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The WMail Newsletter Essays
Volume I - Issue #4: November 2000

"The Distinction BACHELOR"
(from WM Chapter 22)

        This is an example of the inherent Power of a simple, everyday Distinction that you have never considered to be a key means for the Culture-Structure's enforcement of the status quo.
        The forms that you fill out for anything and everything usually have a section labeled 'Marital Status' or some such, with a Distinction Set for you to choose from: check or X the appropriate box. The standard choices given are always 'Single', Married', 'Divorced, and 'Separated'.
        Those are all the choices that the Culture-Structure allows: no box for 'Other', no write-in category. If you do not fit readily into the four given categories of this Distinction Set, then you are a problem to the Culture-Structure: You won't get the job or credit or loan that you are applying for, because you are strange, you do not conform to the acceptable givens.
        Now, my present lifestyle is that of 'Bachelor'. I was Married; the divorce happened; but I do not live inside of Divorced – no grudges, no kids to swap around on weekends – so that that Culture-Structure-approved category does not reflect who I am or what I do. So I chortle and write-in 'Bachelor' on the form, and put an X next to it, and the form-shufflers can have an anxiety attack because I chose something outside their sacred routine.
        Your False Mind is nattering at most of you this very moment because I say that I am a presently a Bachelor. "Oh, this author couldn't..." or any other such denial is par for the course from every False Mind. C'mon, what do you really care if Bachelors exist, except as a reaction to an imaginary threat to the Culture-Structure, which wants everyone to conform to A and B and C only.
        You will get no defense of Bachelorhood from me. I don't even have to cite the grand tradition of the Norwegian Bachelor Farmers as popularized by Garrison Keillor on the Prairie Home Companion radio show. As Popeye the Sailor Man always said: "I yam what I yam." [Thanks, Popeye. Very Zen of you.] That is all that need be said on the subject.
        When your False Mind gets all excited about any such issue, there is only one powerful response: To laugh out loud. When you can laugh at the blatherings of your False Mind, then you will have reached the Seventh Step on the Path to establishing your Working Mind. Ignore your False Mind, on this and other matters.

*          *          *          *

        The given pseudo-choices of the 'Marriage Status' Distinction Set ignores – and thus dis-empowers – Widows and Widowers too; while that is an accepted lifestyle category within the Culture-Structure, it is usually sidestepped. Nor is the category 'Single Parent' given to you on such forms: Best hide the shameful fact and check a box that is not true. And the Culture-Structure certainly doesn't want to deal with 'Life Partners', such as applies to committed relationships in the homosexual community.
        Jack Smith, the late columnist for the Los Angeles Times, played around with the term 'POSSLQ' over many columns. He discovered the abbreviation for 'Persons of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters' in use by the Census Bureau, and tried to use it to introduce people at parties and such. But he ended up having to explain what the damn term meant each time, and got all embarrassed because of the common reaction to the fact that the couple in question was living together and not married – for shame, for shame!
        There is no other term for such a lifestyle arrangement in English – lovers? paramours? shacked up together? – and Jack's columns on the subject, though syndicated and widely read, never got the term 'posslq' [pronounced 'possel-cue'] into popular usage, try as he might.
        Where the Culture-Structure is, if there is no little box, no acceptable or in-use term, then any exception to the given choices becomes an Outright Problem. There are four [only!] approved forms of Marital Status in this Western Culture-Structure, and don't you dare be part of any exceptional category, or the Culture-Structure will make it very clear to everyone that You Do Not Belong.
        And the boxes for Professional Status – Self-Employed, Retired, Student, Employed Part-Time, etc – very seldom include Housewife, and never, never will you see the option House-Husband.

*          *          *          *

        If you happen to be a conscientious objector in the Relationship Wars, you are made to feel an outcast. There is constant pressure by the Culture-Structure to conform, to pair up – unless you are homosexual or bisexual – and then to stand before the magistrate or the clergy-person and sanctify your marriage.
        Lots of birds and mammals and even crustaceans mate for life, no ceremony or license required. But Mankind, thru the Culture-Structure and the False Mind, insist that you find an official partner – with little Free Choice on who your partner might be – and then you must get a license and have the Culture-Structure approve and certify the existence of your Relationship. The Power to make this important Choice is taken from you, because those before you gave that Power away, and your 'education' does not include any options outside the officially-sanctioned.
        I liked being married; right now I am a Bachelor; when I locate an empowering Relationship, I will participate in that Relationship with every skill and ability that I possess {see Chapter 28}.
        The little boxes on the sacred forms of the Culture-Structure will not limit the options that are available to me; likewise your mature Working Mind will operate inside the Distinctions that are real and present in Life, and ignore the limitations enforced by the Culture-Structure that are designed to dis-empower you.

*          *          *          *

        You that are human resources professionals, or who are executives that oversee h/r professionals, or the departments that deisgn forms, can step out there and alter this aspect of society, as part of the actions you take to demonstrate the existence of your developing Working Mind. The next time that you order new application forms for your company, add 'Bachelor' and 'Widow/er' and 'Single parent' and even 'Housewife/Househusband' to the appropriate block.
        This will likely start a minor fight, from the brain-dead defenders of the status quo. But that is perfect: You can take this minor Stand and practice not giving an inch to the opposition. You don't need to give a reason, just exercise your Power in the matter. This will keep the Forces of Endarkenment occupied trying to deny Empowerment, which will divert their energies to the suppression of chickensh**.
        You other growing Working Minds can devise a similar project, related to your field, wherein you add dis-approved categories to the mix, the doing of which empowers the disenfranchised: Make sure that the mail is delivered or sent on time; get the turn signals on the company vehicles working properly; make sure that the french-fries are warm and fresh at all times; write your Congressperson or somebody and tell them something empowering; donate a magazine subscription to your local library, in your name or that of your company; bring sushi to a potluck affair; institute No Tie Day at your company...
        The essence of Empowerment is Action; the Culture-Structure wants ignorance and incompetence and delay. Stand in Silence and think of an empowering Action and employ that Action, then stand back and watch the shark-like frenzy of the knee-jerk opposition. Where there is not opposition but support for your Action, then you will quickly accomplish your Action, and can move on to another. You may also find a source of support, one person among the more common opposition, in which case you may have found a fellow Working Mind, however that person may have reached that state.

[copyright 1999 by Gary Edward Nordell, all rights reserved]

        The preceding is an excerpt from Chapter 22 of my forthcoming book, "Working Minds: A Philosophy of Empowerment".

        For the full contents of this issue of the free 'WMail' exine, click here.

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