“You can pick your relatives, and you can pick your nose…you can’t pick your relatives nose”
We don’t choose our genetic connections, and within a few generational expansions, that string of DNA is quite insignificant. Considering such a miniscule bond as though it represents conscious unification seems like a stretch, when you compare that to the other people outside this gene pool, who we are emotionally attached to by choice. Families create the intrinsic subculture that molds our formidable years. We don’t get to choose them from all the people that surround us, so we are forced to reconcile the differences arising from this fusion of personalities. I’m amazed at the distance that can grow between siblings, patents and children, children and grandparents, yet there lies a shadow of obligation to at the very least attempt to fuse those gaps of confrontation. Total disengagement is much more challenging, when common DNA is present.
There exist a multitude of levels for connection within the average person’s life. Circumstances and choices churn us through pools of people we bounce our lives off of. Some collisions are stickier than others, some folks are softer or pricklier, and we must decide within ourselves precisely how important those individuals become to us. My neighbor has more friends in California than here, yet she hasn’t lived there in over twenty years. Technology now allows for tighter connections from longer distances, thus supporting the idea of extended closeness, that a generation ago would be difficult to foster. “Long Distance” isn’t a phrase the teleco’s use as a marketing tool these days, and “FaceTime” is as common as the tens of millions of iPhones sold every three months. Hell, people from all over the world read the stuff I write pretty regularly.
Social evolution (group selection) is traveling at the speed of light in comparison to how cultures interacted only a hundred years ago. Is the family we once knew changing as well to adapt to these forces being placed upon it? Are the skills for connecting evolving from that era to modernity, or are cultures rigidly holding onto that ideological past as a safety blanket, just as my neighbor clings to those who live three thousand miles away, in lieu of opening herself up to the potential connections around her…