It is worth asking what one’s institutions do for you. It may admittedly be self-interested, but that does not make it a wrong thing to ask. If we do not look out for our own self-interests, most of us do not have people we can rely on to do it for us, and those we do have we ought to appreciate greatly for their willingness to do something that we should be doing for ourselves by all rights. Given that a great deal of contemporary political behavior on the part of our elected officials amounts to very expensive customer service, instead of writing laws and taming corrupt bureaucracies of incompetent would-be elites, it is quite frequently that politicians are re-elected despite our hostility towards their corruption because of their help of constituents in dealing with laws.
What do we expect from others? This is something that varies strongly depending on our interests and our behavior. We might think that we expect little of others but take a great deal for granted in the welcoming nature of others to what we have to offer. I know someone, for example, who wants in others an appreciative and receptive audience for his advice and counsel, even though he frequently give it in an awkward and aggressive fashion. People expect others to put up with them–I know I do–and that is not always something that we can reasonably expect. Other people require much more help in order to get by, and for such people it is positively threatening to depend on goodwill rather than coercion, because such people often doubt their charisma in persuading and charming where it is possible for someone else to force.
Institutions promise much but deliver little. Delivering things requires a knowledge and awareness of reality, and only some of those realities are political in nature. To the extent that we do not act in accordance with realities as they exist in any sphere of existence, we cannot expect things to go well. Quite frequently people in authority act without awareness of spiritual or economic realities and the lack of success is pretty easy to understand in those natures. Until and unless people in charge act in awareness of the way that people respond to efforts at coercion, there will continue to be surprise that policy choices fail to do what is expected of them, and if we do not know what we are about, we will not find our efforts doing what we want and hope.
Hence, the motivation for the institution or the person offering the “advice”. Is it truly to help you? Is it given from a giving, selfless heart; one which wants to see you succeed? Or is it self-motivated; something that is driven from its own agenda or belief of what is right–regardless. Is the person willing to listen and can he or she take advice as well as he or she offers it? Therein lies the character of the person.
These are tough questions, and we tend to find them repeated over and over again in life. Communication is hard–the character of the listener and the motives of the communicator are always things to keep in mind.