Too Enthralled to Notice
Not infrequently I speculate on the transitional nature of our era. We’ve overcome quite a few barriers to social justice and equality, although a great many still remain, but in doing so we’ve rendered important social institutions much less relevant and have done little to replace them. We’re in societal shock, as though one or more limbs had been severed. Religion is in transition, the family is in transition, the economy is in transition, yet we cling to our memories of what we perceive as more secure times and neglect the reflection, introspection and analysis we need, not to move on, we’ve done that, but to erect the new institutional social structure our new world requires. In a sense, society is a ghost; its physical entity has passed on but hasn’t realized it.
My personal life reflects this flux. Although I sought commitment, permanence and exclusivity in my relationships, it hasn’t happened and I’m coming to realize that perhaps for me, it never will. It may be that I’m in the vanguard of a societal shift in terms of relationships where the governing aspect has become their transitory nature. From the perspective of biological considerations, that’s a positive evolutionary step but a very painful one, as though a profound spiritual element has been lost. I wonder what social institutions will evolve to replace the traditional relationship I’d so hoped for? We humans are gregarious social beings who need ongoing and secure social interaction. If we’re not to attain it on a permanent or semi-permanent one to one basis, what social institution might meet that need? Will it evolve on its own? Wouldn’t it be more helpful if we sought to guide that evolution or would such interference be counterproductive?
It pleases me inordinately that very few of my friends seem in a position to understand my point. They’ve attained the relationships to which I aspired and I’m blessed by the special nature of our relationship, especially with my Citadel classmates, so it’s easy for me to be pleased but not envious. Perhaps among those extremely dear and special friends, Joe Bilotta might understand, but I hope not. One of us has to be the precursor on these transitional experiences and better me than them, too many of them have been vanguards much too often, in other fields and on other days,
I think Robert Heinlein spent the last half of his life speculating on these transitional issues, but we were too enthralled by his novels to notice.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2012; all rights reserved