Intelligence, of a different kind

Author, Stephen King had tweeted that he had finished another episode of the Apple TV series, “Invasion” that had a ‘Lord of the Flies’ vibe to it. That was enough of a recommendation for me to begin watching this 2021 series myself.

IMDb describes Invasion by co-creators, Simon Kinberg and David Weil, as a Sci Fi drama this way: “Earth is visited by an alien species that threatens humanity’s existence. Events unfold real time through the eyes of five ordinary people across the globe as they struggle to make sense of the chaos unraveling around them.”

Sound familiar?

The first season of the series concluded last week. The series, Invasion is much more than just another Sci Fi drama about an alien invasion. It is a study of human relationships we are experiencing in our current chaotic world. Insert the word “coronavirus,” “MAGA,” “socialism,” or whatever has you staying awake at night, and you may already believe there is an invasion of alien lifeforms.

“The test of a first-rate intelligence,” said writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, “is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”

Intelligence, of a different kind

In a more perfect world, we see beyond our own limited and biased perspectives. Even if we cannot imagine the reasons for another’s perspective, we remain civil to understand the conflict of choices and varying opinions.

But we do not live in a perfect world

Last week’s most recent school shooting at Oxford High School in my home state, Michigan is just another example of how imperfect of world we currently live in. Go into any coffee shop, diner, or participate in any online discussion, and people are sharing their beliefs on gun control. Discussions get heated and out of control quickly.

It would be nice if we could temporarily put a moratorium on these heated interactions or discussions by defusing our discomfort using our defense mechanisms such as denying evidence or rationalizing the current ‘invasive’ topic. We can if we choose to do so.

Developing our social intelligence

People have better innate social intelligence than others. They know how to work the room carrying on conversations with people known or unknown to them. Socially intelligent people are active listeners. How can the less active listener become better at listening and thereby becoming better communicators?

One person’s cloudy sky is another person’s blue sky.

They may both correct to the extent based upon their beliefs and values, and consequently how they choose to make decisions. The sky is indeed blue; and the sky may even have clouds at times that blot out the sun. This dissonance we often feel in these discussions result in a tendency to summarize the other person’s opinions into the simplest terms or even in silly, disturbing memes.

Our opinions are most often rooted in deeply personal and emotionally invested beliefs. We each may be a critical thinker, but one may believe in alien life and the other may not believe in them. One just needs more evidence to become persuaded on the existence of aliens. While others want to hang onto what we “know” about the world. It is human nature; and we will go to great lengths to convince others of what we know based upon our invested beliefs.

But wait!! The aliens are invading us!

We are, by our very own nature, selfish. I fully admit that I am. I feel ashamed when I fail my own mantra to “resist reaction reason rules” and reflexively fail to take the time to see or try to understand the perspective of other people. It takes patience and effort to take ourselves out of our own world.

I go back to Apple TV’s series, Invasion. How does it make me feel to see the other person through their eyes? Invasions of any kind, out of this world or within my own? I believe we can become socially, better active listeners and communicators when we reveal our humanity in the true spirit of service with the imperative of “we are in this together.” That level of sensitivity and compassion that this type of perspective breeds is enormous.  Do we have the free-will ability to make that choice? I believe we do. I am open to understanding your perspective.


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