This heading could have used a prettified word like: construct. When used as a noun, a construct is defined as “An abstract or general idea put together out of component parts.” But if you notice the dust balls in the corners of your rooms, they may better illustrate a construct. A little particle from here, a tiny fleck from there, and eventually it all gathers up into what you think you see.
Whereas dust balls just happen, constructs are usually created. As an embarrassing matter of fact, constructs are the way we understand most of the people in the world around us. Picture the fast-talking publicity agents in Hollywood’s hay days. They didn’t discover stars, they created them!. Sometimes out of little more than a unique head of hair, set of eyes, pair of legs, pair of breasts; a special quality of voice, way of laughing, mix of the sexy and sassy. And if their creations could act a little, well that was a plus. But first there are stars; later maybe we can help them become actors.
Wait. There’s more to the tale of the human dust ball. If this Pygmalion practice were limited only to Hollywood, no problem. However, the practice prevails every day, every where, among every one of us. In a world with too many people, places and principles, too many of us succumb to this easier way of figuring one another out.
Sports..? We make our players into constructs: Heroes or goats; flashy or sullen; on the make or over the hill. Politics…? Visionary or flip-flopper; scholar or stupid; one of us or one of them. Religion…? Crazy fundamentalist or stodgy traditionalist; devoted cleric or horrific predator.
The next party, reunion, or political rally you attend, behold the moving, talking human dust balls in attendance. Human constructs — you have intuited to be the truth — with whom you are reacting. “Who does she think she is wearing that..!” “He looks like my Father trying to look like Robert Redford..!” “I saw her marching in that parade…!” “One look at him and you know he’s lying..!” “They sure don’t make ’em like they used to…!”
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