bears out the truth of this article. Rarely do I find truth and honesty accepted but rather, find political correctness and appeasement the socially accepted ‘norm’. On the rare occasion of real conversation, agree or disagree, I find myself enlightened and gratified. Those that know me, know and understand that I will and do speak in a forthright manner and consequently, find my self rarely engaged with same. A mixed blessing really. Now, if I could only subdue my passions, I suspect more people would be less ‘afraid’ to engage me…I continue to struggle with that defect…as usual, Mr. Bryce, a thought provoking write.”

    Like

  3. Tim Bryce said

    An O.B. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “You have hit on one of my pet peeves. My life puts me in contact with many people and my people skill are pretty fair (could always use a bit of improvement) and I find it hard to find someone as you describe who and both listen and critique you point of view with out fear of reprisal. Yet, I am fortunate in some way because of my involvement with model airplanes. I teach building to the kids and that gives me an opportunity to give them things to think about and it seems to work I find that after spending a few months with me in the shop I can see there thinking more advanced and the talking skills more tuned , I do however shy away from politics and religion when working with the kids. I try to tell them to seek answers in those fields by study what they can find on the subjects and to make logical decisions not on my words but on their own initiative.

    There was a time in the Masonic lodge that you could find such a group of men but today, I think it is harder there to find a good conversation then it is in the lay world. Somewhere we decided to let the west gate be a portal instead of a gate.

    I am fortunate in another way too, I do, like you have some friends that come by the shop and we can talk about anything and we value each others opinion even though we might not agree.

    I see the folks that talk to their pets a lonely people in search of some kind of love. Somewhere in their life they lost the ability to make friends, what a pity.”

    Like

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