Smack in the dawning age of hyper-socialization, we are bearing witness to at least one dramatic paradigm shift, from false monogamy to a much more dynamic compartmentalization of relationships.
Don’t be offended if you have one of those sacred partnerships that it seems everyone yearns for. You have everything in the world, plus someone to walk lock-step with for the rest of your life – good on ya.
But those sorts of relationships are relatively few and far between. What we see instead is a frequent variation of broken marriages and co-dependencies that include complimentary and/or paired sets of weakness. Paired sets of weakness are shared issues, including (but not limited to) alcoholism and other addictions, overly-sedentary lifestyles and lack of dietary self-control, all from the broad spectrum of learned helplessness. These can be long-term and compounding.
In complimentary problem sets, it’s those who are most vulnerable, magnetically paired with people who tend to be aggressors. This is why abusive, destructive situations can last as dreadfully long as they do.
Breaking down the social economics of any relationship, each person gets something out of the deal, which may or may not come in the form of objects (and behaviors) that can be commodified. Sure, sex and resources fall into those categories, but so does the joy of companionship and human touch, triggering a physiological process that releases oxytocin into our brains to make us feel happy. This sensation can of course be mimicked or enhanced by an array of synthetic and organic substances, which is why some people take drugs in recreation.
Why should we be friends?
Well, why shouldn’t we? In life forms that evolve more rapidly than humans, social intelligence is remarkably notable. For example, bacteria have an extremely sophisticated information-transmission system, making them almost like Start Trek’s Borg, constantly assimilating news about threats and energy sources, arranging their colonies accordingly. Ants too, have an ability to exchange information in what amounts to astounding measures of shared-consciousness. The fact is: social intelligence correlates with success in life.
Dampening of fear kicking into high gear – yes, we are animals. But fortunately, we’ve developed beyond fight or flight, to supersede our primal instincts with patience and inquiry. This happens when the value of communication and cooperation trumps the value of escaping from a (frequently misguided) threat-perception. It’s a matter of time, before we figure out how to get along (and protect our eco-system) or die fighting.
Navigating the tumultuous social seas gives us power to cross vast oceans of ignorance. Sure, it sounds like a hippie acid trip, but thanks to the internet (except for a few dark places on the map) we’re there.
The Information Age has catapulted us to a point of hyper-socialized data input-overdrive. We have libraries of information at our fingertips and a world wide forum for discussion and feedback. You can’t expect things not to get heated – no leader on the planet could keep that level of ruckus in order…
Let’s hear it for China, for trying.
While attempting to squash dissent, they’ve illustrated that the Peoples’ interests have little place in the Peoples’ Republic. When Google can’t operate in your country, it’s kind of a big deal.
China’s top blogger, Han Han, has the most highly trafficked blog in the world. Buffered by fame (being not only a successful blogger and novelist but also a champion race car driver) Han Han manages to use subtle wit to shine light on even the more delicate issues, although some posts disappear in a process of government censorship, jokingly referred to as “harmonization.”
Despite frustration over the government’s protected interests, he is refreshingly optimistic. According to Han Han, the internet will force China’s government to make strides towards transparency.
“I think the government really regrets the internet,” he said. “Originally, they thought it would be like the newspaper or the television — just another way to get their view out to the people. What they didn’t realize is that people can type and talk back. This is giving them a really big headache.”
“Technology demands transparency,” says Al Gore in Rolling Stone’s December ’09 issue, where he touched on an array of juicy topics, including how the internet is transforming society and politics.
But we’re talking about relationships. In the era of mass-information, these are re-shaped too. China’s government, in this case, is like the controlling, over-bearing husband I’ll never have.
You and I have a relationship, an invisible connection.
Imagine the potential energy in that bond…
Have you ever read something that changed your life?
In an age of hyper-socialization, we are plugged in. To the extent that we feed this connection, we extend ourselves around the entire planet.
The need for traditional “exclusive” relationships is then muddled as the dominant paradigm shifts towards compartmentalization. The old way simply isn’t practical… Given our modern range of human expression and interaction, what is “cheating” anyway?
If your partner wouldn’t approve of your lunches with another attractive person, if they would be offended when you touch a certain persons’ arm or leg, if you texting or emailing such people makes your partner neurotic, you may be experiencing false monogamy. The hidden truths are symptoms.
How does one characterize their relations with others in this new, global web of connectedness?
Compartmentalization is key.
First, the negative connotation associated with compartmentalization of relationships must be released. This is not a permission slip to be promiscuous, because it doesn’t stand alone without guide. But we have discussed trivialization and commodification of sex before, so we’ll save revisiting that conversation for another time.
Compartmentalization means each of our relationships carries unique value and no one should take away from the rest. The extent and variety of these connections may fill the entire spectrum, from mere conversation partners, to playful cohorts, to more intimate forms of bonding, each making it’s special splash of color, enriching our lives.
Everyone brings something to the table – I want a feast!