One responds while another just reacts

Published 1:40 pm Monday, September 26, 2011

We often hear the world consists of two kinds of people, e.g., optimists and pessimists, introverts and extroverts, right brain and left brain. This can’t be so, because they can’t agree on which dichotomy. I suggest, however, at least most people fall on one side or the other of a line between types of reactions.

For instance, some readers will either consult a dictionary on the meaning of “dichotomy” or recognize its meaning from the context. Others will become upset that I used a word not in their working vocabulary and think I’m showing off my encyclopedic erudition.

I’m not showing off, but I am playing with you to make the point. I don’t claim everyone reacts in only one or the other manner, but that there seem to be two types of reactions even with many degrees within each. Some people respond to situations or circumstances and deal with them, while others react against them and expect someone else to do something about them. Moreover, there seems to be a tendency for most individuals to stay within their natural or chosen type, response or reaction.

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If one guy doesn’t understand what is being said, he asks questions and gets answers. When the other guy doesn’t understand, he complains the speaker is “talking over my head” and becomes stuck in his ignorance.

If one guy doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. If the other guy doesn’t like guns, he demands all guns be outlawed.

If one guy is a vegetarian, he eats vegetables rather than meat. If the other guy is a vegetarian, he demands all meat products be taken off the shelves.

If one guy is homosexual, he finds a way to adjust to this feeling. If the other guy is gay, he demands legislated respect and universal acceptance.

If one guy becomes impoverished, he thinks about how to recover. The other guy wonders who will take care of him now.

If one guy doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels. The other guy demands the person be kicked off the air.

If one guy disagrees with an opinion piece in the newspaper, he writes a well reasoned and politely expressed letter to the editor. The other guy who disagrees phones the writer anonymously and swears at him.

If one guy is an atheist, he doesn’t bother going to a church. The other atheist becomes upset if anyone mentions having gone to church.

If one guy needs health care, he seeks employment that provides it. The other guy demands those who are insured pay added taxes to provide his.

When one guy’s kid comes home with a bad report card, he visits the teacher to learn how he can help his kid with homework. The other guy phones the principal and demands the teacher be fired.

When one guy is advised by his physician to quit an unhealthy habit, he quits the unhealthy habit. The other guy, upon getting this advice, finds another doctor.

A lawyer tells one guy his planned actions are illegal, and he learns the law and complies. The other guy, however, finds a lawyer who will help him break the law and get away with it.

When a preacher teaches what the Bible says about living, one guy tries to live this way. When the other guy hears the same thing, he blames the Bible for being a book of myths.

One guy is fired for poor performance and learns where he failed so as to qualify for a yet better job. The other guy runs to the union steward and claims discrimination.

If one guy reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can think about it or, at least, have a healthy laugh. The other guy posts an anonymous insult on the paper’s web site accusing the writer of being a bigot, hateful, and other descriptions the paper may refuse to publish.