Just recently, we went sailing on the Specific Ocean: on this journey, ‘tis nobler noted:
Sailing the specific ocean can be disastrous. If something or someone dominates your reasoning by being ‘spectacularly available’, there is every chance that dominance will create distortions…….More spectacular does mean more available and more available pervades and distorts your thinking in many ways. This is one explanation for the ways in which important public debates can be hijacked by ‘spectacular’ irrelevancies…….It’s little wonder, then, that the only valid way to navigate this messy ‘world’ is to find your own way. Finding your own way is not spectacular but it is always available to you.
You might think it’s best to get as far away from the Specific Ocean but trekking what ‘tis nobler calls the Plains of Vague also has many pitfalls. These pitfalls can be summarised as follows:
Appealingly vague statements aren’t vaguely appealing – they are very appealing!
And this particularly applies when the statements are about you; welcome to the world of subjective validation in which positive and general are perceived as specifically personal and generally correct. Unlike the Specific Ocean, where you can’t seem to avoid the most available, single ‘reef’ on which to founder, the Plains of Vague envelop you in a blanket of generalities from which there is no escape – not that you ever try to escape -, just the security and warmth of identification. This blanket is so comforting, so reassuring and so, so true!
The Plains of Vague convince you for its general features can be massaged into any shape that fits you. Ultimately, though, generalities convey little information for they rely more on affect than effect for their power – of course, that’s me to a T, all the good things that you’re saying about me really ring true. But information is defined as that which reduces uncertainty and generalities can’t reduce uncertainty; they’re like saying “Thank you for everything, thank you for nothing” in the same sentence, sweeping statements that sweep away little if any uncertainty:
Most of the time, you wander around in the vast region between the Specific Ocean and the Plains of Vague, trying to understand the more than specific and less than general information that confronts you.
Availability of specific information is no guarantee of accuracy or utility. The accuracy and utility of general information, information in which everyone can find a ‘home’ if they go looking, is equally suspect. How much of your experiential learning and behavioural change journey is spent at the ‘Poles’ – the Specific Ocean and the Plains of Vague?
As you must find your own way, you are the only valid subject of your learning journey. Don’t waste your time by subjectively validating the vague! This is NOT generally correct.