I was watching TV last night and saw anad for a breakfast cereal (notice I choose not to mention the cereal brand as I'm aware of how much free advertising I could be provding with the Kanye-West like popularity of my blog). Anyhow, the ad got me thinking about the way that social norms and constructs form and are then re produced for mass consumption in inocuous forms. In this ad, there's a new guy starting at a cereal factory and he and all the other workers are dressed in super hygenic air tight suits. The newby ends up inadvertently participating in an unspoken right of passage which involved being 'irresistably' attracted to the cereal and desperately trying to shove it through the impossibly small opening in his helmet. Soon after' completely out of control he tries to pull his helmet off to no avail and ends up 'backplanting' himself onto the floor, much to the amusement of a group of onlookers who have been through this before and much to the annoyance of their supervisor. Anyhow, I'm sure you're playing guess the ad right now and have probably guessed it, however I found myself thinking that this as is very clever (whether knowingly or not). I think it highlights the power of shared experience, the unique, yet also shared experience of initiation and rites of passage, constructs of normality in workplaces and also the potency of sensory expereince in an context of majority sensory deprivation (amongst other things I'm sure). What's it like being disconnected form anything except your immediate sensory experience? LIberating, yet subsequently potentially shameful as well. Needing the approval of others to survive in context, yet dirven to survive as an individual and make the choices required to limit threat and distress? As we make the inevitable transitions that life presents us with in its ever changing way, the choices we make are designed to result in social nourishment to help validate our shifting self construct. We connect into new experiences like aliens wishing to belong and when that belonging is communicated in its wispy, non verbal way....eye contact, posture, a smile.....we are nourished....don't need
sweet cereals any more.....at least until next time.