In the example of a young person in India, life scripts for the poor will include subsistence farming, handicrafts, wife and mother, herding, fishing, teacher and religious / pastoral positions. Religious ceremonies or selection by elders can shift someone from their current life script to a religious one.
Yet, location dictates the script. Being India, Hindu and Buddhist monasteries await spiritual individuals who do not want to farm or fish. As India has modernized, new life scripts have opened up. Someone can run off to Mumbai to work in a telemarketing position or factory in Chennai.
Winner scripts contain life outcomes that bring joy, respect and connection. Winner scripts typically include a happy or acceptable marriage, a job that provides sufficiently well for the family and respect in the community. For the young person in the tundra, a successful life script includes making a good living as a hunter, fisherman or tour guide and supporting a family. Modernization has opened up the opportunity of working as an ice road trucker, on oil tankers, building oil pipelines or as an environmentalist.
Modern technology has created a new upper class in India linked to the Internet revolution. One winner script includes passing the exams to be admitted to the India Institute of Technology and then being recruited by major technology companies like Microsoft and making money as a programmer. India’s Bollywood movies provide the winner script of leaving the village, being discovered and becoming a Bollywood star.
Attempting to change life scripts on one’s own may be derided or undermined because the person has not received help from those expected to help. Shifting life scripts without an expected transition point (marriage, graduation, mid-life crisis) can cause others to wonder what happened that they do not know about or what is wrong with that individual. However, loser scripts not dictated by being born into a low ranking class (Dalit Untouchables in India, trailer park “trash” in America) tend to be triggered by personal choices.
Loser scripts share common traits of loneliness, abandonment and disrespect. Loser scripts often carry a risk of disease and early death. Loser scripts are commonly caused by violating serious social rules and thus rejection by the community and thus employment and support. Addiction, adultery, abuse and abandonment of responsibilities can all trigger a shift to a loser script.
Once on a loser script, there are sometimes exit points back onto a winner script. The drug addict approached by a religious leader to enter rehabilitation gains the opportunity to return to a winner script. The homeless alcoholic is offered help within a shelter by a religious figure or social worker and is helped back to a “winner” script. The broke or destitute meet a counselor or lawyer who helps them start over financially and socially.
(continued from part I)