I spent a greater part of last year, and a few months of this one, understanding national economy, defence statistics, regional integration and all those other boring things that constitute being a vigilant citizen.
This process was hugely rewarding in information. I could tell off the tip of my thumbs almost anything in the economy, the army, social security company –NSSF, statutes and acts of parliament or even international happenings.
I soon learnt that the above things took away a great part of my life – the social life. I struggled to keep up with conversations that were not fixed on grandiose ideals; I shrugged off events that weren’t bent on growing my knowledge base. Often times, I chose a book over a Friday night out at the bar with friends. The fact that I do not take alcohol grew this trend even more.
Part of this was because there wasn’t much to look up to from the bar – a few conversations, money spent, dancing and the night would be done, the other part, a good book to read would guarantee that I know what oil fields the Americans haven’t plunged yet, which president spent a great deal of money on beautifying their mansion and so forth.
Three events were about to change this whole life – the acquisition of ‘ The Social Animal’, a well written book of David Brooks, The Blacklist; an American serie and a conversation with a female friend of mine.
The basics first, the book, The Social Animal; it’s a novel prefixed with a lot of studies on human behaviour and relationships. The book delves into the life of a family and tries to explain almost everything they do with a study that has been conducted before.
You wouldn’t know, for example, that the subconscious brain helps you make close to 70% of all your life decisions. You wouldn’t know that kids who grow up with parental affection are more likely to be stable even though their parents are poor or they didn’t access an education. All these things can only be understood when you read the book – I have a copy if you promise to return it.
The second influencing fact that changed my social patterns was the American series ‘The Blacklist’. This series is one in many, it has a gripping character called Raymond Reddington, a psychopath with less emotions to the rest of the world but an appreciation of nature. To start with he is a wanted criminal who surrenders himself to the federal agency and starts to volunteer information on all his foes.
The gripping aspect of Reddington is the treasure he puts in every moment of his life. Late in the episodes, he sits in a closed off glass box with a gunned and bleeding federal agent and reminisces life while his nemesis sits outside the box waiting to kill him. The science behind people like Reddington is that life is in the moment. Studies have proven, these kinds of people are more likely to be happier.
Reddington helped me construct a base for growing my human interaction, making more friends and keeping them close. A study says our close friends will not even be our friends in 7 years. So go on have that life in the moment, you will be happier with a friend or two in it.
Then the conversation with my female friend – yes I have to mention her gender. This conversation has been on-going. It’s about hierarchy. Again, this hierarchy is shaped on the concept of friendships, how you treasure them and how that determines who remains close.
In all the above, I have learned that friendships and conversations matter more, to keep these friendships, putting up appearances must happen and with each moment, you get closer to your friends and understand them more. Fondly speaking, if systems as grand as government adopted this method, we’d be happier citizens.
Understanding the citizens, reading their soul with social interactions, these matter more than the travels to countries to source ideas on development. If social policies can accommodate the rise of citizens in their hierarchy it is possible that we may not need to fuss so much about our politics.
Hierarchy means that you treat each person different according to how you understand them. It’s a social stratification form that all of us make consciously and sub-consciously. Your best three friends, are not friends by coincidence. It’s a systematic form of appreciation that got them there.
So in effect, my hierarchy has since been changed from books and knowledge acquisition to social interactions first. Lets see how that goes for now!