In the tram last night, I experienced two drunken young men who felt that their exchange about the weather should be heard by all. Because one of them was dressed in a thin T-shirt and complained about the cold, their language was accordingly crude and loud. This was the reason why the other passengers felt that the young men were threatening. Glances were exchanged that conveyed this.
I had to think about how quickly people attract attention by falling out of social norms. They crash and find themselves outside of what can be accepted. These two young men were conspicuous in the evening, during the day it would probably have been less tolerated. This means that there is a norm that we must all adhere to, at least within certain limits.
How are such standards established and maintained? Is it a tacit suggestion, or are they demonstrated, highlighted and recommended? It is widely expected that children will learn in the course of their upbringing what is acceptable and what is not. If not, the school tries to set the norm but if the school fails, the ability to get a job and keeping it, is a sign of whether one has learned the lesson or not.
But is this schooling enough, or are the many that become conspicuous a sign that something is missing? Could it be that society has become a little blue-eyed and convinced that order means normality? I have noticed over the years that order, as it is widely understood, is by no means a sign of normality. On the contrary, we experience how everything disintegrates if it is not cultivated. If one does not work for order, the environment becomes hostile and threatening to our existence. A constant struggle is needed to ensure that nothing bad happens.
In the past, people used flags and banners to illustrate their contribution to order. Clubs have proudly presented their work and there have been parades marching in rank and file, the epitome of order. But we have also noticed that there is also a “too much”. Just as chaos can become too much, there can also be too much order, and life becomes too narrow and we feel we could suffocate. We need a balance between order and chaos, a middle way to keep everything in balance.
Ancient cultures have kept the balance high, Yin and Yang for example, and in everything where life succeeds they found this balance. I have the feeling that we have not achieved this kind of order, to be in balance. Instead, there is either too much or too little, which harms society. Ultimately, everything ends in chaos if the balance cannot be maintained. But how can we achieve it? How can we live it consciously; how can we represent it for our children, and for ourselves?
Wouldn’t political parties have to show how they intend to keep society in balance? Instead, one often has the feeling that politics is either one-sided left or right. Even when parties claim to want to occupy the centre, there is no demonstration of how their policies restore balance. Is there a party or group that can successfully demonstrate this?