people’s just people

3 12 2008

so i was thinking about a person with whom i ostensibly have “core differences,” which one must probably consider to be insurmountable obstacles to a healthy, close relationship.  well, not all core differences would necessarily be insurmountable, but these, i think, are as such.  we share a lot of the same opinions–of politics, of people, of lifestyles–but our perspectives of the world, how best to address it, and what is possible within it, are drastically different.

i was thinking about how basically identical humans are from a psychological standpoint.  everyone’s basic needs are the same.  security is the top priority–we need food and shelter beyond anything else, and if those are lacking, any other desires in the world disappear in a puff of smoke as we seek them out.  it’s the same way psychologically.  we want security.  to know that we understand the world around us and have others near who also understand it and to feel confident that we can successfully navigate it to our optimal benefit.  this is where i suppose everyone feels different, and where my and my friend’s schism is pronounced:  our understandings of the world are somehow not the same, and as the other endeavors to bend our view to their understanding, our cherished and needed stability of perspective is challenged, leaving us feeling exposed and anxious.  it’s like kicking the bottom bricks out from a building’s foundation.  a very weak building, apparently, if someone can kick them out.  imagine a sledgehammer if you have to.  do i have to hold your hand through every ill-conceived simile?

so when people sense the onslaught to their long-held beliefs about the world and their relation to it, their minds generally find it easier to become defensive, incensed, or even spiteful in the stead of having to take down their own foundations and consider the merits of a different conception, much less then taking the time to work to assimilate other views into their outlooks.

i have to admit that i don’t generally feel threatened by many others’ views of the world.  usually, they believe things i’ve already spent time considering, and there are almost always facets of their ideas that i harbor as part of my belief system anyway.  so i’m always with and not with everybody.  and if someone looks at things very differently and in a new way, i get excited that there’s something new to explore.  i believe strongly in the unending magic of our universe and it’s a matter of no difficulty for me to think that there are others who are finding bits of it i’ve never experienced or thought of.  and that’s where i want to be.  i also understand that more people are afraid of things being different than how they perceive them, though i can’t understand why they’re largely so unwilling to admit to themselves that different doesn’t mean detrimental, or could even be a very good thing.

the structure, as i see it, is that everyone’s born more or less identical, a life force seeking certain comforts, needing certain conditions to be met to ensure their well-beings.  but then we start to learn from the world and people around us.  suddenly others’ ideas are put into our heads.  ideas like best country in the world and cool clothes to wear and property value and making a good living and smarter than others and other such cultural and personal values that help us to construct a system of beliefs that all seem to depend on the others, as we affix them in layers on the outside of our more simple, direct selves at birth.  before we know it, we’ve grown up differently from those around us, even more differently than those in different economic strata, and significantly differently than people from other countries, other cultures.  and we fail to see that none of our ideas are the correct perceptions of the world. ours so often seem correct.  the people around us add credence to this idea, because though they’re different, their constructions are very similar to ours since we grew up in very similar conditions.  and suddenly everyone outside of our strata just doesn’t get it and simply won’t learn and are, to many of us despicable in the respect.

but nobody’s despicable.   everyone’s doing what they can with what they’ve got.  and everyone should be able to learn that that’s how everybody’s operating.  and everyone should be able to see that in the end, we’re all the same, just with different artifices that can be peeled away as systematically as they were put into place.  and nobody has to defend their tiny views of the world anymore.

so, you know, get started on that.

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