Problems with Spheres

It has long already occurred to me that so much of what I write is very imaginative and fantastical, so I gave thought to offering several clear applications of what I propose this time round. In fact, I realised it really happened the other way round – real incidents that occurred led me to think about the issue in general. And the issue happens to be regarding social spheres (of influence) that are ubiquitous in our lives.

I thought of it as: how would I present it if it were a product? To be exact, a neat package of Problems that we could encounter sometimes in social interactions that make us ache and groan. For now I’ll just call it the Disparaging Sphere Problems Package, going at only $99.99! This package includes:

  1. Sphere Restrictions!
  2. Entering a new Sphere!
  3. Sphere Overlaps!

Comes with unlimited access to miserable conversations and awkward cliches! Free delivery upon purchase.

Obviously I’m going to need to sell this package to you. So I would start with the first item. Really selling as hotcakes, this one! Or maybe if only the hotcakes were slightly more like soft aromatic oven-baked goods and less like cold hard metal. Anyways, with this Problem, you’ll run into terribly placed social traps in which you are forced into the detested Observer Mode, resigned to your fate of watching other people talk about people or things way beyond your reach. Even if everyone present at the conversation could very well be talking about something in common, someone just had to bring up a topic you are most absolutely clueless about. You might be seething thinking they are in a clever little scheme to make you feel horrible. You could act disinterested, or try to interject (and fail), or just observe. Really, these ‘Solutions’ can hardly stand against this – Sphere Restriction! Most of our customers are 100% satisfied with this magical tool (that is, when they are the ones operating the Problem, rather than recipients.)

Next up! Entering a New Sphere! Oh, yeah, I know you think you’ve got this all covered. I know you’ve probably seen it before or unwittingly used it, but this is different – now I’m telling you to deploy this Problem as a weapon of epic destruction! Bombard the social structures and hierachies with absolute trash! Get introduced to nothing short of everyone, abruptly join in every conversation, learn how the networks are like then scatter these mortals! No one should live to tell the tale of how much of a disarray was left in your wake. This is extremely hard to accomplish unless absolutely resolute, potent and brazen. Warning that failure to meet goal is utter failure – you are doomed to never return to this Sphere, or, if your Spheres overlap, word may get around that you are indeed a loser/weirdo/antisocial special person, and end up with completely zero many friends.

Oh, so fast and we’re at our final of the trio! We’ve sold only a handful of these over the years because they are overly unpredictable. I mean, surely if we can’t even say for sure what it’ll turn out to be, do you think you could just get one and win the game of life? Yes, and we are talking about the famed Sphere Overlap Problem. We have many variations. While the base remains the same (‘How nice to see you here!’, which roughly translates as ‘What on earth are you doing here?!?”), we do offer add-ons just for the lulz/the thrill. For example you could choose Surprise or Planned – Surprise is us trying to give you a genuine surprise by, like, realizing your school friend is your distant distant cousin/relative/uncle/nephew/etc, whereas Planned is you getting to (covertly) arrange for a coincidence – anything under the sun, really. But all us experts here can assure you of… absolutely nothing, so we’re not offering money-back guarantee. Your social life could ascend to somewhere close to the sky, or be whacked flat within a minute of unleashing this Problem. Still up for it?

Course you oughta! It’s the greatest bargain ever, take it or you’ll never make it! Then again, take it and you might not make it… but it’s the slight chance you might that drives everyone, isn’t it? Hurry now, we’ve got limited stock and the ships are just waiting to burst forth from the harbour here on our side! What are ya waitin’ for?

The Chat Recipe

Response to Daily Prompt Oct 11, 2014: Counting Voices (

Really? I think this is both a weird question and an ambiguous question. I mean, weird just because I see ‘monologue’ and I laugh at how plain ridiculous it is to call it a conversation. Well, okay, I just don’t want to consider it, it simply does not count to me. It has its purposes elsewhere in this world, not on this table topic. And ambiguous because I have to define what is a ‘good conversation’ all by myself. Well. I guess that is the point, too.

I’ll go from huge numbers to small. But I will start by giving my main view of how conversation even works. Most of them function at a level of two people. Above that and it is hard to call it a conversation because it if you closely examine it it’s really just combinations of two people talking, only in some complicated fashion (we all know how bad it can get, especially with three.)

A really random thing here is that I don’t know what exactly they gonna call this kinda (sociological) theories, but I did learn it before in Social Studies (a bit). I did think that ‘social dynamics’ sounded amazingly cool. There’s no way you can think of some name for it that sounds any bit more sophisticated/classy/legit.

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Local Inquisition: Part One

Once again in a very long time, I have decided to write a little on local issues. Most of the time, I actually do engage in the distancing of myself from my works, even to the extent of minimizing the traces of tradition, culture and context in my works. Which can be understandable, when writing about universal truths, concepts, for example friendships, relationships, faith, and so on. And even with local influence I do not write about local things, with few exceptions (Smörgåsbord, for example). The most recent was this, on the censorship of certain books in our libraries (still taking time for this to cool down within civil society) – my more direct, straightforward examination of a local problem. But I thought I would try to explore a different sort of writing-genre in a sense, no longer too conceptual or imaginary or fictional, but much more down-to-earth, relevant to my context. I hope it helps me to also hone my skills in this area, while trying to apply my understanding of society and relational arguments to this ‘series’, my very own Local Inquisition. Continue reading

Random: On the Friendship of Utility

I did mention this term (Aristotle’s, I hear, not my term) some time back, when talking about the so-called fine line of friendship. But it also interested me to talk of a friendship of utility and how it undermines true friendship in both obvious and subtle ways. As a summary of the types of friendships as per Aristotle, There’s the real one (aka the ‘friendship of virtue’). Then there’s the one of pleasure, and one of utility. I think while the first can be very clear to most of us who are acquainted with and self-assured of our idea of what constitutes a true friendship, the latter two are a bit confusing. I found a very simple example by Dr William Parent (a simple matter of googling) to illustrate the three clearly: Continue reading