I think Hugh must be living a parallel life at the moment! This was today’s Gaping Void cartoon and it represents one of those interesting questions on engagement with others. Now to make it clear, the fact that a criticism or disagreement appears stupid, may just mean that I (or you) have failed to understand it. However there have to be limits, and I think the disengagement point is where this cartoon represents your state of feeling about the other party. Fortunately its rare!
In contrast I spend today in Belfast where we have been working on a project to gather the narratives of bereavement from both professionals and the bereaved. It took about half an hour to explain to people how to use Explorer (the analysis tool within SenseMaker™) although it took about two hours to work around the deficiencies of Windows (thank God I have a Mac) an the firewall policies of public bodies! However once that was out of the way I sat back, checked email my RSS feed and twitter (finding a few examples of the cartoon) while a group of people spent several hours exploring the narratives using the signification of those who told the stories. ne comment was typical: that story is so negative, but they have indexed it as a positive experience. Now the people I was working with are the opposite of stupid, they were not challenging the indexing but recognising that the person reading the story, with the personal context saw the material in a different way. All those academics and others tagging raw narrative rather than allowing people to interpret their own stories.
Stories fascinate, finding them, sensing anomalies then burrowing down to see what patterns you can see, initiating discourse, taking a new approach to evidence. All of these were possible, with minimal training. People understand narrative, they value the learning.