31 March 2009

Why does navel-gazing get such a bad rap? (skip past pictures for actual post, my dear english reader(s))

First. My own bit of navel gazing. In a foreign language.
I did this German presentation last night; my first attempt at writing something in German beyond an email here and there. It's the first thing I've written in german First (as opposed to translating from english) and tho' what you are seeing has been corrected to death, I remain rather proud. (I would like to point out this will be exactly of No interest to the reader(s) of this blog, being in german, but at some point when I am eighty I would like to look back and see what all the little dead-end expenditure of my time actually accomplished, so  here we are. My motivations are entirely self-serving.)

NOW. For the actual post.
So far, my favourite presentations in this class have been by one student on her part-time work as an actress, and another (who is a flight attendant), who played travel agent and took us through all the necessaries for our dream-vacation in Germany. All the presentations have been a blast, don't get me wrong, but my fondness for these in particular was to be given a tiny somewhat personal window into some of the people I've been sitting next to in the past year or so. I suppose if I was more discerning I could see the personal details in a presentation of a historical monument or a cultural entity, but these ones were a more open doorway, so to speak.
I've been glum over the past four days, and last night I was pondering the above. (In english).
What I would like to know is why navel-gazing seems inherently to have such a bad rap (sp?). People make Such a concerted effort on a daily basis to say Nothing personal about themselves whatsoever. We all sit and socialize and discuss world events, the weather, other peoples' gossip, but tactfully avoid talking about ourselves at any cost. (This is, incidentally, a reason why I was so thrilled with that "25 things" meme that was going around on fb some time back) Those of us who do talk about ourselves are considered selfish, self-absorbed, disinterested in the rest of the world. (And I am not, incidentally, speaking of those who feel the constant need to regale us with extensive lists of their accomplishments and badges of distinction. I am speaking of people who speak about personal moments in their lives.)
I do very much appreciate that there is a time and place for discussing one's dysfunctional family or dissatisfaction with one's life choices, and around the water cooler is not that time or place. But "professional" hour has to end sometime in the day, does it not?
And isn't there a possibility that people who do have a tendency to navel-gaze might also be intrinsically interested in the belly-buttons of others? That they are hoping, with their own discussion of personal details and tid-bits from their own daily lives, to find out more about the people they are surrounded by, and therefore feel a little less lonely?
With some amount of realistic temperance, it just doesn't seem like such a crime to me. 

No comments: