It's difficult to know any kind of certainty in Western cultures that are defined by constant, accelerated change. Continual adaptation and the fact that Western values, by which I mean the moral, intellectual and cultural ideas that have underpinned our cultures, shift like walking across a lake of broken ice, mean that some of our behaviours maybe less useful than we would like.
It has been a strange week in the UK, dominated by lethargic, seasonless weather, rain, heavy leaden skies and humid temperatures. Our moods align themselves with the evocations of clouds and climate, perhaps, leading to a week of self-reflection. A sense of self, contrary to the Postmodern notion of fractured subjectivities that, it is reasoned, we are experiencing is to welcomed. Reflection/thought is necessary to liberate purposeful action.
This week has also been strange because of the peculiarities and vagaries of human relationships, whether with others or with ourselves. A woman I know posted yet another, seemingly aimless "selfie" online, bragging about her recent achievements. Her constant bragging about herself, her interests and achievements and her, albeit common preoccupation with snaps of herself, leave me thinking of her as a rather shallow, narcissistic individual.
I had a long chat with another female acquaintance, that lead to a conversation about her new boyfriend, who isn't actually a boyfriend yet, despite seeing him regularly. This is hardly a surprising revelation until I remembered that she continues to live with her ex-partner. These currently typical, fleeting and half-hearted approaches to relationships made me think about relationship breakdown and the myriad of difficulties that people experience with modern relationships.
While at work (yes, my job is fractured, displaced, ironic and in constant flux; thoroughly Postmodern(!)) I overheard a colleague talk about self-marriage. Surely, she was making a joke that referred to the vogue for narcissism and fractured relationships. Unfortunately, a brief bit of Internet research revealed a very small but burgeoning trend for marrying yourself! This seemed to sum up my rather inclement week, symbolizing my experiences and concerns via an odd parody, pastiche of marriage actuel. This representation of love (don't even talk about the sex) seems to be a sad paean to better times in the past for relationships, a sad piece of performance art that represents a romantic notion that is becoming, increasingly unusual.
I drove home from work, a rather long commute that sometimes makes me feel I am in a fish-bowl, distanced from others driving their little fish-bowls around. The rain did stop and a little Sunshine lit up drops of water upon my windscreen. After all, the more things change the more they stay the same... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...