Today my mind’s on security- not financial security although it’s very important- I mean emotional security, the state of feeling comfortable in your own skin and with others. I don’t have it and in my dotage I am beginning to question my rationalization that it isn’t really important.
During my working years, one of the cliché management training exercises was about trust. They would ask you to stand with your back to your partner and then fall backward with the belief that he would catch you. I’ve never had to participate but I’m sure that if necessary I would happily trust my partner in the exercise to do his part. No trust is necessary because the exercise is a sham. It’s too public for anyone to risk not doing his job. Letting even a lousy bastard fall while your co-workers are watching would ruin your career.
The exercise seems to tell a story but it means nothing because it’s not real. Never in life have I needed someone to catch me from falling on my ass. The exercise is just an allegory to represent emotional support which is something entirely different. Just because I can trust a co-worker to catch me physically when the entire office is watching in no way convinces me that he will catch me emotionally or, more important, that he will want to.
Security in life is built on trust. When the demons come- as they will – who will have your back emotionally? Who will tell you to ignore the demon’s bluster threats? Who will promise to hold your hand until they leave? Who will cheer you up when you feel alone and helpless? Who will tell you that you have what it takes to prevail, that you are valuable and important? Who can give you encouragement when the demon attacking you is you? Who can you trust?
In my world that kind of trust is rare. I can count them easily using the fingers of one hand, It’s easy to justify the small number logically. In a logical world, it’s tit for tat. One hand washes the other. On the logical ledger, good deeds are balanced and exchanged. I don’t expect you to do something for me unless I can do something for you. Actions have value. Transactions balance that value. Relationships work so long as you have something to offer.
I can expect to be valued and respected so long as I have something of value to exchange. When I no longer have any value to offer, the exchange becomes poisoned and stops. Anything more I receive is charity because I have nothing to offer in return and in my world, charity is tainted. I can’t accept charity even if you are foolish enough to offer it.
I don’t understand how the exchange works in an emotional world but I recognize the theoretical outline from literature. Emotion is powerful and unrelenting. Love conquers all! Dying for love! Giving your life for your country! It all seems a wonderful fantasy. I never believed it for a second. I always interpreted emotion in literature as a storytelling tool, inflating reality to epic proportions in order to titillate readers or underscore a point. They were great stories and complete fantasies, not the real world I experienced.
Stories of great emotion were no more reflective of reality than super hero movies. For all it’s pretense, Romeo and Juliette was no more real than Superman. Both are grotesque exaggerations of a more banal reality. None of their protagonists live in my logical world.
If trust is a transaction then what is its currency. What is there to value in an emotional world? I don’t get it. It is just smoke and mirrors when compared to ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. With emotion what is there to exchange and how does it have value? How can you know value? How can you be valuable? I’m baffled and confused. I think I’m missing something important but I’m too cautious to explore. How can I be sure that it’s not a big joke and as soon as I step into the world of emotion, I’ll expose myself as a fool. I can’t risk it. It’s much safer to stay the way I am.