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Monday, January 2, 2012

Crying About Shoelaces...Hearing Voices in Situation Comedy

What's one difference between between little boys and men?

Here's one:
A man's ability to choose what to cry about; it contrasts what he would have been crying about as a boy. So, for example, if you find a mature Western male blubbering through tears because he's having difficulty tying his shoe, you're likely to suspect there's a lot more going on for him than just tangled shoelaces!

I just suggested, and you probably caught it, that this difference (between men and boys) can also be influenced by cultural background. Even our dog Gandalf seems to know "instinctual culture" (if you please) teaches cats to "Hiss!" at him. Cultural differences have the power to influence us about what's appropriate and deserving of a good emotional manifestation--a "Hiss" (?) or an outburst with tears--or not. (Although I'm not sure I'd want to find a man crying--or God forbid "Hissing"--about his shoe-tying difficulties.)

Between philosophical and world view-contrasted people, we should expect to find some cultural differences.
They're a manifestation of their different moral and ethical priorities and the related societal/interpersonal expectations and emotional dynamics.

Who has not seen recent dramatic manifestations of grief, pain and suffering
associated with the death of leaders, friends, and loved ones in Japan, the Middle East or North Korea? Certainly the human heart understands and empathizes with these losses. The differences in public manifestation of this pain, take for example the emotional tone and intensity of American's loss and grief after 9/11, may appear behaviorally muted to some cultures--controlled(?). One or another cultural style is not better than anothers'--there's no "right or wrong" here--they're just different. Each is observably and respectfully nuanced by culture.

If you want little boys--or kittens--to act differently...well, good luck with that. But if you want men to act differently...hmmm. You've got to change the culture, inside, where the little boys are growing up. And how do ya do that? Well, you've got to influence the philosophical foundations of the culture itself--change (or at least gradually massage) its moral and ethical commitments in the direction you want them to go. And how do you do that? Well, subtly...and very, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

In English cultures, situation comedy--television's "sit-coms"--are a completely marvelous example of this process.
Oh Ratz...That's gonna need to be it for know....but if you're interested and having fun, keep your eye on this blog for a couple weeks as I chase this --crying about shoelaces stuff--a little further.

"For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding..." Proverbs 2: 6-15, RSV.