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I Forge Iron

The silence of our friends


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I saw this today

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."—MLK

It occurred to me that this is deeply true on many levels of human interaction in a way that transcends changes brought about by technology.

It's even applicable to business dealings.  The code of silence regarding business dealings is intentionally over-used as though a veneer of uniform silence covers the hollow argument that they're playing fair.  It's like a facetious extension of "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all". 

There's nothing true, or wise, or kind in withholding information to maintain plausible deny-ability.  It's exactly the kind of Machiavellian thinking a narrator reveals about the villain in political intrigues. 

As a parting thought, I've found that people given to abandoning their friends find no end of reasons why their hands were tied by circumstance.  For these people friendship is never sufficient reason to do a hard thing .   As Mark Twain once said; "The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog."

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Jackdawg,

I'll try to give some examples of what I'm talking about. 

Let's say a service company was hired to do a job but the work was never completed.  The clients can't get the company to answer their calls because the service manager wants to be able to pretend they weren't aware of the problem.

Another example is a client who calls a contractor out to price up a complex bit of work.  Let's say it involves solving quite a few design or cost problems for the client.  After putting in the effort to help their client and build a relationship, the contractor can't get the client to answer their calls.  A few weeks later, they see a competitor's truck in their driveway.  The client doesn't want to admit they're shopping around because they told the contractor they just needed help getting the design within their budget.

Maybe a contractor meets with a client who presents a competitors bid for the work.  They've known their competitor to be an honest businessperson for years, yet they choose to remain silent because it's easier to pretend they legitimately won the work.

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Feeling a little melancholy Rockstar? That's as depressing a post as I've ever seen from you, true but depressing. Some of my biggest regrets are those times I didn't speak up when I should have. Wisdom is in part learning how far you can trust which "friend". Who was it said, "a real friend will help you bury the body?" Silence is too often a "lie of omission" and just as self serving.

It's never "my" fault folk never seem to get why they can't hold a job. Must be all those people against them eh? Of all the people I've been around to "see" assassinated MLK has to be the greatest loss to us all. What do you think he'd have to say about the whole poor victim class people of color have learned to milk so hard?

Now you have me thinking that way. There are so many ways I find myself agreeing with Mr. Twain at his most cynical and hating reality.

I need to lean back, one of the cats will settle into my lap and Falki will be happy to wake up so I can pet him. I need some cheering up now.

Frosty The Lucky.

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Dr. Martin Luther King had a profound way with words, and extraordinary insight.

I came, independently, to the same observation years ago. My aphorism is a bit more earthy / prosaic. " when we are stuck outside, our trousers are gone, and the wind picks up; NOW count our friends".

SLAG.

Frosty, Hang in there. You have many friends.  I feel your pain.

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34 minutes ago, SLAG said:

Dr. Martin Luther King had a profound way with words, and extraordinary insight.

I came, independently, to the same observation years ago. My aphorism is a bit more earthy / prosaic. " when we are stuck outside, our trousers are gone, and the wind picks up; NOW count our friends".

SLAG.

Frosty, Hang in there. You have many friends.  I feel your pain.

Thanks, I'm not depressed it's just depressing to think about the general culture that's developing. Probably an old fart thing been going on since the trees kicked us out on the grass.

The dogs and I are entertaining ourselves and checking FB occasionally to see how the Father in law is doing. His condition is improved from "grave" to "Guarded" to "Critical."

Frosty The Lucky.

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Frosty,

I'm sorry to hear about your Father in law. 

That quote really resonated with me because I know quite a few friends who just quit communicating.  Professionally I encounter people who are suddenly "too busy" to acknowledge anyone when there are problems on a job.  It struck me that a lot of people have been saddened by the silence of a friend, yet they employed that same escape in their work life.

I can see that they're not necessarily trying to hurt people by their actions, however it doesn't change the outcome .  The intense focus on "playing nice" and avoiding conflict has lead to indifference and cowardice.  

In some ways, that quote showed me that I'm not the only one who feels this way.  When we consider the scope of our struggles against what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about, it's incredible that we're hurting each other in such a cowardly way.

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My thought on the first quote was not depressing but insperation.  AND GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU TO ALL THE FALLEN (SILENT) (FRIENDS) SOLDIERS! You will never hear or read this but hopefully one day I will shake your hand and give you a hug and thank you for what you did and sacrificed for me to be free and have the life I have.  So many times we are over focused on winning we forget the now silent sacrifices made to win the battles.  

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Rockstar thanks for always pushing us to use our brains in more ways than hammer hits hot metal.  Where we are in life we need more out of the box thinkers and people like your self that help us to find a deeper meaning in all we see and do to truly better our lives.

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I think silence is a form of the "fight, flight or freeze" reaction all mobile critters have. Nobody can be strong or do the "right" thing every time. Even the best have a breaking point and it's pretty hard to admit the difference between justifying our actions and justified actions. If we don't know what to do we're faced with a fight flight or freeze situation and if we MUST deal anyway we'll do what we have to. Sometimes it's the easy way out, say piggybacking on someone else's bid. copying another's design, or pretending it isn't your responsibility. We've all done it and we've all had to deal with others who have.

Rockstar: I read your first post and hadn't read your second before I submitted my first reply. After reading your second post I see your job was just getting to you and you needed a little ventage. Been there done that, you betcha.

Then it comes to unintended consequences. This has turned into a thought provoking and deeply satisfying thread. Everybody who's responded interpreted it a little differently, was driven to different thoughts and expressions and every darned one has been inspirational. think about it, we've gone from grousing about unethical business practices to appreciation for those who offer the deepest sacrifice possible in a few short posts.

I wish I could shake all you guys hands. Thanks, just thanks.

Frosty The Lucky.

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