Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings 10/12/14

In life, as in baseball, there is a complete canon of unwritten rules. Call them The Human Contract. It exists for all but those who live their lives entirely alone. Quite different from the so-called “Social Contract” in which government attempts to provide for the less fortunate among its citizens, The Human Contract at its core allows for a smooth set of interactions among humans within a defined space. It bends and stretches depending on when and where it is applied, but it is ever-present wherever ¬†one finds more than one human being.

A very funny comedian brought it up on morning drive-time radio in the context of what is–and isn’t–OK to do while on a commercial flight. Taking off your shoes and socks and putting your feet on the seat back in front of you, or eating a tuna sandwich were a couple of his examples of humans breaking their contract. Many of you who have befriended me travel for a living and I thought of you.

Most of these unwritten rules are, you know, unwritten because they constitute something which approaches the intersection between common sense and common courtesy. Like, don’t floss your teeth in the van after you made all of your travel mates late waiting for you anyway. The comedian was way funnier about it, but you get the picture.

Reading the comments for yesterday’s CrossFit.com WOD I was reminded of the Human Contract and how it, like politics, is local, derived in, and particular to, a specific place. 9 years ago I lurked there for 3 or 4 months before I posted anything so that I could get a sense for the local customs. Learn the unwritten rules as it were. Some of them are universal. Do your homework. Know what you are talking about before you start talking. Expect to support your statements with something more than “I think” or “I feel”. Be polite; tone is as important as content. None of that has changed in the years since 2005. Every other space has equally well-defined “rules of the road”, and it is equally important that one spend the time necessary to learn them.

The preamble for The Human Contract if it were ever to be actually written would doubtless begin with something along the lines of “That which unites us far exceeds anything that may divide us.” This is most certainly true in the CrossFit world, both in your local Affiliate communities and in the Cyber-gym, and it is equally true for every airline passenger.

It behooves you to do a bit of research on the local version of The Human Contract before you make your entrance, too.

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