Relate

I lack the ability to relate to most people. This isn’t really an issue or a problem, other than the fact that I exude an amount of tolerance for their differences and opinions that is not extended to me in kind. There’s just something about ‘respecting views that differ from your own and the people who have them’ that other people can’t seem to muster. I know it’s a comfort thing; people feel safe with sames. They fear change. They lack a desire to grow or learn from seeing the world through a vision that clashes with theirs. Their endorphins get all fuzzy around the banal; they let that fear drive who they are, and base actions on their ‘instincts’ (regardless of how well their guts have guided them so far; in fact, the poorer their previous decisions have been, the more inclined they seem to be to continue to self-sabotage by basing decisions on these feelings rather than on anything sensible).
And why do my opinions differ so much from the hoi polloi? For starters, it’s hard for me to find anyone whose opinions or thoughts on anything but the most shallow of subject matters have any sort of logic, reason, or insight. I can point out how a person is a complete hypocrite and a brainless drone in a matter of seconds, but that’s not exactly polite nor respectful, nor is it necessarily important. I see the world in a different way than most. I see the future in a different way than most. I like plenty of people, and can be sociable as needed. I enjoy my friends and genuinely have fun with them. But I also have to stay within the boundaries of generic topics with them, because most of them are not the sort of people who would respect nor tolerate/understand my viewpoints. To that end, they become segmented; there are the tech friends, the music friends, the science friends, the sci-fi friends, etc… some overlap, and some can never cross streams. Sometimes my separate ‘worlds’ intersect in unexpected ways. I covered this segmentation in an early post as well, but what I didn’t touch on earlier was the criteria for the ‘kindred spirits.’ The easiest way to explain it would be to say that it consists of what I’ll call ‘AQL.’ AQL is a variant/tier – ‘aesthetic quality level.’ Within your specific AQL, there is an acceptable aesthetic/quality threshold for art, food, music, literature, other creations, etc. When you are exposed to materials that are on a different AQL than your own, you think they’re substandard and don’t emotionally resonate/connect/relate with them. People will gravitate towards a certain AQL; this is not to say that one is better than another, but within your own AQL you’ll think that most other AQLs (especially ones that are on more distant tiers) are crap. You may appreciate another AQL, but it is not the one that you have a kinship with. For example, you may think that you ‘appreciate fine art,’ but going to a high-priced gallery with works that are considered by ‘art people’ to be genius leave you feeling flat. You look at your friend’s piss-poor photos – someone who’s pretentious in their dismissal of people they see as pretentious, who’s convinced that they’re some great artist – and you think it’s obvious their work is inferior and downright low-quality, but they think they’re a creative genius and anyone who can’t see that is a fool (when they’re just on a different AQL). People tend to think that they’re better than people on other AQLs; the folksy oven mitt painter thinks she’s more ‘real,’ the big-name urban designer thinks he’s got ‘more class and style,’ and so on. Of course, AQL isn’t only about art/creations; it’s about values, beliefs, styles, tastes, preferences, and opinions. But it’s easy to get sucked into a delusional monoculture by surrounding yourself with people whose AQL is the same as yours and using that to reduce/diminish the value of others; it becomes a game of ‘us’ versus ‘you.’ I have to think/hope that my particular tribe isn’t into playing those kinds of games.
boathouse

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