May 4, 2010

Friction

Posted in *cringe*, But I am... le sick, The Aaaarrrghhhhh!, The Just a Little Sad, The Small and Petty, The WTF at 12:31 pm by Dagny Taggart

I just don’t understand why, when people who have been part of the same group of friends for a long time start choosing different ways of life, there has to enter an element of criticism.

How is it possible for people to not understand that one size does not fit all?

Of course, I am not innocent, either.  Because I cannot help but feel sorry for people who are so close-minded that they cannot bring themselves to accept alternative paths to happiness.  When, in fact, they might be happier being close-minded, than they would be if they let themselves think about other choices, and thus, they are in fact doing what is best for them.  So.

I guess I should work on that.

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8 Comments »

  1. Brian said,

    I believe it was the ancient philosopher Garth Algar who said, “We fear change.”

    Closed-mindedness is safe, comfortable, and requires no challenge. It’s a very secure place from which to judge the actions of others, without requiring any reflection of self.

    Not that all paths are created equal, mind you. But if the alternate paths are responsible, maturely-chosen paths, then it is unfortunate (and even pitiable) that these “friends” can’t get out of their own heads enough to be happy for whoever this is. Perhaps doubly so, if it leads to others (for example, you) having their opinions of said closed-minders affected in the process…

  2. vvk said,

    Screw working on that… close-mindedness when considering other people is never a virtue. It’s one of those things that feels good because it’s easy, so it sucks you in and then at some point it devours you. Open-mindedness when regarding other people is a virtue. It isn’t an easy path, but at least its an honest path that won’t inherently bite you in the ass.

    Being open-minded about close-mindedness strikes me as silly.

  3. Oddly, I left the following statement as part of a comment on another blog just a few minutes ago:
    One is only subject to the tyranny of other people’s ideas for her life if one allows herself to be.
    It seems to have application here as well. Indeed, one size never fits all… unless we’re talking about champagne because the size of a fully tapered, terrifically elegant Waterford flute fits everyone in my life.

  4. Lemon Gloria said,

    Um, no, I don’t believe you need to work on that.

    Here’s what I think: if you’re safe and secure in your closed-minded position, and then someone branches out and does something interesting and different…it might make you stop and wonder if you should, too. And then that might seem scary. And you might feel inferior. And you don’t want to feel inferior – so you judge! And then you’re immediately superior in your judginess! And that feels good! Safe! Ahhh!

  5. Brian: Well, maybe ALL paths weren’t created equal, but I think maybe my path is just as good as anyone else’s.

    vvk: I guess – here’s the thing. If closed-mindedness is *never* a virtue, and I fail to consider the merits of closed-mindedness (virtue or no) because I have predetermined that there are none, then aren’t I being hypocritical?

    restaurant refugee: I concur. And for me, deciding that I was not going to be ruled by other’s notions about how my life should be required a conscious resolve. Also, Waterford has some truly lovely flutes.

    Lemon Gloria: As it is easy to feel superior to someone because I have deemed them closed-minded, and isn’t that such an awful way to be, and aren’t I better than that? I struggle with this – and then I usually decide that so long as I’m willing to concede that these people might be happier their way, as frustrating as I find it, then I’m doing okay.

  6. 8junebugs said,

    Re: Your response to vvk–

    You’re not being hypocritical. You’re being right. They have the right to be closed-minded, and you have the right to know they’re absolutely wrong. You haven’t pre-determined that they’re wrong or will be wrong–you have years of life experience and evidence to back that up, to say nothing of human history, and you have carefully considered their position. And they’re just wrong and can’t be proven right in any objective way.

    One of the biggest problems facing this democracy is our well-meaning determination to give all points of view equal weight, as if believing something is true makes it as true as something that’s been scientifically proven. Someone might believe to the depths of his soul that, say, white people are superior to black people, or men are superior to women, or that eating nothing but broccoli for 30 days is healthy. He is entitled to his opinion, but he is demonstrably wrong. I must respect that he has the right to the opinion, but I am by no means obligated to respect the opinion or give it equal weight to its opposite.

    There are absolutes in this world. Our problem is that the people most inclined to accept absolutes are also the most likely to lean on them, creating faux absolutes that support their particular viewpoint. Don’t let them get away with it. 😉

  7. 8junebugs: Thanks for the comment!

    I guess I see a little bit of hipocrisy not because I think they are objectively right, but because just as they see their lifestyle as superior to mine, I see my (usual) tolerance for other ways of life as superior to theirs. So just as someone might think I should have chosen the get-married-and-settle-down path, I think they should have chosen to be more introspective.

    I’m judging, too – when maybe I should just let them judge and not really worry about what kind of a person that makes them. (let’s just pretend that’s grammatically correct, shall we?).

    I still don’t think they’re *right* – but that doesn’t mean they deserve to be judged, any more than I do.

  8. 8junebugs said,

    It’s not that I don’t see or understand your point. I’ve been there…and wound up in a starter marriage.

    It’s more that it confuses me, given the name of your blog and your pen name. John Galt would judge the ever-loving hell out of them…and then ignore them. 😉

    Judgment isn’t the problem, but it makes people nervous when you rely on your own judgment instead of theirs. There’s nothing objectively wrong with that, but we don’t live in an objective society–we live in a social one. And very few are strong enough to let their lifestyles be “judged” (and subsequently discarded) without getting all confrontational. That you are choosing a different path makes people nervous about their own choices…but that will come out as criticism of yours.

    But it sounds like you’re facing a contradiction, which leads me to ask: Which of your premises is wrong? That your choice is right? That your friends are your friends because of who you are and not because your lives match up?

    I promise I’m not trying to just give you a hard time–I got here because Atlas is a book I re-read annually. It’s that important to me (and I’m a bleeding-heart liberal, which confuses the hell out of people). I’m in a similar position, in that my lifestyle and path doesn’t resemble the ones around me. I’m surrounded by people who are married and starting their families, and few of my choices make sense to them, so I really do hear you. But if you’re writing as Dagny Taggart, I think you already have your answer. 😉


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