Thursday, August 08, 2013


Bargains are a two way participatory relationship.

In a bargain two parties agree that they will exchange something for something else.  It can be as simple as "Here is 20 bucks; mow my lawn" to "Here is my trust; give me yours."  In both of these cases - and in all of the gradations in between - there is a certain element of understanding:  I do my part, you do your part, and bargain will be complete.

So what happens when someone fails to hold up their end of the bargain?

This also takes many forms.  It is as simple as failing to do what you said to do and as complex as failing to support someone else in a time of change when they needed it.  In these cases, and all the cases they bracket, the central aspect of understanding, of trust, is broken.

The realization that this has occurred is frustrating beyond words.  Suddenly all that you believed to be true - all that you worked for based on an assumption of an understanding - is ended.  Your effort is not totally wasted in its effect, but perhaps in its ultimate outcome.  You are left holding the sides of a bag which you thought was going to be full only to discover that the bag has a hole in the bottom, leaving you with a circle of fabric in your hands.

Real life does not stop going on at this point of course:  work still has to be accomplished, relationships still have to be maintained, the daily aspects of living go on.  But they lose a sense of building towards something else, something greater: they lose the sense of reaching that bargain that was agreed to.

What does one do in such circumstances?  One can attempt to simply muscle through the event, laughing at fate and sneering at the foibles of human nature.  This works for a while but ultimately seems to lead nowhere:  the agreement which was not met seems to become the new standard perhaps simply from assumption that things seem to be continuing in a forward direction.  They may from the outside of course; the reality is that the energy sustaining the effort dwindles over time, bereft of renewal from a sense of continuing to keep the bargain.

How does one renegotiate such a bargain?

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