(posted to Facebook, June 10, 2009)
Okay, so, I have this idea... well, concept... erm... thought?
I have this thought.
See, out of everything tangible in this world, I place the highest value upon people. Not only people and their personalities, ideas, inspirations, and expressions, but also their actions.
I understand how inextricably (adv: incapable of being disentangled, undone, loosed; hopelessly intricate, involved, or perplexing) linked everyone is. Part of this conviction (n: a fixed, firm, or deeply held belief) stems from a ppc youth group sermon about how people were created to be both needed and needy. ...meaning I need people and people need me. This concept continues even further into the fact that I need to be needed by people and people need to be needed by me. Read that again. People are social beings, there is no getting around it. However, it's more than the fact of being gregarious (adj: fond of the company of others; sociable), it's the fact that people are incapable of not relying on other people. This is why true independence does not exist. This is the driving philosophy behind solitary confinement.
You are incapable of not being influenced by those around you. I am incapable of not being influenced by those around me. Because this is such a deeply held belief of mine, I want to share it or publish or get it out there or something, but I have not decided how.
The bottom line is this: if you name any (any!) person I know, I can tell you how and what they have shown me, taught me, or made me understand.
Okay, so write a book.
I would, but there's a problem with that.
See... I would certainly write a book titled The Influence List and list all the people I know (that would take a long time) and how I have been influenced by or what I have learned from their presence in my life, whether for a moment or a lifetime (that would take an even longer time).
However... it wouldn't really work because some of these positive influences have come from negative experiences or the positive lesson was posed in a negative manner. (For example, "you have shown me who I do not want to be.") Because of this, I wouldn't feel comfortable naming those people who have been catalysts for negativity that was used for positive gain. Erm.
So, how do I publish this thought? I could write a selective influence list and include positive people and those that wouldn't care, wouldn't notice?
This thought of mine was the driving philosophy behind my program bio that appeared in the program for my Graduation Ceremony. With five entries (one that covered "Everyone and everything"), it was a mini Influence List. I want it on a larger scale, but how?
In Sociology class in the Fall, much of our discussions centered on the concept of statuses. A status is one's title. Associated with one's statuses are roles, the expected behaviors that define the role. For example, "mother" is a status, while "caring for children" is a role. Statuses can be achieved or ascribed. For example, "college graduate" is achieved, while "son" is ascribed.
Statuses are frequently referred to as "hats" by non-Sociologists. One wears many hats, one of which may be more important than the others at a particular time, depending on the circumstances. For example, you may have the achieved status of being "a pro-card tower builder," but this status might not be as important as that of "an engineer" if you're interviewing for a job.
While one's hierarchy of statuses is regularly shifting and being reordered by one's situation and circumstances, there tends to be one master status. Out of one's entire status set, the master status is "the most important constituent in the architecture of an individual's identity." Regardless of circumstances, "the master status overshadows all other social positions of the status set in most or all situations."
You perceive all other statuses in light of your master status.
My master status might be that of "a social-psychology student," but I'm pretty certain my real master status is that of "the sister of an engineer."
"SaveSmart has Turkey Hill iced tea on sale."
"I've heard no good things about that store."
"What have you heard?"
"That there are never any cars in the parking lot, so their great sales aren't drawing in customers, which people think is because of how unorganized and messy it is. There are probably just pallets of stuff sitting on the floor in no coherent order... like Aldi's."
"It's like Old Navy for food!"
Addendum: At the end of one's first semester and each subsequent year at my college, one must write a reflective essay. My first semester essay was 36 pages (the minimum requirement was 12) and was essentially the test run of The Influence List, but very poorly organized. (It's difficult to organize things that are SO interconnected).
(Jan 9, 2010)