Ah yes, the million dollar question – I hear it all the time. And my answer depends on one crucial detail: Am I working with a socially imposed value set? Or mine?
The Mainstream notion that we live in a “couple’s culture” is hard to miss. Only yesterday I found myself cringing, listening to the local pop radio station (my daughter’s fault I SWEAR), as the message came across loud and clear: Everyone is looking for their perfect match. I could only stomach it for so long, the voices of our very own radio personalities, screeching about what every guy and girl wants but doesn’t seem to have.
“Marriage is out of style,” I say. Then, whoever I happen to be speaking with, never failing to agree (on this particular point), will join me as we ponder, why?
Divorce is up, marriage is down.
All you have to do is look around
to see, it’s not for me.
Take your bling and fancy dresses
Take those gifts and catered messes
Take the promise
Words don’t mean a thing
Make it all go away
Won’t even feel a sting.
Humans have come a long way… from brutes to beauts. (Currently reading Stephen Pinker’s new book, Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, so the pile of evidence behind our social development is currently percolating in my mind.) Now, for not the first, and certainly not the last time, I’ll compare us to bacteria.
Social Intelligence is highly correlated with success in Earth’s Animal Kingdom. We know this, because it’s widely demonstrated among canines, primates, birds, rodents, various creatures of the sea, etc. Bacteria, because of extremely rapid reproduction rates, are a highly-evolved life form. They’ve been around MUCH longer than we have. And you know what? Their socially intelligent abilities are so sophisticated, they’re practically beyond modern comprehension.
We haven’t figured out how they do it, but bacteria are able to collect and share information, such that an entire colony can coordinate it’s efforts, either when confronted with a threat, or provided an opportunity to gain resources. (If this isn’t an outstanding argument for transparency in government and a free and open internet, I don’t know what is.)
E Pluribus Unum
Truth is, I’m not single. Significant or not, I am just one piece of the Human Race, which has inevitably begun to come aware of itself, as a whole. We realize that we are more alike than not, that our differences, when discovered, should be understood, often celebrated and embraced. Wouldn’t life be bland without coconut soup from Thailand, martial arts flicks, and Reggae music…?
Why is this development inevitable?
Because, without continued advancements in social intelligence, we could easily self-destruct. Is there anyone left on Earth who doesn’t sense a serious possibility of impending doom?
But we’re not going to let it happen. Are we?
Funny, this reminds of one of my favorite stories, Why Did the Snail Cross the Road. Check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.
Sorry if I didn’t get to the juicy stuff – we’ll cover that later. Gotta get ready for my running buddy!