As I draw this mini series to its end, there are a few conclusions that I want to bring together, make some sense of it all. The underlying driver in all of this is a desire to belong. When we look at hierachys of needs the desire to belong is strong. To be a part of something is a step towards self actualisation and in my opinion a sense of belonging is important and healthy. My question in amongst all of this is, what is it that you want to belong to? One of the things that I think about is when I say I want to be identified with a certain group am I saying that I do not want to be seen as one of those others? Well yes the answer is. A healthy response? That depends on what I am saying, if I am saying hey look at me I am better than them because I am not like them then no, I guess that is not particularly deep thinking at any particular level but it is all contextual. Choices about badges that I wear are everyday occurrences, ranging from the jokes I laugh at to the company I keep.
There are some issues that when they arise in conversation my blood just starts to boil and I often ending up declaring a different point of view to ensure that I am not seen wearing the badge of racist or sexist.
Apart from a need to belong at the basic level why is that badges of consumption are so popular, what are the drivers that mean we are prepared to pay a premium way over the actual cost of a comparative product or service to obtain the prestige or satisfaction of wearing one kind of garment or carrying one bag over another? Consumerism is often referred to as the cult of the individual but here is the conundrum, if consumerism is the cult of the individual then why is it that we so desperately want to look like other people or be seen to be wearing the same clothes that other people wear?
As a reflective person who values contemplation I have thought about this whole issue of badging, I have wondered what badges do I wear, what badges do I strive for. For me the big issue in my life is the badge of singlehood. It is not one that I want to wear but it is one that I have chosen. I am having to examine just what it is that drives me to change that status, whilst I doo n ot intend to look at that particular badge right now I do want to comment on one the drivers of that need and that is my desire to be seen as normal. Whilst I may cast derision on those who walk around with a big dog, drive a BMW, place stickers representing their family on the back window (or all three) I know that in my heart I want to belong. Now I am n ot sure if I will ever find a place in society that I truly belong but I believe that I may find a person with whom I can have that sense of belonging.
In the mean time it is my wish that we examine carefully the badges that we seek and truly know what we are signing up to. If I felt I needed great personal protection would I get a big dog? Well possibly. If I found a new partner would I advertise my status on the back window of my car? No not at all. If I could afford to drive and own a v8 BMW would I buy one? I would like to say no but the correct answer is possibly. I include these questions as I want to acknowledge that we are all different and have different needs and desires that compete internally and externally. I am reminded as I write this piece that often badges that we wear say more about who we are not than who we are.
Live , laugh and love abundantly, and freely,