The Mimic

After a few episodes of Elementary, watched back-to-back, and the way that I express myself will become more and more Sherlockian. My speech and mannerisms will reflect that of the character, and I will shift into intellectual mode.

If someone were to ask me what I wanted for Christmas while I am under the influence of Sherlock…

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just deduce it

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I will treat it as a puzzle, analyse it logically, and form a deduction based on a process of elimination.

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“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

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Which in the case of a Christmas gift will result in my concluding that I do not need anything, and not being given a Christmas gift is a gift in and of itself (as that would show me how well the person understands me and that is very precious and much appreciated).

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Elementary - wall of crazy

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However if buying me a gift is something which they feel compelled to do then they should just get me what would give them the most pleasure to purchase and give (rather than rely on their pleasure coming from me giving to them what they want to receive when they give me the gift). Depending on who it is who is asking, I might add that if their goal is to elicit a certain reaction from their action of giving me a gift, and they want my reaction to be genuine rather than conforming to expectations, then they would probably do better making the gift instead of buying it, as then they would be giving me more than just a thing, they would be giving themselves (which is a gift that flows both ways). Yet making something may take time, which they probably do not have to give as most people’s time is overbooked all year round, so in lieu of that they could simply offer me a puzzle to solve.

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“My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

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Or perhaps, better still, help me to solve a puzzle upon which I have been working (that may well be my ultimate concept of a truly wonderful gift), and I won’t resent at all if they place the final piece in the jigsaw.

That answer may be influenced by Sherlock, yet it is not that far from how I actually think. Being under the influence does not mean we lose who we are, it simply shifts how we express who we are. If I had been watching something else, such as The Big Lebowski, I might have answered in the Dude’s style.

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“This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you’s. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder’s head.”

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the Dude

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If I had been watching a Romcom…

[not likely to happen, but occasionally it does… I tend to feel like I’m watching one very long and tedious advert which is trying to force me to want chocolate, flowers, champagne, perfume, bubble bath, shoes, diamonds, all of which can be bought while at the airport waiting for (ages after security checks and other very romantic stuff for) your spontaneously romantic trip to Paris.]
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Le-Week-EndLe Week-End

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… I would have answered in a different manner, yet still retained who I am (which might have been rather cranky or dopey depending on the Romcom and how it affected my neural pathways).

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We’re all influenced by the world around us, by what we let in and, in many ways, what we endeavour to keep out. That’s why we often discuss the issue of whether someone is a bad or good influence on us and on others, and we sometimes lay the blame for our choices, decisions, and behaviour on someone else. Which is why we often blame society for why we are feeling bad. Do we ever blame anyone for making us feel good? Sometimes we do, when someone makes us laugh when we are angry or sad.

Being influenced, and mimicking is not unusual. Mimicry is a natural social skill, an essential part of our survival kit as humans living and interacting with other humans. We do it unconsciously and consciously, for many different reasons, sometimes it is the best of us, sometimes the worst of us, mostly it’s an in-between place, a meeting point between self and other.

Spend some time with someone and you’ll reflect them, and they will reflect you too. This is where we blend, where our individual colours blend, the resulting canvas can be spectacular, or dire, or anywhere else on the spectrum and can fluctuate each time we meet.

Have a conversation with someone whose mother tongue is not the same as yours, and they’re communicating with you in your language with a slight accent, and before you know what you’re doing (before you can stop yourself) you’ll be talking your mother tongue with their accent. That can be embarrassing as it could be perceived as a form of mockery. As can other types of social mimicry. Most of us do not liked being mocked, or believing that someone may be mocking us. We’re very sensitive about that sort of thing, and a bit less sensitive when we’re doing the mocking and mimicking, intentionally or otherwise.

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psych - mimickeryNot just because we are Borg.

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Spend enough time around anyone and you’ll mimic them whether you want to or not, and they will do the same with you. The balance of it very much depends on each individual, how absorbent they are (are they one-ply, two-ply, three-ply). Spend enough time around me and you’ll be using ‘Hmmm…’ more than you would like to, saying ‘perhaps’, ‘probably’, and other figures of speech which denote ambiguity of one sort or another. You’ll also be flipping thoughts, ideas, and emotions until you’ll wonder if you’re in some sort of abstract pancakery.

Read another’s blogger’s post shortly before you write your own and some of their influence on you will creep into your post. A word here or there will have been pilfered from them unintentionally. If someone follows someone else closely you can sometimes tell, but only if you follow both of them and read both of their posts regularly, and connect the dots rather than brush it off as coincidence or synchronicity (which can happen as we’re all influenced by what’s going on around us, and what’s buzzing around in the collective consciousness – we are all a bit Borg, but that’s not always a bad thing as it can be very good).

This kind of mimicry is also known as inspiration, and can be seen amongst all creative endeavours and in all creative communities (which encompasses all of us). You can see it in art, in literature, in film, TV, in social media, in trends, in fashion, and everywhere else. It is the hundredth monkey, monkeying around, passing on the whisperings of the muse, the idea evolving as more and more voices chime in. This is evolution live and kicking, progress in motion.

However to every light side there is a dark side.

The mimicry can turn villainous, or so it seems. It’s not just an influence which affects someone but that someone is still themselves expressing how that influence affected them, bringing their own vibe to the vibration and passing it on. Sometimes an individual steals the individuality of another and makes it their own in a manner which smacks of identity theft, they may not be able to steal your body but they can take your voice, your self expression and pretend that it is theirs… and believe their own pretense to make others believe it too, but mostly to make themselves believe that they are who they are pretending to be – because they don’t like being who they are.

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single_white_female_1992

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These are the covert narcissists among us. The co-opted-version is as covert to them as it is to us (for practical reasons – the best liars are the ones who lie to themselves first before they lie to others). Most of them are oblivious to what they are doing, because they need to be that way to keep it going. However somewhere they know, and that somewhere where they know it leaks out into what they are doing. They’ll do things such as rarely if ever, probably never (unless they think they’ve been found out) credit their source, they’ll credit lots of other sources, but their main source of supply will be kept hidden – they don’t want anyone else to steal from that source as they are doing, and they will suspect others of doing what they are doing, but they’re not stupid as their source is and they’re not going to give it away for free, if ever or at all. This source belongs to them whether the source knows it or not, agrees to it or not. That’s that.

Now the source does not always know that it is a source of supply for a narcissist, especially a cover narcissist (the covert part is covert ops, a wolf in sheep’s clothing who believes that they are a sheep (in part), and look how cute and fluffy they are, so harmless). And what the source doesn’t know can’t possibly harm the source… or can it?

Awareness is often viewed as the antidote to many ailments. It is. However it can also be the opposite. As long as you are not aware, you may be protected (but you will also be vulnerable). Once you are aware you may expose yourself to things which may be more harmful to you than they were when you were unaware (but you will be less vulnerable…?).

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Elementary....?

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Much of whether the awareness or non-awareness harms or hurts you depends on what you do with it. Figuring out what to do with awareness requires a bit of Sherlockian influence.

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“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

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However the Sherlock viewpoint requires time and attention to detail, the details of self and the details of others, the details within details… and most of us are overbooked where our time and attention is concerned. Perhaps the better way to approach is this to ask yourself, how do you like to be treated?

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treatment/acceptance

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What gift is precious to you, what do you consider a treat which is truly a treat, a pleasurable present?

For instance, in blogging terms (which is relevant on all social media whether you participate actively or passively, lurk or not, whether you’re on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, etc), if you follow a blog, you’re a ‘follower’ (if you do it via your own blog or email), you’re a ‘view’ (if you visit a blog which records views and visits, you’re a ‘view’), you’re a ‘stat’ (recorded by the fairly detailed if sometimes vague ‘stat’ recorder)… however you know that you’re a person, a flesh and blood human, an emotional, psychological and physical being, a soul with a body, mind and heart… does the blogger (or other social media entity) know this, recognise this, confirm and validate your ticket as a human just like them?

If a blogger (or Facebooker, or Twitterer, etc) refers to you as building bricks in the construction of their ego… ie. I have xxx# of followers, friends, therefore I’m feeling important (superior) or feeling ignored (inferior)… then you’re just a thing (but maybe that’s okay with you). You’re the number of blocks in Minecraft with which they can build their ego’s home – more=palace, less=shack (if they’re playing in ‘survival’ mode). Microsoft just bought Minecraft… once Minecraft players were part of an independent community, now we’re dollar signs building an empire for an ego which already has an empire that it wants to make bigger because too much is never enough.

On the flip side – How do you view those whom you follow (on social media)? Do you reply in kind? Do you realise they’re human just like you?

Who are you mimicking and who is mimicking you? Such a social trait flows both ways. Others influence us and we influence others. What kind of an influence are you? What kind of an influence are you when you take away the kind of influence which you pretend to be?

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“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

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Jeremy BrettJeremy Brett, my favourite portrayer of Sherlock Holmes, because he added a subtle undercurrent to the surface appearance which was a still water running very deep, perhaps too deep.

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