31 January 2007

Feeling inferior? It could be just the language!

I was browsing through a scientist’s life story, when I ran across this interesting statement:

In addition, while there I published (or had in press) about 20 books, monographs, and book chapters (many related to religion, which inferiorated my colleagues).
The guy was (at the time) a Jehovah’s Witness, so I thought “No, hang on, he means ‘infuriated’ ” — but did he? Really?

Coming on at people with a superior I-know-it-all attitude will indeed make them feel inferior, so, yes, they could become “inferiorated.”

I know that — no matter how careful I am — I’ll inadvertantly inferiorate people when I get “on a roll” explaining something I know a lot about, such as computers. So their negative reaction isn’t to the information they’re recieving, it’s to their feelings of inferiority, partly due to my carelessness.

Looking back now, I wish I’d read this years ago. So many conversations would have gone more smoothly, & the information would actually have got across, rather than being buried in rampant inferiority.

That’s in theory; I’m presuming that I’m clever enough to use this in real life — on the fly — which definitely isn’t guaranteed. (-:

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