‘Imperturbably polite protest’

Mr. Grewgious in the meantime sat upright, with no expression in his face, and a hard kind of imperturbably polite protest all over him: as though he would have said, in reply to some invitation to discourse; ‘I couldn’t originate the faintest approach to an observation on any subject whatever, I thank you.’

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

It’s usually an aspect of middle child syndrome, I believe, but somehow, through freaks of personality, I contracted what should have been my next older sister’s malady—the unfortunate position of being asked to mediate differences of opinion between other members of the family. I learned early on to sympathize with the sentiment “don’t shoot the messenger”. Now, I would just much rather avoid being engaged as the messenger, or mediator, at all. Too bad my Meyers-Briggs personality type is INFP-T: the Mediator. Maybe I need to retake it and see if I can get a different result.

On a larger scale, this world is bubbling with a stew of causes, conflicts, and campaigns on social media, where opinions of disinterested third parties are not only solicited, but are tantamount to a requirement in order to be a member of certain cohorts (or “families,” to stretch a metaphor). Without belittling the importance of any of those various issues, I don’t have the energy or interest to expend on every single thing that is brought to my attention, nor do I feel the need to pressure other people into expending theirs on what may not concern them. The fact is, I don’t think my input resolves much of anything when dealing with only two or three different views; how can we be so deluded as to expect that our passing contribution to the internet dialogue on an issue we heard about yesterday will clear up what is likely a complex, multi-faceted problem involving hundreds (if not thousands or millions) of different individuals, personalities, experiences, and perspectives?

Most times, when dragged into something I didn’t initiate but am expected to pick a side on, I would like to employ the method of Mr. Grewgious and state that I couldn’t originate the faintest approach to an observation on any subject whatever, I thank you.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens, Gutenberg Kobo ePub 2009

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