When Society Says: ‘I Think We Should Start Seeing Other People’

The world is made up of almost 8,000,000,000 people. Breeders, mostly.

And it’s going to progress. That is, the overall coherence of free societies is going to manifest further and further and, from this, the collective savvy of pockets and larger groups is going to increase, leading to more awareness about the systemic nature of things—socially, scientifically, structurally, technologically, civically, etc. Things have been going this way, more or less, with some ups and downs, since the start of civilization.

Things progress.  People progress. 

The world also needs to progress. Socially, anyway. The western world—America, for one—needs to continue to slink away from how it used to be: where 3/5 of people actually existed, where citizens couldn’t actually vote; where people were looked down upon and conspired against for their ethnic origins; where workers didn’t have rights or legal protections; where the socioeconomically challenged were taken advantage of by employers who needed labor and had a figurative, pet store goldfish aquarium from which to choose; and where employers could abuse their goldfish without fear of reprisal, like “forgetting” to change the water in their bowl, for one.

And if any of that stuff sounds like an anachronism to you, then you yourself might be a little progressively challenged there, homeboy.  And possibly underinformed. 

But hear me out.

Have you ever been a relationship with someone?  Whatever type: dating, marriage, common law, committed partnership, any kind?  If you have, you’ve learned some things, hopefully.  And, hopefully, one of them is that if you don’t give, give for the greater good that is the relationship—that is the “society” that is the relationship—it’ll fail.  One person cannot take more than the other, and one person cannot give less than the other.  Consistently.  Sometimes they can, but, ultimately, there needs to be a balance. 

People who become the partners of others have desires, too. They’re still no less the human beings they were before they became partners. They need a baseline sense of satisfaction from the relationship as they view it, and they need to continually, above that baseline, get something satisfying out of the relationship through the efforts of their partners, spouses, etc., however they have constructed those expectations (hopefully, in a healthy, fair and unselfish way).

Now let’s take the metaphor even farther, do a little role playing here.  Let’s turn your relationship to the society in which you live into an actual, long term, romantic, legal partnership.  Because why not?  Lots of parallels there. 

On the one hand, societies don’t have emotional, baseline needs, which is nice.  They’re abstractions.  Constructs.  On the other, there still are things their partners need them to do to keep them functioning properly and keep them satisfied and, in turn, for them to keep you satisfied, and your relationship to them working.  And it pretty much all stems from the actions of every person who lives in that same, or any other, society. 

Now, that may sound one-sided. And it is, from an anthropomorphic perspective. But such is the way of societies, free societies, as such is the way of any eco- or biological system: if all the little living things that make up the system do their part to keep the system alive and healthy, the system will reward them by continuing to allow them the right to live and be free choose to do whatever they want to. If you provide for society at large, society will better provide for you and, most importantly, for other people around you, some of whom you may actually care about as much as yourself.

And if not, your freedoms, possibly your health, will be limited, and everyone will be forced to cooperate to take up the slack where slack has developed, to rebuild or repair the system.

Franky, it’s more like polyamory than monogamy.  But since there’s no emotional attachment (or really shouldn’t be—jingoism, chauvinism, patriotism and all those other silly abstractions and constructs aside) and nothing sexual about it, you don’t have to worry about getting hurt or catching some kind of STD.  Or getting it pregnant, and then wondering if it’s really yours. Society, that is. 

Societies are there to provide for all, and a society can only be made up of a plurality.  And when any number of people are involved which totals more than one, the dynamics begin to get incalculably complex.  I hate to use this silly platitude, but they’re only as strong as their weakest links.  In biosystems, those weak links get wiped out pretty quickly.  Like, Hey, no offense, but we’re going to kill you for slowing the rest of us down.  That okay?  Too late.  Those who can’t hold up their end get culled by all the others, or by nature itself.

But, in human societies, things are a little different.   The weak and the sick are better looked after.  But no so others.  The abject lazy.  The spoiled.  The selfish.  The unruly.  The obstreperous.  The combative.  The cruel.

They are societal poison. 

A person can certainly have any number of qualities that make up people who can be described thusly—apathy, laziness, recrimination, any number of antisocial tendencies—but if they continue to exercise them when the health of society is in question, they will make up one of the weakest links.  And the dead, soulless eyes of Capital may see things differently and have rewarded those with such ambitions and tendencies, but give it a soul and it might come to see the world a little more clearly. 

As another thought experiment, imagine you’ve assembled a group of five people for a project at work.  Doesn’t matter for what.  Each person, from the outset, admits or acts outright as if they’re going to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and it turns out everything they end up doing benefits only them, and not the team.  After the others complain to their supervisors or spouses or co-workers or whomever, they all just bail.  No one’s going to stay in a group like that.  If some dirigible machine needs fifty, or even five, people to operate its components simultaneously, and only one, two, three or forty-nine are there to, it can’t run.  If an airplane, submarine or something that requires an integral number of individuals to physically navigate it forward falls short of that integer, it won’t go anywhere. 

People aren’t stupid.  They may be greedy, childish, cruel and ignorant at times, but they’re not stupid.  No one’s going to agree to stay in a pointless partnership; they’re all going to go off on their own and be solitary, or form better, more functional groups, because those should likely lead to the best possible outcomes, assuming everyone still wants to finish that project and not be fired. 

Or live.

Now, imagine that small group is actually a society, and the members are you and four other members of the same society.  If the group doesn’t work, you’re all fucked.  One person doesn’t hold their weight, everybody folds their hands, the thing falls apart, society collapses.  Nothing progresses.

Things can’t progress if a majority or totality is saying, “Well, I want mine for me.  Gimme and then leave me alone.”  Remember, you and your society have a relationship.  Forget that polyamory stuff; it’s just you and them right now, for all intents and purposes.  And if you say, “Give to me, for me alone, I don’t care about the other party, and I will be satisfied,” then it’s a fail.  You have failed the relationship, and the relationship will lose its animation.  And, unless there’s abdication on the part of one side and one party is victimized and abused and has had their voice or volition taken away, the relationship will end.

As a real-life example, say someone says, “I’m not going to pay more taxes.  I work, so that people on welfare can take my money?  There shouldn’t be any welfare.  There shouldn’t be any kind of government regulation on anything.”  It’ll never work.  It’s weight you need to pull in a society.  There needs to be safety net for people who are temporarily or fully unable to work.  There also needs to be better training, education and support for people who might need welfare, but that’s beside the point right now.   

You or someone you love or care about may fall into a position of need someday.  No one can predict how any relationship will go.  And no one, certainly, can predict the onslaught of any number of natural disasters or pandemics that could cause a society to begin to falter or slow or be annihilated, over time.  It’s a society.  

Yes, even your freedom.  It doesn’t exist without a context.  At least in the form most familiar to you.

And that context is within a society.

Anyone certainly has any right to choose to live how they want to live.  But if you’re not going to contribute to what makes a society a society, you need to leave.  Go and live off the grid.  Do it.  No one’s stopping you.  You probably want to, anyway.  But say goodbye to your Dodge RAM, your BMW, your man cave, your modern kitchen, your beach house, your 60 inch screen TV, your fishing weekends and, well, the entirety of your freedom.  All that shit belongs to the society, not to you. 

In the end, if you are one of these people, you deserve to be single and to stay single your entire life.  In your relationship with society, you deserve to be dumped, and it was good that you were.  Good for society.  And those of us in our relationships can’t relate to you.  Married, dating, whatever.

I’m sorry, but it’s just not working out.  We just want different things.  I mean, it’s not supposed to be this hard.  I just feel like we’re drifting apart.  It’s not you, it’s me.

That’s putting it palliatively.  Here’s another way, slaloming in and out of common gender issues:

You’re selfish, lazy, you say rude things to my friends, you called my mom fat, told my dad he was nutless, you sit on your ass playing video games on your days off, spend all your time on the phone texting your girlfriends, hanging out with your buddies all weekend, you flirt with all my better looking and wealthy guy friends, you won’t help babysit my nephews and nieces, you won’t do any activities with me, go for walks, go hiking, I do all the shopping, you won’t go down on me, you get on top of me for five minutes and then climb off and fall asleep, you argue with me, nitpick me, you say you want kids, then you don’t want kids, and then you say you expect me to take care of them if we do, and on and on and on.

And here’s another:

Pretend society is a house party, or some kind of friendly social gathering where everyone’s getting along great.  You’re the bitter, little social scab sitting in the corner.  You’re that person who sits at the end of the couch in the darkness, drinking your flat, tepid beer in that plastic red cup all by yourself, cursing in your head everyone who’s laughing and talking among themselves, having a good time. 

And you’re trying to fit in and look cool, but you’re fundamentally failing because of your life choices.

And the rest of us aren’t better than you here, per se, we just subscribe to progress.  To growing as individuals.  Within societies.  To this social, more or less, aspect of life, which is unavoidable, if you want to be a healthy-minded individual. 

A scab.  You are.  In the corner.  Bitter.  And the things you say don’t make sense.  They may make sense in your own mind, but that’s because you’re broken.  Dysfunctional, to society at large.

You’re a human scab.  You resemble a human scab. 

And, sure, you may offer to fill some pretty girl’s beer cup for her when you both find yourself standing alone at the keg, or have yours filled by some guy being polite, but as soon as they walk away from you and forget your existence, you’re going to sit back down at start cursing them.  And everyone else’s in society who doesn’t see things the way you do. 

And then, one day, you’ll be naturally culled. Decades later, unfortunately. Without having contributed anything to where the progress of individual society has moved it, otherwise collectively, the moment you finally are. The party breaks up and goes home, and everybody’s exchanged phone numbers and has agreed to call or text and meet up again, and you’re the last one out, thinking about the day when society actually peels you off its flesh and flicks you off its fourth-floor balcony onto the street. And everything you’ll be needing from it the moment your scabby ass hits the ground.