Sunday, April 01, 2007

unspoken priorities

CS Lewis once said that the most dangerous ideas in a society are not the ones being argued, but the ones that are assumed.

I find that his wisdom holds true not only for public arguments, but also personal priorities. It's amazing what's said without really telling anyone anything, and often without even intending to make the point which our omissions make for us.

Today after church was a golden example. Palm Sunday ends up bringing out everyone, usually dressed in their best, and culminating in a vast array of picture taking. It's interesting who's in and out of the pictures at that point. It's most interesting because people aren't thinking about it. They're congregating around whoever they "need" their picture with.

I enjoy little bouts of festivity. You get a much better sense of where you stand in a group. Many times we feel well liked by a group, but in fact we're mostly a tool. Not in a bad way, a tool as in someone who is useful; someone who fulfills a task. But that's different from someone who's truly wanted. I've always fancied myself the useful one, but less often the one who's wanted.

Sometimes i'm the wanted one. I dare say that if the pics had been at Vlad's I would have been among the more wanted variety. Same at the outdoor parties in college. But in general I'm always the tool. Not to say that I'm not welcome, I usually am, but that's the extent of it. It's like when you're on a date, and when the music starts playing and your dates' friends arrive and you become optional (at best) on the dance floor. You realize that you're the accompaniment, and you're as wanted or unwanted as you make yourself, but you're certainly not "the point" of the date.

When our guards are down we tend to play our hand. Such is the root of the old Roman saying en vino veritas - "in wine is truth". When those social disinhibitors are gone then you can see what people think unfiltered. Group think is like that, as is staying in contact. No matter how close I feel to someone, distance is the ultimate litmus test. If we stay in contact across stretches of land, then there's substance there. If not... well.


Post a Comment

<< Home