Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
This is one phony white-coat-propeller-beanie-wearing pocket-protector clipboard-carrying got-beat-up-in-high-school egghead study I can certainly believe…
Preliminary results of a 17-year study of 192 married couples indicate that couples who argue live longer than those suffering in silence.
Early mortality results from “mutual anger suppression, poor communication (of feelings and issues) and poor problem-solving with medical consequences,” the researchers write in the January issue of the Journal of Family Communication. The couples ranged in age from 35 to 69.
“When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict,” said researcher Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Psychology Department. “Usually nobody is trained to do this. If they have good parents, they can imitate, that’s fine, but usually the couple is ignorant about the process of resolving conflict.”
In this post-cold-war world, the culture of the western world has lost an important ability, and this ability has been a keystone to our most unimpressive but fundamental personal achievements — existing in a healthy way in a marriage, eating in a healthy way, sleeping in a healthy way.
That ability has to do with graciously peeking at your neighbor’s test paper. Borrowing techniques from others without fanfare.
We guard our privacy with zeal and jealousy. But privacy about what? How we argue with our spouses…the contents of our grocery carts. Whack your bratty kid on the seat of his pants, and it’s everybody’s business.
We need professionals to inject their wisdom into marital spats, and household diets. Professionals…who might have the same problems…or worse. Somehow, it’s become culturally unacceptable to say — “hey, so-and-so seems to have a happy marriage, what is it they’re doing that we don’t do?” Or, “hey, those friends of ours don’t huff and puff when they get up from a chair, and they can see their shoes when they stand up straight and look down. What are they eating?”
You see people succeeding where you fail, and resolve to find a difference, that might involve keeping your own individual values. When you “seek professional help” to guide you in these problems, society can filter out these professionals for you. And exert pressure on the professionals that aren’t so filtered.
As the war on the individual continues, we like to define “privacy” as a difficulty involved in communicating with one another…without the intervention of a professional. And so it has become commonplace for people, even people lacking any experience in such a situation, to sing the praises of the professionals and the wonderful things the professionals can do — but entirely rare for anybody to specifically cite the wonderful things the professionals do.
So without them, we are discouraged from taking in any new information about how to live. For a younger couple that is inexperienced in the ways of human conflict, this leaves two options — the ever popular “seek counseling,” or do more and more fighting until you get a divorce.
And most counseling is about paying a professional to find more complaints about the man, on the way to the divorce.
In my own brief marriage, I could see I’d been hoodwinked in childhood — brought up to believe, without anyone outwardly stating it, that everybody’s compatible with everybody else, or at least if they work at it they ought to eventually become that way. It just isn’t so. But I’ve strongly suspected, in the long years since then, that I’m not the only one fooled this way. We desperately want to believe that we all possess uber-compatibility with each other, or at least the makings of it.
It’s our heritage. The class-ism from Middle English society. We have this instinctive egalitarian desire to evolve beyond it.
The tricky thing about egalitarianism, though, is that it can only work on a foundation of other things. What we’re doing is trashing individualism, and expecting zero consequences for doing so when in fact there are consequences. An individual may believe that the point of having money, is to spend it. Another individual might believe the point is all in the saving of it. As individuals they can cope with life just fine, in their own way — but two such individuals cannot built a home together, even though they might have been raised to believe this should be do-able. Not without one of them undergoing a profound structural change in the way they look at money.
I expect this is an important study…because I expect this is the way thing are typically done. Couples marry, and then hope whatever inventory there is of foundational differences in the way they look at life, will work itself out. In our desire for more egalitarianism, we parents tend to neglect to teach our kids that people are different. And then the household does things according to the will of one of the spouses, or the other. Usually the woman. Let’s face it…women are smarter at interacting. People want to interact with them. Television commercials are aimed at them, salesmen talk to them, counselors tailor their marriage advice in such a way that the woman will find it pleasing.
And so the man is left to stew in his juices. And go fishing.
They fight. Or not. They get divorced. Or not. But they’re aggravated by the knowledge that their parents and grandparents didn’t go through any of this…why is that?
There used to be some shame involved in divorce. In fact, there used to be shame involved in just fighting. People did both…but culturally, less was thought of them when they were caught doing it. So the previous generations did some stewing in their own juices as well.
But shame can have a useful side as well, and this is the part I think most people miss. For example — consider this definition from the House of Eratosthenes Glossary…
…and think on the second of those two clauses. Persuading another consciousness — your spouse — when s/he already agrees on the thing to be done.
I can think of a great example just off the top of my head. My son was born at twelve pounds…his mother had resolved to breastfeed him — but as he approached his second week of life, she had to abandon this because he was being a little piglet.
Now, I’m a dude. Maybe that makes sense. Maybe it doesn’t. I dunno.
I did notice in my years with his mother, that everything that could possibly cost money, did. But the point is, if she can’t make enough milk for the little monster…she can’t do it. I’ve long had the same reputation about arguments that she had about spending money…if an argument can be made, I’ll make one. Well, it isn’t true. I went off to the store and got formula. Looking back on it, maybe a little arguing would have been helpful. Formula isn’t cheap.
But that story has a point to it. When you disagree on what’s good and what’s not good — and believe me, off in mommy-land, there is a white-hot cultural war going on vis a vis the merits of breastfeeding versus formula — arguing might have a chance at being practical if you disagree about the thing or things to do. Otherwise, it is arguing in a vacuum.
And so shame does have a place. In times of old, husbands and wives had a tendency to “not do this” if there was agreement about the thing to do, or not to be done. Why haggle over the reasons why?
Nowadays, every principle that is meritorious, must be articulated…one more time. Every one that has emerged from The Dark Side, must be denounced…one more time. Silence may not be kept. We do tend to do less stewing than generations past, and we do tend to do more yelling…the statistics do say we live longer.
But I can’t escape the feeling that there seem to be conflicts that did not exist previously. And as an adjunct to that, I also can’t escape the feeling that much of this is arguing in a vacuum. Arguing over the merits of doing the things we’re going to do, or not do, when we’ve already agreed on the important stuff, the things to be done, or not done.
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