I want individuality. I apologize for not being more honest. I think most people do. I believe they long to be. This life of ours, the times, we’re swept up in the illusions, the lies. People want real. That is what is lacking. It’s all so superficial. It’s all symbolic. Everything is a metaphor for something else. But we haven’t gotten a clue as to what the hell is at the bottom of it all. As a result, it leaves us feeling entirely disconnected. Empty.
I just want to say what I mean and mean what I say. I feel like if there is ever a flame that illuminates the shadows, that is it. Honesty. It’s not easy. You gotta know the truth to say it how it is. The truth about who you are, where you’re at, where everyone else is in relation. Don’t sugarcoat it. The world does enough of that for us.
Do people think? Do they think about what it means to be an individual? Perhaps these notions are entirely misguided. Perhaps we’re suppose to be drones working for the queen, for the government, the nation, the invisible ideals that bind us together.
I don’t want to buy that. There are heroes (God, am I really opting for the heroic? Is that what I want? To be a hero, rather than an individual? Not every individual is a hero, but every hero is an individual). These heroes make contributions and their names echo in the ears of eternity. Philosophers, leaders, artists, scientists, athletes. They inspire generation upon generation. They left a mark. Probably unwillingly. More than likely they just followed their passion without a moment’s thought to their legacy. That very thought adds to their greatness.
Do you ever feel like a chameleon? A creature that adapts and loses itself among a background? A backdrop of people? and things? and occurrences? ‘Most people are other people’ says Wilde. I don’t want to be anyone but myself. But who is that? I’ll tell you what… an individual isn’t ashamed of who they are. They proclaim it wide and loud. They let it blare with every gesture and remark. They declare it. They don’t hide it. They don’t blend in. They don’t water themselves down. They break rules and conventions. Proudly. They don’t shrink.
I always get the feeling that it’s been all said before, all done before. I look around me and my perspective is two fold. On one hand a misanthrope festers inside me and I despise the lack of originality and boldness I see in people. On the other, I am enthralled, lost in utter wonder at the achievement, the creativity, the innovation that my fellow beings produce.
I read great writers, philosophers, I look at great works of art, I talk with well traveled men and women and think to myself: where is my place in the world? I wanna carve out a home for myself. I wanna make my mark as a unique creature. God. I am terrified of being a duplicate. I wanna think. I wanna really really think.
I think the trick is this: less think, more do. There needs to be a productive praxis of action and reflection. When you are doing you aren’t worried about the world. You are not reflecting on the past or future or others or success or failure. All that matters is what is at hand. The now. Eternity is in the now. That is where lives are made. Stories are formed. If we spend all our time other places besides the now, we’ll definitely never leave a mark.
I was thinking the other day: If you never make the same mistake twice, you will never fail. It’s alright to make mistakes. For god’s sake, it’s how we learn. The problem is, people are terrified of making mistakes. There is a perceived failure in mistakes. Instead of a learning opportunity, mistakes become something terrible and life changing.
What is it to think? Creatively? To do? To produce something meaningful? Insightful? With force? I feel like a person plants seeds. Slowly. They generate a following of ideas. They construct a cathedral of knowledge reinforced by specific experience. They hone it and then act on the world with this arsenal of ideas. They pierce the hearts and open the minds of men.
Daydreams: you’re heart grows wings and takes flight… you get excited and lost in wonder… you imagine.
Today, I did absolutely nothing. Actually that’s not entirely true. I slept, surfed the net, read, watched a documentary called “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, drank a beer, and downed a bottle of wine. I justified it to myself. I tell myself I’m taking 18 credit hours, I work 15 hours, I go to extracurricular meetings for the fraternity and other on campus obligations, I study… so a day off isn’t gonna be the end of me. Of course, it may be considering how much work I have. Double the work for tomorrow. Such is life.
Individual: “a single object or thing,” c.1600, from M.L. individualis, from L. individuus “indivisible,” from in- “not” + dividuus “divisible,” from dividere “divide.”