Cultural Entropy

I was riding the bus to work the other day. I saw a boy sitting on the bus, I guess on his way to school. A girl passed him who knew him. As she passed, she asked him something about a game. I got the sense that they had played a basketball game, either on the same or opposing teams. And rather than competing for the girl, as it might have been in the past, he was competing with the girl.

Something about the exchange struck me. I don’t want to say it troubled me, because it’s got nothing to do with me. But it was… interesting.

The boy had appeared to perk up a little when he first saw her. You know, he sat up maybe an inch taller in his seat. But then I detected a subtle change in his demeanor after the exchange, and a certain cockiness in her. Was she someone he might have been interested in? She was the same age as him, or maybe a bit older. Regardless of age, was she perhaps the better player? Had she defeated him in some way? In about two seconds, something in the way she talked to him collapsed his momentary bravado, such as it had been.

Which got me to thinking.

I can’t say that I’ve got any answers here, but I can at least put my questions out there.

What changes in the dynamic between the sexes when everyone’s playing on the same field, on the same court? What happens to our society when both men and women are working the same jobs, playing the same sports, have just as much legal right to form a family with whomever they wish, of whatever gender they prefer?

The questions alone stand in contrast with the developing standards of our society. Equal rights for women, for gays, etc. This is all very well intentioned stuff.

But consider this. A battery – an ordinary flashlight battery or what have you – derives its “charge” from the potential difference between the positive and the negative poles. A “dead battery” is one in which all the potential difference between these two poles has been used up. The flow of electrons from one end to the other has stopped, because they are in balance. Everything the one pole once had, now is shared by the other pole.

So are we moving toward a “dead battery” society? Are we becoming bland? Are we using up all our potential energy? Are we going in the wrong direction?

I think that we are going in the wrong direction. But this thought conflicts with my other thoughts about all people being united in and as one spirit. Maybe we’re supposed to all be on the same page. Maybe through this sort of formal unification of purpose and opportunity among all the races, colors, creeds, ages, genders and gender preferences, we’ll achieve our greater good, we’ll move to a higher plane of enlightenment…

But I don’t think so.


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