Friday, May 02, 2008

What Matters?

The Marxist emphasis on economic motives has always struck me as dimwitted. There are so many actions in life that have nothing to do with economic interest. Trying to couch them in such terms might score ten points for creativity in some sociology class but it will earn an "F" in the real world.

So too with individuals. What single criterion neatly sums up the person sitting next to you? Is it:

Physical appearance?
Religious beliefs?
National origin?
Place of birth?
Sexual orientation?
Ethical standards?
Educational level?
A difficult or privileged childhood?
Birth order?
Quality of schools?
Health, either good or poor?
Some obvious or hidden disability?
Worry about a close relative?
A troubled marriage?
A frustrated career?
Lack of recognition?
Embarrassment over appearance or lack of some intellectual gift?
Being multilingual?
Some old wound?
Being inarticulate?
Having been discriminated against?
Being an immigrant or the child of immigrants?
Having been in prison?
Being extraordinarily creative?
Being extremely methodical?
Fear of being seen as an impostor?
Resentment of the success of others?
Deep-seated prejudice?
Misplaced loyalty?
An overwhelming desire to please?
A fear of being manipulated?
A passion for justice?
A yearning for guaranteed security?
A commitment for freedom?

Or a unique blend of many of these and some more?

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