Working Relationships and Compromise

Often, when we talk about relationships we consider our interrelations with other people and perhaps we usually neglect to think about our intrarelations. Sometimes, we have easy, good relationships because the intrarelationship is almost intuitive and requires no effort, in other relationships the intrarelations are difficult and often are the real cause of a relationship to break down. People fail to recognise their need to help others and instead prioritise their personal ambitions.

So, what are intrarelations? These are the decisions we reach that occur outside of communication. Indeed in long term relationships they are discussed, but this is something we only engage with with those closest to us, or when things are not working out. A large part of these decisions are about what we do as people to achieve a balance in our lives. This balance is between our own inner lives and our social lives.

I don’t believe in altruism, the idea of acting for no personal gain. If we do something for the benefit of others we also gain, from fulfilling our needs to play a role socially and be useful, so helping others helps ourselves and our society.

There are things we really want to do and there are things people want to do with us. Sometimes we are really lucky and what we really want to do will also be what our loved ones also want to do; these are often the very best times in our lives. Often we choose something we quite like doing with a group of friends to something we want to do more by ourselves because doing things together socially has it’s own rewards and adds enjoyment. However, most of the time we have to make decisions about whether to do what we want to do or engage in a social activity. Often we prefer to do something involving other people to something by ourselves, because we are social animals and we thrive from social activities. However over time we start to get increasingly niggly about doing the thing at the top of our list that we never seem to get around to doing and start prioritising it. conversely, after some time doing what we really want we may then desire to something we are not terribly keen on, just to be with a particular person or group or to experience something different. So interrelations are perhaps all those decisions about balancing our individual priorities.

Occasionally there are conflicts, we are all different and have different needs. For example introverts tend to need more time by themselves, whilst extroverts need more social time. So, it is easy to understand how an introvert and an extrovert may have conflicts. Having said that some very strong bonds can form between these two opposites, when each party is prepared to listen and compromise and find a way for both of them to be happy.

So in a relationship there needs to be some way of ascertaining what the others persons feelings are. Usually we ask indirectly and gauge the answer, for example “Do you fancy coming to the pub with me tonight?”. Possible answers are:

1- “Yes, I would love to go out with you tonight” [Highly affirmative]

2- “Yes, why not, but I probably shouldn’t stay too long” [Affirmative, but not the others priority]

3- “No, I have other things to do tonight, do you need me to come?” [Negative, but will do so as a favour]

4- “No, I don’t fancy it tonight” [Highly negative]

Another spectrum! , the answers 2 and 3, in effect ask a further question of the other person’s priority in doing the activity and their need for social activity.

Such a system is open to abuse and manipulation and often this causes friction in a relationship. It is easy for the person wanting to go to the pub to encourage the other to join them, however repeatedly forcing the other will eventually go beyond their desire to compromise. Sometimes people will inflict their own personal priority systems on others, for example an extrovert may feel that the introvert would be better off socialising more, rather than staying at home, but this is wrong and dangerous. However there are times, when a person will be better off for doing something that are not inspired themselves to do, but you need to know each other well to do this.

Essentially, a good strong relationship, is where both parties have a healthy balance between their social and private desires.

It is possible to explore wider types of relationships from the standpoint of achieving this balance. When community relationships are explored, as the social net becomes wider, the intra-relationship is at risk of not being maintained by social convention.

Markets

In Wales, as in much of Europe, we used to do most of our everyday trading locally, I was lucky to grow up in such a community. We would know personally our local ‘butcher, baker and candlestick maker’, we would meet and form friendships within our communities as we wandered the market doing our shopping. Traders, would learn what our preferences were, indeed such relationships were good for trade. However this gentle manipulation was appreciated, for example often the butchers recommended cuts, would mean we enjoyed our meat more. The relationship was maintained as the trader wouldn’t want to rip-off or off load bad meat onto a customer, who they would then lose future trade with. Hence mutually supportive relations were established between customers and traders. Often people lament that such economic relationships don’t happen anymore. Indeed, so many of us no longer even have a local butcher, baker or local market. Instead we travel, often long distances,  to large multi-national supermarkets, where we have practically no relationship with the seller of our goods. The effect of this change is that shopping becomes more of a chore and we lose out on social interaction within our communities.

In place of this social interaction we have the phenomenon of marketing. Rarely nowadays, do retailers provide for the needs of their customers. Vast amounts of research and study of numbers have been done, simply to find ways of maximising profits. These ways of maximising profits have little to do with satisfying peoples needs and wants, but generally work to increase profits, essentially by manipulation and finding artificial ways of making people feel satisfied with their shopping. Having worked for a supermarket myself, I appreciate how easy it is to become institutionalised and  of serving the commercial needs at the expense of the staff and customers, it is so easy to allow the compromises of the job to become a new normal and accepted.

Romantic Relationships

A desire most people have is to find a partner, someone to share most of their life with. This usually isn’t easy, indeed we invest a lot of time in wishing for such successful fulfilling partnerships. However, like in marketing, a plethora of research has been done and people have found ways to manipulate generalities to increase their success in finding partnerships where the relationship can be exploited to maximise an individuals priorities at the expense of doing things for the other person. However where manipulation doesn’t occur and true compromises are reached is often the recipe for a successful relationship.

It isn’t hard to find people who are game players, who have worked out how to have relationships that satisfy their personal ambitions, to use general rules at the expense of establishing truly mutually beneficial relationships or fulfill their need to support someone else. It isn’t hard either to find doormats either, who only want to make their partner happy at the expense of their personal needs. True fulfilling relationships perhaps does only come from achieving a good balance.

Disc Jockeys

In this age of on demand digital media, the demise of the traditional radio Disc jockey (DJ) has been predicted. There is the idea that we don’t need someone to sit in a studio playing records for us, when we can do it ourselves and choose the music we like. Yet, arguably now is a golden era of the DJ. A good DJ will not merely play records they like, though this   is what they do, they create programmes. Radio programmes are an attempt to collate things we are interested in in interesting ways, they enhance our listening to music. A good DJ achieves this in a number of ways. Firstly curation, a good DJ will spend a lot of time discovering music for themselves and their listeners and becoming highly skilled at this. Indeed searching for music on the internet, or even developing a decent algorithm for  selecting an internet stream isn’t easy, so having a professional helps. The music is then blended together, so pieces of music flow and provide interest and a story through the order in which they are selected. Finally a good DJ will chat with the listener, creating warm feelings and making the whole process of listening a lot more personal. A good DJ does their job for other people, and may even play a piece they don’t like, but feel that their listeners will find it interesting in it’s context. A DJ listens and makes compromises with their audience. Really, the good DJ fulfills their personal needs and their social needs.

In contrast, there continues to be a plethora of commercial radio, which is truly awful. Many radio stations simply use the model of playing the most popular pieces of music of the day and the aim of the game is not to provide good programming, but manipulate their audience in to staying tuned in for the next set of advertisements. It is often so soulless.

Politics

It is perhaps in the arena of party politics, where the this disconnect demonstrating the failure of modern relationships to achieve healthy balances occurs.

The job of a politician is simply to make good decisions. In a democracy, the politicians are elected, so should demonstrate to the electorate that they are good decision makers by making it clear what they base their decision making on.

A politician is also someone whom is interested in politics, so will have personal goals they wish to achieve in helping create the kind of thriving society they want to see. However, they are entering into a relationship with their electors, so compromises are required, to find solutions that work for the community.

Really it doesn’t matter if a politician is of the left or the right-wing as long as they make good decisions and achieve a good balance with their own ideals and the good of the society they serve, for then good decisions are made.

However as the political sphere becomes ever more centralised, the direct relationship with the electors is lost and the role stops being about serving the community. In consequence being a politician becomes more about personal achievements at the expense of social achievements.

Being a member of political party and having done some canvassing for elections (Plaid Cymru), I have become interested in the welfare of the party, rather than the society it aims to serve. These days, party politics is notorious for rules for saying and doing what works to help the party gain votes and win elections, often at the expense of losing sight of improving the economy and society. I was with a candidate who was asked a question on the street and they gave a very grod ‘politicians’ answer of not saying anything. I knew he had good answers, but was concerned about saying something that would be misinterpreted by a potential opponent at the end of a long tiring canvassing session (Remember you have been saying very similar things to lots of people for several hours, so your brain starts turning to cardboard by the end!).

The famous example being Tony Blair’s government, where the government became a slave to focus groups and engineering policy to win elections, rather than doing the right thing. Winning elections became more important than improving the economy. Blair was good at compromising, he was a master at it, he was a failure in my eyes because he didn’t really make any progress his own convictions to improve  society, I don’t even know if he had any, he seemed merely to want to win the game.

I recently read ‘The Greasy Poll’ by Mike Parker who stood for my party in the Ceredigion UK general election of 2015. In this diary of an election from the candidates view, a world was revealed of his words (that there are racists in Ceredigion) being taken out of context by the press (‘he said that all incomers are Nazis!’), which seemed to have led to him failing to win the seat. It seemed to him that ordinary people can’t succeed in politics because they can’t be themselves, for if they are, they are crucified. Perhaps only a slick politician who is very careful to say nothing that could be misinterpreted is successful.

However now we are in the Brexit/Trump era, where people have got fed up with politicians not being honest with their views and opinions, that mavericks such as Trump and Farage get the votes, by appealing to this discontent but just using a different set of words to do it. Instead of the glib “We are going to make things better, don’t listen to the other lot as they want to make things worse!”, this new breed say “The other politicians don’t say anything, so listen to my populist rhetoric of finding scapegoats for our problems instead” What a politician says has become far more important than what they do. It seems we live in a world where a soundbite that resonates is more important than a deed that actually helps improve something. Where are the politicians who have sound personal ambitions and the ability to make decisions that work for the whole of society?

Take the current leaders of the two largest political parties in the UK. On one side we have Jeremy Corbyn, a socialist campaigner, who has thus far failed to convince the population as a whole that he is able to listen and find a workable compromise with those who are socialists. On the other side we have Teresa May, a right-wing authoritarian, who only seems to serve her ideological ambitions and in real terms has yet to do anything to genuinely serve society. She is able to say that she cares, even when she does nothing at all to act on these cares.

It seems that you have to play the game to be proficient at succeeding in the party political game, to rise to senior position where you can actually achieve something, yet by that point they are so distorted by the game to be unable to do anything positive at all. So perhaps all politicians have a broken relationship with the the people in their society. Such politicians do not help society, nor make progress in advancing their individual cause, they only win the game of of politics. In the same way as the ladies man may rack up lots of partners, but never achieve a deep meaningful relationship. An executive business person, may achieve success for their company. career, but not any real tangible benefit to society, or any real achievement, outside of the corporate game.  A popular DJ, may rack up millions of listeners listening to them in the background, whereas the good DJ can seriously touch peoples lives and change people’s thinking with their selection of music.

I wrote last time about what is an achievement. I do just believe that making a real difference to society, or forming a mutually beneficial relationship is an achievement. Whereas winning an artificial game is much no achievement at all, in any game someone has to win and someone has to lose, the winner has not really achieved anything. Perhaps interrelationships are passing fun, but intrarelations are where true success can be achieved.

Curing Masculinism

You do occasional here about so called ‘masculinism’ these days as a ‘response’ to feminism, from people who don’t appear to understand feminism in the slightest. As a male myself, collectively men seem so far behind women in getting over trying to be something expected of us by our birth gender role. Both men and women are swamped by images of how what our gender should dress like, behave, enjoy etc. and if you don’t quite fit within this definition or at least play along with it, tough, you’re an outcast. Not only is this limiting and destructive, it is so boring and limiting. For example the idea that I grew up with that ‘Boys don’t cry’, beautifully parodied by my favourite band ‘The Cure’. It took me years before I regained the ability to cry when I was upset. How is it great and ‘manly’ to not feel sad about sad things because we are ‘tough’ that we are don’t want to be affected by anything or have to actually deal with it. So many men, never get over this restriction.

Children very quickly pick up these gender stereotypes and very quickly conform to them. There is evidence to suggest that this conformity is the child demonstrating that they have understood. Society does indeed seem to encourage the development of ‘masculine’ traits for boys and ‘feminine’ ones for girls. However in Western culture particularly we have started to question these gender roles. Really, back in ‘cavemen’ times [or should it be cavepeople? oh wait they didn’t actually live in caves (sic)] it helped society together than the generally larger stronger sex went out hunting. However in an increasingly urban world, there is no need to encourage hunting skills, so why does society have this tendency to stick with these traditions?

Then there is a form of sexism that some men have of expecting women to behave in a ‘feminine’ way, which I don’t get at all. The logic seems to be well I have chosen to conform to a definition of masculinity, so I expect everyone else to conform this way too, even the other gender.Or is it more than this, there is this idea to teach people to conform as the idea as doing this will make your life easier, you will fit in and not stand out. However, it seems that these days success is achieved by the people who do stand out, who do take a different direction.

Often other men ask me “But don’t you like women wearing pretty dresses?” because what I find attractive in women, doesn’t fit the algorithm for how it seems most mean assess or a woman’s attractiveness.

Well I do like women wearing pretty dresses, wearing make up and having done something with their hair, but, only if I have seen them wearing normal clothes first. I like to see the change, the difference. Because most of the time the most attractive thing to me a lady can wear is jeans and a woolly jumper.

As a biologist I have spent some time working in jungles. Working in a jungle is hot and damp and in order to protect the ecosystem we don’t wash clothes in ‘modern’ detergents and th eonly way of gettign them dry is for them to get very smoky drying by a fire. So our clothes are always stained, and holey (from brushing past spiky plants regularly). This did not prevent me from finding some of my female companions attractive. When the project was over and everyone returns to a city, there is often a final social get together in a restaurant before everyone goes home. There is an opportunity to wash properly, wear clean clothes and often the women put on make-up. For me these are special times, to be able to see women I’ve been working for for several weeks in a completely new light. They are not more attractive than they were before, it’s just nice to see them having done something with their appearance. However I gather from other men that they suddenly notice how attractive these women are, I don’t get this at all.

I visited Germany last year. In a sense it was wonderful as the women in Germany dress normally (dress down?) most of the time and usually only have a few dresses for dressing up once in a while. I did indeed think that this was a place I would like to live, a society where my preferences were less different. Having said that a guy shoulder charged me for wearing a floral shirt, anyway German men dress appallingly, stripes everywhere) However some people complain that such Northern European women are somehow ‘less feminine’. They are just as feminine as women anywhere else, what perhaps they mean is that such women do not conform to some traditional view of femininity as in other places.

There are some obvious avenues to explore to explain this. Firstly Northern Europe is densely populated and industrialised a long time ago, so there is a bigger gap to a world where hunting was possible, the culture has had time to develop in new post-industrial ways. Secondly there is language. I’m been learning Welsh recently. Welsh like many other Indo-European languages assigns nouns a gender, masculine and feminine. So the language itself encourages speakers to view things in a gendered way. It is interesting that each language assigns these slightly differently, but there is a broadish conformity with traditional ideas of gender. However, in the Germanic languages of English and I believe the Scandinavian languages, this focus on gender has been lost or is rapidly disappearing. For example we now use ‘they’ for a person of unknown gender, or when the gender is not important (even in Welsh nowadays), whereas in Spanish, such a ‘they’ is masculine, unless the group only consists of females (‘ninos’ (male or mixed group of children) and ‘ninas’ (female only group of children).

How gender is dealt with is hugely complicated. We still live in a world where there are gender expectations. If for whatever reason you don’t fit the traditional roles, you have to find a way to deal with the stereotyping. Personally I have got myself into difficulties with women  who have misinterpreted my attention as seeking a relationship with them. I don’t know whether it is always a mistake to let women know that you find them attractive and then quickly ascertain that they are not interested in exploring a relationship with myself or not. However I often find that some women continue to believe I am seeking a relationship when continuing a non-sexual relationship. It is difficult, because I now see how much negative attention women get from men that is pursuing a relationship. It’s kind of like I had to come to terms with being different and to not be concerned that I was being treated in a seemingly strange way.

I think my conclusion that a traditional model of what masculinity and femininity is not wrong, or something that needs to be cured or got over, however not thinking about it at all can have negative consequences. If you happen to fit in, that is a wonderful gift, yet it is still worth understanding how much of that is really you, how much you are happy to conform and find out where you are different. What I would suggest though is that we do all need to discover who we are for ourselves and not blindly adopt roles. Even if you are an outsider, to function socially you require an understanding of the way the majority behave; which is perhaps why children learn gender roles at a young age. Essentially what I am saying that understanding is good and that we need to understand ourselves better and also find what grounds us, what roots us to ourselves and our communities, to realise that everyone else may be on such a journey too.  We should not criticise others for their choices in how they ground themselves, but we should be wary when others try and pressure people to behave to conform.

 

 

Seeking Relationships or Not

Beginning heterosexual relationships is a weird, complicated, fraught, scary process. There is perhaps only one reason for this, that there is the possibility of a romantic or sexual attachment.

I’ve always been somewhat jealous of the ease with which my gay friends establish friendships with women. I think that the reason is purely and simply that the possibility of romantic attachment isn’t there. I have many female friends, with whom there is an ease with each other, this has occurred as at some point the possibility of a romantic attachment was settled and moved on from, this settling usually happens sub-consciously, it is perhaps a product of time and getting to know the person. some women who I meet sometimes start acting dismissively as if I am seeking a relationship with them. What has disturbed me is sometimes men, even heterosexual men, start acting strangely towards me as if I am seeking a romantic relationship with them.

The thing that has troubled me about this is that it seems that everyone deals with this issue differently, and sometimes distressing situations can occur whereby individual systems clash. In Western society this is a particular problem, the society is so socially liberal that etiquette has been largely rejected, anything goes. Etiquette is a essentially a set of social rules to make social interactions easier. So, why has Western society adopted a position of making social interactions harder?

This has been an issue for me as I suffered from anxiety for so long that it has perhaps warped my own interaction system. Basically in my system I don’t seek relationships. I enjoy communicating with people, sometimes things click and there is a kind of understanding of who the other person is, sometimes there is a liking of that person,there are then three possibilities: 1/ Nothing, 2/ a friendship begins to form, 3/ a romantic relationship begins to form. For me, these things just happen.

It seems as though everyone has, perhaps it’s another personality spectrum, a degree to which interactions are monitored for the seeking of relationships, perhaps people always invest some effort in interacting in seeking a relationship. If this is the case, then perhaps I am at an extreme end of this spectrum.

What I have struggled with is that I am sensitive to people thinking that I am seeking a relationship, because it annoys me, as conversation dries up, the question you are asking is is no longer about the question but responded to as if by asking you are seeking a relationship. I feel like crying out ‘I’m not seeking a relationship, I’m just talking to you”. It seems that people once they get the idea in their head that you are seeking a relationship, normal relations are no longer possible, that can be very awkward, particularly in environments where you spend time together, such as a working environment. I find it quite ridiculous as both parties then go out of their way to avoid each other.

It is quite understandable how this situation arises. I do speak to women just because I am attracted to them. Fairly quickly one realises that they are not interested in a romantic liaison, I immediately take that on board and move on (Well I might find a corner to cry in at some juncture). However, some men, continue to seek relationships after this point, this continuing strategy does work, sometimes, as it is possible to change your mind after getting to know someone better. Such a strategy is generally acceptable, however if it continues it becomes harassment, how much to employ such a strategy varies as people are different, it is a grey area. Once members of a population use a strategy, there then arises a counter-strategy, the women develop strategies for dealing with unwanted attention, to monitor people for seeking relationships to trigger the defensive response. Really, the whole ‘game’ of finding a sexual partner is complicated and some people actively play this game.

This is perhaps why it becomes problematic for people such as myself, who are very low level relationship seekers. This group don’t seek relationships, so such people don’t really know what is going on when people are analysing a situation for relationship seeking. It is possible to think that this group are victims of being in a game they don’t know the rules of. It is tempting to join in and simply ‘play the game’, however fighting against your own personality is dangerous.

Of course, this non-relationship seeking is a strategy in itself, it is simply not purposefully used as a strategy. I have many male and female friends whom I’ve formed relationships with precisely because I wasn’t seeking a relationship. I like having relationships, I just hate all the faff involved in getting to a point of mutual trust and respect. The thing that perhaps bothers me is that social groups form due to social type, one only socialises with people like yourself. There are positives to only socialising with like minded souls, but it is also limiting, the perception is missing out on understanding other types of people.

Non-relationship seeking does tend to be the preserve of introverts. Because introverts are really happy to be alone, there is no need for social interaction to be fulfilled. Introverts simply like social interaction, but are equally happy doing things by ourselves. Then there is this low self-monitoring issue, whereby low self-monitors don’t change their behaviour to suit others.

 

Online Sexism?

Recently, I have set my foot into the world of online dating. It is an interesting and bizarre world. I may post more about this in future. The issue for today is how perhaps, online social activities influence real world interactions.

Anyone who has ever dabbled in internet forums, message boards, chat rooms or comments sections of articles, has probably gathered that there are many idiots out there, these people are referred to as trolls. Trolls, rather than engaging in a discussion, seem to delight in taking an extreme view and abusing anyone who responds to them. In the real world this wouldn’t happen in the same way. I grew up to respect others positions, in a pub discussion if you behaved disrespectfully, you would general getting punched for it. This really is the problem of trolling, is that it is relatively anonymous and there is no social consequence for behaving like an idiot.

In the arena of online dating, there should perhaps be less trolling as people are there to meet new people and form relationships rather than seek getting a rise out of people. Though it is online, so some trolling will occur.

Having set up a profile and sent messages to ladies who seemed interesting to me, I have yet to have any response at all. This seems odd, I have written to about 40 ladies, it seems rude to have no response to having taken the time to write something.  I thought that this was how it worked, the rules of the forum, that instead of communicating a lack of interest, no response was the accepted unspoken rule that such communities had developed.

Last night, having a look through some ladies profiles I discovered explanations of why some ladies don’t respond. Basically, it seems that when ladies have responded an stated a lack if interest, that there are men who don’t take no for an answer and persist in contacting these ladies. This makes sense if this is as prevalent as it seems, however isn’t there something sexist about treating everyone as if they were a harasser. This is creating an assumption or a prejudice that all men are going to act a certain way. As a bloke, I have developed behaviours to identify and reduce and prejudice I may have, for example I don’t judge a lady by what she is wearing. In the real world it is much easier to detect whether someone is interested in talking to you or not.

Having said that I also discovered that there are men who are very sexually provocative, sending pictures of their genitalia and suchlike, this is appalling behaviour. There also appear to be instances of people lying about who they are. What is the point of lying, as if a relationship forms, such things will be exposed. Then again , it’s like CVs, you write them to present yourself in a good light, this gets you a better job and once in it’s often easier keep someone in. However, i would argue relationships are different to job applications.

As it is acceptable behaviour in online forums to not respond to messages, this leaks into the real world. It becomes more acceptable to be rude and ignore people in real life. With a generation of people who spend more and more time in online activities, such leaking of social etiquette in to the real world, has consequences. Being of a generation that generally, worked to remove prejudice of all kinds, it seems that the generation behind is introducing prejudice back into society.

I wrote in an earlier post about how I have struggled with people, most often women, who assume that i am seeking a closer relationship with them, when this is something I only do in an explicit way. So, i have entered a forum ,where I am only seeking a relationship, so simply saying no should be really simple, but it seems for many people this is not the case? I am baffled!

Visual Personalities

I am not a very visual person. Sometimes I am struck with how much peoples different personality types influence individual understanding of the world and how others perceive other individuals. A discussion about music videos revealed how much people both create their own visuals to accompany music and associate produced visuals (music videos) with the music. This is something that I don’t do, I do not associate visuals with music. If I make a concious effort to I can, but it is unnatural for me to do this. People live in different worlds as everyone’s world view is coloured by sets of preferences determined by their personality.

I love opera and theatre, but don’t enjoy ballet/ dance as artistic expression. Why? because I comprehend how in opera/ theatre the actions of the players represent emotional states conceptually. Whereas in ballet/ dance emotional states are represented physically and visually, this I am poor at comprehending.

What was interesting about this discussion I was having was that someone asked: ‘What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?’ It so happened that questioner has a very similar Myers-Briggs type to me, yet they were a very visual person. So we created the suggestion that Myers-Briggs personality type is not associated with whether someone is a visual person.

The Myers-Briggs personality types are interesting. They offer a way of helping people understand how they are different and lead to explanations of conflicts with other personality types. for the record, I am INFJ. I strongly connect with the Introverted intuition type (IN) very weakly feeling (F) over thinking (T) and fairly weakly for Judging (J) over perceiving (P). I used to be overly concerned with people reacting negatively to me. So, being able to be free of knowing that it isn’t usually my behaviour that is the problem, but other peoples failure to understand it.

I love music, I connect with music quite deeply. When I was younger I didn’t fully appreciate, that the majority of people don’t do this. The majority of people like music, these people may need assistance of visual imagery to fully understand the music. Then there are people who don’t really get music, who probably are irritated by how ubiquitous music is in modern society. All aspects of personality exist on various spectra. I just happen to be nearer the extreme ends of the music and visual ones. The right music can help me understand a visual piece of art better.

When I was younger and more angry and cynical, I would become upset with how music is presented, particularly how popular music was a bizarre mixture of great and poor music. It angered me that music that I considered good was treated in the same way as bad music, why were music mediums such as TV/radio being poor at quality assessments, the forces deciding what music was commercially successful were themselves not musical. Of course I now appreciate that associations of music with particular visuals or social phenomena (i.e not the music itself) were what was driving this, The majority of people whose personalities were not music specialists. I have become tolerant of such workings of the mainstream world.

There is such diversity in personalities in the world and so many spectra that make each individual, a genuine individual. This diversity leads to perceivable preferences. for example, fashion is important for some people, a visual presentation of the self. These preferences will influence how individuals behave and what ideas and concepts they more strongly associate with. It takes a long time to get to know another person fully (and it’s never 100%), which is why learning to know people better is fascinating.

Yet in the world there are so many value judgements made about particular groups of people. There is much conflict based on superficial understanding of peoples motives. I appreciate that my personality type, predisposes me to tolerance and avoiding conflict. However in a more integrated world, where people are decreasing left alone to do their own thing, tolerance is becoming more important than ever.

Supporting Data

All too often relationships falter at the alter of misunderstanding. People become upset by perceptions of malice. By allowing the feelings of anger and sorrow to linger, people allow themselves opinions to become bias. This is partly the problem of nature of ‘supporting data’.

When people misunderstand  one another, a misinterpretation of intention is experienced. There is often a sense of unwillingness to be open and clear up the misunderstanding, partly because this is time consuming, requires careful thought and exposes any individual to a lot of individual personality history and quirks. Until, if ever, this occurs there is a period of upset.

So, as individuals we learn to deal with this period of upset. A simple solution is sass, to disassociate the self from the incident and not allow it to affect yourself. Otherwise as the individual doesn’t have access to all the data, or the other side of the story, they may suffer from the mortification that they have done something terribly immoral and begin to overly question themselves.

The support of friends is often sought, if affected. This requires a re-telling of the story. The friend will hear an account of how their friend has been mistreated by someone. It is not the whole story as the only data available is one side of the story. Nonetheless, the story, sounds like their friend has been mistreated. In any case, the other data is unavailable, what is important is to help their friend, to support them and reassure them that there isn’t anything wrong that they have done. Often, by implication, the other party is to blame. What often happens is that people are blamed without access to all the information.

This can be a problem as it can quickly occur that peoples labels outside the group can empirically seem to belong to a ‘bad lot’. Young men and women will often blame the other gender for social problems for example.

My concern is that this process is increasingly occurring in the media and indeed social media. Every day I become more exposed to bias data and less authoritative balanced accounts. It requires effort to ensure that you keep exposing yourself to a wide range of sources of opinions, to protect yourself from adopting the biases of groups to which you belong. Social media is particularly bad for this, for example on twitter, you tend to follow people who share your interests and general opinions, reinforcing your own bias.

My uncle, took a right wing newspaper (In the UK most mass media is right wing), he did this because he wanted to know ‘what the enemy was thinking’. As a younger man, I assumed that this was why most people read the newspapers they did, rather than one which reflected more closely their own position. Perhaps because, we are all insecure, we seek reassurance that what we think is all-right by reading/hearing similar opinions reflected back to us.

This is very dangerous. For example, the great lesson of the rise of Nazism in the twentieth century. A small minority of any population, tries to buck the system and commits crimes. The criminals will come from every religious, racial or social group. However if the dominant media only report , for example, the crimes of Jews and neglect to report those of other people, then the impression created is that Jews commit most of the crimes, when this has no statistical basis. This view became pervasive in Nazi Germany and was one of the causes of the terrible rise of Naziism. So it worries me now, that Muslims are now placed in a similar position in contemporary Western Society.

It is easier for people to feel that someone else is to blame and that it isn’t their fault, really because there isn’t enough data readily available to assess whether as an individual you are part of the problem or not. not readily available as it harder to locate data sources outside of your culture/ social group. Whilst difficult and non-commercial (the data sources will not be marketed at you), it is important that everyone does this, to spend a little time thinking outside of the generalisations we require to get by and stay positive.

People are distracted by the trivial, the serious is often mentally tiring and disturbing. Art is a great stimulus to the intellect and source of positive feelings. What makes something a rewarding piece of art is interesting, so often people seek the background to the art. As a starting point, one may seek to discover the artists background or biography. Beyond that people may become interested in gossip of the artist as celebrity (here beginning to concern the trivial). The ardent fan may seek personal information beyond, that required to understand the art, to feel a sense of personal connection to the artist. The bulk of popular media responds to this  by generally providing trivial data, at the expense of balance. Again, we become accustomed to this torrent of trivia and instead of vigilently questioning it, begin to accept these trivial opinions as truths, after all they are only trivial truths.

But, it affects democracy too. The idealised British democratic system is based upon politicians taking advice and data from a range of people, generally experts in the field, academics and captains of industry. Ideally, all this data is then rigorously discussed amongst politicians of a range of types, and compromises reached and policy enacted to improve the general situation. Whether the UK ever had this ideal is a matter for debate, however it is clear that this ideal is no longer the case. Today politicians only seem to take data from favoured (and hence bias) sources, there is little scrutiny. As I’ve said before, policy occurs to placate those identified as being important to appeal to for re-election and maintain relationships with favoured sources, rather than best policy.

So, having access to all data, not just from those that support us, is necessary for getting a balanced overview of anything. It is understandable not to do this all the time, as people need to live positively. Rather than question every hiccup, be aware that it is a way of dealing with incomplete data. People should remain aware of the risks of the explosion of data the internet exposes us too and the bias implied.

Fear

Fear is the worst thing in the world.

Christmas is often a time when families get together and share news about their lives and the people around us. It is interesting and often argumentative, because people who otherwise carve out quite different existences are forced through the bond of family into talking.

I learnt that someone mutually known had got married and they had adopted a child. I expressed my joy at the news, but was rebuffed. Rebuffed because this was a female same sex marriage. However what I found interesting was that it wasn’t the marriage in itself, that was the bad news, but the adoption. The reason given for the adoption being bad news was a fear for the child suffering abuse at school because of the nature of their parents.

Children can be astonishingly cruel and vindictive in the playground, I know this very well, having been an outsider child myself.  Children can be picked on for almost anything and more so if the abuse affects them. The point is that it is impossible to shield children entirely from abuse in the playground, no-one should not do something through fear of potential consequences.

This example may be one of misplaced fear. I visited members of my family before Christmas. I remember the subject of Elton John’s recent marriage came up and some of the younger children didn’t get why the adults were discussing it. It was quickly explained that all possible combinations of gender were possible in a marriage and the law had only recently been changed to allow this. The younger children appeared to quickly grasp the idea and didn’t find it odd at all. The world the adopted children of same sex marriages  will hopefully be one where people are not abused for their, or their parents sexuality.

Is fear of change, fear of the unknown? Society is changing, some people may not understand or wish to engage with change through fear. A fear that one old fashioned rule being changed may have consequences for the whole social moral structure. Again this is a misplaced fear, the social rules still exist, they are still discussed, but one less thing is now suppressed and hidden away behind the net curtains, which is a good thing, fewer oppressed people!. I would suggest that the fear of the change is the thing that causes problems.

I read that there was the usual Festive season train problems in Britain. This time Kings Cross station in London was closed and thousands descended upon Finsbury Park station, being the ‘planned’ alternative. Really bad planning (we expect this sort of thing in Britain!), as the much smaller station couldn’t cope with the numbers of people. You would think that in a country which suffered from the Hillsborough disaster of 1989, that people would think twice before shoving their way in to a crowded station, that there would be civility and a sense of public spirit and putting up with the expected chaos of the UK rail network. Judging by the pictures it would seem not, that there was a selfishness in the people wanting to get on the trains. It is possible to suggest that this lack of public spirit was due to the fear that social values are breaking down as a justification to act selfishly. It is fortunate that no-one died because of this mess.

This sense of fear is used by the media and politicians to scapegoat groups. For example there is the story that Ukip blamed the congestion on the M4 motorway on immigration. The reason for the congestion on the M4 is due to poor planning, a lack of investment in transport infrastructure that has occurred since the second world war and the idea that the ‘free market’ will produce solutions to these issues. So the immigrants end up suffering the abuse and the ruling classes who failed to deal with the problem get rich out of it.

Yet people still sometimes have a pop at ‘heavy metal’. A musical genre that openly deals with the dark and the grotesque. The reason for this is not that metal fans are sinister people, far from it. It is simply better to deal openly with fear, to confront it, to reflect upon it, to embrace it, for then it it can be realised that the fear is simply fear and reality is not as bad as can be imagined when fearful, oppressed or depressed.

Things are never as bad as the fearmongers of the world would have you believe.

Crappy heterosexuality

Heterosexuality has it’s rewards, but these very rewards are crappy. It’s the primitive urge and appreciation of the female human form, which in itself is wonderful. I believe in being open with people. So, I have the desire to tell every attractive woman I meet how beautiful they look. I don’t actually do this because to be told this something by men whilst walking down the street minding your own business is annoying and very easily becomes harassment with repetition. In any case, how a woman looks, in terms of whether their physical form is attractive to someone or not, is largely outside of their control. It would be amazing to be able to complement people on contents of their soul, but this is unknown without getting to know the person. I’d love to talk to get to know, but there isn’t enough time to talk to everybody.

If this wasn’t bad enough, the primitive part of the male heterosexual brain is constantly assessing the female form and desiring a sexual encounter. It’s really annoying, it gets in the way of genuine conversation. for example you can be having a perfectly pleasant conversation and for a split second the primitive brain takes over and sneaks a furtive glance at a part of the female anatomy, often at inappropriate times.

One doesn’t want to deny ones own sexuality, but it gets in the way of other functions, allowing it free rein makes one very creepy. There seem to be many men who get around this by using a variety of strategies to conceal these feelings, I don’t like this as it is simply dishonest.

I  want to form committed serious relationships with women with reciprocated desires. If there are no reciprocated desires, then friendships can then develop. The sexual desire for female friends of mine passes over a short time, because the primitive urge learns that an intimate sexual relationship is not going to happen. I still know that person concerned are physically attractive, but without the urges. The basic attraction and the intellectual attraction are actually entirely separate aspects of the person.

There seems to be generally a lack of understanding amongst many women of this basic male sexuality. there seem two main strands: One, that once a chap expresses sexual attraction that it is always there and that it doesn’t change, that the chap is always seeking something. Two, that even if in a committed relationship the chap will still have the primitive brain sizing up other women and this is entirely separate to the commitment to the relationship. I do find that women who have had issues around being an outsider tend to have a better appreciation of the differences in the opposite gender.

the other problem is the ruddy brain chemistry, once the though of being attracted to someone exists, some rather basic chemicals get into the brain, causing restrictions of access to the parts of the mind that are non-primitive. This is so irritating as it’s kind of the one aspect of yourself that should control and suppress in non-sexual situations.

Final point, sometimes the fact that some women happen to be attractive to a large number of heterosexual men and some to a small proportion , tends to exaggerate different aspects of their personality, and usually in a negative direction.

I would love to hear any perspectives from others of any sexuality.

Friendzone

Following on from yesterday. I have to confess to being rather innocent in this. If a lady makes it clear she is’t interested in a romantic relationship, my response has always been fair enough; I don’t expect every lady who I find attractive to be attracted to me. I will seek somewhere quiet and cry my eyes out, but that’s for me to deal with until I’ve internalised what has occurred.

What I’ve always found very odd indeed, is the afterwards. Generally the lady in question was already a friend and I expected that to continue. So, when we next met, the lady would seem very standoffish. I didn’t get this at all! It seemed as though by merely expressing an interest in joining that person on a romantic/ sexual journey somehow that also meant I lost them as a friend too. Indeed I used to not ask female friends out on dates for fear of losing their friendship.

This begs the question, If we were already friends, the issue of a sexual relationship has already been knocked on the head, then this is the ‘friendzone’, so all should be fine. So, why were they running away?

I gather other men, are more persistent. I have observed that this ‘stratagem’ [hate the idea of strategies, but I hear a lot about them] does sometimes work, and dating is after all a numbers game. It’s a fine line, as continued persistence becomes harassment.

Another strategem, is to remain friends, but harbour a continued desire for a sexual relationship. If that is the motivation for continuing the friendship, then that is bad, to continue to carry a hopeless torch. Having said this, this desire for an attractive, wonderful amazing woman is a powerful deep emotion, it’s a complete waste of time but very ‘romantic’ to remain in this state, but you’re not exactly being a friend.

This does bother me, as I have gathered from some ladies I know, have seemed unable to accept that I’m no longer considering a sexual relationship with them, but remain a friend. Am I supposed to be unable to get over rejection? I am friends with ladies I find attractive, really all my friends, of all genders and sexualities are people I love and I have made a  connection to, but not seeking anything ‘happening’.

Is that I am comfortable and happy in the ‘friendzone’ unusual? Being an outsider and thus perhaps more socially suspect, does this make some people question my motivations, am I being limped together with other social misfits who have issues to deal with? It’s a crazy world, as is often said ‘Love is shit’*

I appreciate writing this is very personal, but I really don’t care anymore. Fear is stupid.

*Actually love is the best

Why I don’t have a girlfriend?

The majority of my friends are women, I think because I relate to women better generally. I like getting to know new people and making new friends. I don’t distinguish between genders in general conversation, as I regard that as being sexist, I  switch between serious conversation an flirting for everyone I meet socially.

There is also my approach to developing crushes on ladies. if I meet an attractive lady, I do what I can to suppress those accursed butterflies apparating into my tummy and try and approach the conversation as if meeting anyone new. The lady in question will  be seen first as a potential friend if I like their personality. It is only secondarily that a romantic liaison is considered.

However, I have become aware of this concept of the ‘friendzone’ [sounds like an the worst boy band in the world]. That there is a general difference between how the different genders approach new people. The ramifications of this have me screaming ‘Oh No!… not again’ and I enter another minority grouping.

To explain, to most ladies, meeting a ‘eligible’ chap, they look primarily to the potential of a relationship. If this doesn’t happen then a friendship may develop, the chap then enters the ‘friendzone’, a state of being friends where it of highly unlikely a relationship will happen from.

Arghh! This is an incompatible opposite of how I operate. For me to consider a relationship, I need to enter the friendzone first, before moving on to a relationship. Yet it seems that by doing so, the chances of this happening are radically reduced.