Delving into the Intangibles


   Distance  
     
 

Near is far, and far is near.

Even though “distance” is usually considered to be something tangible, it has mysterious, intangible aspects as well.

In a driver’s license written test, I found a question that asked what distance must be kept from the vehicle ahead when driving at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour. Such a space can be measured tangibly. But, throughout our lives, we encounter many “distances” that cannot be measured with an ordinary ruler. Indeed, this is generally the case.

"Distance" that cannot be measured––in matters of human relations, money, goods, or work––has great potential power. It is not easy for a person to keep a proper distance from others, and everyone has his/her own way of doing so. Those who are clever in this way can avoid unnecessary stress. It seems that almost every breakdown in interpersonal relations starts with a failure to give importance to “distance.” Can we say that keeping a “distance" is a particular talent?

What are the meanings of "distance"? After consulting a thick English dictionary, I have come up with my own list. Here goes.

 1.  The space between things
 2.  The condition of being far away
 3.  A place far away
 4.  The time between events
 5.  A lack of friendliness or familiarity
 6.  Differences between languages
 7.  Remoteness in relation or degree to something or someone
 8.  The distant part of a landscape
 9.  Disagreement

There is a proverb, “A good neighbor is better than a brother far away.”
Within the hierarchy of an organization, we should take care what we say, so as not to spoil relationships beyond repair.

And almost every conflict now occurring between countries in the world is the result of “distances” of various kinds. I am referring to that intangible power which concerns time and space, human psychology, language, and so forth.

Taking a broad view, there is nothing more important for leadership in politics and management than keeping a proper and healthy distance. And yet we see the opposite leading to wars that are raging all over the world. For instance, I would not have a “distant” country nearby, even if it were a neighbor.

I cannot understand why human beings fail to remain "calm" by keeping a "distance," and thus curbing their desires and grasp for power.

Indeed, keeping a distance is the way to curb greed, and is expected to serve this purpose… This year I want to keep a firm hand on my own “ruler” in order to maintain a proper "distance."

 
                                                        K.Yamakawa