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Finding light in others

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The put down has a high profile in our culture.

One of the favourite topics around the coffee pot and the beer jug is running down other people while TV sit-coms are built around it. We chuckle when people use their wit like a rapier to impale an absent “friend.” We even talk about our spouses, parents and children in less than glowing terms.

Running down others is a popular sport played by both sexes, although men like to think women are better. We relish the thrust of the well-honed insult, the riposte of the polished slur and the flick of the slashing innuendo.

Even if we have vowed otherwise, whenever we’re in a group where someone absent is being verbally attached, we’re drawn into the action; we can’t seem to help ourselves. Even if we’re conscious enough to realize what we’re doing, we don’t always disengage even though we know we’re de-humanizing them and demeaning ourselves.

But the group attack is less harmful than the one delivered in person, eyeball to eyeball. If the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can start a hurricane in Florida, imagine how a cutting or thoughtless remark can ripple through someone’s day. It’s not hard to envision how even a little or ridicule or a little anger can adversely affect someone giving a presentation or writing an exam.

But, paradoxically, in spite of our........

© Castanet