Saturday, July 07, 2007

On Issues versus Problems

Remember when people used to have problems with each other, not issues?

I find that semantic change telling. The psychiatrists/psychologists/semanticists wanted to eradicate guilt from the adjudicating equation. End the blame game. No fault divorce; no fault insurance. No fault disagreements.

However, I think something has been lost in the ‘translation’, in the social transformation, in the desire for the guiltless dispassion that the word 'issues' bring.

Problems imply solutions, something to be worked through, something negative, and something interfering, something to be resolved; whereas issues stand alone, neuter, left to be discussed. And discussed. And discussed; even to the point of never having resolution; sometimes not even clarification.

I miss the sense of personal responsibility and engagement in the word 'problems'. A worthwhile argument: ‘I'm against you’. The 'issue' becomes personal. Heated.

Discussions ought to be heated. From heat comes light. And from light comes illumination.

I think that is why we have so many 'issues' between people today: no one is willing to take things personally, to take passionate responsibility of their beliefs, errors and mistakes, to call them and deal with them as problems. To engage each other in friction…which,of course, is how we all got here in the first place.

Without the recognition of each other’s problems and our passionate involvement in wrestling with them, we have no solvable issues, only the biggest problem facing modern humanity: distance from others and personal disinterest.


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