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Re: [philosophy-173] The Art of Human Relations

From: user 4.
Sent on: Friday, August 29, 2008 12:18 PM
Being in management I found the ten simple rules to be right on when dealing with interpersonal issues in the workplace!  I actually use a few of the techniques mentioned in the ten simple rules to solve the issues that arise at work on occasion. These rules can become quite valuable when experience presents itself to be a deficit in highly charged emotional conflicts that pop up.  I do take issue though with the 'leap' backward from the 'ten simple rules for keeping out' to the 'ten commandments of human relations'!  Aren't we (especially as philosophers) a bit more modern than this? Am I to assume that these new 'ten commandments of human relations' were divinely inspired and handed down via electronic mail? I really doubt Professor Wallace and his colleagues were sitting around thinking, "what would Moses do?"  I mean rule #5 of the ten simple rules does state "no moral judgements" correct?  Don't the ten commandments represent a moral clause for man, excuse me, His people of Israel?  The business of having false gods, observing the Sabbath day, adultery, stealing, killing, aren't these moral,religious and personal issues which the professor and his colleagues urge to stay away from?  I also think using the 'ten commandments of human relations' instead of 'ten simple rules' in the workplace maybe a no-no in today's litigious society. Not of course suggesting that the ten simple rules are only for use in the workplace, but come on now, haven't we become more complex enough as beings and in our everyday dealings in modern times? And neither am I suggesting that being a complex being is bad, however should not our leap forward (post Freud) in logical, analytic thinking allow the ten simple rules to stand alone?  Thus I see no need to adulterate the ten simple rules. The rules ar e the 'ten simple rules', not the  'ten complex moral and relig ious clauses' and they are about simplifying all human relationships, can we keep it that way. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Terri Markle <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wed, 20 Aug[masked]:51 pm
Subject: [philosophy-173] The Art of Human Relations

Hi everyone:

The following is quoted from Words, Meanings, and People, ISBN[masked], written by Dr. Sanford I. Berman, and published through the International Society for General Semantics:

Chapter 24, The Art Of Human Relations

Professor Wallace Brett Donham of Harvard, and associates from other universities, present 10 simple rules for keeping out, or getting out, of trouble.

  1. Learn all about a problem before trying to solve it.  Listen a lot. Talk a little.  Although we cannot know "all" about anything, too many of us presume to have more knowledge than we have.  In solving problems we must get as much factual data as we possibly can.  And after getting as much evidence as we can, go ahead and make the decision.  Don't procrastinate.  No decision at all is often worse than a bad one.  Especially if this gets to be a habitual pattern.
  2. See the total situation  Don't act on just part of it.  Here, too, we must try to see the situation as a whole.  It is so easy to abstract or select a small part for our own convenience and leave out the most essential part of the situation.  This means that we must be as objective as we can and realize the subjectivity of human perception.
  3. Don't be deceived by logic.  Most problems are full of emotion.  You cannot leave out the human being from the situations, and people are full of emotions.  Most problems, even those that seemingly are devoid of emotionality, are full of emotional feeling.  Recognize your own emotions and try to be more objective while asking other people to do the same.
  4. Watch for the ambiguity of language and the many meanings of words.  Look behind words to get their full impact.  Realize that other people have had different experiences than you and, therefore, give different meanings to words.  Meanings are not in the words -- They are in people.  And you must ask others what they mean before criticizing or disagreeing with them.
  5. No moral judgments, please.  Until you have diagnosed a problem, don't leap to conclusions about what's right and what's wrong.  Too many of us jump to conclusions too quickly.  We are too ready with our own moral judgements without trying to understand the situation from other points of view.  To the degree we moralize, to that degree do we fail to analyze.
  6. Imagine yourself in the other person's shoes.  See how the problem looks from where he or she sits.  One of the most important words in management, in teaching, in being a parent, in life generally, is the word "empathy."  We must learn to listen with empathy.  We must keep an open mind and a open heart in dealing with people, in trying to understand them and their problems from their point of view.  Too many of us are self-centered and egotistical, unable to feel the emotions of others as they feel them.  We could if we tried, and this is empathy.
  7. When a problem gets you down, get away from it.  Put it in the back of your mind for a week.  When you approach it again, the solution may be obvious.  Sometimes we are so close to the forest we fail to see the trees.  Get away for a while and rejuvenate your energies.  Stop thinking hard for a solution, relax your conscious mind, and let your subconscious mind take over.  You will be surprised at how a solution will "pop out."  This is inspiration and creative imagination at work.
  8. Ask yourself, "What are the forces acting on the other fellow?  Why does he behave as he does?"  Few of us really try to analyze why other people behave as they do.  We are quick to criticize, to moralize, to pass judgment, but slow to understand or empathize.  I have a statement that I tell my students, "Never criticize others until you know why they are doing what they are doing from their point of view!"  Too many of us think that our world of reality, our perception of the world, is the only one, the right one.  Such an attitude can only lead to conflict.  We must realize that other people's point of view, while different from our own, can be equally valid and correct.  Ours or theirs is not necessarily better but just different. And difference is a characteristic of various human perceptions.
  9. Diagnosis must come before action.  Use the doctor's approach.  Don't prescribe until you're sure what is wrong.  Be as scientific outside of the laboratory as the scientist is inside the laboratory.  This means pausing and delaying your reactions, keeping an open mind, not projecting your feelings into the situation.  And using your eyes and ears more than your mouth.  No one has ever learned anything while talking.
  10. Easy does it.  Quick solutions are often the quick route to trouble.  Take your time, Count to 10 before talking or reacting.

From the above, we have created the following "Ten Commandments of Human Relations":

1.  Without procrastination, Thou shalt listen before acting.
2.  Thou shalt be objective and view the situation as a whole.
3.  Objectively honor Thy logic and Thy emotion.
4.  Rememberest Thou that meanings are not the words.
5.  Thou shalt not morally judge others.
6.  Thou shalt listen with empathy.
7.  Thou shalt not obsess or perseverate on a problem, take a break.
8.  Thou shalt not criticize others until Thou knowest why
    they are doing what they are doing from their perspective.
9.  Thou shalt employ the scientific method always.
10.  Rememberest Thou that easy does it.

Greg and I would like to propose that members of Plato's Cave read the book quoted above and discuss it at an upcoming meeting.

Best Regards,
Greg Pettengill and Terri Markle

Cote' Art & Engineering, Inc.

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