Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Social mores

In the course of my job, I end up hearing a far wider variety of living situations and life stories than I heard in my previous job. Mind you, the bulk of my career was spent working for a manufacturer in Massachusetts. While MA is often considered a haven of wild eyed liberals, it actually has the lowest divorce rate in the country and in general some of the most evident social rules of any of the 5 states I have lived in so far. So, that I did not hear very many salacious stories of relationships gone awry is not very surprising.

In the real world though, people seem unfazed by the disasters people regularly create in their lives.I realize the phrasing of that sentence is full of implied judgment. I'm trying to work on my compassion and understanding for my fellow humans and the struggles they go through in this space, but it is a particular challenge for me to take seriously someone who has been married four times. I mean, how does one keep a straight face at the fourth till death do us part ceremony?

Other personal calamities are far easier to understand. These are the ones that challenge some of my deeply held notions around how much control we really do have over our lives. There is so little understood about how the psyche works combined with the infinite complexity that is the family you are born into and the people you meet along the way who color the way you operate in the world. I do believe that there exists some level of universality, but I am at a loss as to where or what the universality is. Even something seemingly obvious like the pursuit of happiness gets awfully fuzzy when you get out in the world and start listening to people and what they say motivates them.

I usually think complexity is beautiful and it drives me to observe further, to try to ponder from different view points and to believe that if I could really see certain threads that connect, I might actually begin to accurately perceive life. I now am starting to think and feel that "accurate" perception is a faulty framework to begin with and this greatly challenges my desire to keep pondering the world around me.

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