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Interaction = Provocation

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Exploring the angle of interactions observed from the lens of provocations. Meaning – every thing you do or say in an active form, as an action, is, by design – a provocation. Now, not only in the negative sense, you might also intend to provoke someone to respond with laughter, a compliment, with gratitude; but sure, in the negative sense at well. Say, something inconvenient happens to another person – something as simple as they knock something over – and they get visibly irritated at it. Now, I’m guessing most people who do, do this PASSIVELY – but they start laughing like an idiot clown – now, pay attention, this is not a reactionary laugh – you didn’t experience an unexpected joke which provoked you to laugh – you saw someone struggle with a silly thing and you provoke them even further by clowning out a laugh.

Now, the other person might pick up the thing from the floor, as an active, aggressive reaction to your provoking laughter – throw it at you.

What’s that? Another provocation.

A provocation so you’d stop the laugh – or who knows, maybe to see how you respond in return? Do you pretend to be offended? Do you strike back with something disproportionately aggressive?

Pretending to be offended – ALSO an interaction, also a provocation. You pretend to be offended to provoke the other person to maybe apologise to you.

Classic stuff. But here’s another interesting aspect to interactions, provocations and to their responses – not always your provocation will succeed. There exist a response you expect to get to your provocation – but the other person will respond with something else, indeed.

Now, depending on the mood – I wouldn’t apologise. I’d either mirror the pretend-pout (which, in turn is a similar provocation to what the clowned laughter was – MOCKING) – or if I wasn’t all that high energy, I’d maybe bitch about it a little or just let it go.

Interactions and provocations have so much nuance to them – and they are so informative about people’s moods, capabilities, sense of humour, their insecurities – and going about it, whenever you have the capacity to do so – in a playful manner – is something that fortifies good relationships (or disassembles fragile ones – dare say – narcissistic snowflakes do not like provocations which squeeze them into the occasional unflattering light – to their minds it may be worse than death itself!).

Every move, every word, every tweet – whether we admit to it or not, comes with an expected response – that tweet, phrase, deed itself is an act of provocation attempting to achieve those responses.

Sometimes we take risks with out provocations, sometimes we push our luck – sometimes we end up looking as silly as male pigeons trying to flirt with disinterested females – sometimes we risk misunderstanding, or simply saying or doing something in the wrong moment – another person’s mood affects their frame of reference, after all – and a stupid joke intended to provoke a laugh in the recipient might end up in a big brawl, instead.

And sometimes we intentionally bully someone – without no specific expected responses – but just to see how he or she responds – can they turn it into a joke, can they laugh over themselves, can they play along, can they carry their own weight, or will they freak out, will they lash out, will they become straight out violent and abusive towards you? That’s where I end up getting when I think of the much dreaded world of school bullies, too – they interact with you, they see how you react – and based on the reaction the future course of interactions gets more and more limited – especially, should your response be of the cowardly kind. Each interaction, repeated with the same person, iterates to some sort of a point – testing the possible depth of the relationship. Or the possible depth of the relationship FOR THE DAY; some interactions were ephemeral – they will gain a reset the next day, you are free to test it for another round;

And other interactions – thanks to their nature, timing, mood, context – might close all doors but one and lead you to very specific domains of a relation – maybe an exclusive adventure possible only between two specific persons, or maybe just the block list.

Interactions – amazing sorcery!

2 replies on “Interaction = Provocation”

GREAT piece SIlvi. Dose Response Sigmoidal comes to mind… Interactions are stressors we can say. Hence why we are attracted (antifragily) to those who tease us than those who show complete interest upfront. Too much stress or “provocation” can lead to concave result (see: weightlifting hormesis). So we can consider interactions based on dosage. Perhaps why close knit groups turn toxic overtime, it is like chronic stress with no recovery. Keep up the silvi thoughts, silvi.

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