Rules

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Despite our supposedly terrible scores in Math, many people in the U.S. seem to like formulas. People outside of the U.S. like formulas as well. It’s just that they tend to be much more talented mathematically. Is this esoteric enough yet? Great. Then it’s time to explain.

Recently it’s dawned on me that we adhere to many rules and formulas for situations that inherently have none. Dating is one such situation. Surely, if you were to start dating someone in the U.S., you might encounter very specific rules like how men must pay for the date. Another oddly specific rule from the female perspective, is that you aren’t supposed to give out at least until the third date.

The above two rules are just a taste of many rules that combine and become an alleged formula for starting a perfect relationship/dating life, as written by “experts”. Ironically, many of these “experts” are unhappily married, divorced, or somewhat shitty at maintaining relationships. Guess they can’t take their own advice?

This got me thinking about my dating life and of how many rules got broken in it. Those relationship experts would not be happy with me, to say the least. Kidding aside, with hundreds of millions of people dating out there, how can a handful of formulas work? Especially considering the reality that many of us are taught how unique, and special we are. Realistically, no one can be that unique, but there’s just so many of us from different places, and different backgrounds that the formulaic approach to anything based foremost on emotion seems ludicrous.

Thankfully, at some point, it seems that people realize this and that when another person is worth keeping around, the truly insignificant rules become just that. Shit, what if both people genuinely fall in love on the first date? Is the classic, and ridiculous rule of waiting a couple days until contacting them again worth it? Probably not. Then again, in defense of the “experts” overwhelming one another with excitement is not always smart.

Whatever happens, there will never be a formula. Some of what the guru’s say may be right when it comes to reading people, but relying on some magic love-formula, or set of rules seems futile. Love always seems to find it’s way to everyone, whether they know it or not.

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Relationships And Stuff

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Western society teaches those who grow up in it, that love is about finding “The One” or however you would like to phrase it. This mentality does exist in many other societies, but it is a strong reoccurring theme in western culture. Everything from books, to movies, to music is full of examples of this kind of love. Our notion of “The One”, is very romantic, and surprisingly practical. At some point, it becomes difficult to manage so many relationships, romantic or otherwise.

Not that finding true love isn’t difficult, but it feels to me much more dependent on the person who is looking. Some people are ready for it, others are not. If there is any takeaway from life in your 20’s that should be it. It’s cliche, but to love someone else, one must love themselves first.

With employment, and many other of our obligations, this is not always the easiest thing to do. Especially if you are in a field where everyone is secretly sleeping with one another. That kind of environment is not always so conducive to having a great relationship.

All of that aside, what is also important is knowing what you want. In my observation, and in large part due to society, many women in their twenties struggle with knowing. Not that men don’t either, it’s just my observation that more women have a hard time discerning what they want. Many people knowing what they want, and many not knowing at all what they want, always seems like a recipe for disaster. If only the vetting process didn’t leave us so prone to disappointment.

Good Intentions

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Many moons ago, when my life outside of school or work revolved around video games, there was this video game that subconsciously taught me about life’s gray morality. Why bring up a video game? Well, Final Fantasy Tactics: War Of The Lions (Which is based on the same historical war that ASOIAF is based on) displays this concept wonderfully.

Questions arise from this game such as, “Are good people truly doing wonderful things if evil people are manipulating them for their own ill gain?” On paper, the answer is simple. No, of course those people aren’t really doing a great, or morally good service. Unfortunately, it isn’t always so easy to see ourselves in that objective of a view.

It’s difficult, especially when growing up, to be able to pick and choose what influences you. Political beliefs, religion, career path(s). Many defining characteristics are inadvertently controlled by those who surround you. Given these¬†factors, though people often aren’t evil (most of the time), isn’t most of what you do suspect then?

To have control of oneself is a difficult task. But you are definitely being controlled if you don’t control yourself. Sure there are worse things to be, but all of your intentions, and ideas, and cozy viewpoints for a long portion of life are simply a reflection of where you come from. Some say we are getting the other viewpoints from around the world through media. But by the time the story gets to the reader, isn’t it tertiary? There are so many hands that touches a news article before the reader gets to see it. How can anyone be sure that news stories are the truth and not their own projected expectations?

Maybe we can never be certain, but isn’t it a noble idea, and one which western society thrives on, that trying and listening to what others have to say (To some extent.) is enough? For a culture that thrives on independence, we sure don’t approve of individual thought.

Breaking Biases

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Humans are fallible. (Thanks captain obvious.) What is strange about how humans conduct their businesses, no matter where you are in the world, is that there will always exist irrational biases. In fact, the book/movie which the title is derived from is all about breaking biases.

Moneyball is ¬†an interesting book. At first it seems that if you aren’t into baseball, you may not enjoy the book. Truth be told, the book is easy to relate to if you are a passionate person about anything. Thematically, the book is more about how we tend to overlook what really matters in a person based on our biases. Fascinatingly, until this book came out, Major League Baseball was run mostly by people who were relying on faulty information to recruit baseball players.

Similarly, it is with this biased view with which we look at what people say, or their public persona. Saturday, one of my relatives was talking about how much she hates Kanye West. According to her, his antics, and loud mouth automatically disqualified his music as a worthwhile listen. Realistically, he hasn’t really done anything outlandish.

In fact, considering the number of musicians who have done crazy shit, he’s not even in the top ten. But what is it that makes us put stock into what he says? Is it that we have an inflated sense of value on free speech? Are we going to ignore people who do actually crazy things, like beat their wives, because they have quiet public personas?

It would be interesting to trace the bias that our love of free speech has on and individual’s perception. For one, it’s annoying when someone who, despite our opinions, makes very interestingly produced music is such a controversial figure for not a whole lot. Meanwhile, the truly evil people are just hiding in plain sight. People think the devil will come to you in a nice suit, extending a slick handshake. Realistically, we create the devil in our heads, and refuse to see what we create.