I’m guilty. I make sweepingly broad generalizations about things that go on around me. Who doesn’t? It is the way that our brain puts information together and processes it, especially when we really, really want to justify ourselves. Our brain does such a good job that our scientists can’t even get close to the processing ability of the human mind. Economist use sweeping generalizations for the whole of the economic system that billions of people rely upon every day. Laws that are set in-the-books are sweeping generalizations of mental states or actions that encompass the 315 million Americans through consideration or lack thereof under those laws. When someone violates a law they must then pay restitution for their lack of consideration of that law. They are, fined, jailed, or forever ostracized because they had some lapse of judgment…or were just raised to believe in a certain way. We are all raised to believe something.
I was raised to believe that all males were dirty sexually charged scum who only wanted to use my body for their pleasure and that I should be wary of them at all costs. I was raised in a very fundamentalist Christian home. I was told I needed to preserve my virtuousness as a woman by only giving myself to the man I was going to marry. Was I surprised when I finally interacted with boys and they came off to me as nice and charming? They gave me more attention than I had ever received from my home-life. My mom never told me there were both good and bad. She only ever pointed out the bad and my religious duty to stay away. So, what was I supposed to believe about my own self when I became sexually charged? It was going to happen. It is the natural course of the human body. Those hormones begin to well up and my natural instinct to procreate begins to kick in. I guess I essentially began to see myself as the scum that my mother so vehemently spoke about. I was then living in a dark world. Teenage years are rough in our society and I can only imagine what it is like now with all the added stressors of constant information dissemination across the web.
My daughter and I had a conversation the other day about her wanting to know everything. Not that she wants to know all the information in the world and be smart, but more like she wants to know the intentions of people and what their actions are going to be. I had a difficult time trying to explain to her that she must trust people. In our day of mega-news and breaking stories of attacks and deaths it is difficult for trust in other people and of society as a whole to grow on a natural course.
I try to limit our household TV consumption as well as other forms for that matter, and instead try to increase the time we spend talking to one another to entertain deeper philosophical thought and inner reflection of ourselves as not only individuals but as participants in a societal structure. We all have considerations to keep.
We then heard a story on the radio about facebook craziness where people are posing as someone else. I really liked Oliver Mundy’s review of this movie and do believe I will be watching it soon. There is a need that has been created for some to do this, not because they are deranged, but because they have the same natural tendencies of every other human being to want to be included and accepted, yet trivial minded pettiness about looks and actions along with lack of meaningful relationships cause these individuals to become reclusive and hide behind their computers and create a fantasy world in which they are accepted. It is again a show of the gross distortion of humanity.
Now, the story I heard on the radio was about a supposed law that some want to get passed to ban this type of manipulation. I thought there was already a law in place for this. Identity theft comes to mind. On another note, have we so lost people to this type of act that instead of trying to correct a problem and see what we could do differently as a human race that might help these people, instead we put a bandage on the symptom and further ostracize them by making their actions illegal when larger corporations manipulated people every day with the bombardment of commercials doing the same thing with their products?
“Drink coke you will be as happy as a polar bear in the North Pole.”
“Take our pill and your relationship will get better because it was only suffering do to your incompetence as a male.”
“Wear our make-up and people will think you are sophisticated and beautiful and all your dreams will be fulfilled.”
“Buy our clothes and you will be content in your life and get to go to great parties and hang out with friends.”
“Use our energy drink, you will be successful and finally rich so you can go buy more crap you don’t need but we want the profit.”
Sweeping generalizations? Of course they don’t just come out and say it like that, but everyone gets the gist of what is going on and everyone accepts it. If people want to put this Facebook story down in the books as insignificant and pointless then they need to think again how this type of technology is affecting our children. For our children the cyber-world is as close to reality as the table they are sitting and typing away at. They are being brought up to rely fully only these electronics and to put complete and total trust in them, this along with being shown and taught that they cannot trust their fellow humans on a daily basis.
As you can see this is a difficult idea to bring across to my Asperger’s daughter who already has a stunted concept of the way that society must run in this day and age. I don’t think she is stunted of course, that is just what the diagnoses postulates. I believe she has a mind that does not want to grasp the grossly distorted society we now live in. She doesn’t want to accept that people can’t just be honest with one another on the grounds of being considerate of others feelings yet she watches people daily take advantage of others violating this very concept. This is a confusing social structure and I myself have difficulties explaining it to her, and once I really start explaining these things, once I start putting words to these sweeping generalizations that we are just supposed to know and follow then I start to see how absurd they really are and why she has a difficult time understanding them.
Everything is ass backwards. Instead of someone having confidence in themselves they rely on everyone around them to be gentle so as not to break their fragile self-image yet they are then taught that you cannot trust that person. Paranoia ensues. We are now raising a paranoid generation who relies on the wrong information to get by. These children will be the next Senators, Representatives, Congressman, or ghastly the next Commander and Chief. What is that sort of America going to look like?
I have a post that I wrote up months ago yet never published because of its controversy…but I am glad I didn’t because it sort of goes with this one. I will just give you the gist and now the update.
I know someone who got a lap-band to lose weight since their weight was of concern to their health. The doctor agreed upon it and the patient agreed upon it and the insurance allowed for the procedure to happen. The patient then just kept living as usual. Eating the same things in the same amounts and just went to go throw up when she overindulged. She thought this was laughable, but if someone questioned this then they are looked as like a creep who doesn’t care for someone. How can being concerned for someone’s health turn against one so quickly. Now this person just had the lapband removed, because it just didn’t work (and posted all over their Facebook how everyone should be concerned for them during their surgery). Concerned for what? They chose to have the lapband. They chose not to follow the instructions and they chose to have it removed. You bet it didn’t work. The whole purpose of the lapband is to force someone to change their habits. It is not for them to feel good about themselves and talk about how they did it. It is to force them to take responsibility for what they stick in their face. I wonder what kind of statistic this patient will become after lying to their doctor about the effects of the lapband. I know others who have tried the lapband and were successful at changing their habits. One who went through a successful pregnancy and breastfed while having the lapband. So eating smaller amounts and still getting the nutrition needed is possible, but I think the psychological aspects of this procedure need some perfecting.
I am no doctor and am just making generalizations. Generalizations just like the doctors that do with the results of their scientific experiments. Taking in a few thousand sometimes only hundreds of patients’ stories and extrapolating that information to encompass the 315 million Americans. Just like Americans generalize their considerations of the Muslim religion based upon one incident that killed around 3,000 Americans and some 4,500 casualties of the resulting war. Just like the generalizations made by the Afghans about Americans since the killing of some 136,000 of their civilians during the American ‘War on Terror.’ We generalize everything. This is how we survive, and even though we teach that generalization is a bad thing, we live by it in everyday situations. We just all keep it hush-hush. We don’t verbalize it. For if we verbalized it then we would be bringing it out of the shadows and have to face it with responsibility.
I am at a loss for what to think about my country. I am at a loss for what to teach my children about their country. I am at a loss for what to do to help others change their perspectives. I am at a loss.
I do know one thing, though…I will hang on to my humanity while I continue to make generalizations. I will not stop thinking about other people and trying to relate to them. I will not stop trying to figure out how to make this world a better place. I will not stop dreaming or hoping for a brighter future. I will not stop being human. I will make mistakes and I will learn from my experience, and I will not blame anyone for my choices. Nothing anyone says or does chooses for me. I choose how I react and how I allow things to affect me. I choose. What do you choose?