Unwritten Social Agreements.


It is strange that this topic crops up now almost just after I had written my post on Reaction To Death where I was exposed to two differing reactions to my following one of our unwritten social agreements, conveying condolence when some one dies. There are other such agreements like obligatory attendance of weddings, contributions to local temples, annual celebration of festivals etc where despite one’s reluctance, one is expected to participate because of custom, tradition or just sheer fear of ostracisation or excommunication or whatever.

Most of these unwritten social agreements however are driven by peer /social pressure and in urban living conditions observed in the breach and in any case the spirit is rarely the driving factor. Let us just take two such farces in my part of the world. The Karva Chaut / Maha Shivratri observation among Hindus; and the Ramzan fast where all day long people fasting rest and sleep and party in the nights, or the Friday afternoon mandatory namaaz to which one is obliged to go among the Muslims beside various other things in both religions and the others, by listing which I may become more politically incorrect.

I live in a milieu where written agreements are broken with impunity and the proverbial hand shake ones have all but disappeared. When I see obviously educated people driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid a long drive to a turning on a one way road, what I wonder about is how these people who do not respect written laws and rules will behave in business and employment situations where unwritten agreements usually play a greater role than written ones. The increasing rate of divorces in our country is another indicator of the fall of the sanctity of agreements, written or otherwise.

I am a cynic where human nature is concerned having experienced many disappointments with broken agreements to be in favour of unwritten agreements. So, I will leave my readers with this fantastic thought from someone who would not be expected to come up with it.

“For practical purposes we have agreed that sanity consists in sharing the hallucinations of our neighbours.”
~ Evelyn Underhill.

I hope that you enjoy reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Conrad The Old Fossil for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic.  TOF himself is preoccupied with other major problems but I hope that since this is a topic chosen by him, he will endeavour to write this week’s LBC post.  The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, AshokgaelikaaMaxi, and Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok has got a new blog set up and I hope that he will participate being a lawyer as he is, and dealing with agreements of all kinds all the time.