Sunday 22 July 2012


Such a long time I haven't been writing and so many things on my mind. Thoughts about things that I have seen and moments that I have lived seemed to be connected, but the puzzle just wouldn't fall into place, and now I got an idea and I will have to see where it will lead me.

The question hanging there is: Why is life so difficult at times?

Well, there is illness and death, the quite inevitable things, but there are so many other occasions in which life is so darn hard and I was wondering if it has to be like that.

We are educated the way our culture requests it, there are individual aberrations but generally in the Western world sex is preferably to happen within the marriage, but before is kind of ok-ish, after marriage only if you are young enough, basically meaning able to reproduce; in other cultures the rule set might be tighter or more lose. We have dogs, cats and rabbits as pets yet we eat rabbits. The Chinese put dogs on their dinner plates, yet we find that disgusting. We have rules about what to eat, what to learn, how to learn it, for how long to work, haw fast to drive and how to raise our children, rules which we are taught from early on to be able to fit in. 

Some of the rules make sense, or at least made sense historically, some made their way into law, but most of them are in people's heads, being passed down the generations. Rules pretend to be a moral framework promising safety to the ones who stick with it.

It is hard to do so, though. Things don't always pan out, do they? Married partners might find each other boring or even unbearable to live with, but no.... you took the decision to live with that person as a youngster some quarter of a century back and now you have to pay for it: Social convention will brand mark you should you dare leave. Oh yes, we are allowed to divorce by law, yet the label 'devorce' will stick and even if you re-marry this will not change. I got a speeding ticket recently; yep, went 57 miles in a 50 mile zone. At 56 miles nothing would have happened. It was an empty two lane road, at night. I consider myself a relaxed driver, I don't have road rage, I flow with the traffic, and yes, if the conditions are right I like to go fast. This 50 miles sign makes sense during day time, then this is a very dangerous road with heavy traffic. The technology to install adaptable signage exists, but is expensive, so for the policing of rules it is easier to just convict. If an enraged person would have tried to push me off the road at less than 50 miles, the rules would not have caught him.

Don't get me wrong: Societies need rules! But how we apply those rules can make life very difficult.

One might think that rules which made it into law are the most difficult to change, I however believe that the ones in people's heads are the most difficult to eradicate. I find myself ever so often judging others for something that is not my business. Why is her skirt so short? Shouldn't she be better at school at that time of the day? Funny that his car is rarely parked in front of the house! Looking like that he shouldn't eat that burger!

I measure myself against others to determine my own place within the social framework. If there are others who are worse than me, than I must be on the good side. And at the same time it scares the shit out of me that something might happen that makes me 'them'. That there might be others who judge me the same way.

The culprit that makes life so difficult is 'social convention'. It makes everybody offended so easily. People snogging in the street, boobs on magazine covers, celebrating your religious beliefs in the open while being in the wrong culture, breast feeding in a restaurant... the list of potentially offencive things is endless. We are trained from the first day of our existence to not offend others.We learn how to second guess when somebody might be offended, as a matter of fact I feel that I have been second guessing my entire life. The framework of social convention which is supposed to give me safety in rules actually only ever provided me with a pool of uncertainty. 

I am wondering: Wouldn't it be much easier if we would change perspective and just take less offence?

And thus I am taking a new motto: Be generous to those around you!