I’m calling great big dirty bullshit on the word *just*
I put it to you the word just is a bullshit signifier; that whatever words come before or after it need to come under immediate suspicion because the fact that just is in the air means the integrity of the other words have, I believe, been compromised.
Test it out. Think of the times that you say just. Listen out for other people saying it. Is just justified for anything other than deliberate obfuscation to smooth over the cracks of something that isn’t as simple as the person saying it would like to convey?
I heard myself using just as a great big crock of smoothing over shit recently. I was explaining to a friend how to set the alarm in our house in prep for her checking in on the dog one day soon afterwards. I kept saying things like, ‘you just put in the code, then press one, then you run out that door and shut it before ten seconds has passed, then you just listen for a beep’. Then I really looked at her face and thought again of a quote I first heard through an Open University course, I think it was Gregory Bateson who said it first;
The meaning of your communication is the response you get.
The response I was getting was one of confusion and anxiety on the face of a very smart friend. The problem was not hers – it was mine. I was using the word just to cover up the fact that, deep down, I felt a bit shit about asking a favour that contained complicated instructions and no small amount of responsibility. We restarted with a new framing that went something like, ‘this alarm is a prick. I’m sorry. I’m writing everything about it down and I don’t want you to worry about it if it doesn’t go smoothly, it’s not your fault and you’re a bloody star for giving it a go – thank you’.
So I’m clearing just from my 2017. It’s hoodwinked me and got in the way of the open, more meaningful conversation I’m working to create by contaminating exchanges with a toxicity that works against the intention I have.
Just, I hear you knocking but you can’t come in.
Happy new year all. x
More about #Clearing40 here.