Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Subtext of Life

Words.  Phrase.  Articulation. 

When words are put together, they form a sentence. 

The cat ran.

This is such a simple sentence. However, this simple sentence isn't so simple when you say it.  Inevitably, someone reads subtext into a simple sentence.  This can often vary by the person that states the phrase and the person that is listening to it. Let me give you a few examples

I say, "The cat ran."  Someone might immediately think on of the following scenarios:

  • The cat ran in the grass.
  • The cat ran in the house.
  • The cat ran from the dog
  • The cat ran during thunder.
  • The cat ran using all four paws.
  • The cat ran away from home.
When you hear the phrase, "The cat ran," you may already predisposed to think where the cat ran to or why the cat ran or even how the cat ran.  However,  I was just making a simple statement that the cat ran.  There was no sub-text into where, why or how of this statement.  However, people often jump to conclusions and imagine there is more to the sentence than there is based on past experiences.

If this simple phrase can have subtext, imagine other sentences in life.  Some people throw subtext into every day conversation with their body language.  They say one thing, but really are intending to say something else.   For me - about 9 out of 10 times, what I say is what I mean.  If I ask for someone to do something, there's no subtext to follow.  It's just a simple request.  But because so many people are used to others using subtext, they make assumptions based on my statements.  When in reality, I simply just wanted you to take the trash out - or remove a post - or whatever it was that I asked you to do.  It's as simple as that. 

Speaking of subtext - some people are going to read this and ASSUME I am talking about someone in particular - and again - you'd be incorrect.  It's not about anyone.  I was just thinking on the way home that sometimes simple sentences can be so misconstrued with subtext that the meaning gets lost in translation.

So from now on - whenever you read something - or hear something, listen.  Not just hear, but listen.  Sometimes the 5 words that comes out of the person's mouth is really just the 5 words - and not a 20 paragraph dissertation.  :)

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