I gave time last night to pause in thought. I put up a question on my Facebook page looking to press gang the mind into being creative. That and a glass or two of some real good mead from Dithyramb Winery. I think the mission was successful. I wrote a few pages, but more important I wrote some quality stuff. I also thought deeply on the topic and that got me going in another direction. My mind does that, you say peach and I think James.
Yesterday I asked a question about rites of passage. I wanted examples of what people had gone through. They are all around us, from that first hunting trip, to boot camp, and even a few traditional ceremonial rites. The one that stuck with me though was a friend of mine stating regret for being unable to attend one in his life. To compound the thought process he went into what he lost, or at least perceived that he lost from not attending such rites of passage.
From there my brain pulled a Barry Sanders and started running all over the field going places that people didn't think it could by taking many more steps then it should. I started thinking about community. I starting thinking about status. I started thinking about the little groups with in groups, and the value we get from them. I started thinking about this importance we stress on community. There is a need in us to interact with others that does not seem to be justified in modern survival. I also see the development of a whole new social structure with other needs in the upcoming generations.
How many friends do you have on your friends list? We have seen the car commercials with the kids talking trash about their parents and how disconnected they are. They brag about the hundreds they have on their list, and the handful their parents have on theirs. While they are sitting in front of their mass media devices their parents are out and about at concerts or mountain biking. Now I am not going to say which method of social development is better, because I might be biased. I will say I have a large following on Facebook, but I would rather be hiking.
So this got me thinking on the layers of social structure we surround ourselves with. Some people use these layers like armor as they attempt to climb and claw up the social ladder. For some it is more important to have more friends then it is to have a good friend. Others need to have their family or tribe in a more manageable size. This got me thinking about the purpose of the various layers of social structure. I know we talked about the degrees of love, but this is a bit more simplistic.
There are the mass friends. These are the people you may or may not have met but you have developed a relationship with in one form or another. These are the people that may come over for a party if they can geo-locate with a degree of convenience. Which describes the level of commitment rather simply. Your exchange between them is for entertainment. You are in a mutually beneficial exchange that breaks the monotony in your life.
On the other degree there are the closer group of friends. These are those handful that are about you like a swarm or pack when ever you go out. There are very interesting social dynamics in these tight knit groups that are interesting to watch. You can also see the caliber of the persons in the group by watching the group as a whole, and then selecting one individual from the group. Watching the change in the person away from the group can tell you what the group has to offer, and how tight that group really is. If you see a man in a group of friends that exchange beers, are boisterous and vocal, then one or two of them alone are reserved and quiet, might show you that need for real strength for those individuals. The group offers strength in numbers and therefore placates their ego. Low self esteem is a bitch huh.
This social acceptance inflation of the ego does help esteem, but people then miss the point of self esteem. The key work being SELF. It does not come from these social groups, it comes from a conscience choice on your behalf to feel good about yourSELF. When you see people that get that, the social groups are more relaxed. The hierarchy is not as apparent. These are the groups I enjoy. People who get together because of shared interest but will still engage in the same interest outside of the group, because it holds value without the need of external validation.
That is the whole thing about these rites of passage, they serve two purposes. They offer validation for those that need that external validation. Those that need praise for themselves and internalize accomplishments. Then there are those that need the milestone markers to gauge self development. They also show a deeper level of social acceptance building a stronger bond with the family social group.
Yeah I know this was a bit like a drunk driver swerving on the highway. This though is my train of thought. I think straight tracks make the trip faster, and that sucks. The journey is the point not the destination, or we would all be dead seconds after we where born.