Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Relational Compact

We all dwell in relational compacts.
For those of you that slept through Political Theory (instead of those of us fools who majored in it), this is an idea based on Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the Social Compact which, in his view, was the agreement that we all make when we come together as a society. We surrender certain of our rights, and in return we gain the benefits of living in a group.  The group exists through the mechanism of the compact, this often unspoken set of rules and benefits that undergird society.

The same exists for our relationships as well.

Think about it:  in almost every relationship you (or I) inhabit, there are rules.  They are quite probably not spoken of openly between the individuals but everyone senses that they are there.  They are boundaries and limits around what we can do between each other.

Included in these are the things we cannot say, the words we cannot voice, the actions we cannot take.  Oh, they exist in our mind rightly enough, but the relational compact forbids us from mentioning them by name or deed.  To do so would be to violate the most fundamental laws of relationships:  doing that which is simply not to be done.

And so we dwell within the compact.  We move about our daily lives, interacting with each other on levels which may not approach actual honesty or fulfillment but do keep us together, functioning as a social unit in whatever we find ourselves.

Occasionally of course, I fantasize.  I wonder what it would be like to break the social compact, to do what please me more than what the social compact requires.  Tell people what I think.  Take actions which I would ordinarily not, things which would have radical implications.

And then, of course, I do not.  The Relational Compact ultimately seems to dominate all that I do.

Because breaking it seems to be the most heinous of crimes.  Odd, for something that is unwritten and invisible.

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