Friday, 28 November 2008

Some one: Someone and blogging

It is, indeed, a wonder that anyone finds anyone at all.

First off, the logistics. Most people, after a while, settle into a steady job. Even if they work in a big corporation, in reality they interact with a relatively limited number of people who they see on an almost daily basis.

Assuming that no one finds love through their workplace, that obviously means they have to find it outside. Now a typical job is somewhere in the region of 40 hours per week. Add to that average commute times, and in general we could say, quite reasonably, that 50 hours per week of the 168 are taken up by work. That leaves about 118. Of those 118, based on an average of 8 hours sleep per night, that uses up an additional 56 hours, which reduces the available hours to 62.

Now, during the working week, average Joe or Jane then has to do all the usual chores around the house such as cooking, cleaning, washing and, of course, relaxing - which is of course usually a solitary exercise if someone is single, be it reading a book, watching a film or some junk on TV, etc. Including the time spent getting ready in the mornings, it is quite reasonable to suggest this takes up another 2-3 hours per day. Anything that doesn't get done during the week will get dumped at the weekend or days off, so even these days will have a similar time usage. So that is another 21 hours, taking our remaining time down to 41 hours.

We then have food shopping and time spent out the house doing other necessary non-recreational tasks, which easily uses up another, say, 5-6 hours per week. So down to 35 hours.

People that want to be healthy and fit (and by logic, anyone who is single probably wants to do their best to improve these aspects) need to do some type of regular exercise, of whatever variety whether it be going to the gym or cycling. So, based on an average level of exercise, including time showering, commuting to/from gym or other necessary preparations, we can say that this takes up at least another 6 hours per week. So 29 hours or so. Of these 29 recreational hours per week, most people will be lucky to have 1-2 hours actually spare in the evenings. Although people can and do socialise during the working week, typically most people will be tired and just want to crash out at home for these free hours. So that's another 10 hours gone. Down to 19 hours. Most people have two days off per week, so the majority of the 19 hours left for socialising will take place over these two days. Most real socialising - of the type where you can attempt to find someone of the opposite sex - tends to take place in the evening, say from 8PM till 3AM, which leaves us with 16 hours. On a typical working week this would be Friday and Saturday evenings. This is assuming someone goes out both nights, every week. Although some people will, probably most will go out on a proper night out once per week. So down to 8 hours.

Of these 8 hours, we then have a very hit and miss scenario. Most pubs and clubs have very loud background noise and music levels so real in depth conversation is not possible. Assuming this to be so, we are left with the more basic "dance floor" scenario to meet someone. Most people won't hit the dance floor until later on in the evening after several drinks, so probably from 11 or 12 onwards. So down to 3 hours.

That's a pretty low percentage opportunity. 3 hours. And to meet what? A pure random physical (and probably short lived) attraction, if you're lucky? The likelihood of finding someone you are genuinely compatible with is extremely low.

Of course I realise this analysis is unduly pessimistic, grossly so, as every moment in life, is, theoretically, an opportunity to meet some special someone. You might bump into them at the supermarket. You might talk to them in the street. You might even meet them over the internet. Whatever.

The point is, it is nevertheless surprising anyone finds anyone they are genuinely compatible with at all in the modern world. The fact is they do, but it is against all odds, rather than with the confluence of any - certainly if you look at the matter from a materialistic perspective. In fact the odds of even meeting someone you aren't compatible with but at least have some superficial attraction that goes a little somewhere is still pretty low - generally speaking.

I should add that this cursory analysis took an "average Joe" example doing an "average Joe" life. Some people are fortunate in that they have amazing jobs and lives, where every day is filled meeting new people, doing interesting things, going to interesting places, etc. But my example looks at the more mundane sphere of a typical job working in somewhere like an office or wherever.

It has been correctly pointed out that a better method of meeting someone is to join a club or participate in some community or activity whereby you stand a chance of meeting some "like minded" people. Even that is still not a high probability, necessarily, since many types of clubs/activities won't have a high turn out of appropriate aged people and much of a potential attraction base. Furthermore, sharing an interest doesn't mean that you are alike or a good match with someone, even if we were to presume that the initial attraction and match was there.

The aim of this rather vague and rambling, overly empirical analysis of the world of human attraction, was perhaps to underline in a rather mundane way the difficulty in even encountering reasonable numbers of at least potential matches. You can construct scenarios - such as speed dating sessions, etc. - but the inevitable result is that they are always, necessarily, rather contrived and artificial. I did once come across a post on the internet by a statistician who subjected the entire population of the planet to a set of reasonable assumptions with the result that the typical individual might have 11000 potential matches, world wide. Or something of that order. Reducing that to ones in the geographical vicinity, you start to realise the improbability of meeting such a person when one considers this expressed as a percentage in relation to the population of the planet. Something dismally small. This was based on a set of quite reasonable assumptions and basic facts, nothing "deep".

So we have a small potential base, of which to meet someone. So if you're looking for someone who isn't just merely a bit of fun to be around, but someone who, as it were, was a true spiritual match, someone you instinctively understand, someone who you truly resonate with, someone who... completes you... Well, then, that is a tough proposition.

Non-empirical factors of course do ultimately seem to shape human relationships, for most people do meet that someone (or indeed several, over a lifetime). But it can feel like an impossible dream sometimes.

Is blogging a fundamentally egotistical activity? The answer probably is yes. As a diary, it is a means of self-exploration. The fact that a blog allows you to publicly air your thoughts, but at the same time to a fundamentally anonymous audience, does change the dynamic somewhat. Most blogs out there, amongst the vast numbers on the internet, are primarily only of interest to the person writing them, and the fact of the matter is they probably barely get read by a single other person. Just yet another clump of data in a vast electronic soup.

That, however, is not the point. The point is the very possibility that they could be [read by a particular someone] modifies the whole essence of the writing. The hidden (but assumed) agenda behind every blog - is the possibility of connecting with someone else who understands. This lies at the basis, as a component, of every piece of writing, of whatever type. The knowledge that it is being published - even if that is purely electronically on some random web page amongst thousands of others - is nevertheless a huge advance over merely writing something that probably won't ever see the light of day in any form. A writer fundamentally always wants some sort of audience. For, it is an opportunity to actually be heard - to genuinely say something, rather than merely utter pleasantries or  mechanic social parlance. We all say many words without actually necessarily saying much. A large part of conversations are merely social lubrication or mundane information exchange, rather than true human to human communication about the mysteries of life.

The written word quite often has a cogency, authenticity and level of expression missing from most spoken conversations in the real world, where there are always some degree of barriers erected, even amongst good friends.

A blog is usually a story about the individual life experiences of the particular person's own life. An autobiography. So, the real agenda - regardless of whether the person is happily married, with someone, or not - is the hope that somewhere, out there, in the vast and incalculable electronic nexus of the web, will be some one, someone, who reads, and understands. Not on a rational or even intellectual level. Beyond that; on an intuitive level. On a spiritual level. For, in effect, it is a means of confirming one's own existence; a moment of existential recognition. Everyone has that need buried in them somewhere, regardless of how strong or self-secure they may suppose themselves to be.

Some blogs are a lot more personal than others. Some are a lot more detailed. Some deal a lot more with "external" [life] rather than "internal" events. Regardless. The same fundamental principle underlies them all - else they would simple keep their writing to themselves on some personal computer file. Blogs are about sharing, in a more or less uninhibited fashion. So in that respect, they are altruistic as much as they are egotistic. A lovely paradox.

Or probably just a truism if one looks at the matter on a deeper level.


Xina said...

When I was 7, the school thought it necessary to inform us that we spent more time at school than at home. Same logic you just described. At some point, in high school, I was there from 6 in the morning until 9 at night. And then sometimes on the weekends.

I think I just didn't want to go home.

Vesper de Vil said...

I definitely don't think blogging is egotistical. I think blogging is introverted.

Aren O. Týr said...

From the Chambers on-line dictionary:

"introvert noun 1 psychol someone who is more concerned with their thoughts and inner feelings than with the outside world and social relationships."

"egotism noun, derog 1 the habit of speaking too much about oneself."

If the mode of being "more concerned about your inner feelings/thoughts" is blogging, a written form of talking about yourself, in one form or another, then you could argue that is congruent with the definition of egotism "the habit of speaking too much about oneself". :-)

Having said all that, on reflection, I agree that introverted is probably a more sympathetic and better term. And the Chambers online definitions are hardly authoritative or especially accurate - it ain't no Oxford English Dictionary.

With most blogs - well, reasonably interesting ones, anyway - the person doesn't talk so much about oneself as meditate and share their experience on various events or thoughts that influence or occur in their life.

I suppose I use the term egotistical in more of psychological rather than derogative (in common parlance) use of the term. All of use have what could be described as an ego, and in a mentally healthy individual this should be neither too small nor too large.

But regardless, blogging is most definitely a healthy and personally uplifting activity.