Last night, we were sitting by the fire, roasting breadsticks and chunks of marinated tenderloin, sipping Southern Comfort and generally celebrating having been together a total of 46 years. We first met each other at a beach party; a group of my wife's fellow graduating classmates. And the rest, as they say, is history.
We talked about a lot of things last night, but mostly it all centered around why some relationships succeed and about half of them fail. Miserably. One of the things my wife stressed was compromise; how so often people are just too selfish, too self-centered, too inflexible. And she's absolutely correct on that, but I said that I found it incredible that people who initially came together in a state of passion, who actually modified their behavior in order to impress the other person, somehow, down the line, seemed to forget why they got together in the first place. And it just amazes me. I mean, how does one go from being crazy about the other person, from being on their best behavior on dates, from doing everything they can to please the other person…to a state of it's all about me, or that classic statement when a couple is arguing about some individual activity,"Oh, I don't care what you do." Or the classic female statement,"Fine." You know what I mean.
People age. People change. Somewhat. But beneath it all, most of us still have the same basic personalities we've always had. Most of us don't undergo complete transformations. At the core, we're still the same. We may have matured. Some of our tastes may have become more refined, but as regards myself and my wife, she's still the same fun-loving, sexy, intelligent, logical girl I met 46 yrs. ago. In fact, I think she's become more fun, more sexy, etc.
One of the other ideas I put forth was: consider people like a TV or a computer monitor; many of them simply don't have the screen resolution when it comes to reasoning, logic, decision making. They don't see things in fine detail. They don't see them clearly. They don't see all the colors. They can't make finer distinctions. This idea seems to explain a lot when you look at their political, philosophical and spiritual beliefs. They just have too few crayons in their box. They like their world in a fairly simple, categorized, cubist, labeled state.
Now, I happen to believe in Henry David Thoreau's statement: "Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…" Too many of us think we need several irons in the fire at any time. We multi-task, or think we do. We complain to others how busy we are. Well, I can understand that perhaps our lives have become somewhat more complex within my lifetime, but I also believe that ultimately, we are in control of most of it. Our lives don't have to be a balls-to-the-wall rat race from the time we get out of bed until the time we get back in it.
In terms of our thinking process, detail is necessary. Good input and information are necessary, but we don't have to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by it all.
And I think that's part of the general problem of Life and subsequently relationships, politics, etc.; that in addition to ego and selfishness, people want simplicity where they should have detail, and they overwhelm themselves with detail where they need to simplify.
These days, people are concerned about optimizing their computer system - deleting junk, backing-up files, running virus protection, having the latest apps - and their own personal computer - their brain - is a system in chaos.