Teenage boys are more interested in binge-watching the latest anime than going to a classical music performance. Still, it’s my job as a parent to expose my sons to different cultural experiences, so that they can make up their own minds what to hold on to as they emerge into adulthood.
Humans are deeply social creatures—we can scarcely imagine a life for ourselves that doesn’t involve being part of a community. But a sense of community membership is much more than an objective assessment of which qualities “we” do or don’t possess.
The nerd-baptism of watching a new Star Wars movie for the first time is, to quote a certain Supreme Leader, “something truly special.” The anticipation, the chills, that stirring feeling in your gut… there’s nothing else like it.
The notion that things “happen for a reason” is a powerful idea. It is also a dangerous one. The concept of “agency” is so central to our understanding of ourselves and our world that we apply it even where there is no agency to be found.
I can tell a sauropod from a theropod and I know the difference between dark matter and dark energy, but I’m no paleontologist or physicist. Not by a long stretch. But I do so love listening to such specialists talk about what they do. Because I’m not one of them.
No matter how deeply we feel connected to a group that shares any given identity, the fact remains that on an individual level, we will always be more unalike than alike.