Dogs are honest.
If they like you, they’ll bound up to you as soon as you walk through the door. They’ll lick your face as you sprawl on the sofa. They’ll drop toys at your feet. They’ll fall asleep with their head resting on your lap.
If they don’t like you, they won’t come near you. Unless you’ve got food. They won’t sleep next to you. They won’t be excited when you arrive home.
Dogs don’t wear a mask or conceal their feelings. Which is refreshing because that’s what we humans do, twenty-four seven. Everything we do is filtered according to implicit and explicit social guidelines. And by how we want other people to think of us. We are social beings, so our behaviour is shaped by our immediate environment, the information we allow in and the wider culture.
I’ve just start reading Chris Guillebeau’s The Art of Non-Conformity. I’ll reserve judgement as I’m only a chapter in, but I’ve realised something:
We all conform. Nobody is a complete conformist or non-conformist. The most brain-dead wage slave still shows flashes of individuality from time to time. Similarly, the most irreverent, eccentric individual still conforms to many societal norms.
Which makes me wonder. How far up the sliding scale of conformity—non-conformity should you go? Where’s the sweet spot?
Much of our behaviour can be linked to these two opposing desires:
1) We want to stand out and be different.
2) We want to fit in and belong.
So it’s no wonder we spend the majority of our time trying to mask our real feelings and character. It’s no wonder we spend so much of our time in the limbo land between trying to fit in and trying to stand out. It’s no wonder we’re so confused.
That’s why I like dogs.