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When People say This; They Mean That

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Warning: Read this at your own risk.

Many examples here are from personal experience, but others have been adapted for a more general public. I’m not dealing with political things, as it is often hard to figure out what some politicans actually mean when they are saying something.

People say: If you don’t stick your rules, how can we?
They mean : We are not interested in those rules, but we like to have you under control, and we demand that you stick to what you wrote yourself. We want to try and force you to do so, because perhaps otherwise we would have tried to force you ourselves.

People say: I think he/she shouldn’t go and study at the MIT (or somewhere else) because otherwise god knows with what kind of ideas he/she will come up with.
They mean: We want to have him/her under control and if he/she goes and study there, we won’t have him under control.

People say: He/she isn’t showing his/her text on perception philosophy (or an other text) because he/she has copied everything or large parts.
They mean: He/she should show it to us so we can check it because we think we have a right to know and so we can indicate what we like and like not.

People say: He/she should stick to one thing, or he should do one thing at time.
They mean: We don’t feel comfortable around someone who doesn’t work like we do; he/she should act like we do; he/she should be like us. Or even in later stage, this way we can control him. Or that way he/she will work less well, and so I can feel better.

People say: He can’t have a normal love life because of the amount of hours he spends at a computer.
They mean: You should act like we do, because we know you, we understand you.

People say: Who does he/she think he is, that he/she can ridicule everyone?
They mean: 1. I read something that is not meant for my eyes, but I am angry at you because you dare to write that. 2. Only we are allowed to ridicule people, not you. We can laugh with you, but if you laugh with us, then we feel bad, so we are trying to get you under control so you don’t and we can feel good.

People say: He thinks he can write everything; who does he think he is?
They mean: Freedom of speech is only for us; we only like to hear what we want to hear. Freedom of speech is good as long as nothing is written that we don’t like. That is not freedom of speech, it is called a dictatorship.

People say: He/she should not wear those and those clothes.
They mean: We don’t like those clothes, we find them ridiculous. He/she should wear what we demand.

People say: He should not go and study at the MIT (or anywhere else) because he/she will make himself ridiculous.
They mean: I do not want him/her to go and study there, because if he does, he/she might become better then me, and I don’t like that idea. Now I feel better then him/her and it should stay that way. Otherwise I might be the one who makes him/herself ridiculous, and that may not happen.

People say: if looks x at a sexy booty of a women he must be gay
They mean: if he is gay then I can feel better than him.

Many people seem to forget how much words like these can hurt. And some don’t want to even agree they ever said them afterwards, often making things worse. I speak out of experience.

People say: (women in this case) He is gay because I tried and it didn’t work out,.
They mean: It is not because he didn’t like me, so I can feel myself better. I wasn’t rejected by a man, I just fell for the wrong guy. No big deal. Otherwise they might have to accept that it was because the person said no, didn’t like them, or didn’t find them sexy.

I had to ask this one, and learning about it, made me feel better, as this is a comment I have often have had to hear, and knowing that it is completely wrong, but many women don’t want to see that, isn’t exactly fun.

People say: His aikido of the mind (Description) is silly; there is no logic in it.
They mean: We don’t understand, but we think we know, and that is what we want to believe, so that must be true. We like to be in control and it can’t be that we are not.


It is the difference between higher and lower logic, it may look illogical in higher logic until you find out all the terms in lower logic, and then it does turn out to be logic. Put it this way, if you know all the factors of the illusion of control, you could write it as a formula/algorithm, and use it in a complex computer porgram.

People say: Your essence of strategy has nothing to do with strategy.
They mean: We don’t understand it or we don’t understand it as well as we thought we did, so we say it has nothing to do with strategy. That way we feel better.

People say: He/she started on something new again.
They mean: We may have a short-term memory and may not understand that one project can have multiple technologies coupled to it. For example a model airplane is more then just the wooden structure – engines, and so on.

People say: He/she is more open to that dog then to me.
They mean: I want that attention; I am jealous of the dog. If he/she would pay more attention to me, I would feel better; better then the dog/cat/ or whatever.

People say: The idea of, for example, building a miniature radio telescope is silly.
They mean: We don’t like it, we may not understand it, but we don’t want anyone to figure that out, so we ridicule it, in the hope others will do the same, and nobody will ask then ask questions to which I don’t know the answer. I can feel good, because otherwise I don’t.

Ok it has its problems, but has enough potential to look into it. If we don’t try we’ll never know.

People say: He/she is so good at lie-detecting, but I just told him/her a lie and he/she didn’t detect it.
They mean: he/she’s a fool, thinks he/she can detect lies, and he/she doesn’t react. Now I can feel better again. I feel in control again.

It would be strategically and tactically unwise, and rather stupid otherwise to point out every time that I figure out somebody is lying. It is a disadvantage for me to tell people amd they don’t like it anyhow when it is pointed out to them that they are lying.

People say: He/she shouldn’t read a psychology magazine any more (or an other magazine).
They mean: He/she might learn things, or start to understand things that I don’t and I don’t like that idea. Some women may think/say he/she might learn things, and then I can no longer use them as a defence.

People say: He/she made me do it,
They mean: I did it myself, but by putting the blame on him/her, I put part of the responsability on him/her, and then I can feel better, and don’t have to explain what I did, or why, and I don’t have to think about it either.

People say: He/she thinks he/she only has good ideas,
They mean: I don’t feel good about it; if I can minimalise him/her, ridicule him/her, I will feel better.

Not all of my ideas are good, some are, some are not, some are interesting but impractica.l That is the nature of ideas, but a bad idea might lead to insights, and might lead to a good idea.

People say: He/she wrote Rene Descartes with two e ha ha ha.
They mean: I may not understand the rest of it, but this is a fault, I can laugh with it, so I feel better, because otherwise I don’t.

People say: He/she thinks he/she knows so much, but this and that is wrong in this text,
They mean: he/she might be right, but I don’t want to acknowlegde that, so I’ll say he’s wrong, because I want to believe that. And I feel better.

People say X gives people only the wrong thoughts.
They mean: They shoud think what I want them to think, and not something else.

People say He/she can’t have written that text on perception philosophy (or something else) because he/she didn’t study philosophy, or he/she doesn’t have a diploma.
They mean: He/she can’t have written it , because if he/she did, it damages my ego. My ego is based or supported by the fact that I have a diploma, and so I feel better then somebody who doesn’t.

I have met people who don’t have a diploma, yet came up with ideas and solutions at the same level as architects do; a diploma is not an all-clear sign. It can be a handicap. It can limit you.

People say: That girl/women is a whore because of the way she dresses.
They mean: She should wear what we want to, so we have her more under control. So she is less competition or no longer.

People say: That girl/women/men is a whore because he/she sleeps with everyone, whith more then one person
they mean: he/she should act like everyone else, then we don’t need to worry about him/her being potiental competition.

People say : He/she can look at everyone, but we can’t look at him/her.
They mean: We want to look at him/her; he/she should back down, then we can feel ourselves good.

People say: He can’t have a normal love life because he has too many negative views,
They mean: We believe we know everything and understand you, and we will keep coming up with different reasons, each and every time you come up with an answer, because otherwise we might have to accept that we’re wrong, and that we don’t know everything.

This really seems to be a problem for some people, but I must admit, it used to be for me as well, until I came across this one important lesson from philosophy, that we don’t know anything at all. Which was hard to accept.

People say: we don’t like it that he takes away our arguments
They mean: we want to keep using them, without anyone meaning what they really mean.

People say: It is silly for him/her to build a water rocket; he/she shouldn’t do it.
They mean: I don’t like that, I find it ridiculous, I don’t understand why he/she’d bother, I don’t understand the potiental it has, the inspiration it can offer. Or potentially, I don’t like that, he/she should do as I want to.

Currently in design phase, should be max 30 m high, but starting with a maximum of 10 m high, which for a water rocket is big. (Building a mega-water rocket)

These aren’t true all the time.
Ed/Pub:NB

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About Florisv

  • Adam

    I reccomend you take out all the he/she and him/hers and just alternate pronouns for each part. In its current form it’s cumbersome to read.

  • http://mistwereld.blogspot.com Floris Vermeir

    I didn’t want to exclude anyone, but you are right it is cumbersome to read. In the future I will use what you propose as that is clearer.

    For this post I will leave this one, an I didn’t want to let anybody feel excluded. I appriciate you pointing this out to me, and I thank you very much for it.