Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Elevator Logic

The way that guys stand in elevators: not very different from how guys choose urinals or toilets in sufficiently large restrooms - concept of personal space. Is there a perfect map of tendencies of this sort to general notions of personal space that follow sex and culture (and maybe introvert-v-extrovert)? Ifso, how complex is that map? In an infinite restroom, I'd want to be out-of-sight/smell/hearing range of everyone else there while I do things, while in an elevator I'd probably prefer to be about 15 feet away from everyone else (elevators are never that big, alas). On the rare occasion I'm conversing with someone I like to be a bit over 12 feet away unless I know them. Maybe the similarity between restrooms and elevators is that they both are situations of enclosed-but-longing-to-be-more-distant, bathrooms moreso because one is doing things for which nature (maybe some culture too) has primed us to be alone (hygiene? body judgements? homophobia?). I wonder if we design our restrooms the way we do is because they're easier to clean that way, or perhaps scents linger less with the relatively open model, or perhaps to prevent people from using restrooms as emotional escapes.

Also vaguely on the topic, articles like this really get my goat. I have probably opined this before, but finding ways to sabotage the more masculine man they envision is a very good thing - not being a doormat is certainly worthwhile, but the traditional recipe of confidence, ego, bravado/swagger, being a bit of a schmuck, these are not things we should encourage in society. Finding ways to make the thoughtful data-driven humble deep-thinker geek become the future general population centre (there is room for plenty of personality types within that, from the athletically or outdoorsy-inclined to the guardian of values) is a worthwhile cultural struggle. The sooner the "all-american anti-intellectual masculine everyman" and other identities like that can be embarassed, laughed into the fringes of society, and (if necessary - the ego might lead them to drastic action a la militia/survivalist/whatever) contained there, the better. Other identities can and should be transformed more gently as society matures.

Finding ways to encourage society to move on these fronts - difficult (maybe providing imagery and role models? Study Joseph Campbell?). Finding ways to encourage other societies to change who they value and what they find virtuous - more difficult yet. May be necessary - American politics has shown us that having the facts doesn't always lead to people paying heed, that intelligence is not given as much weight by large portions of the population as identity, and that these faults in some identities have real consequences. Reshaping notions of virtue and the virtous becomes quite important.


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