Explainers Anonymous

13 min read

Membership in Explainers Anonymous is free.  We only have meetings if someone asks. There is no e mail address, no fax and no phone.  All you need to do is admit you are hopelessly attached to your own and others explanations and want to get free.  People all over the world are joining up. Many see this as important as when fish crawled up onto land and began a new cycle of evolution, the information age, to the beginnings of a post explanatory world.

Still, people ask me, “What’s the price of my addiction to explaining Why worry about it?  So what if my explanations stop me from having to think? Cognitive Autonomy is an illusion anyway, isn’t it? Constant explaining drains my own and other peoples’ energy….so what?” Mark Twain himself, said that there is nothing so boring as a well reasoned presentation. So what if my explanations have a life of their own? Who cares if my future will be like my past because my explanations insist on it? So what if broken relationships usually come from explanations? So what that children grow up in contradiction with their own experience because their teachers are sure their method is based on right explanations. So what that poverty persists and the environment is in danger from competing explanations?”  Is there anything outside of explanation, or is this our fate?  When I say, “I love you” to my wife and children I’m not explaining. If I say I couldn’t bring myself to vote for either of the leading presidential I’m not explaining. If I say I’m late and don’t tell you why, what am I explaining?  Think of how quiet it would get. Think of  people with cell phones in public places struggling for what to say.

Jinny Ditzler, in her marvelous book, “Your Best Year Yet,” talks about the power of self limiting beliefs. Self limiting beliefs are explanations you make to yourself that explain your failures. Groups do it. Communities do it. Companies do it and Nations do it. In her book, she presents a powerful way to go beyond such beliefs and I recommend it to anyone sincerely wanting to open the door to a new future.. Explainers Anonymous in the meantime, will take you a long way towards eliminating unnecessary explanations. And as with all addictions, there is a 12 step course to follow.

1. Admit to someone significant in your life that you are hopelessly addicted to explanations and have no power over it:  Surrender.  Explanations have got you, you don’t have them. The act of admitting this, hard as it may be,  is the first step to a life of freedom and choice.

2. Never characterize yourself:  Never tell others or explain to them the kind of person you are. Make promises. Make requests. Tell stories. Share your experience. Create possibilities and declare yourself; but never tell them what kind of a person you are. Only someone who is avoiding or hiding something will do that. Everyone can sense it. Self characterization keeps you from getting the support you want.

3. Listen Generously:  Listen with deep appreciation for the feelings and concerns of others. Otherwise, your pre existing explanations will color everything you hear. You will be listening mainly to yourself and not learn much.

4. Go beyond self limiting explanations: If you don’t know what your self limiting explanations are, you will never go beyond them. What are they? Do you want to go beyond them? Create futures you want?  Read Jinny Ditzler’s book.

5. Make declarative statements:  Proclaim what you are for or against with all of your conviction, on your own authority, without necessity for explanation.  Examples are, “ These states are and of a right ought to be free. I am for my children. I am for my country,  I am for equal opportunity, I am  for equal justice.  I am for universal healthcare. I am for quality education before corporate profit.” You don’t have to explain yourself to say what you are for, in all honesty, without need to explain.

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