This is a guide meant for technologically inept people, who struggle when being around other technologically inept people.
Let’s first start by dismissing stupid, clickbaity stuff. No, I am not calling for a return to keypad telephones. No, people on the subway don’t give a fuck about you either way. Rather, I’m here to teach you about interpersonal etiquette, what it means; what to do when someone you’re interacting with is fixated on their device, how none of it matters and how, in reality, you’re fighting against yourself and your insecurities.
The Person Value Over Time (PeVOT) equation
Engaging in conversation is, inherently and by nature, an exchange. If you have something to communicate, and choose to place those formed thoughts into the minds of your interlocutor, you will likely offer an idea or statement at a certain cost to you. The cost is going to be twofold: You will claim something as your own, and you will force others to spend energy processing that something. We will ignore the impact on your “energy” as a whole, kind of like working in a vacuum.
So, you have ventured forth a statement. Somebody has heard it (which could be you, but for now, again, we’re working in a vacuum). Maybe you expect a response, which can be implicit or explicit (a verbal reply, obedience, acceptance, etc), but you have definitely created value by expending people’s attention. Now, verbal or non-verbal expression has taken place. The ball is on the other’s side. There are a few things that can happen. You will either:
-Be understood, as you intended to be, or
In either case, there may or may not be an immediate response, if at all there is one that’s not immediate.
Now comes the interesting part. It’s when the value of the conversation, AKA the interpersonal interaction, diminishes. This can be interpreted as a disinterest from any side, but we’d do well to stay away from strong judgments such as that and instead remember the PeVOT (pronounced as ‘pivot’ would be) equation. It goes like this:
Where stands for the absolute “Conversation Value”, for “Speaker Value”, and is time.
As you can see, the whole thing is reliant on . The longer you expose your value, the lesser the total is. As such, the Speaker Value needs to increase if one wishes the equation, symbol of an interesting exchange, to be kept equal to or larger than when it first started. This is done in a number of ways, and we will not be going into what makes a conversation keep its value. The brackets mean the Conversation Value is always positive. This last point will be explained later.
The PeVOT equation represents one part of a larger mechanism that governs attention. Consider it the first level, a gatekeeper for the listener’s inner mind. There are competing PeVOT equations, all aiming to take a person’s attention. When yours, for example, is of a low value, other equations with higher solutions start taking priority. In a way, you could apply the PeVOT system to a larger set of inbound stimuli other than, say, a conversation, but for the purposes of expediency we will compare the situation we have already proposed with the newer, easier conversation people now can have at practically any moment they so desire: The conversation between a man and their device.
Interactions do not need to be between two living beings. Pick up a book and you will find words in it. Read the words, and you will find yourself in dialogue with the book. Only one of the participants needs to have the power of conscience to engage in a conversation. All other things follow laws. While it is true that multitasking can be achieved, it is better to have as little faith in others as possible in this matter, meaning considering them incapable of multitasking for the purposes of conversation. It is also wise to keep in mind that the next step is to reverse that notion into yourself, but that’s out of the scope of this guide.
Maybe you’ve already pieced it together. What it boils down to is your Speaker Value being too low, or too stretched over time, and it being unable to compete with the Speaker Value of, for example, a smartphone. Since we’ve ventured forth such an example, let’s analyze why this is often the case.
A smartphone is, essentially, a computer that fits in a man’s pocket. A computer is a mechanism that works by processing information, storing that information, cross-referencing that information to generate more information, and eventually feed you something down the line.
Information is something that you can learn or perceive. According to Oxford’s Dictionary of English, it is in the sense of ‘formation of the mind, teaching’. It is an abstract idea. Information is also an economic asset. As such, and much like a Speaker, it holds value relative to the participants; to the situation. Whatever you may think your value is, or the value of the information you hold is, it may not be the same as what your actual market value might be. Since we are not to be trusted with the responsibility of asserting our own value, a task best left to the natural development of your surroundings, then it is far better to forget completely about it, and assume the most based option: It is near zero.
Proving your worthlessness
This is when it starts getting tricky. Since your inherent value is 0, or as near as you can get to it, then it only follows that whatever you may offer in terms of value is less interesting than, for example, a smartphone. Can you blame a child of ten for preferring a playstation over a toy car? You’re the forgotten knock-off toy in a dark corner of the basement, which currently houses a small ant nest.
Let’s explain more a bit of why this rationale is used. We have no doubts that your value is not zero, but the zero is the only position from which we can work from due to the nature of what we’re facing. You’re up against another human (likely) with a value that’s hard to determine, who holds an entryway into the products of millions of other minds, which is even harder to put a price on. If your value were to be above your speaker then it would create unnecessary frictions by putting you in the middle of both your problems, thus it is better to approach them from the front. You are not more valuable than the internet or than some devices equipped with the right information (Although you may be if you’re a parent with a young child, for example). So, you’re worthless. What now? You start applying the equation.
‘PeVOT’ yourself into peace
The PeVOT (Person Value Over Time) equation is not exclusive to any entity. It is a mechanism by which humans make decisions. Since you are one, you must learn to use it. The trick to the equation is simple: The Speaker Value can reach negative values, while keeping the Conversation value positive. Being worthless means being zero, and because you can’t supposedly place people you don’t know above or below you, even if you should place everyone’s values at higher levels than yours, they’ll eventually either get reduced to zero by their own weight or keep descending into the sinfully depraved negative values while you safely hang on to your ring of nothingness. Let them wear themselves out. He who pulls out the phone first is often the defeated. Stretch into the fields of the sociopathic schizoids, and bask in the silent glory of worth.
Negative values and you
It is easier to compile and log negative values than it is to raise your own. Values you think may be negative could be positive. There are many pitfalls; you can get reduced to zero in a blink. You may even dip into the negative for those you have blessed with an opinion. Any attempts you make to expose any of the factors of this equation will net you nothing if you’re lucky, unless you play hurt and cry about people “losing touch” with whatever the fuck hippy bullshit you can think of. You can also expose this idea in a calm manner, but you should always have an escape plan when doing this, AKA be ready to just stop if anyone gets heated up.
Confusion, rejection, disappointment, hopelessness. These and many others are common ways to feel about losing someone’s attention. Only from neutrality will you be able to come to terms with things. Rejecting technological change is akin to declaring war on your brain cells. Do yourself a favor: Get your head out of your ass, and start asking some questions.
Relative values: The golden PeVOT
The PeVOT equation is one of many intricacies. We will not address in this paper the additional uses it may offer when inverting and exchanging values, but we will reveal something about the nature of both Values used in it: There are infinite solutions for every equation that exists at every given time.
Imagine recording the instant where a PeVOT equation is resolved, for example by videotaping it. Now imagine that instant transmitted to many different people. Maybe they will all have a different solution for that same equation, which is to say a different evaluation of the situation that’s taking place. There’s further evidence, however. By assuming the human can always be wrong in his assessments, or at least by thinking it can always be, for example, 0.00000000001% “better”, we can say there is a way it can be 100% better, and thus we can assert there is a Golden PeVOT, or a solution which is 100% accurate. Finding these solutions is something our team is currently working on. Please don’t try this at home.
Polaco et al.