A Thought on Individualism

I don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people, “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity,'” Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. If they say, “We’re the So-and-Sos”, take a walk. And if, somehow, you must join, if it’s unavoidable, such as a union or a trade association, go ahead and join. But don’t participate; it will be your death. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.

~

A Thought on Individualism

Above the title is a fabulous quote by none other than the legendary comedian George Carlin.

I have a split feeling about this. I know how much it means to be in a team, yet I also know the value of being able to say, “Hey, I’m going out on my own for a bit. Be back with you guys later, okay?” and know that even if you’re left out of part of the fun, you’re okay with that.

Personally, I feel it’s great to be part of an organization you’re passionate about. But if it’s about a group of friends–a gang– then this quote applies. Sure, make lots of friends. The more the merrier. But pretty soon, if there’s not enough understanding, there’ll be straining. Outings where everyone needs to join or the rest will be left out, activities you hate but have to do just so you stick together with your friends, stuff like that. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Plus, I understand the joy of being an individualist. It’s waaaayyy easier to learn how to care for others than to start caring for yourself and stop pleasing society. Both need effort, but the former is more preferable for me. You start to appreciate other people’s happiness, whilst in the latter condition you have to suppress guilt and that feeling that you’re disappointing others. Yup. The first condition’s definitely preferable.

Carlin’s got a point. Being in a group can waver your independence, individuality, and integrity. Here’s a (probably) insufficient elaboration of how the process goes:

  • Independence

At first, you feel like a loner. Someone who’s in a group but probably doesn’t belong there. Then, things start to change. You warm up to others, and others to you. There’s a feeling of being needed–something that each and every one of us crave, even if just a bit. It consumes you, seeping in slowly inside. It doesn’t force it’s way in, but it becomes a psychological need you may not have had before.

Now, being alone isn’t enough. Now, you need company. You depend on someone to help you. Or maybe just the mere presence of someone else. Those alone moments that you used to enjoy don’t become uncomfortable, but you don’t look forward to them anymore.

Not now. Not when there are so many people that you could do fun stuff with. And sooner or later, you won’t be able to even do so much as go to the bathroom on your own when you’re out with friends.

  • Individuality

So now you have to have others around most of the time. You get pissed when they don’t want to accompany you to someplace, for instance. If it’s your first debut of anything and it’s your bestie, you’re entitled to frown even if they have an understandable reason. But to go to a food stand fifty feet away? Gosh, how old are you? What kind of dangerous place are you in?

Back to individuality… how the hell do you expect to stay you if you’re always with other people? You don’t have enough “me time” to “neutralize” all the effects they bring to you.

And, yes, it’s not that bad if you’re affected by them. No one’s 100% original. But I’m talking about when you’re reduced to the point of being an echo of the dominant voice in whatever group you’re in.

I did find a way to keep myself from being too affected by others. I used to be a mover of groups. Never really fitting inside the inner circle of any, up until recently. And even now I know I’ll always develop friendship with other people. There isn’t one group that can accommodate every channel I need to be wholly me.

Note: If you by any chance understand Bahasa, I’ve actually done a post in my old blog. Here’s the link:

“Geng”

  • Integrity

There’s nothing wrong with having a group. They don’t definitely waver your integrity–in fact, the exact opposite can happen, provided the majority of your group members have the same views and beliefs as you do. You’ll probably have the same view about most things; how to do stuff, your moral code, etc. Even if there are any differences, you have the advantage of being in the majority, thus your integrity is fully intact.

The problem appears if you’re in a group where your voice is part of the minority. Sure, you can still hang and have fun with different-minded people, but sooner or later you’ll start compromising yourself if you don’t get enough “me” time to “neutralize” the effects brought by others and/or you start to give in to peer pressure and what society deems “right”.

At school I’ve been told that integrity means doing what you say. I’d said I’d be honest to people. I’ve said to some people explicitly that I don’t like them. When other people praised a drawing my friend had made, I crunched my eyebrows together and pointed out that she’d gotten some angles wrong. As a result, most people identify me with my poker face and how I’m “brutally honest”.

The truth is, I don’t think it’s that brutal. Sometimes I sugar-coat it, but I know who needs a slap of reality, and when and how to say it. My friends count on me to be the one who gives away the bitter part of things. Frankly, it’s helped me to achieve what I have now. I’m proud to say that voicing out what I like and don’t like, though I’ve regrettably hurt some people along the way, I’ve managed to stay true to what I believe in. Yes, I’m exposed to all things in life, but I’m able to filter them. Thus, my integrity is pretty much intact.

~

There you have it, folks. Sorry if some parts get mixed up and others are sort of out of topic. I’m still working on how to write a decent reading material.

Advertisements

One thought on “A Thought on Individualism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s