Lying and South America
Is it emotionally intelligent to
Lets say you are invited to someones house
and they ask you if you miss your mother. You are in a
culture like South America where what they call the
family is second only in importance to soccer and
professing to be what they call a Catholic.
The person who asks you the question is a mother. She is
the mother of someone you want to spend more time with.
Lets say this person you want to spend more time
with is the only person in the entire continent who
really listens to you. Lets say it is also a person
you care about and want to help but who needs her
mother's permission and approval to spend time witn you.
Now lets say the truth is that you dont miss
your mother because your mother never accepted you,
constantly lectured you, invalidated you and basically
disapproved of everything about you.
Would it be emotionally intelligent to lie and say
Yes, of course I miss my mother. How could I be so
far from home and not miss my mother?!
Mayer, Salovey and Caruso seem to
think they know what emotional intelligence is. So do Dan Goleman and Reuven BarOn.
I would ask them how they would answer this question but
I am pretty sure I wouldnt get a reply from any of
Their models of EI dont help me much when it comes
to situations like this. In fact it just frustrates me to
think about how to apply any of their models to a
situation like this. And I feel resentful when I think of
them judging me and saying that something I do is not
emotionally intelligent according to their standards. Is
it emotionally intelligent to punch a mattress when I
feel frustrated for example, or to shout and swear? I
doubt any of them do those things, so I suspect if I did
they would judge me as having low EI.
In the situation with the mother's
question, I suspect they would all suggest that I just
keep my feelings and thoughts to myself, without actually
lying by saying something vague. I tried to think of an
example but I couldn't think of anything that wouldn't be
lying. I cant even say Well, yes I miss her
sometimes because I cant remember a time when
I have really missed her in many years. I miss a lot of
people, but she isnt one of them.
Now in South America if I were to say something like this
it would be similar to me saying that I dont think
Mary, allegedly the mother of the Catholic hero figure
Jesus, was a virgin.
So am I supposed to just keep my mouth shut? Or not put
myself in situations where I will be asked questions like
that? Or am I supposed to leave the country? It seems
like everyone thinks they know what I should do and what
is emotionally intelligent. But no one has
ever been in my situation. They dont know how I
feel, what I need, or what I believe.
And I dont think any of the so called experts know
whether I am really emotionally intelligent or not. They
would like to give me one of their tests and then say
Ah, here it shows such and such so your emotional
intelligence level is so and so. Then they would
feel satisfied that they have done something useful and
they would feel secure because it wouldnt just be
their opinion, it would be a scientific test.
But I wouldnt feel satisfied.
and I wouldnt call it science.
June 20, 2006
There is more to this story and
more writing in my journal entry for today which I may