It’s All Relative

Time. Riches. Joy. Sadness. Respect. Privilege. Equality. They are all relative. Why? These concepts are all man made constructs  (yes, I blame man for these) to quantify and qualify the way we live our lives inside the societies we have created. Every culture has its own way of measuring these constructs. That’s where most of the clashes in thought and feelings lie because we all view and value them differently. When everyone wants to be right, it becomes daunting to find common ground.

Every since I was 5 years old I have known that time and experience, were not only relative but would cause a lot of friction with my peers. No one goes through the same trial and comes out of it with the same feelings and knowledge. Because of his engineering background, my uncle decided to teach me about math and critical thinking early on so I could observe carefully what people said and did to reach my own conclusions. Many social and scientific experiments later, I came to realize that even the truth was relative; loyalty, respect and devotion, even love, are all expressed and internalized at varying levels by the same people depending on who they are interacting with and when.

If you changed these variables the biases would become apparent. Based on my findings I began to scrutinize the reasons why adults backed out on their word, and how many misunderstandings occured between rational beings. Correlating the ifs, why, how and whens became second nature to me, and I could being to anticipate areas of unease and anxiety. Through this scientific method I was able to prove to myself that parents had flaws and weren’t infallible creatures. Since I was the only person keeping score, no one truly knew where they had gone wrong when accusations of betrayal and lying were thrown around except me. To this day, I am still the best witness to any event in our family because I know where everyone is truly coming from. I’ve become a master at preventing and diffusing situations that rely heavily on opinion and hearsay.

In essence, my observations concluded that your life’s succesd rate depends on the amount of opportunities and risks you are willing to undertake, coupled tightly to the amount of love, dignity, respect and attention you get from others. Many variables will govern our experiences making one wonder if we can take one more hit emotionally and physically. There’s a high level of umcertainty and randomness. For example, of those bullied some will grow stronger because of it and others will die because of the pain brought on by the abuse. This shows that what each person can withstand varies based on upbringing and moral constitution, on the amount of confidence and will power they possess. Each contruct is redefined by the amount of pain and suffering each individual can endure and reinforced by their victories and triumph over advetsity. All of these are relative too depending on your beliefs. There’s more to learn from repenting from sinning than by avoiding sin in the first place. (Insert philosophical and theological discussion here.)

Everyone’s proverbial cross weight is unique and has to be measured and judged accordingly. It will be hard to be kind and compassionate when we don’t extend the same courtesy to ourselves. No one is perfect nor should meet your standards of perfection or acceptance. We must learn to live and let live. Others may come along that will find you wanting too but they may not be as vocal about it. After all, who cares if others think you are inadequate? I don’t! Even during a performance evaluation I would be weary about believing everything the boss said, good or bad. It is all a matter of perception. Build yourself up first and then figure out if your hard work is worth a remodel or a teardown. Do it yourself and don’t let others ruin you.

In terms of time, the relativity of it and the space continuum transcends Albert Einstein’s math and logic. It is more than E=mc^2. For some, a lifetime is a short span compared to the millions of years of the universe but to others it is too long based on what they have lived and witnessed. Survivors of war zones or extreme poverty can tell you time felt endless while they were oppressed and enslaved by the circumstances. I’ve felt this way when waiting for good news or updates. Once freed from our time prison, the essence and passage of time manifested in a more fluid state, maybe being too slow during times of duress and fast in happiness. The opposite can be true as well. The time tick on a clock is the same for all of us but we all feel it slip away at uneven rates, relentlessly moving on whether we like it or not. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

I have so many memories and stories to refer to that my life seems to be bountiful in experience at such a short age. My mid thirties have seen more chaos, confusion, crisis and happily ever afters than many 70 year olds. The cosmopolitan upbringing I was offered enabled me to witness the politics and norms of many nations and countries first hand, and most importantly, to care about what transpired. Some people read about history whereas I live it and I wish more people documented their take on the events so in the future we had a better picture. As an ambassador for my gender and profession, my experiences and musings have opened the doors to the mindset of some the leadership initiatives of corporate America which in many cases promises to improve the work environment for women and minorities. Progress in these areas has been relative as well, and many don’t realize we are a ways away from equal pay and equal distribution of responsibilities based on talent and not gender. There’s so much more to do so my future offspring can have the life they deserve to live free of prejudice and gender bias.

Be the change you want to see in the world. Trust but verify. Make time to do what is right, it is our own invention so we can and must control it. Don’t become trapped by the many constructs you were taught and learn to challenge them. If we continue to take all these words as absolutes without analyzing the context we will continue to make the mistake of letting our privilege show. In many cases, that privilege is what won’t allow you to see the bias you are using to judge others and your observations will not only be askew but incorrect. An opinion is an entitlement but it can be wrong, which relatively speaking, makes it garbage and unusable to defend your position. Even your entitlement is relative because no one has to give you what you want for free; you must earn every privilege and protection under the law by being a good citizen.

The moment we forget that we are not alone in this journey and that we do not matter more than the person next to us, that is the moment we set ourselves up to fail and to do harm. We all need to learn that as people, we are all worthy of a good quality of life, education and a chance at success. Raising each other up should be the norm not the exception. If you can’t reach out because you are afraid know that fear is relative too. Once you realize this it should be easier to tackle that which scares us and paralizes us. Action and understanding is the only way to eliminate the relativity and thrive.

P.S. The next time you agree with a hater meme think about all this. The Pokémon Go player or the sports fan is expressing what they feel and think but the hater is just bullying or shaming them because of their choice. Even though both opinions are relative there is no need to complain and antagonize. Unless the activity kills, not the stupidity and lack of common sense of the participants, we shouldn’t ask to ban or eliminate something because we don’t like it. Figure out why you dislike it and educate yourself before advocating against it. It’s all relative…

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