Cannibalism

Apparently, cannibalism is now a thing.(For avoidance of doubt: It should be "Kids' halal menu".)

Posted by Laremy Lee on Sunday, 24 May 2015

Selling it for what people want it to be

I first fell in love with Cassandra back in 2006.

Then an intern with Pioneer magazine, I had been sent to report on the results of the previous year’s Chief of Defence Force Essay Competition.

It was pretty standard military fare, with ideas centred on whatever was the rage of that post-9/11 and Iraq II age. The first-placed essay, for example, was a paper on terrorism, while the bronze-medallist wrote about peacekeeping operations.

Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan (1898)
Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan (1898)

What caught my eye was the runner-up’s paper – “The Laments of Cassandra: Reflections on Warning Intelligence in the Information Eden”.

As an English Literature undergraduate with a keen interest in military affairs, I was impressed. Officers of that era were not particularly known for their knowledge of culture, especially when compared to their predecessors from colonial times.

The irony of the metatextual context amused me further; a paper on the pitfalls of ignoring prophecies coming in second, almost as though its prescience were itself being disregarded.

Mostly, I was intrigued by the Greek myth of Cassandra. How tragic, the Romantic in me thought. To be blessed with the gift of soothsaying, but to be cursed by never having anyone believe your predictions.

Nine years on, the story of Cassandra still fascinates me. I’ve started to wonder, though, if we should uncritically accept Cassandra’s fate for what it seems to be.

It began a couple of months back, when a contact expressed a view about the nature of communication and recipient receptivity.

In his words, if the recipient has already rejected what it is you have to offer, then:

If you keep selling it for what it is, of course people are going to say “No”.

So in the modern day, where we understand so much more about human psychology, design thinking and the nature of communication, can Cassandra complain if no one believes her, especially when she persists in peddling her prophecies in the same way?

It seems to me that Cassandra has two options:

  1. Carry on with tradition, and hope her recipients see the light one day; or
  2. Reframe what she is saying – instead of selling it for what it is, sell it for what people want it to be.

Perhaps more people will finally start listening to her then.

Quality time, in depth

(PHOTO CREDIT: LAREMY LEE)
(PHOTO CREDIT: LAREMY LEE)

I thought I’d talk a bit more on the nature of quality time. (A primer here, if you’re not familiar with the concept.)

My take: When it comes to romance, neither of you is expected to give up your life for the other.

Your individual careers and hobbies are important too; you need to be whole yourself before you become part of a whole.

But the conventional wisdom is: if you really like someone, you’ll make the effort and give them time – in a reasonable quantity, but with maximum quality.

So you should be spending enough time together, and having a great experience while you’re at it.

At the end of the day, though, you can’t base relationships solely on what happens when you’re together. Because they’re also about what happens when you’re apart.

You still have to keep in touch – although this is subjective.

What is reasonable for some may be anathema for others; X may want an update every hour, on the hour, while Y may be comfortable with a daily summary.

This is where compromise begins, but if it ends there, then it is what it is.

And – as always – if it’s not happening, it probably ain’t gonna happen.