146) Sorting for Sameness

July 19, 2007

El Milagro:
I am early today and hand off the newest draft of the newsletter (I am on the Patient Advisory Committee, PAC and am the editor of the monthly newsletter: the El Milagro News) to the receptionist for Suzanne the Administrator to review and I walk in to find my chair and get situated. Jason the Kid cannulates me with his usual phlebotomous acumen. This boy is going places. All the usual suspects are seated in their chairs looking around and the place is humming along without a hitch. I settle into reading my book (Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal), which is getting more interesting as I read further into it. I have in the back of my mind worries about last Tuesday, when my BP dropped and I felt woozy at the end of my treatment. Today my standing BP was 113 over something, but when I sat down it went to 135/76. So, I am happy to have something to worry about, since I always feel a bit useless unless I’m worrying about something. I lose myself in the book. Here in the world of the book, we find Biff trying to explain to Joshua (the Messiah) how his first sexual experience felt and Joshua just doesn’t get how it isn’t sinful because he expects sinful acts to include fire and pain.

Since my worries drain out of my head, like oil out of a busted gasket on a '47 Chevy's oil pan, the growing empty space up there begins to fill with vaporous considerations. I have been considering how people fit into systems. There are people who work to fit in and people who can’t quite seem to want to fit in. There are some names for NLP Meta programs that fit my considerations and they are the various vaporous types of sorting. People have all sorts of sorts they sort by. If a person sorts by “sameness” they look for things to be the same and when they determine that things are the same it makes them feel comfy, accepted, and agreeable. People who sort for sameness also like it when they go into situations they perceive are the same as other situations. Even when situations are different they are likely to perceive the samenesses first, since the samenesses come into their awareness first. These folks are good people (since they are like me) and they walk around happily when they can look out at the world and say, "Ah yes. This is the same as it was. Oh yes. This is the same too. Let's go out to eat and I'll choose the same thing I always choose." If you sort for sameness you are the one who owns a red Ford Taurus and you notice all the red Tauruses and you miss the blue Volvos. There must be many more Taurus than Volvos, you think. So, sorting for sameness does have its drawbacks. Sameness sorters miss some part of reality.

People who sort for "difference" don’t notice when things are the same; only when they are different. Sorting for difference can lead to folks having a polarity response, which was called in days of old, ‘resistance’. People who naturally use a polarity response are always finding reasons why things aren’t the way they were stated by someone else. These folks say “yes, but...” a lot.

Apple pie is a good American dessert”. “Yes, but you know, it wasn’t really American.”
Or, “Apple pie is okay, but pumpkin pie is the real American desert”. Or, “I beg to differ: Cake is the REAL American desert.” You get my point. These folks make good lawyers. So, back to systems. Same sorters want to fit in and difference sorters want to grate the system. When I look around the treatment room and I sort the people for sameness or difference sorters, I hallucinate that there are more sameness sorters here than difference sorters. It may be that I see mores sameness sorters because I am a sameness sorter; but, that aside, I think sameness sorters are more likely to end up in dialysis centers than difference sorters. Differenence sorters probably do 'home dialysis' or 'peritoneal dialysis'… I mean, those are different kinds of dialysis, after all. And you know, those people will do anything to be different. Difference sorters who are in the dialysis center aren't usually happy. They join the PAC to air their differences. The sameness sorters ask that everyone get along and the difference sorters hear them and smile, knowing they have a different view.

Now let’s think about the staff. Mostly, I experience them too as sameness sorters, sorta. I think the difference sorters are only about 5% of the staff, because they have trouble with following sameness (procedures, etc.) and too many of them would grate too much on the cohesiveness the system needs to operate fluidly. The good staff probably mix their meta-sorts and develop into people who sort for sameness with difference. They look for everything to be the same and can pick out the little differences that makes a difference (like a dial or reading or number being too high, too low, or “strange”). People who look for sameness with a difference enjoy new things: “Wow! … it’s just like the other one… but different!” This is a good line to use with adolescents in counseling --> "I once worked with a kid just like you, but different." How could they possibly ignore you after that opening?

So, actually all us sameness sorters and difference sorters should really try to begin to start noticing the difference and the sameness as we peer out onto the world, since it builds on our acceptance of a greater perspective or scope of reality.

I read, listen to All Things Considered, watch the news, watch PBS, read, and I’m done. Jason unhooks me, tapes me up and I’m outa there. So it goes on a Thursday eve.

Notes: In at 75.6 and out at 73.6 Kgs.
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Hans said...

Hi Jack --I was intrigued by this post but I don't really find myself in any the three types--I think I am an "and" sorter. I always seem to be looking for what can be extended rather than sameness or difference. Sometimes the sameness is fun to extend and sometimes the difference. What I always seem to seeking is what can be created out of what's there--of course this makes me a royal pain in the ass since I can't ever stay still--just extend, extend, extend

Jack Nowicki said...

Hansie ~ that may be a new meta-program sort ya got there. And, it may be that you actually fit a same-sort or a difference-sort and you sort so fast that it seems like a new sort. When you get a new piece of information do you think, "Thats just the same as... how can I extend it?" or "Thats different than... and how can I extend...? What I think the NLP paradigm would respond to your newly created sort is that actually you are beyond the sort and into the decision strategy. So, after all our meta program sorts we use them to make mud pies (or, decisions). I do agree however that your continual seeking ways to create new bullshit out of what is there makes you a royal prince in the grass. Thanks for re-entering from lurkdom. I always appreciate your thoughts and extensions. JN