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Personal Transparency


Euphemism is a way to prevent you from making mental pictures of what is going on. A mild or indirect word or expression is substituted for one considered too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing. While deployed overseas in high-risk areas, I would receive briefings that liberally used euphemisms. "On your way to the end objective, multiple Tangos along the mission route must be fully neutralized and their assets rendered useless." Everyone in the briefing room knew what the team lead met, so why didn't he say it?


I have found a similar use of word-dancing in everyday life, with most of us not saying what we think. As a genealogist, I uncover many truths one never expected to see in the light of day. However, once significant evidence is revealed, you owe it to your client to be very open and straightforward. Euphemisms are not required. Holding back on what you must tell the client and softening the blow is manipulation. You are trying to control how they feel and react. That's not your job; save that for someone else couch. Clear uncontrolled conversation should also be proper for everyday conversations. Remember, their reactions to your words belong to them, not you.


The other issue I see today is reification. Reification is where an individual thinks or treats something abstract as a physical object. Or worse yet, when a physical object becomes abstract. It is the transformation of human beings into things that no longer behave as humans. Politicians have become adept at treating voters as commodities and getting them to react according to the new laws of the thing world. In any situation, our thoughts have become What should I think, not What do I think? The reification of the mind is complete when the person before you become an abstract thought that must be neutralized. Remember that manipulation is more treacherous than evil, for evil takes a break to reflect on its work, whereas manipulation can never take a break. I really miss entertainers like Uncle Frank and George Carlson.

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