We've got entirely too many troubIemakers here. Too many 40-year-old adolescents, feIons, power drinkers and trustees of modern chemistry.I would like to say welcome to the 21st century, but the movie was made in the 20th century, and unfortunately it is reflective of human nature throughout history and that of the foreseeable future.
It's going to change.Where this came up was when I was telling my friend that I was watching the football (Australian Rules) when one player deliberately got under the skin of an opposition player who then lost control and punched him. This gave away a free kick resulting in a goal and the offending player lost composure. This is precisely what the niggling player intended.
Man, that sure sounds good.
But a lot of the guys who come in here, we can't handle one-on-one. Even two-on-one.
Don't worry about it. All you have to do is follow three simple rules.
One: never underestimate your opponent. Expect the unexpected.
Two: take it outside. Never start anything inside the bar unless it's absoluteIy necessary.
And three: be nice.
If somebody gets in your face and calls you a cocksucker, I want you to be nice. OK. Ask him to waIk, be nice. If he won't walk, walk him. But be nice. If you can't walk him, one of the others will heIp you. And you'll both be nice. I want you to remember that it's a job. It's nothing personaI.
Uh-huh. Being called a cocksucker isn't personal?
No. It's two nouns combined to elicit a prescribed response.
What if somebody calls my mama a whore?
I want you to be nice ... until it's time to not be nice.
I didn't understand how professional athletes could lose control when all the other player was doing was mouthing off, aka sledging. I was actually watching the game with another friend, and I said the same thing, to which he replied, 'But you're different to most people.'
Maybe he's right. But this is a lesson that should be numero uno in any activity associated with violence. Martial arts, self defence, security, law enforcement, military - all should be taught not to take other people's words or actions personally. They are just words or actions to elicit a prescribed response. They may be words or actions that are designed to hurt, but they can only hurt if you give them meaning and let them hurt. 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me' - sound advice we give to children through nursery rhymes but which seems to be lost as we grow up. Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me should be a priority in the martial arts, self defence, security, law enforcement, and military training.
These words or actions only become personal when we ascribe meaning to those words or actions and make it personal. Until then, they are just words or actions. An extended middle finger is only an extended middle finger until we ascribe a 'f**k you' meaning to the gesture. Until then, it's just an extended middle finger.
Another football game a couple of years ago. One player tackled another, and as they wrestled on the ground, the tackled player said to the tackling player that he'd f**ked the person who the tackling player had tattooed on his arm. That player went ballistic and had to be forcibly restrained. The tattoo was of his young daughter. So what! They are just words. Words that you know are intended to cause you to lose control. Words that only have meaning if you give them meaning. Until then they are just blah, blah, blah.
Why take these things personally? Only you can make it personal. Until you do, they are just words.
My friend from last night suggested that responding to these words is human nature. If that is true, evolution did us no favours there. Someone calls you whatever, you take it personally, words are exchanged, a fight ensues, pain, injury, death, court cases, victim impact statements saying how they now have a life sentence - they only called you a name. They were just words. Rather than assisting you to survive and reproduce, this 'trait' would appear to be maladaptive. 'It's going to change' - like many self-improvement methodologies, we have to find ways to counter human nature, counter our natural instincts to be idiots. 'Man, that sounds good.'
Provocation is often offered as a defence for why someone assaulted another. They were provoked into assaulting another person because ... they couldn't control your own emotions via the appraisal of the stimuli. The appraisal process elicits the emotion which elicits the behaviour. The defence of provocation is appealing to the lowest denominator of human behaviour. It is encouraging us not to control our emotions via the development of our appraisal process.
On the issue of the provocation defence, raise it at your peril. 'I was provoked'; so was the man that abused his partner, so was the parent that abused their child. We may not agree with the provocation, but it was provoking for those individuals, as it was for those that rely on the provocation defence in more socially acceptable situations.
We have to stand up for ourselves or others we care about. We can't let someone insult us or others we care about. We have pride. They are just words and actions that have no meaning until we give them meaning. If we appraise these words and actions as being benign, they are nothing. There is nothing attacking us or others we care about which we have to defend because we didn't appraise the words or actions as such. There is nothing insulting us or others we care about because we didn't appraise the words or actions as such. Our pride has not been threatened because we didn't appraise the words or actions as such. No feeling nor associated behavioural response was elicited because we appraised these words or actions as benign.
Rule number three - be nice. It's not about pretending to be nice. It's about actually being nice. It's not about teaching how not to respond to provocation. It's about teaching not being provoked; actually not taking things personally. It's about changing mindsets, the appraisal process. It's about changing perception so that provocations are not provocations because they are not made personal by the recipient.
I would like to go into a law enforcement recruit training lecture and say to an indigenous trainee, 'What the fuck do you black c**t think you're doing in this class. It's only for humans not you apes.' Or to a female trainee, 'Piss off b***c. This is men's work and you're too f**king useless to be of any use at all.' This is the sort of abuse they will cop throughout their career. If they let it get to them, it will compromise their effectiveness. I would explain that it's not about putting up with it. It's not about resisting the temptation to retaliate. It is about developing a mindset whereby these words don't elict any temptation to retaliate whatsoever. It is a discipline, but once internalised it no longer means you are an amoeba that simply responds to a stimuli.
Then and only then will you really know when it's time to not be nice.
In the words of Sean Connery from The Untouchables, here endeth the lesson.