Friday, October 27, 2017

Meeting the Challenge

Not everyone is as perfect as you and I! Accommodation it would seem is the key to successful relationships. To imagine otherwise is equivalent to storming a castle wall in your bare feet.

As compelling as may be your own individual way of relating to the world, it may come as a mild astonishment to discover that not everyone looks at things with the same fervour. People are plainly motivated by different stimuli, this notwithstanding the many similarities which characterize humanity as a whole. It helps to recall your own indifference to some of what others find captivating.

If one spends one’s life dedicated to accumulating “likes“ on Facebook – or anything equivalent to it – the project is destined to frustration. In part this supports a disregard for what others think; but it also provides some motivation to cater to what we perceive to be their preferences (at least if one has any interest at all in diplomacy). The alternative is to face a life of perpetual insularity, perhaps aggravated by anger and disappointment.

Revelling in the delight of one’s own chrysalis is besides an enterprise of limited endurance. We are not long in exhausting the thrill of being us. Man is after all a political animal (zoon politikon) and that means being sociable (polis) in addition to being rational (zoon logikon). Such are the hard facts of reality!  But better to approach the challenge with a degree of intellectualism than merely submit to our innate visceral appetites and predilections, the performance of which merely confines our experience to that of any other animal if we prefer instead to flourish.

It is never healthy to view the abandonment of one’s personal dynamic as capitulation; rather, if one is intent upon insinuating the social fabric with more than a blunt instrument, then the answer is accommodation or modification if you prefer.  Viewing such cooperative behaviour as a sellout or a resignation isn't healthy, neither is condescension. The guiding principle must be a more elevated aspiration, perhaps as simple as "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you". Here the headiness of the goal approaches the further boundary of spiritualism which may be to some far too abstract for authenticity.

It all comes down to a question of what one adopts as the overriding thesis. Certainly the preservation of personal integrity is of importance but to do so at the expense of interaction with others is a Pyrrhic victory. Retrospective assessments of behaviour are frequently the sole domain of armchair pendants. In order to keep rolling along in this life we need to be actively engaged. Paradoxically the posture of higher objective may in the end amount to little more than a pragmatic reflection of selfish desire in that the pursuit of a politic solution inevitably consoles even the basest inducement.

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