10 Replies Latest reply on May 6, 2017 6:26 PM by tmaurer

    What is an uncomfortable moment you had at Jive World?

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        • Re: What is an uncomfortable moment you had at Jive World?
          Dennis Pearce

          The obvious one that comes to mind is singing this morning, but the party is still ahead. 

          • Re: What is an uncomfortable moment you had at Jive World?
            emilyjoyuc

            Wednesday morning, we had the phenomenal experience of singing together with strangers (one of my favorite things). However, in the middle of that experience, the guys on the stage asked us to put our arms around each other, a notion that was quickly discarded. I found this somewhat odd, and my own reaction to it odd as well (my reaction being trepidation and mild panic). On Tuesday, we'd listened to a great keynote on the power of touch and the importance of emotion and feeling in human connection. Why was it so hard to translate that to strangers? An arm around a shoulder is a pretty harmless form of touch - it's a symbol of comradery, of teamwork, of support. Surely, we think of ourselves as a community that supports each other; we feel a sense of belonging to this disparate team furthering the mission of community. Yet, we wouldn't (or at least most of us wouldn't) put our arms around each other. Why not?

             

            Our culture is one of extreme resilience and individuality, but this may mask a great vulnerability. For a brief moment, perhaps we let that slide in order to sing a song together. But to let it slide enough to really connect with another person in a way that opened our actual personal space was a step too far. For me, this is a reminder of how far I have to go to let myself really feel the power of human connection. I'm willing to do that online, and I'm willing to do that in song. Maybe next year, I'll be ready to put a collegial arm around your shoulder.

              • Re: What is an uncomfortable moment you had at Jive World?
                Dennis Pearce

                Keeley said these topics could go deep so I'm going to go deep on this one. 

                 

                I'm no expert in semiotics (I spell my name "Pearce," not "Peirce"), but it seems like part of the problem with touch in its various forms is that what it means to the participants can vary so widely from culture to culture that it's very easy for a mismatch of meanings to to create uncomfortableness.  Think of what a kiss on the cheek means in France vs. the U.S., or even holding hands (remember George W. Bush holding hands with Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia?).  Even within a single culture there can be mismatches based on, say, the shyness of the participants or the context.  Even in sports examples like the basketball research one that Dacher Keltner presented, it seems to me there can be wide variations.  For instance, football and basketball seem to be full of players who slam into each other to celebrate success, but these are sports where players are constantly slamming into each other anyway.  You don't see nearly as much of this behavior in baseball, and it would be really crazy to see teammates in a golf match like the Ryder cup chest bumping in the air after one of them made a critical putt.

                 

                Another angle to this is that I think there might be a fallacy in thinking that if you take a somewhat rare and intimate behavior like hugging and extrapolate so that everyone is doing it, that we would still get the same emotional reaction we have now.  Rather than engendering a more widespread kum-ba-yah feeling, we might just end up stripping hugs of their meaning and turning them into a shallow greeting convention like handshakes or saying "How are you?" (when we don't really care).  I can think of two other areas where this has happened:

                 

                • Once cable TV and R-rated movies became so popular, swear words (even the "really bad" ones) have pretty much lost their punch.  A word is not shocking when everyone is saying it.
                • Putting "God" on money and in the Pledge of Allegiance stripped phrases such as "In God We Trust" and "One Nation Under God" of any religious significance they might have originally once had and just turned them into rote, traditional, bland, meaningless statements.

                 

                So I would not be surprised at all that if we somehow did manage to get people hugging each other more, it would become so commonplace that it would just be going through the motions as a standard greeting and have all the emotion of a professional handshake.

                 

              • Re: What is an uncomfortable moment you had at Jive World?
                Ted Hopton

                When a panelist in the L&D session directed everyone to hand their cell phone to the person behind them, unlocked, and instructed everyone to take a selfie with the other person's phone, and even suggested posting it to social media.

                 

                I get the point she was trying to make, even that it was a very effective way of making her point, but it crossed the line and was not an appropriate way to handle her position of authority as a presenter. She treated the audience like sheep, or children, which I personally resented (and did not comply with).