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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Obsessive Compulsive Interruption Disorder: OCID

We are losing our ability to listen, therefore, we are losing our ability to understand.

I speak with people for a living. I'm not a telemarketer, I'm a publisher, and between the authors, the radio show hosts, upcoming guests, readers, customers, bookstores, distributors, printers, and personal friends and family ... there are days when I spend a total of 8 hours on the phone. What I am about to tell you comes from my direct experience in communicating with people in-depth, on a wide range of topics, over the period of many years.

I have observed a behavior in humanity that is rapidly on the rise around the world, and I call it: Obsessive Compulsive Interruption Disorder. (OCID) And this behavior will be the last straw in the decay of modern society.

(In writing this, I am in no way being sarcastic, this is deadly serious.)

When I first began to notice this behavior, I thought it was just me, as I admit that being interrupted happens to be a 'pet peeve' of mine. But as I began to notice the frequency at which this was occurring, I began to see this was much more than just something I find annoying ... it was actually rendering conversation void and destroying the very the point of communication: to transfer understanding. Because without OUR ability to listen, even the greatest of teachers are just wasting their breath, and the more talking we do, the less understanding is actually transfered.

Ever have someone ask you a question that requires a full paragraph of information for you to accurately explain, and before you can even finish your first sentence, they ask you two more questions? This is OCID.

Ever spoken with someone who constantly asks you to repeat what you just said, and as you begin repeating it for them, they respond before you can even finish repeating it. This is OCID.

Ever seen two people yelling at each other on TV? Both talking at the exact same time, talking over one another, and since neither will let the other talk ... you can't understand a single word either of them are saying? This is OCID.

I'd like to point out that I'm not referring to situations when two people are excited about a topic and during the course of conversation happen to talk over one another, or interrupt from time to time. I'm talking about a behavior that occurs obsessively, 9 out of 10 times ... with 9 out of 10 people, on a daily basis.

Those with OCID do not suffer from it, those around them do. I have close friends and family with this disease. I was even married to the Queen of OCID. (I think she actually holds the patent on it) But imagine for a moment how maddening it would be if someone were to punch you in the nose mid sentence? And when you say, "Hey, please don't punch me in the nose while I'm t-------" BAM, they did it again. This is how I feel around those with OCID, only it's much worse, because they are punching me in the mind, rather than in the nose. But let's side step the annoyance of it all and focus on the long term effects that OCID will have on humanity.

Remember that story about The Tower of Babel ... how God got pissed off at man's attempt to reach heaven via his own devices, and to thwart his efforts, confounded all human language and made it impossible for humans to {co}operate? Well, I think OCID is another step in the direction of human beings becoming completely unable to communicate with one another, even in the same language.

And I don't think this condition came from God. I think it's a behavior we've been taught by 30 second commercial spots that have dwindled our attention spans down to the degree where we can't even allow someone to finish their sentence, because, really ... most people just don't care to understand, they're merely waiting for their chance to say something next. This is OCID.

This is the making of perfect slaves.  

Once the audience has lost the ability to listen, it matters not what any speaker has to say. And this will be the long term effect of OCID on human beings.
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