(image by me)
There is one interesting feature in a human character that amazes me the most. I don’t know the exact source of this phenomenon but its nature puzzles me every time I face it.
I have always been able to withstand some wide-spread conditioning/habits if I would consider them wrong. Such as, at my teens I was the first in my school to rebel against the school uniform and started wearing regular cloths. In my adult life I have opposed successfully and constructive some collective madness… What strikes me most about these experiencs, it is the fact that people, when it comes to some common shared views (which is oft nothing but superstition or conditioning) are not able to respect a FREE WILL, but they would except it if you justify something with another conditioning.
My favorite example in this case is alcohol drinking. I don’t drink alcohol since many years because somehow I dislike the taste of it. Apart from that I don’t need the effect of it – I think the main reason why people drink it is because they say their brain relaxes and they get into the better mood. Both is not needed in my case as my brain is never under pressure and I am always in the joyful mood. Anyway, whenever I am at a party or with people usually drink, they all try to insist on my drinking (Calssical arguments like “come on, you are Russian, you have to”, or “don’t you respect us?” etc.). I try to explain in a friendly manner that I simply don’t drink, I don’t like it. It seems to be hard ot understand.
And once a clever idea came to my mind. I was with a group of people who did not know me before. So I just invented a simple argument “you know, I am a Muslim and I am not allowed”. People looked a bit puzzled but then said: “yes, of cause, it is clear now”.
JUST IMAGINE! So basically if I say I do not drink out of my free will – than it is NOT normal. And if I do it because of a conditioning (any religious resriction or else) – then it is easily accepted. Now I wonder in what kind of a democratic society we are still living?
Thanks for sharing your experiences with similar situations and your ideas on this topic!
Well, I think here is the situation when one person is being able to stand out the peer pressure. People do smoke, drink etc (could be variety of other so called “social” ritual doings) to assert others that they belong to the group. each group or community has its own rituals it worked out for some reasons. and whoever doesn’t play into its rules is standing out or simply doesn’t belong to the community. in Japan they have a saying that the grass which grew way too tall than others is one that most likely will be cut off first. and you have a rebellious and strong spirit and motivation inside of you which allow you to have the luxury of not looking for a protection or a comfort of the group or community you happen to be at the moment BECAUSE YOU DO FEEL SECURE WITHOUT IT… you are strong enough to stand alone, and it is not typical for regular people, it is unpredictable behavior for most of the people who used to hide behind the comforting rituals of the groups… it is how I see it… and it is easier to invent some stupid reason like you did than explain why do you feel this way… when you say that you are Muslim – you tell them that you do BELONG to the group of Muslims, that you are NOT anti-social, but just play by the rules of another group… and it is respectful (I hope they are not anti-Muslims fanatics) 🙂 if you think that they wont accept the reason that you don’t drink because you are practicing Yoga/sports and your teacher doesn’t allow you to do so won’t be enough to them to accept – feel free to invent one which will work out for you for 100%… but social drinking is really difficult one – I really hear you on that…
You are exact now, what kind of “DEMOCRATIC society” we are still living??
We all should to be a part of something, for example religion,
to be “realy russian” or muslim..It is not a FREE LIVE..
It is only commen minds of society at all.Only..
But it is not enought..to be a FREE..like you!
Your friend Evgenia
I love your comment, it explains really a lot. My favs are these lines : “you have a rebellious and strong spirit and motivation inside of you which allow you to have the luxury of not looking for a protection or a comfort of the group or community you happen to be at the moment BECAUSE YOU DO FEEL SECURE WITHOUT IT… ” – wow this is just to the point! I really feel very secure.
your explanation to the group belongin is so obvious and yet sudden, especially I like this passage: “when you say that you are Muslim – you tell them that you do BELONG to the group of Muslims, that you are NOT anti-social, but just play by the rules of another group… and it is respectful.” – so you mean it has nothing to do with conditions but with group beloning? May be…seems reasonable.
As for the way I will proceed in the future, there is no problem for me here. That trick with of claming to be Muslim was just an experiment (although…deep inside I think I respect and follow Mohammed teachings more than some Muslims…).
I will keep behaving in my natural manner and will stand to my personal dislike of alhocol, not problem 🙂
How did somebody on FB say? “It is a game within a game within a game”….and I enjoy playing it.
well, i believe that a set of the rules or ritual doings of particular group – are the conditionings of that group…
i think it is wonderful that you are so strong that can tell them whatever reason comes to your mind… for me it is tricky sometimes to find a polite reason to avoid drinking and not to get seen as anti-social at the same time… well, i’m wondering if there is an allergy to alcohol or alcohol intolerance, so i can use it as the very reason…? 🙂 it will be very close to the truth…
hehehe i sometimes find myself in a situation when people drink, usally it’s the same group of people. at first they offerd me a drink which i refused then they asked why dont i drink, in a manner, as if there’s something wrong with me (which was wierd to me). since i got my Self Realastion i dont drink i just dont need it. i can undertand the need to drink to relax. I said that i dont drink couse i dont wont too (in this case that was wierd to them) since then i more then once been with them when they drink and i can honestly say that till this day they cant understand why dont i drink and they alweys ask me questions. i try to same the same thing in difrrent words that i dont wont to drink ands ay to them what good in drinking. doesn’t it make fell worse and even if you do get relaxed for a while it’s just the drinking and it doesn’t lest….maybe i should come with some smart idea like you 🙂
may be we should worry about people who cannot understand the power and importance of choice
what is really amazing about this topic, that al the commentors exept for Rambler are…Russians. I wonder if only Russians face such problems?
no, i have heard complains from friends-Indians, too… sometimes they get forced to do that at “social events” organized by their companies…
btw, there is a movie with research done on alcohol created by Russians. they talk there about some “Asian genes” which, if present in person’s DNA, reject absorbing alcohol by body, and this kind of conflict can even kill the person even if he/she consumes small amount of alcohol… so, there is such thing as an alcohol intolerance…. could be used as great excuse 🙂
true, there is such a thing as an alcohol intolerance…
you know I remember about another good argument I used once. I went out with a company of 4 young collegues. And I told them that actually Iam afraid about people drinking in my presence…because when they reach a certain drunkard stage, they start beahving like pigs (they do!!! so ugly) – and then …I can never respect them agin, because I have seen them once in that horrble state (which is true!). Intrestingly, that evening the young people took very, very little alhocol and one of them refused drinking at all. I know they did it in respect of me, but still it was nice…:)
Interesting observation and the reason (as told by Ldinka_108) for herd mentality of people is even more interesting.
But I always tend to go against conventions….so this post is special for me 🙂
It’s a funny play…the drinking situaton…they think that your NO is a limitation….a conditioning…they don’t understand that now all people drink and it is not more a kind of ribellion…Conditionings give a sort of confidence…you don’t have to think…someone else does it for you ( and they are so many!)…so you can’t do wrong !…for us it is a little bit more simple…we have found self confidence within us…
Nothing common with this post 🙂
But I see you love flowers a lot, yes?
yes, I love flowers because they represent the core beauty of the Mother Earth – so innocent and at the same time powerful…and breath-takingly beautiful!
I think the main reason why people drink it is because they say their brain relaxes and they get into the better mood.
I went out with a company of 4 young collegues. And I told them that actually Iam afraid about people drinking in my presence…because when they reach a certain drunkard stage, they start beahving like pigs (they do!!! so ugly).
I know drunkenness is a major problem in the West, Axinia, but I guess the swine-like behaviour is common even in places where alcohol does not flow as freely as in the West, like India. I’ve been to those “social events” organised by companies where people were free to drink as much as they wanted. While some of them did not drink so much as to lose control of themselves, others drowned in alcohol till they could not even stand up without falling down. The handful of teetotallers (including me) were forced to drop our intoxicated colleagues at their homes in order to prevent them from killing themselves or other road-users.
If people want to get inebriated and make a nuisance of themselves, why don’t they do so at home? Nobody is preventing them from immersing themselves in a tub full of intoxicating beverages. Why do they do so in public places? More importantly why do they drink and drive?
I guess they need a “group” feeling to at least start with… and another thing – Russians drink traditionally a lot, so not drinking is more often unpredictable and untypical…. unfortunately… for Indians, i guess – i could be wrong, but it sounds like it is a relatively new and untypical thing, when religion was forbidding alcohol for long time, but forbidden fruit is always way too sweet…
in the research movie they say that even after alcohol is not present anymore in the blood few hours later after intake, its poisonous effect still very strong. it means that even after long hours brain can not control reactions as normal. it means that almost 24 hours later after drinking, the driver is as dangerous on the road as if he/she just drunk… 😦 and it is scary…
sorry, Axinia, that topic went in slightly different direction… i guess we all need to keep attention on drinking problem persistently… it is very nasty problem all around the world…
As a part of my profession, I used to go to a lot of pubs with my colleagues (One of my former boss was a advocate of taking the team to drink – though he never drank!). Since I don’t drink, they tried initially to pressurize me to drink, but I was firm. After a couple of such outings, people in fact started telling me (after they were drunk) as to how this habit started, and how they should not have picked up this habit like me! Coming from a couple of colleagues who drink excessively, that was a surprise. I never made up any reason for not drinking – I tell them I don’t have the habit of drinking, just like I tell I don’t have the habit if eating non vegetarian food! People respect you for these things inside, but somehow want to follow the peer culture outside. It gives them security and bonding, I guess. I just love the music system of the pubs – Just imagine how good it will be if we can play classical and slow songs in such a setting!
I have not read most of the comments Axinia but one thing I can say. I think the reaction has a lot to do with the subject ie. drinking. I think drinking is so common in the west that someone not drinking is someone very unusual! It all depends on the company you keep. For example if you have pub going friends like DI mentions they will also feel similarly. However in most places in India drinking is frowned upon even if people do drink so if you say you don’t drink then people will actually admire you! It depends on the situation and the people.
Thanks a lot Nita, always happy to read your comment here!
You are right, drinking is an strong example here, but I meant it also generally, in many life situations when a person does something out of a free will – and here i mean something constructive, not distractive like taking drugs… Something goos for the health and mind…but something that differs from the common habits.
Other examples: I do not swim(never wanted to) and do not sunbathe (it does not suit my taint and appearance type, apart from that I can not really stand the heat) – and so many people keep asking me WHY: because it is a kind of a general rule in the West than you have to be slightly brown(ha, ha! – is just the opposite in India) – solarium is a must for many! and you have to go to swimming pool, or go on holidays on the seaside, bathe a lot and get brown…
With respect to swimming, which can lead you to surfing, I would just like to mention that some surfers find the activity to be a spiritual experience (I’m from San Diego, California).
I wish I was a strong swimmer, so I could surf, and feel this connection. And one day I will.
It is very true and very clearly written. It happens to me very often and I was considered ‘not-normal’. I learned very early that if I persisted long enough, ‘they’ would respect my choice. Perhaps as they in the marketing field, the ‘acceptance’ factor is the culprit.
thanks, Komarraju Venkata Vinay.
if people are really respectful perosnatliries, they have to accept your choise. if they do not do – it shows only thier immature nature.
sometimes i feel we are still so much living into primitive societies, t s so clear despite all the innovations, technolgy and bla bla going around. what to do? where are all these trapped people going? these are my semi-unanswered questions. i think they have to be like that, conditioned and not free from within because we need to keep some sort of balance on this earth. love from a nice primitive city 🙂