Wednesday, November 10

The Obnoxiously Objective Interpretation

I am a trouble maker.
And so is my dog.
There, I said it, admitted it, and got it out of my system. Sort of.

I have a bit of a problem, and it goes like this: Most people aren't programmed to think the way I do. (Curious as to what I mean when I say programming? Click HERE! to find out!)
Because of that, I have a hard time communicating with other people.

See this picture? What do you see when you look at it?
Most people would see something along the lines of a submissively postured border collie, right?
I - and obnoxiously so - refuse to make any conclusion about what the dog is doing or trying to communicate.  
As a funny example, one day when I was in high school and deigned to grace the place with my presence, I was happy to find out that I'd come on a day when we were doing a rather interesting experiment in physics class. 
Physics happened to be the only class I liked, never mind the fact that I slept through it, never did my homework, and doodled on my tests.
There was a visiting professor who took half of the first class to tell us that we were entirely too stupid to make it in college physics. 

He talked about how we wouldn't know objectivity if it bit us in the ass and then proceeded to have us do an experiment that would prove just that. 
We were sent into the lab room with orders to observe an individual and report back with scientific observations. 

My lab partner and I went first. He came back and noted that the guy in the room was worried and on a time budget.
The professor nodded approvingly and I wanted to hide under a desk. What my lab partner had said didn't even come close to my observations and I no longer wanted to answer.
Nervously, I shuffled my feet and refused to look up when the professor cleared his throat - a noise most likely aimed at me and my lack of answer.
He asked me three times to state my conclusions and finally, in a very meek voice, I said, "I am sorry; I am not prepared to make any conclusions based on the data I've collected."

His eyes widened for a moment, as though astonished, and then he furrowed his brows thoughtfully. After a momentary pause, he said, "All right, then; tell me about the data you've collected."
Terrified and thinking that I must have messed the entire experiment up and also thinking that he must be right and I was stupid, I nervously told him of my observations. I'd collected data about the subject of the experiment. A LOT of data.
I took almost twenty minutes to explain something that happened in less than five.
The professor laughed and sent us back to our desks with orders for me to see him after class.

He grilled me for fifteen minutes about why I'd chosen to report back the way I had. Confused - and nearly in tears - I told him that that was simply the way I'd been taught to think and that it made no sense to assume I knew what was going on in another person's head. What may have appeared as nervousness to me could have very well turned out to be excitement, too much caffeine, or the side-effect of long term use of anti-psychotics. Yes, I did say that. 
Yes, you are more than welcome to roll your eyes.

So, with that: 
Dear Doggy Dog World,
I have no idea about what is going on in another person's head, let alone a dog's.
I can't claim to know the why of any individual dog's behavior, although I can speculate based on the research of my peers and based on the research of those who are much smarter than I am.

PS: Please forgive my annoying objectivity when it comes to talking about or explaining any dog-related behavior. I am aware of the fact that I tend to offend people by not giving credit where credit is due to those in our field who are actively doing research, writing up studies, and making conclusions about those studies. I just hate conclusions; it's a personal problem.


  1. I like the way you think, actually. Please don't be apologetic. It's not a personal problem at all, it's an encouragement to others to keep thinking, keep questioning, keep viewing things in a different way.

    Thanks for that.

  2. So refreshing. Hear hear. I think compulsively objective people are a dying breed, if only for the simple reason that we're too annoying for anyone to reproduce with us, LOL!

    Seriously, though I totally hear you about being uneasy about systematic and baseless interpretation.

    It reminds me of a concept in animal behaviour: ultimate, versus proximate analysis. You're definitely a proximate interpreter (you and me both, actually)!

    From a design perspective,I love the changes of font and the short sentences. It really invites reading.

  3. Stupid question: how do I follow you on rss? (Laure-Anne)

  4. @Laure-Anne I looked all over for that RSS button, thinking, "Now, where on earth did I put that?!" I swear there were twitter, facebook, RSS, etc buttons at the bottom of every page! They are mysteriously missing.
    So, I'll have to find them and get back to you. =]

    PS TY very much for the comment; I'm really glad you and Kristine (who also has an interesting blog!) are on my side.

    You know, you should maybe write a blog post of ultimate vs proximate in the dog world - that would be a post I'd love to read! ^-^;; It sounds fun and informative...and maybe even funny. Already.

    TY for the comment. Again, I'll find my misplaced feed buttons and get back to you!

  5. Greаt blog! Іs your theme custom made or did yοu downlοad
    it from sоmеwheгe? Α theme like
    youгs with a fеw simple adjustements
    ωould really maκe my blog shine. Pleasе
    let me κnow where you got уouг deѕіgn.
    Μany thаnks
    Feel free to surf my site : how to stop snoring

  6. Ι like the helpful informatіon you providе to
    your articles. I'll bookmark your weblog and test once more right here frequently. I'm slightly
    suгe I'll be told a lot of new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the next!
    Feel free to visit my web blog : paydayloans

  7. Eхcellent post. Ι was checking constantly
    this blοg anԁ I am іmpressed! Veгy
    useful іnformаtіоn pаrtіcularly the last part :
    ) Ӏ care for such informatiоn
    much. I was seekіng thіs certaіn information for a very long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

    Review mу page instant cash
    my page :: instant cash

  8. Αhaа, its fastidious diаlοgue about thіs рost at thіs ρlace at
    thiѕ weblοg, Ι haѵe reаԁ all that,
    sο nоω mе alѕo commentіng at thiѕ place.

    Feеl frеe to ѕurf to mу sitе:
    fast payday loans

  9. Ηey ѵеry іntеreѕting blоg!

    Reѵiеw my blog - diet

  10. It's really very difficult in this active life to listen news on Television, thus I simply use web for that reason, and take the most up-to-date news.

    Stop by my weblog; payday loans

  11. Wow, thiѕ paгagraph іs nice, mу уoungeг ѕister is analyzing
    these kinds οf things, so Ι am going to let knoω hеr.

    my web-ѕite; payday loans online
    My page :: payday loans online

  12. Superb blog! Do уou have any hints for aѕpiring writers?
    I'm hoping to start my own website soon but I'm а little loѕt
    on everything. Would you aԁvіse ѕtarting with a frеe platfοrm likе Wοrdpгeѕs or go for а paid optiοn?
    There arе so many οptiοns out there that I'm completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thanks a lot!

    Look at my homepage payday loans

  13. I will immediatelу сlutch your гss feеd as
    Ι сan't in finding your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you've any?
    Please let me rеcognize in οrder that I mаy subscribe.


    Heге іs my ρage: payday loans uk

  14. I like the valuаble іnformаtion yοu supрly for youг artіcles.
    I'll bookmark your blog and test once more right here frequently. I'm reasonably certаin I will be told many new stuff pгοper rіght here!
    Beѕt of luck for the following!

    Feel free to surf tо my weblog ... payday loans