There is a noticeable decline in the amount of emotion we use when we communicate with each other. It seems that somehow, there is an accepted perception that showing feelings of sentimentality, passion, hurt, and shame is…embarrassing (even weak).
A flatliner is a more recent term that is used to describe a person who expresses himself through emotionless communication through:
1) matter-of-fact texts and emails,
2) robotic responses by companies during a crisis, and
3) benign stone-faced speakers at press conferences dealing with controversial topics.
And so aside from the sensationalism we see in the media today, the other end of the spectrum is pressure to deal with life on a personal and professional level without showing signs of being moved emotionally. As flatliners adopt the philosophy that the purse strings and the ego are best protected by staging”Spock-like” attitudes and Dragnet–“Just the Facts Ma’am ” approaches, we fall into the world of the film set of The Stepford Wives, going about our business while being numb to the world around us. The absence of emotion in today’s world has its advantages, but something is lost along the way and we may find that we miss understanding the true sentiment behind the message. We are human after all…and the capacity to experience emotion on a high level is what differentiates us from the other species.
As I write articles on style, I stop to understand how “flatliner mentality” may affect how we dress. Of course our mood and the occasion plays the main role in affecting the way we dress. If we are in a festive mood, we dress with more flair. If we are attending a more somber event, then we dress conservatively in more toned down colors. Even so, while living in a flatliner society, we watch how the flatliner way of thinking influences how we present ourselves. One result can be that we find ourselves dressing “safely and carefully” — subconsciously avoiding creating too much emotion.
I am intrigued by the idea that our clothes can also symbolize our philosophy of life. Consider the process that a person goes through to select a tattoo. Although I’m not a particular fan of tattoos, I’ve watched person after person plan for months to make sure that the image that he or she selects to display on the body conveys a certain meaning, or symbolism of who he or she is as a person. While our clothing choices are not inked onto our bodies, the choices we make can still convey meaning.
So, I reject this wave of flatliner thinking and choose to put sentiment and real feeling behind most everything that I do. I assume the risk of being too emotional…I assume the risk of rejecting what society sometimes tells us we must do in order to be “good”…and live my life unabashedly with fully-loaded emotion-based elegance. And, if that makes me uncool, then so be it.
Elegance is all about emotion and the ability to share emotion with others. ~Hugo Jacomet
~Sonya Glyn Nicholson