If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.-Nelson Mandela
Making insomnia productive and learning a new language. I don’t speak finance but believe understanding will offer clues about the pathology of wealth to bridge gaps. I’m not ready for those big words like Bitcoin, divestiture or my work benefits statement. I have no clue what it means. Pers and Ira Roth are members of a British punk band? One of my coworkers asked why individuals who live in poverty wear pajamas as clothing. I explained from lived experience that we don’t bother getting ‘dressed up’ for a life we don’t have. Also I didn’t, until recently, buy myself real clothes without the cheerleading of a sister, friend or therapist until I was absolutely sure the sky wouldn’t fall. I needed coda recovery mostly to recover from a culture. Why are Lululemon yoga pants a fancy outfit but a Pink branded glitter bum is all, not fancy? ‘It’s just different‘ they say. Yes, the difference is the illusion of value. Rhinestones are fakes but I heard you could see right through the fabric of those yoga pants. When you don’t know any other way the belief in powerlessness from systemic confinement, demand and trauma results in living life as the question: Why bother? This is true for how we view differences we can’t explain; baby bottles full of soda, protesters and real fur coats all get the side eye from someone’s ignorance. I roll my eyes at stocks because I don’t get it and feel powerless to explain. Have you ever tried to read a Suze Orman book? It’s my nightmare. Context determine the stars from the stares.
The culture of wealth is at the high end of an expectation spectrum. Pressure to become someone or something is equally overwhelming, driven by fears of exclusion and avoidance of failure. It makes me think of the ways cultural extremes fiercely protect or defend associated markers of value and group identity like The Arts, McDonalds, Historical Architechture, The Confederate Flag, Fashion Houses, Big White Trucks, Ivy League Universities, The Military, Sports Teams. Go! Fight! Win! Me! Football games should come with spears and hunks of cooked flesh on bones. Oh wait. They do. Chicken wings and party picks. I have a godfather who spends several weekends a year screaming at his television which is a 15 minute drive from Foxboro Stadium. If the Patriots are down he can shout them a pep talk from his living room. If you don’t have relatives from Rhode Island, Family Guy with the volume turned all the way up is a good primer.
The lines can get blurry since we cross over into each other’s worlds at various intersections; faith, national tragedy and once a month when everybody either pays or is paid rent. Funny we still call them Land Lords. If I’m a peasant by default I want a llama. We’re all prone to perceptive handicaps. They protect us from seeing things we think we’re powerless to change. Limping eyeballs. Is that a sign of hurt? Yes.
How do we get ourselves out of our line of sight to see the whole, big picture? Speak their language.