[sclug] OT: Social question

Tom Carbert-Allen tom at randominter.net
Sun May 31 11:54:42 UTC 2009

Personally I joined my local theatre group to compliment by other 
entirely un-emotional interests, as my elder brothers all seemed to get 
so much (girlfriends) from the arts I thought it could work for me. At 
school I avoided other people and was glued to a computer screen in 
every break every year I was there so socialising wasn't my speciality. 
At first it was very difficult because it was obvious I wasn't 
comfortable there, and although many years of enjoying Monty Python had 
given me a good sense of humour to use in the improvisation exercises 
etc, I was shocked at how hard I found it to talk to the people in the 
breaks because they didn't view things in the analytical way a scientist 
does. I also had what the other people in the group thought was an 
"un-healthy" interest in learning about the electronic equipment they 
had in the venue when I should have been chasing the girls. I decided to 
arrive before the group to learn about the equipment and forced myself 
to be less rigid and talk to all of them in the breaks (even the ones I 
viewed as idiots at the time) and this very quickly changed my entire 
personality, I no longer avoided non-academic conversation and could 
talk to anyone from any walk of life (now they can't shut me up) This 
ultimately lead to a string of girlfriends over the years I attended and 
an emotional understanding which now seems more important to me than any 
of my academic skills, even at work when I find dealing with peoples 
ego's a harder job than deciding which is the best technical solution to 
propose. This lead to me getting married 3 years ago and I couldn't be 
happier (although I do still sometimes oddly think about how I could 
have made much more scientific achievement if I was alone in a lab every 

Emotional intelligence should be a mandatory component for everyone 
studying scientific disciplines I think. We seem to let some of our 
highest achievers leave university without all the skills they need to 
have a full life (eg, non-scientific hobbies, emotional awareness, small 
talk skills). This is a real shame for them because they are missing out 
on a valuable part of the human experience and it's a shame for all of 
us because the general population get a negative impression of the whole 
scientific community and label us as geeks in a bad way.

I know this is controversial, but in some ways, there is a positive 
reason the cool kids pick on the geek at school. Not because he is good 
at science, but because he isn't good with his emotions and ultimately 
this is something he too will regret later in life if not corrected.


alan c wrote:
> ed wrote:
> Odd yes, but there is a profound edge which resonates for me.
> I suspect it is a factor related to technical or scientific work and
> training which generally seeks to encourage thinking  processes to the
> detriment of feeling (emotional) processes. And it is likely to be
> more relevant in the areas of most intense logical thought and work,
> which I guess might include IT.
> In the 70's as a thirty something, successful professional with a
> couple of degrees and a diploma to my credit, I found that my
> relationships (marriage) and emotional life were in trouble. Sorting
> it out was painful, although ultimately it was clear to me that I had
> ignored, or maybe never been aware of - simply put - feelings. Apart
> from missing out on a lot of real life, it had been too easy to make
> some wrong decisions.
> I benefited from some various courses and  counselling, some in
> fringe-like activities and found my feet in what seemed to be the real
> world.
> One consequence was that I began to find I had much more in common
> with more people than before because what I might describe as the
> emotional dimension was widely shared by others. Thinking or
> intellectual side of things was no problem for me, it was the the
> emotional existence with all its unpredictable technicolour richness
> that was a surprise.
> I believe Descartes got it wrong. It is not I think therefore I am. It
> is I feel therefore I am. Maybe that is what he meant but it got lost
> in translation?
> I later met someone new, in fact a social worker, and I am glad to say
> the relationship is rewarding and endures.
> hth

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