Ming the Mechanic:
Generalities and Specifics

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Generalities and Specifics2001-09-08 16:50
15 comments
by Flemming Funch

One way of being deceptive is to provide an inappropriate mix of generalities and specifics. E.g. to give vague generalities when specific information is called for, leaving the audience thinking their questions have been answered when they really haven't; or to give loads of confusing specifics when a big picture summary was what was needed, possibly leaving the audience completely ignorant that there is a bigger picture.

A politician is typically an expert in the first kind of deception, answering in generalities and avoiding really saying anything. The news media and most educational institutions are very skilled in the second deception. They work very hard at telling you a lot of things, "keeping you informed", "teaching you", but are likely to omit the most central and important facts that would tie it all together.

Sometimes one needs the specific facts and details, sometimes one needs an abstraction. These things have different purposes. To learn the general principles of something one needs those principles in an abstract form. But to report on a specific situation, or to act on a specific situation, we need the exact details of that situation. You might apply some abstract principles to the situation, but you need to know what the situation is in order to do so.

Lots of people have it reversed. They will act on generalities they think are happening to them. "They're out to get me", "She always ..so-and-so ..", "You can't trust ..". And their specific action comes from the specific feelings and impulses they have at the moment, rather than from any consistent principle.

Everything happens specifically.

Nothing ever happens "generally".


So, if somebody is talking about something that happened, only in vague, general terms, be alert!

Maybe they don't remember the details, or maybe they're summarizing what they've learned from the experience. But, maybe they're misleading you.

An event has lots of specifics to it. Time, place, who is there, what is there, what is going on, how is it happening, what are the characteristics and unexpected details of all of it. A car is not just "a car". Those are only abstract words, however handy they are. It has a certain color, it is of a certain brand, model, year. It has a license plate, it might be dirty or clean, it might have stickers, it might have scratches, it might have things that are broken about it. If it was somebody else's car and I only saw it a second, I might not have perceived much more than that it was a red sporty-looking car. But it it were my car, I would probably be able to talk to you for the next half hour, giving you hundreds of specific details about it.

We're talking about specifics about things you can perceive, with your senses. What you can see and hear and smell and touch. But along with that one is likely to have a lot of specific thoughts and feelings and intuitions and ideas, etc.

In my work as a personal counselor, doing regressions and that kind of thing with people, I have learned some things about the difference between a real event and an imagined event, or the difference between a real place and an imagined place. This applies to past life regression, astral traveling and remote viewing, but also to simply listening to what people say.

A real situation or real environment has a practically inexhaustible amount of detail, and it can surprise you when you look closer at it. The more you examine things, the more you are likely to learn that you didn't expect.

OK, many people are kind of deficient in their ability to observe what is right in front of them, and find reality a bit boring compared with their delusions. But, with a bit of help, anybody can do it.

I.e. you can pick up a stone along the road, and if you really take the time to examine it, you'll find that there are endless nuances and patterns and textures, and all sorts of things you can get out of that stone. Because it is real you can keep examining it and finding more and more interesting things about it.

But something that is made up doesn't quite follow the same rules. If you had asked me for a stone and I was just thinking about "a stone" in my mind, without having any particular stone in mind, I'd have a much harder time giving you specifics about it. I might start making up facts as we go along, and give it a color and some little spots and stuff. But I'd probably quickly run out of details, or I'll start forgetting what I told you earlier.

Well, somebody who's really good at imagining can indeed make something real as we go along. Like, a writer or story teller might do that very successfully. But that is a very different situation from somebody who is trying to perpetuate a particular lie and cover up the fact that they didn't really experience what they said they did.

Real stuff has quirky unexpected details to them. Real stories have unexpected and surprising turns of events in them. That goes for both good fiction and for actual experiences. A good fiction writer or a good actor knows how to manufacture the elements of reality. But a bad fiction writer or a mediocre liar usually doesn't, and can only fool people because they aren't paying attention.

As to the unexpected details ... if a client in a regression session is trying to recover some forgotten memory, like early childhood or a past life scenario, a person new at it will often be very worried about "making it up" instead of really remembering it. But there's a distinctly different flavor to the two. If he's "making it up" it will all be exactly as he expects it to be. If he's really experiencing it, it is a discovery process. He will turn a corner and be surprised that the dog house was in a different position than he thought it was, and he'll be surprised to notice how warm it is, and how big everything looks, etc.

Notice, however, that even if somebody is really remembering something, with perceptions and surprises and the whole thing, it is no guarantee that it factually, demonstrably happened. It is a sign that it is real to the person, and that's a good start, but it doesn't mean it is fact. There are probably lots of innocent fathers who shouldn't have been accused of molesting their little daugthers, but who are the victims of hypnotic regression being taken as fact.

Anyway, what I'm circling around to is the application for determining the verity of what somebody is talking about. If it is really a truth they're experiencing, they'll have lots of details readily available, and they'll be able to come up with more on the spot. They'll be able to talk about all sorts of extra, irrelevant details that they've also learned.

Somebody who can only give a rehearsed statement about something, even if it is detailed, is of course hiding something. As is somebody who can't answer questions about the subject at hand. One can always say more, one can always go a little deeper, if one is talking about reality. There is no such thing as "I already told you everything" if we're talking about a piece of reality the person ought to have intimate involvement with.



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