If we desire to keep civilisation and society rolling, there are some certain responsibilities at social levels that we must tend to. Now, in all honesty, I dodge these as much as I can. There’s no telling how far I’ve gone to weasel out of a, say, wedding or ceremony. I absolutely abhor the notion of being dragged into a formal event (or informal, the dress code doesn’t make the situation less irksome) purely out of duty. Events I would honestly never attend were it not an obligation. At around 16 I realised I could just say “no” and simply not go. I was almost an adult, I could own this stretch of responsibility over my own actions and account for my decisions. Then again, I’ve always been one to do as I pleased in regards to most things and quite seldom compromised to anything.
If you want to be upheld as a responsible citizen with good social values and a great dedication to the community, you should do the absolute opposite of what I do. For, you see, it’s these little strange events that annoy at least 50% of those in attendance (on a good day) that keep the ball rolling. Catering to these social events and needs keeps civilisation glued. Being a savage like yours truly would sever social relations and norms as we know them and eventually we’d only spend time with people we truly appreciate. Which is indeed my modus operandi. I dodge people I dislike with no shame whatsoever. I believe it to be a brutally honest approach, but a sincere one that leaves no doubts on whether you like someone or not. However, if one is to adopt this tribal thought process, half of the work-force, for example, would get the chopping board, for the desire to tell someone like your boss to go fuck him or herself would be a commonplace occurrence. I’m also thinking of teachers, college professors, colleagues, etc. It is your duty to responsibly hold it in and not tell or show that professor you dislike in particular that you think he’s a knob jockey. I have the decency of not putting on a fake smile for those professors that irk me and be friendly in an honest manner to those that are indeed admirable and amicable. But to be socially responsible would be to put on that fake smile, to have a blanket good relationship with everyone as to benefit as much as you possibly can from these and, you’ve guessed it, have others benefit from you mutually. This sounds like terrible advice to give to someone who wants to lead a sincere path through life. Indeed it is, but sadly, a sincere path will lead you to possible unemployment and being surrounded by only those who can put up with you. Which I doubt is most people’s idea of a “good life”.
This means that it falls upon you to be socially responsible in this current system we have. If they invite you to a wedding, especially a family one, you put on your nicest dress and pretend to not want to behead the groom and bride for the entirety of the 12 hours of torture they put you through. If there’s an office party and you work with people you mostly dislike, go anyway. It’ll strengthen the general ties between the work-force, which is needed in every workplace. If your friends want to drag you along to some boring concert or party you really don’t feel like going to, go. They thought of you, remembered you for some reason, it means you carry enough value in their eyes to be worthy of a tag along. If your boss annoys you, display that you’re upset in a polite and discreet manner (think of a British conversation where “I see what you mean” actually means “No, you’re wrong you absolute twerp”) instead of lashing out. Of course the latter falls more under professional courtesy than social responsibility (which I don’t lack, quite surprisingly), but imagine a Venn Diagram if you will where there’s a common ground for both. Not telling your boss he or she is a fuckhead falls right on the center of that.
Personally, I’ve been blessed with friends who understand that my space is my own and that if I don’t want to tag for today’s adventure I’ll be there for the next one. Used to date a woman who also understood that until she didn’t anymore, so we split. I haven’t gone to a wedding in quite a few years, discounting the one my one friend I mentioned was a mentor dragged me to, it’s been more than a decade since I attended one. Haven’t been to a party that made me feel unease for more than 6 years (that I have memory of). I’ve come to realise you’ll learn more out of your comfort zone, but not every discomfort zone holds a lesson. I used to advise people to step outside their comfort into discomfort, that there’s wisdom in every unturned little rock and that you’ll come home with something new every time you venture out of your “safe space” (I really wish a generation of social “justice” morons didn’t ruin that expression). Well, a man grows, a man learns and I’ve certainly absorbed the lesson that you can learn more if you pick your battles than just rushing into the unknown. Experience for the sake of experience matters little, in all honesty. The fact that I can recite most dinosaurs’ names and scientific names is a novelty to be shared with people interested in the subject, but does it advance my career? Does it leave me with anything useful in my repertoire of tools and tricks? Can it be used for something other than dazzling someone impressionable with your memory skills? Not really. My friends think differently, they want to absorb as much of life as possible, good, bad, downright fucking horrendous and whether it’s useful or pragmatic to them is irrelevant. Illness has put me out of commission recently and it’s given me some time to think, so my dear friend asked me to speak of this subject. It was one of those “I didn’t really think of it until it was brought up” kind of subjects and upon my most recent thoughts on this matter, I can safely say that my tribal way of doing things is more vicious and honest than the one ingrained within the social norms of our daily lives, but far more prone to cause conflict and agitate what needn’t be agitated.
For me, I’ll make sure to dwell within the circles that make me feel like I can learn something that I find useful or interesting indeed rather than diving into uncharted areas (to you alone most likely, for you’ll find footsteps there as well) just for the sake of it. This involves a lot of what I mentioned above when it regards contact with others. Most people won’t react well to you turning them down twice, thrice or more times and will stop insisting. Most people will find honest advice and opinions to be vexing rather than helpful (for when asking for advice or opinions, quite a lot of the time people would rather hear something comforting rather than unpleasant). Most people attempt to keep the health of their social circles intact by forcing themselves out of their comfort zones for the sake of others. That is a system that appears to be working so far. If you’ve learned anything today it should be what Americans learned from Smokey the Bear: they were taught that “only you can prevent forest fires”, you were taught that “only you can keep civilisation glued together by taking one for the team as often as possible”.
Things may chance, I may assimilate and be a pillar of a community, but unless that community is one I truly enjoy being a part of, I doubt it.