If I take them seriously, preferences “frame me” (give me a safe label to hide in), rescue me from the unknown, answer ‘Who Am I?” My preferences make a boundary for me, a fence that keeps me safe, a container that keeps me from leaking out and keeps crap from leaking in.
Preferences begin to sound like a Teflon coating, don’t they? You know how this is gonna end, don’t you?
I actually caught myself this morning gloating about how my meditation technique was preferable to a friend’s. Then, a moment later (of course), I was worried that his technique might be preferable to mine. Unbelievable!
Minutes later, I was ridiculing two guys who came to blows over the football team they preferred.
Then I got my connection. And that, dear reader, was fucking embarrassing!
The Tale Wagged
Preferences are fairly harmless if I wear them like old tennis shoes, placing no value in them aside from their comfort, willing to trade them in for newer, or shinier, or just different preferences whenever necessary. Or just when it’s fun.
But the minute I think a preference IS ME, I’m in for trouble. Big trouble. The minute I think my preference in shoes is
- Better or Nicer,
- Truer or Holier,
- Smarter or More Kind,
than yours, I’ve stepped out of my shoes and into God’s.
You will find this is not a good place to be.
From shoes, let us move into areas more and more charged with dangerous implications. For example, notice how your preferences in
- Sports Team,
- Economic Strata,
- Sexual Orientation, or
seem to get more and more “important” as the list advances.
Some preferences seem inevitable: I gotta choose one car over another when the old Chevy dies, right? But it’s my investment in them that has to be monitored. For example, if I chuckle about my car or my church preference vis‑a‑vis my neighbor’s, no problem. But if I’m stuck-up because my job seems more glamorous than his, or get depressed because “my life doesn’t make a difference,” then it’s time for some homework.
Here’s some homework.
Here’s what some other folks have observed about preferences.