The Two Kinds of Interpretations: Native and Synthetic

There are two kinds of interpretations native and synthetic. One causes arguments and misunderstandings, the other, a blameless way to talk about life. The point of this particular article is to help you to become proficient at knowing this difference. We'll begin with a few simply rules, ways you can easily discern between observations and interpretations.

  • Observations and interpretations cannot occur at the same time. They are complementary opposites. Thus they are mutually exclusive.
  • All observations include a personal experience of place and time. If you have not personally referenced a specific place and time, you have not made an observation.
  • All observations contain a personal awareness of change. If the outcome of what you're referring to feels fixed, then it cannot be an observation.
  • All observations exist between the beginning and ending points of a storyline. If what you're saying in not contained within a storyline, then you have not made an observation.
  • All observations include a personal experience of blamelessness and non-judgment. If what you're saying blames or judges, then it cannot be an observation.
Now let's begin to explore the two kinds of interpretations. What makes them different and why would you want to know?

Native interpretations label groups of observations. Character type (which refers to your default sense of who has needs) and Mind Body Orientation (which refers to the speed at which you normally process life) are two examples.

Synthetic interpretations go beyond labeling—they draw conclusions—many of which attempt to explain the reasons behind and motives for what has happened. People believe this will allow them to predict what they will observe in the future. Common examples include saying you know what someone will say before you speak with them, and saying you know another person's motives when this person's has not stated them.

Roughly a hundred years ago, theorist Pierre Janet identified dissociation as one of the two principal features of the aftermath of trauma, the other being "the narrowing of the field of consciousness," ("the pirate's spyglass effect.")  According to Janet, in its simplest form, dissociation is a "fixed idea," a state in which a previously traumatized person involuntarily focuses entirely on a single image, thought, or feeling. This causes the traumatized person to become unable to experience this image, thought, or feeling leading to a positive outcome. The word "fixed" refers in part to this inability. In effect, the process—and the outcome—is fixed.

Not surprisingly, the main thing that makes people synthetically interpret is “fixed ideas.” In effect, fixed ideas are experiences wherein people believe the outcome is predetermined, unalterable, and negative. People literally become unable to imagine any positive outcomes. This then leads them to fabricate details, explanations, and interpretations which in theory can help them to prevent the negative outcome.

Ironically most fixed ideas are also non-visual. For the most part, they are moments of involuntary blankness. An aspect of human nature then drives people to use what they've fabricated to try to predict the future. They do this hoping this will allow them to avoid the negative outcome.

The problem is, you can't change what you can't see, and the blankness prevents them from seeing what they need to change. At the same time, they are also unable to stop trying to see what they need to change. So with logic and reason, they synthesize material which they hope will make up for these missing observations.

Not surprisingly, the current science method suffers from the same flaw. Much of what it hypothesizes about refers to things it cannot see. To overcome this, science employs the same synthesizing process. In the case of science though, this synthesized material is called "truth."

Note that over time, people become so used to this blank state (dissociation) that they rarely if ever register its true significance. The true significance? The sudden onset of involuntary blankness is the sine qua non of traumatizing moments. This inability—being unable to see the significance of sudden onset blankness—then leads most people to synthetically interpret these events, by logically associating whatever occurs immediately before and after the blankness to some other person, place, or thing. This person, place, or thing is then seen as the reason for and motive behind the event.

In a way then, synthetic interpretations are a type of scientific hypotheses. Once posited, people feel relief. Thus by synthetically interpreting painful events, people [1] avoid the pain of unanswered "why" questions, [2] believe further repetitions can be avoided, and [3] disown further personal responsibility for their actions during the blankness.

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