This idea comes from personal observations: a situation will present itself and while I go to do one thing, I then stop, think about it a moment and question why. Is it because I actually want to do it, is it my true reaction, or is it what I've seen people do a million times in TV shows, movies and (to a lesser extent) books? And then there comes the cognitive dissonance when you challenge and attempt to alter the default. And gods forbid you want to save your new responses as the default!
Now, I can understand the need for some kind of order and for people to be able to relate and work together. We do need to, in many ways, predict the behavior of others - that might come in handy for, say, driving. So I guess I am applying this more to the squishy stuff, human emotions and behaviors. I see it immensely in Dating (a hobby I've picked up recently, but am finding somewhat distasteful and I'm about to tell you why.)
Western society has some very strong defaults for human relationships, here's how they begin (based on my observations.)
Step. 1 -you notice the other person, but you don't walk right up and just say, "hey, you want to hang out sometime?" No, there's some dance involved that I don't even know the steps too, so I end up a wall flower reverting to "creepy stare" or awkward look-aways.
Step 2. when the time is right (this is not clearly defined, humorously enough) you approach and ask the other out on A DATE. (this should be in flashing lights like that on a marquee on a Theater.)
Step 3. You dress nicer and less comfortably than you usually do, the other does the same- so you are both, from the get-go, pushed out of comfort zones. What if all first dates were required to be in our comfy jeans and our favorite old T-shirt, the one we got at that event we loved and it makes us smile just to put it on? We wear boots or flip-flops or that pair of red chucks that makes us feel, just for a moment, like the 10th Doctor? (someone out there just asked doctor who? and I can only hope a fellow whovian was out there next to them to enjoy the moment.)
Step 4. You meet at a place that is not your regular haunt - cause gods forbid your friends be there or the wait staff see you eating dinner with different men/women - you hussy. ( <--and don't get me started on that gender imbalance.) No, you try and find a place that isn't too expensive but is still nice and isn't a regular haunt but isn't an unknown and I think you have to incorporate the quadratic formula in there somewhere. I say, as in writing, go with what you know. Go with something tasty and messy and comforting.
Step 5 - The Interview - this is where you, in one conversation, determine if the other person meets all of the specs you've pre-determined you want in a partner. Just watch - you can see it in the other person's eyes as they go down their check list:
- job, car, place to live, similar politically, similar religion, similar personal beliefs - "why yes I do feel small when I lay back and look up at the stars!", social media (text or twitter, face-to-face or facebook...gasp they don't use facebook - run away, run away!) ..wait, I watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart too - we are life mates! I'm not saying it isn't important to have things in common, but there is this rush to determine if the person you're seated across from is "the one" and you begin to null hypothesis them out of contention from the start. And in that rush, and in following the presets, you're not, in any way, in a comfort zone. You're not going to be yourself and no one is going to get any kind of accurate read on the other.
Step 6 - Kiss em or not? Why is this even a question? Your libido should have chimed in by now (learn to listen to it, it's Love's evil twin sister) and if there are any questions it'll be between - pull him too you but the scruff of his shirt or press him against the car and leave him breathless.
Step 7. Wait...why in holy hell is this process numbered like the instructions for putting together an *insert box store name* bookshelf? Life is far too messy to have a successful set of repeatable instructions. Do we live our lives by inserting piece B into slot A and...wait... I guess some parts could be like a set of instructions...a set of sexy instructions...
But we are individuals, both through the process of genetic recombination of our parents and grandparents DNA and the nature of the variation in our upbringing. The next time you sit down with society to play its little game...I say flip the table and walk away and let yourself be who you are. Let the person you would like to cohabitate a space with for an unspecified period of time also be themselves and go from there. No rule books, No Presets, No default.
What would you do if you opened up *insert word processing program here* and it started by asking "what font do you want?", without prompting any specific one? You just had the vast array of font styles to choose from - and there are some fun ones in there - You might not choose what someone else might choose. And what if you then wrote out your document and sent it out into the world in your personally selected font and your selected size and formatting. I bet it would say a lot more about you and help others actually connect with you.
So, do you want one column or two?