theendlessknot

putting thoughts into words regarding the entangled state of mind which is my existence

Expectations

3 Comments

Instead of waiting for there to be some idea for me to toil over, I think I’m going to write just to write. I think it’s always great just to see where you end up once you’ve started. As far as arguments go, this is especially true, seeing how that a lot of times we have a preconceived idea of where we’d like our argument to conclude, before realizing in the end when all is said and done that the conclusion is nothing like we thought it’d be like. I often find that there’s something unpredictable in it all, and even though that might keep the logic from carrying out when we want it to, I think it’s a necessary step in better learning about the ideas that we think we know about.

I’m no longer a hard-nosed skeptic, really. That may or may not be good, but there’s just something invigorating in just going where the wind takes you and not getting ensnared in the details. I like having the opportunity to actually breathe and go about my day, doing the best I can not to worry about things that don’t matter. It’s not to say that things can’t be treated seriously, but it’s about finding a middle ground where you can be more or less comfortable, while not being facetious. I think this is the hardest part about it. Temperance is a virtue that not many people actually possess. Although I’d like to behave in a way that everyone will not be put off by, it doesn’t always work out. Some things you can tone down, build up if need-be, but I always want to think that there’s just something about people that just cannot and shouldn’t be changed for anybody. In some cases, we just are what we are, and there’s no point in trying anything differently to re-think and unfix our personalities.

Eradicating stigmas is always a tough issue, though. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as an undesirable set of sensibilities, but the combination of certain characters and events in one’s life can make for something like this. People look down upon people who have above-average tendencies to be sensitive, or do empathetic acts for others, for example. Of course no one wants to be a pushover, but the stigma comes up when people misunderstand one’s intentions. It’s not always a matter of pleasing other people when people go out of their way to help, it’s just their nature. There’s no use in fighting against yourself just to try and make yourself look good.

There’s a component of culture integral to the following question: When people act a certain way which is visibly outside of established social norms, how is their behavior analyzed to begin with? What I mean is that one would think there needs to be a fair measuring stick to make for a universally applicable description of what is expected in social situations, and in most cases there is. It’s given to us by our intuitions. But the problem arises when different cultures disagree on some of the smaller things, such as what is an acceptable way to receive favor, do good; when and how to properly give/take. I think there’s a useful conversation to be had here, and I wish different groups of people with different cultural beliefs would end their silent ongoing debate and just learn to understand each other’s differences.

I’ve been recently having this experience as a guy who’s just been recently relocated to a very mixed ethnic demographic. I am having a major culture-shock, now that I think about it, as I am working in an area which boasts 40% hispanic/latino. But it’s only shocking in that my behavior is not readily understood and/or appreciated when I try to be courteous and engaging in making friendly conversation. It’s unfortunate, but I often feel like I’m getting a load of sultry stares whenever I go out to the local laundromat, for example, where there is usually no other white person inside but me. I want to bridge the gap, learn from other people, actively shape people’s impression of me for the better, and to hear everyone’s story on their own terms. But this idea of social expectations that stem from various cultures makes this a complicated task – at least in the way that I see it when I stop to think about it.

But I’ve already decided that I won’t be doing that as much, really, so that’s probably as far as I’m going to go with that. Life needs to be lived while it’s still there for the taking. And every day is a new adventure to be had, so I’m not waiting. 

 

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Author: theendlessknot3d

I'm Mark. I recently graduated college with a Bachelor's Degree in philosophy, and I started this blog to continue engaging myself and my mind through my passion for written argumentation. I have also used this as an opportunity to explore my other creative outlets, such as writing French poems or photography. In this blog you will find a wide range of written material, including philosophy articles, musings, paradoxes, poems, photos and more. You'll find that I usually write about serious themes, such as everyday life struggles, in a way in which I always try to keep my posts upbeat and interesting. With anything that I write, I encourage you to make your own criticisms, insights, recommendations or anything else which you feel would help me improve my content.

3 thoughts on “Expectations

  1. Cultural diversity is a good experience for us all. And I’ve learned that you need to meet people on their own terms. Not to be to overbearing (not that I’m saying you have been) and to use your intuition and observation to gauge how best to interact with people. I’ve met too many ugly Americans abroad who expect everyone to follow the American way. When in fact, other cultures do certain things much better than we ever could have. Kudos to you for reaching out.

    • Thanks for the comment. I think this is useful advice. What this calls into my mind from what you’ve said is that there’s this idea of “meet[ing] people on their own terms” at work, which is necessary in order to have people of different cultures feel comfortable and want to interact with you. I agree that this is important, but going a step further, wouldn’t it seem, then, that you kind of cede yourself and your expectations for what would be a proper interaction by giving into theirs? We can’t really relate, if you ask me.

      For example, if you are a guest in a Russian person’s home, the host/ess will essentially give you everything without you even really asking. They will offer it all to you, and insist upon you trying their best fruits, garden vegetables, expensive caviars, vodkas, cognacs, tortes, etc. If you end up refusing, you are, in a way, offending the host/ess (It’s a strange tradition, I know). So if you’re somebody who’s modest, how do you keep from following their expectations while still being polite and appreciative of them and their company? How to establish middle ground with someone in this kind of situation is my question.

      • Its difficult, I understand. I once tried to eat cracked crab with chopsticks as a dinner guest in a Japanese household. And I’ve learned not to admire items that someone else has in other countries, for they will often offer it to you as a gift. I think we must follow the customs as much as we can when in other countries, for don’t we expect the same here in ours? But with grace and respect, I think you will find your way.

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