Sometimes I wonder about culture and why we value the things we do. I probably should rephrase that and say that at times I wonder about the culture I live in and its value system. This thought came to mind the other night at a business dinner. The conversation moved from sports, to travel, to money, and to what I guess you could call manly pursuits. Much of the conversation didn’t really interest me and it made me think: am I the only one?
Yes, my industry is male dominated and I am a man, so no problem right? Except, I don’t follow sports, I don’t golf, smoke cigars or drink excessively. I prefer to keep my opinions to myself on most occasions. I believe in being polite and modest. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t like the people I work with, I just don’t have many of the same interests. And it’s not just my industry. I see so much on television and the internet that makes me wonder about our value system.
When I experience these types of things, the vision that comes to mind is “the most interesting man in the world” from the Dos Equis commercials. He’s always drinking and doing something active like jumping out of an airplane. It seems this is the model against which I’m supposed to measure myself. I’ve thought about taking up golfing, or following sports, or watching reality TV so I can join in the conversation more, but I don’t find that stuff interesting. Instead I propose we change the standard. Let’s glamorize education, and reading, and gardening, and . . . well, you get the picture. Maybe let’s just value individual choice and recognize that we all have our different passions.
So I ask: Why do we glamorize action? Is it the old survival of the fittest model? Or maybe, might makes right? Or he who has the gold makes the standards? All these concepts point to the desire for power, and it seems that action is seen as an aspect of power. Again, I prefer to change that standard. Instead of seeking power over others or our environment, why not seek power over ourselves. A little introspection could probably do us all some good. Maybe we can even figure out what we truly value instead of what our present culture seems to be selling us.