Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trying to be memorable

Robert Ornstein says that it seems we humans are hard-wired from deep inside to respond to stimuli according to four variables
  • Recent
  • Bigger, brighter, softer, etc. in COMPARISON to what is usual (the mind always notes the unusual)
  • Vivid
  • Meaningful
That means that advertising and story-telling (movies, novels and tv) try to be exciting and vivid, often appealing to our fears, hopes and sex drives.  But of course these approaches are not what long-term life is about.  It is gentleness, thoughtfulness, love, patience, calm that win the day 99% of the time, not flash, death and bulging muscles.
We listened to a researcher once who compared Harlequin romances and Doc Savage novels.  The romances are about feelings and love, where is plenty of pain and doubt about acceptance and approval and rejection and loss and lasting relations. 
Meanwhile, over in Doc Savage, a he-man hits a bad guy so hard, his eyeball flies out of his head and rolls across the barroom floor. Males respond to challenges and the hope of heroics and I guess females respond to manly displays and victories. 
So, fiction and the media emphasize James Bond athletics, bravery, kicks and marksmanship.  Of course, in the land and age of the emergence of women, we have gorgeous female agents and officers doing the same things, only better.  We are surprised at how beautiful all the female officers are and how provocatively their d├ęcolletage is displayed in the work place and during gunfights.
Too bad for all that flash and display, it is the calm and steady that wins
  • Over time
  • Over problems
  • Statistically (when the marauders murder most of the village, few with calm and steady survive and grow and flourish)
  • And faces aging and changes, welcome and unwelcome
  • And allows savoring of beauty, friendship, and pleasure
Calm and steady seem more aligned with the feminine but the genuinely feminine is often quiet and avoids fireworks.  Thus Grandma isn’t an action hero.  But she should be.

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