Don’t be Walter: an example

March 1, 2013 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog

Yesterday I wrote about the quintessential I’m-right-you’re-wrong-and-I’m-going-to-convince-you-of-it-no-matter-what-it-takes situation with extreme escalation by Walter in the Big Lebowski.

The last edit I made was to add the parenthetical comment in “What makes this clip so funny and brilliant (besides the movie’s running jokes, like the Vietnam references) is…”.

I couldn’t help but notice, if you don’t look too carefully, that you could understand the Vietnam conflict from this perspective, with the United States political decision-makers as Walter.

Read the archetype as I listed it yesterday with that conflict in mind. (Before you start to write to tell me how much I missed and how wrong I am, my point isn’t to be right, just to give another perspective. See what you can learn from it.)

  1. You see something you feel self-righteous about.
  2. You declare you’re right and the other person is wrong. They defend themselves.
  3. You feel powerless to achieve your goal so your emotions become intense and you escalate (represented by the gun in this clip).
  4. The other person digs their heels in too.
  5. You feel everybody else doesn’t get it and talks about irrelevant nonsense (represented by other people talking about how it’s not a big deal, and saying things like “HAS THE WORLD GONE CRAZY?”).
  6. You feel incredibly focused on what’s important (illustrated by Walter’s ignoring the dog and deftly handling the gun).
  7. You escalate until you win.
  8. After your emotions become less intense you start to open up to other perspectives.
  9. Everybody else thinks you’re an asshole. Nobody considers your win a win for you.
  10. Rather than face the shame in seeing the situation from everyone else’s perspective, you maintain that you’re still right and everyone else wrong. (Less often people admit they got carried away and apologize. More rarely still, people learn from the experience and do better next time).

Other people have different values. If you try to impose yours on theirs they’ll resist. If you succeed in imposing yours on theirs by force they’ll resist more and resent you.

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1 response to “Don’t be Walter: an example

  1. Pingback: Explore your passions to grow, develop, and to make your work art: My talk at Creative Tech Week | Joshua Spodek

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