Banal Connections

I’m not entirely sure about this idea, or….I’m not entirely sure what motivates the subsequent thoughts on this observation. Whether it be an innocent, or objective observation, or if it is motivated by certain attractions to others.

I’ll just call it comforting, a universalizing thread–that is, that everyone has certain small and inconsequential preferences, desires, and tastes. It would not be accurate to express these preferences as “personal,” because these preferences do not necessarily reveal something about the one who has them. The idea has a very reductive movement, it reduces us all to subjects under the influence, no matter how powerful or weak one may be. How odd and comforting, how attractive is the idea that someone like Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Noam Chomsky, or Bonhoeffer have certain preferences which are entirely unrelated to their fame. They prefer little things, a type of cake or brewed coffee, a favorite season, a wonderful uninspiring memory. (Uninspiring in that it can only be understood by the one owning the memory) These small unremarkable preferences expose vulnerability, and nothing is as universal as vulnerability. Large opinions, politics, or philosophy can definitely serve to unite, but it can just as easily divide, and in relation to such grandiose concepts or beliefs these divisions become burned into the minds of those who hold these ideologies so sacred, and it is in that moment that these modes of identity have the potential to become irreparably divisive.

Although, what great discussions could perhaps be had if two of these enemies both discovered that they watch re-runs of “Murder She Wrote,” or “24.” Unremarkable indeed! Such bad examples, but that is exactly why I used them. It is a welcome distraction which, by nature of its humility, possesses the potential to expose the gross absurdity of their more “sacred” allegiance to the abstract. Grandiose connections rely on grandiose alignment, and grandiose neglect. It requires much dependence on so much that be so easily changed or taken away. En revanche, those small and invisible, humble similarities rely and demand so little that they provide a subtle link that allows for the nurturing or anything else, yet is never threatened because it asks for almost nothing. If some thing is initially understood as inconsequential, then it is never imagined to be anything else.

…and many of those who imagine they are working for something great sooner or later find themselves laboring under a delusion.–Kierkegaard


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