The Circle of Concern;
Beyond our circle of influence is a circle of concern. The circle of concern includes many people. And the degree of concern varies from one person to another. We are vaguely concerned about the mail-woman who delivers our post. But most of us don’t really know her name let alone that she has a two-year old with cystic fibrosis. This person lies on the outer perimeter of our circle of concern. In fact, as we watch the evening news we become concerned about the inequities of social justice in the workplace and the power of the President of the United States to invoke sexual favors. We become concerned because of our relationships to gender or power, a generalized abstraction that many accept as absolute reality. We do not dive as deeply into the stories of the lives of people who deliver our mail because of our weaker relationships with the real people than with the constructs of our own minds. But that is a different story.
The people at the workplace influence us by virtue of our relationships with them or by our desire for relationship with them. If a man takes an attraction to a woman at the workplace and really wants to get to know her while she hardly knows he is there, the relationship is null. The influence is real, however. The man may start to imitate her actions, seek being at places she frequents, even copy patterns of dress and behavior that seem to catch her attention. This man has put himself in the circle of influence of the woman, and she may not even know who he is, or that he has any attraction to her, whatsoever.
Then, say a disgruntled employee comes into the office and starts beating everybody up with a baseball bat (it has recently happened). Trying to save the lives of his office workers our man throws himself into the melee and gets hit a few times with the baseball bat. Luckily he manages to subdue the attacker before he is killed. As the melee closes the woman of his dreams calls 911, gets the first-aid kit out, administers first-aid to him, tells him it was a brave yet foolish thing he did, rides to the hospital with him in the ambulance and wishes him well as she departs. This is concern. She has recognized this man as a person in her circle of concern, although he has placed himself in her circle of influence, unknown to her. That day she sends him flowers from the office. Every day he is in the hospital she calls to see how he is doing. She has concern.
She has placed him in her circle of concern but believes she has little to no influence over him. He, on the other hand, is highly influenced by her words and actions. At such time and in such a condition, he may misinterpret what influence she desires to have with him but she influences his words and actions nonetheless.
So where did he come from, I mean, how did he become a part of her circle? Was it the attack that made him a real person to her? Was it working at the same office that made him a real person to her? Was it her ability to invest in him after the attack that made him a real person to her? I’ll let you decide.
In astronomy there is a belief that blocks of ice and frozen gases exist between solar systems. Minute forces from passing solar systems dislodge the blocks from their balanced positions in nothingness. Some of these blocks make fantastic voyages gaining speed until they appear in our sky as comets. As soon as they are discovered they are named and tracked and….meaningful. That brings me to the circle of THEM.