There is a nebulous zone between two people where the bridge connecting them begins to narrow into a thin wire and entropy becomes a very real problem. The obstacle in this case, is not as it seems. The issue doesn’t lie in the situation of the wire over the abyss but more so in the hesitation to trust the wire. Perhaps trust is the wrong word, it’s a bit more accurate to say the problem lies in our hesitation to believe in the wire. Like a spider web, the circumference of the wire deceives the perceiver into assuming the wire is weak – it is not.
Normally, we assume the form we first witness something in is its true form. Which needs to happen if we are to have any starting point. If we can disrupt the form of something with relatively little effort, we think it must be weaker than us. In the case of the web, it’s structural integrity can be easily compromised so we view it as weak. This is the same as judging an aquatic animal’s agility in terms of a terrestrial animal’s agility. They’re different. The strength of the web is in its ability to be easily repaired, not in its raw endurance. The wire works similarly: its strength isn’t in its capacity to hold the weight of a relationship – it’s the wire’s ability to coax the players into shrinking their egos so they may cross safely.
In every situation there is a dominant force and a submissive force. This is widely accepted. Most emotional exchanges follow this pattern. Where one side is dominant, the other is submissive and simultaneous transactions exist with the roles switched. Therefore, if there is a wire for every transaction there must be several emotional trapeze acts occurring at any given time. This means that both egos are shrinking and swelling in constant flux. In a model this frenetic, there is a limited time before one party runs into a point at which the ego will refuse to shrink or swell. This results in a few things.
One being a standoffish posture that can either portray conviction at best or stubbornness at worst. The dance involved here is one most of us are familiar with, an argument, rolling of the eyes, dismissal – the process is well documented. The other is total detachment. Often this event is characterised as a red flag or “deal-breaker” or a push for separation (this seems to point to an unwillingness to grow which can be simplified to fear). This is breaking the wire or rather, testing the strength of the wire with force instead of finesse. It’s a misinterpretation of the challenge the wire presents. When the environment doesn’t match our judgements, we experience fear. Relationships that fall victim to this pattern of fear are often summed up colloquially with a phrase such as “We just weren’t working out.” which means “We’re too fundamentally different and instead of trying to grow out of my comfort zone to meet you halfway, I’m going to look for something that’s easier.” Which may be as far into self-discovery someone may want to go; as it is, by nature, an uncomfortable experience.
There is a question here that I frame like this: If self-discovery is described everywhere as a good thing, wouldn’t it also be a good thing to encourage it? Also, if self-discovery is inseparable from discomfort (at first) wouldn’t it be the decent thing to encourage periods of manageable discomfort in order to achieve growth in knowledge of one’s self?
What interests me is that the common tendency is to reach for comfort, yet we revere those stories of people who become the most unlikely of comrades. Which calls into question the degree to which we take lessons from literature because when it comes to actions, we are living out our fantasies vicariously and we are conscious of that fact – but interpersonal relationships fly in under the radar. It’s easier to see someone else develop character than for us to do it ourselves. Thus, we end up as two-dimensional beings with a deep appreciation for someone else’s admirable qualities and an impotency when it comes to our own.
The White Stripes RULE