Sunday, March 04, 2018

Social Pressure versus the Self, some notes

The deeper layers of the self are what drive your important decisions.

The deeper layers of the self are not essentially more noble than "others"' expectations.

What "you" want is not more sacred, at least not till the importance of your "why" is more than just "cuz I feel like it."  Of course, nobody can coerce you to read a book instead of becoming an alcoholic, but if you regard others' expectations with an attitude of "I don't give a #$#", you might want to calm down and reconsider.

Freedom to do as "one" wants is an illusion.  What one wants is not an act of creation, but born of inner stresses, the individual history, and the impressions and influence.

Consider the expectations of your loved ones carefully.  Especially if they are emotionally tinged.  They might have the wisdom of history and community on their side.  For the vast majority, it is exceedingly likely that those expectations are to your eventual benefit.

You might think that you are unique, and not subject to historical and communal rules for living, but that would be usually a sign of youthful rebelliousness rather than understanding and wisdom.

Consider the expectations of your loved ones carefully.  Deviate from them only if you have a higher purpose which involves achieving something extraordinary, and of value.  If you want to be a mountaineer, to write a book on the decline and fall of Roman empire, or want to prove the Poincare conjecture and want to spend years in that pursuit, for examples.  In most cases, your desire to be rid of "others"' expectations will take you into a decline toward hedonism and meaninglessness.

There is a difference of intent between the expectations of your loved ones, and between the influences you derive from popular culture and media.  The former, in general, intends for your well-being, and the latter is intending you to become a loyal consumer.

To be sure, family expectations can be born of fear of loneliness and of an unhealthy possessiveness, especially if the parents are living empty lives, but it will usually be clear if that is the case.  In those cases, it requires great understanding, courage and compassion to gently refuse them and help them cope with their demons.

The modern situation is unwieldy because the ways of living and relating are becoming unstable, but if in doubt, follow a normative trajectory.  It is far, far more important for the average person to have meaningful relationships and be well-adjusted in the community than to have a facile autonomy to be up till late hours or to have a tattoo.

America is individualist, and it is also on Prozac.

Teenage is rarely the age of wisdom.  Of course, teenagers will not read this text, but as a parent, you might want to feel more reassured that by keeping your teenage children away from what you know is risky, you are not guilty of cruelty but are doing what parents are supposed to do.  Teenage seeks licentiousness, usually to great harm.

Only when a person's ego is rooted in the superego of morality and history, are they free to disobey their parents.  If their ego is obeying the id instead, they are going to destroy themselves.

How do you know if you are obeying the id or a the superego?  Simply ask yourself how your way of living will make the world a better place, or whether your ambition is more for self-gratification.

It is a form of adolescence to want to be free from expectation.  More and more, people are too burdened by a mechanized and exceedingly rule-driven society and are seeking some space to be on their own (and then perhaps switch on Netflix).  The power-process (cf The Industrial Society and its Future) has been whittled down to nothingness, and the soul rebels against its imprisonment.  But to be free from expectation is not the same as a meaningful freedom. 

Meaningful freedom comes from having some constraints and values which are larger than yourself, and then being free to achieve the fulfillment of those values.  In contrast, a vacuous freedom is to do "as you like" without any larger value system.

If you seek freedom, first establish the foundations of your meaning.  And don't look to Facebook or Oprah to establish that.  Marcus Aurelius, perhaps.

In the changing landscape of relationships, geographic dispersion of families, and an increasingly uncertain livelihood, you may not consider the old tactical rules of navigating life (think transport and telephony) any more relevant.  But cast away the strategic rules (think relationships and belief in a higher, transcendent morality) to your peril.

Social pressure is rarely about the tactics, it more about values and what kind of a person you are.

Consider morality outdated only with great caution.

You might ask, what about a gay person in a conservative household?  Should he concede to the pressure to behave as a straight?  No, and we cannot devise a philosophy of life which will cover all situations.  In situations where there is a genuine ambiguity about the strategic aspects of life, navigation will probably have to be improvised.


Unknown said...

Very nicely written harman ..

Unknown said...

Awesome...hust what I was pondering over...coming from a totally different culture...trying to live in American culture .... just realised what a blessing to have been born and raised by parents who ibstiller values...and made us discern the difference between id,ego and superego

Pradeep Bhardwaj said...

I like the point being made here. It can change someone's decisions. It is powerfyl. Question is, "America is individualist", this is said in positive way or just the fact? America is most developed economy I think I can say. So individualist nation can't be bad else it would not have reached where it reached. For a nation to be great, society must be great. Isn't it?