Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Statistically, I Belong To A Group That Can't Be Trusted

There are, of course, many of us in this significant group. But perhaps it is in the developed nations of the world - where we are supposed to be the most responsible for our economic livelihoods - that we may in fact be held in the most suspicion. For the developed world is mostly made up of environments which don't leave a lot of room for hardscrabble adaptation or random settings. Therefore, as long term unemployed, we are generally hidden in surroundings where others still have well understood and specific ways to interact with one another. Whereas, without a job to go to, we have choices along a certain limited spectrum, but those options don't readily intersect with the choices of people around us. Therefore, we may find our own routines and stoically maintain them, but when we are around those who don't know us, the unknowing itself may still create uncertainty in some settings, regardless of our actual reactions to the settings themselves.

And - as a group - our reactions to this odd set of affairs run the gamut from acceptance to despair, each duly noted by society in its turn and mostly from a safe emotional distance. In particular, anger is the potential element which people are the most compelled to respond to and guard against. There are - fortunately - the peaceful moments when we can accept our fate with equanimity. Yet, the fact that we sometimes win our personal battles doesn't readily translate beyond ourselves. Whereas when an employed individual wins such battles, there are positive effects that can go well beyond one's own personal sphere, into one's community.

What's more, there is presently no cohesive roadmap or playbook for any of our actions or responses; no broader context for our focused efforts and oft remembered previous commitments. The playbooks that exist for others, work mostly for the emotional shadows of yesterday that we continue to wrestle with in our dreams. If we are older, others probably do not question that we hold back from obligations we can't actually make. But if we are young, the holding back can be readily misunderstood as to the logic it may actually hold, regarding our own recognition of our additional limits and boundaries. Others may persevere just the same for our commitment in the spirit of a conquering force, or they might observe our sanity, try to capture it and transmit it into some form of subservience. Yet the very acquiescence to such intentions can change our own equanimity and autonomy into something else entirely different.

We are fragile, and yet in certain ways we are not fragile at all. For in long term unemployment, we are exposed to the ragged edge of life's greatest challenge to find the intention in our destiny. What might have been an ordinary "garden variety" denial, is brought into sharp relief, by the mirror of ones own rejection. Whatever we ignored before only comes to visit again in the too open morning, if in fact we did not relive it in the night.

Why can't we can't be trusted? Because we undermine your feeling of personal stability, of certainty.  You may feel confident enough to trust me directly, but to do so means you take a chance on giving in to other confusions. By allowing me into your world, the lack of an economic anchor in my own can make you question some of the aspects of your life which you would otherwise, unthinkingly and comfortably take for granted. By turns you might feel pity or even a mild form of resistance to the nature of my own response to circumstance. I am a part of that thing which is not supposed to happen on any number of levels, and the fact that it happened anyway has no ready answers or solutions. By being unemployed, that makes all of us in this group the biggest question mark society has: did we bring such circumstances about purposely, or is this something that can even be helped?

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