Monday, July 19, 2010

The Great Divide

Ask anyone who's known me for a while, and they'll tell you that I sometimes get some pretty far out theories to explain how things work in the world. And I'll admit they're sometimes pretty cockamamie (or downright fantastical), but there's one theory this amateur philosopher/sociologist refuses to give up, because, frankly, it's pretty unoriginal. I just googled it and there are a number of pieces dealing with the topic. Especially in the socio-political context of the post-9/11 world.

My theory is this: Almost all conflicts in this world can be boiled down to two sides: freedom vs. security.

I'd further venture to say that schism, that "Great Divide", applies not just to the political or macro-socio-economic spheres, but also to most human relationships.

Here's my prime example: gender roles and interactions. Men and women generally want different things (and I'm talking hetero for the time being since I will only speak about that which I know, I'm not sure how this debate translates into GLBT relationships). Women, in the context of their biological imperative, want a mate who is a secure provider, who can help her build a home where children will be secure. They want someone who will ensure their security. On the flip side, most men, in the context of their biological imperative, want the freedom to go out and spread our seed to as many fertile recipients as possible. That isn't sexist, it's nature.

But it makes life confusing in the context of figuring out how to have positive, long term relationships. Yeah, I'm polyamorous/non-monogamous, but I'm pretty sure I can't stay that way if I want to raise a family, unless I become a Mormon. So, obviously, my desire to mate for life and raise a family flies in the face the 'freedom' impulse. I'm going to have to pick one.

Unfortunately the story doesn't end there. All too often the freedom impulse comes back, reinforced by Grass is Greener Syndrome (see earlier post), which leads to cheating, divorce, thrown frying pans, pediatric psychotherapy and so on... It hurts my mind to think about how much of a Catch-22 being in a serious one-on-one pairing can be! Espeically when baby makes three...

Another tangent of the Great Divide is professional/financial. Often, 'freedom lovers' will take the most profitable job first and foremost, even if it is a lousy job satisfaction-wise, because of the freedom a good salary can provide. So, in a way, financial security serves the cause of freedom of action. It's pretty hard to enjoy the sense of physical freedom that skiing or sky diving might provide if you're broke! Conversely, I know many people who make very little money at their jobs, but feel comfortable and secure in them and have the freedom to express themselves through their job/business/craft/art, etc...

Now, I've noticed that, in the grand scheme of things, the pendulum has been swinging a bit too far onto the security side and have been selfishly waiting for it to swing back into a forced freedom that would come after some cataclysm. But, the Powers-That-Be keep screwing up the Earth-shattering kaboom!

But, with that in mind, and with the love I have for post-apocalyptic thought, I give you today's entry.

July 19 2010

When the governments fell in on themselves, the people began to panic. They abandoned most forms of law and order and began to loot the cities for whatever they needed to keep their families safe and fed. Within scant months, after millions had died, groups of kin and neighbours banded together and ensconced themselves into forts built of the rubble of the fallen civilization.

The bonds of affection, blood and respect brought them together under an unspoken social contract and no rules or laws were set down. The shelter they built as a community held strong and no one feared for their safety.

Then came the Marauders. They were men and women tempered by the pain of surviving outside the safety of forts. They had learned the hardest lessons of survival, they had broken every social convention, they had regressed to being nearly animalistic. And it had made them strong, had taught them a pack mentality. And they descended like a human swarm onto the forts, stopping at nothing to defile and consume.

Who was free? Who was safe? What did it matter when vultures were picking your bones clean?

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