One Size Fits One

The Hollywood script isn’t for everyone. So why is there so much pressure to follow it, and such animosity toward those who choose a different path on their way to “happily ever after”?

Anthony Fieldman
9 min readNov 6, 2022


Building the Empyrean Gate in Black Rock City, 2022

We are a judgmental lot. From “only” children to mid-life “crises” to “failed” marriages, Western society and its language choice largely compel us toward a singular life script, applied liberally and universally. This includes (same sex) marriage, monogamy, a focus on financial gain and conspicuous consumption, religious reverence, a house full of children, a social life centered around them, patriotism, and a well-earned retirement from “the grind”.

How Hollywood of us.

Lives that diverge from this storyline are too-often met with furtive glances, disapproval, admonition and/or copious amounts of sotto voce gossip, invariably aimed at bemoaning “poor so-and-so”, wondering what went wrong for this to happen to them, and offering cheerful advice for how to get their lives back on script.

In fact, the laws of the land encode such things, making it difficult and often punishable by fines and/or incarceration to stray from the straight and narrow path of “a life well lived”, as defined by the State.

Well, how we actually feel doesn’t always support the prevailing dogma.

By the Numbers

An article I read yesterday in The Atlantic, about our inherently negative biases toward single-child families, spurred today’s musings:

“In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that 86 percent of people think families should have at least two children.”

Should. That’s the word used by nearly 9 in 10 Americans, when describing what other people should do regarding what is inarguably the most consequential decision of their lives.

What could possibly compel people to form even an opinion on how many (if any) children their neighbors and colleagues should have? Why does any of this matter?

The answer, like so many other things, has to do with our inherent biases, and a zeal for protecting ourselves from those whose decisions force us to bump up…



Anthony Fieldman

Architect | Photographer | Writer | Philosopher | Polyglot | Windmill Jouster | Nomade Civilisée