Friendship Versus Argumentation

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Perception is a strange concept. On one hand, since the news is more readily accessible, it’s easy to see extremes in the world. That’s how news organizations have always operated after all. In another, earlier post, my assessment is that the radical voice is usually just the loudest, and rarely indicative of the majority. Is that a flawed assessment, is it accurate? With perception being so subjective it’s difficult to say.

Media is everywhere to a hyper degree. And it fosters this culture of shaming, and dividing people in to opposing groups. No one ever solved their problems, perceived or otherwise, by inflicting shame, or arguing with the other side. This is why MLK Jr. was so successful. Hell, avoiding arguments is one of rules in the Dale Carnegie book “How to Win Friends, and Influence People.”

Truthfully, it amuses me more than I like to admit being so stuck in the middle. Everyone seems to want argumentation rather than friendship, however, no one gets the better end of the stick in argumentation. Friendship has always been the only way to convince another person of an idea. Even if they don’t agree with the idea one hundred percent, friendship is the only way to get one person to agree with another.

This is a fact that always stays the same. Whether it’s  the alleged Jesus, MLK Jr., or  that man who converted KKK member by befriending them, shame and stigmatization do not work to foster unity. Shame and stigmatization do not create goodwill, or inspire people to do good. Yet, that is all the media ever seems to sell. And for some reason, as we grow, the news seems to be all we ever read.

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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.

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.

Love And Marriage

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Go together like a horse and carriage. Just kidding. Cheesy references aside, it seems that the marriage times are upon me. There are about four weddings coming up within the next two years.

Relationships are strange. Especially since, for some reason, we went from allowing our biology to do the talking to following the rules put forth by religions. When you examine it, there aren’t a huge amount of differences between every major religion when it comes to marriage. Sure, Mormons often practice polygamy, and Buddhism is quite an outlier of a religion in most respects. As far as biology versus theology goes, most of us tend to break one common rule.

Fewer of us are saving ourselves for marriage. This is just a fact. Is this a good thing ,or a great thing? Okay, so clearly this blog is quite biased on pre-marital sex. Enough so that calling it pre-marital sex just seems weird.

What’s important here is that we feel some strange need to unify via religion, but often break the rules we are unifying under. What’s important about sex is that it’s, and always has been, an important part of intimacy. There isn’t any escaping that reality.

Is it appropriate, or even healthy for us to let a set of non-law-rules micro-manage our relationships? Especially a set of rules which every practitioner is guilty of bending at some point? You know it’s easy to answer these questions about religion, but this need to uphold some set of standards in our relationships is pervasive as hell. You could be atheist, or barely religious, but be a die-hard fan of a political party. Somehow, and to an extent, that political party’s outlook became embedded as your code.

Both parties, at least in the United States, speak frequently on moral, social , and cultural conduct.This is especially true when pundits, and talking heads speak about sex. Hell, if the radical on either side has anything in common, it’s their ability to freak out over a female’s nipple. Somehow most of the western world has adopted this prudish way of thinking, and sense of entitlement when telling people how to conduct themselves sexually.

On one hand, the real question is, how on earth did religion, and its set of rules on conduct embed itself into our conscience so deeply? Should we continue to allow this sort of thinking control our relationships, and sex drive? For a world where technology advances so quickly, culture sure feels directionless sometimes.