Friday, October 10, 2014

Alienation and differentiation

I read this article last night off of a friend's feed on Facebook about how rich people and others who have extraordinary experiences (travel, for instance) are made not happier for having done so, but more miserable, because they have a difficult time sharing with others how awesome the experience was.  They, in effect, isolate themselves.

Driving in to work this morning -- with a lot of other people in unexceptional cars and most likely similarly undifferentiated office casual (Friday is jeans day here!) -- it occurred to me that this same line of thinking could be applied to much in our lives, but I was specifically thinking about cultural consumption/career paths.

So me, for example, with my PhD in Russian Literature and my youthful attempts to read and listen to and see more and wierder books and music and movies, really to demonstrate how smart I am -- because as a geeky kid that was the core of my identity, it was where I felt strong.  So the more I try to set myself off from others, the more I make myself one of a kind, the more I isolate myself.

Little wonder that I there are centrist aspects to who I am that are important for connecting to the rest of the world, to wit pizza, cheeseburgers (but a respect for aging and cholesterol), child-rearing, playing sports, AA, UNC Basketball, Talladega Nights, Moonstruck, Coming to America.... etc.  I do indeed love all that stuff.

In  the end, there's always a question of balance.  Veering to far off into differentiation can indeed get me in trouble, but I do gotta be me.

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