Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Forest for the trees.

Yesterday I listened to a day-long presentation on brain research. The speaker was highly engaging, intelligent, and humble. I know that when a very smarty-pants person has to address a group of laypeople, she must bring the jargon down to an understandable level. And to be honest, I was not in the frame of mind to listen to medical or psychological terms yesterday afternoon, so I appreciate her analogy of this concept:

There are tree people, and there are forest people. (I personally think most of us are squirrels holding our nuts or opossums swinging by our tails, but no matter.) The tree people are the organized, detail people. They like to have order out of chaos, fold their underwear, match their socks, make lists, and actually check off items from the list. Go to the far end of the spectrum of tree people, and you have someone who is so uptight and inflexible, they just can't bend. The forest people, depending on how far the other end of the spectrum you go, are the "big picture" people. These are those of us who can live with some clutter, chaos, and get into what we perceive is the 'higher ideal' of creativity and common good. But, forest people march to their own drum, are often late, and commit the greatest sin of all--forget birthdays. And forest people don't put the toilet seat down. Luckily, there are tree people to remind them.

I bring this up because you may want to consider your tree v. forest people while playing. Was talking with GM the other day, and his ability to see the 'big picture' as well as the details of missteps and fire pits. He strikes a balance of both, which is optimal for raid leading. Unfortunately, and I will speak for myself, I have grown to depend on that balance--in other words, won't do any of the heavy lifting myself. The 'tree' people I know in the game are the ones I turn to when I don't feel like going to wowwiki or joystiq to look up some NPC's name or find the quest chain. Too lazy. I'm a forest person, duh! Look at the scenary! Let's write a story!

Many of my buddies will have a cocktail, or two - they want to change their real life role to another one in the game. It's frowned upon to drink on the job in most professions, say school bus driver or tiger dentist. Completely understandable. My point is, if you ever get frustrated, ask yourself, if the person who's upsetting the apple cart is in conflict with your own personality. Are you being all forest-y, when this person is being a tree? I find that the trees get far more irritated with the forests than the other way around. They are the steely-eyed missile men of the game -- know the phases, the goal, the details for every fight. We forest people just want to get the prize at the bottom of the cereal box. Oh, look! A squirrel!

Theme song: Rush/The Trees 

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