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.

Carlin on Environment and Self-Importance

People are so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s gonna save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails. 

And the greatest arrogance of all; save the planet. 

What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fucking planet? 

I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. Tired. 

I’m tired of fucking “Earth Day”, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists–these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. 

Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract, they don’t. Not in the abstract, they don’t. 

Do you know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that someday in the future they may be personally inconvenienced. 

Narrow, unenlightened, self-interest doesn’t impress me. 

Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The people are fucked. 

– George Carlin

This is part of George Carlin’s HBO Special, “Jammin’ in New York” in 1992. I love his comedy. Yes, they’re perverted and pessimistic about humanity in general, full of cursing (as most stand-ups are, remember that),  possibly offensive, makes fun of things general, “normal” people deem sacred, etc.

Still, I do like his works. Sometimes people get so sensitive about these things, but you really do need to learn to just tolerate it and filter everything. It’s good for you.

Here’s a part of the special below. Expect more Carlin-related posts from me in the future. 🙂

Why I Love Comedy

This post may be updated from time to time without any warning or details within this post itself. Sorry if it’s in bullets and you prefer numbers. Personally I kind of dislike any kind of post that goes something like “100 Things I Like About Comedy”.

  • It’s funny. Of course, that goes unmentioned, but it’s the main essence of comedy, so, yeah.
  • It’s entertaining. Since, you know, it’s funny.
  • It makes you feel better, both physically and mentally. As the saying goes, “Laughter’s the best medicine.” Amen to that.
  • Anything and everything’s legal in comedy. Like, in real life, you don’t get to mock race or religion without getting dissension (in general). But in comedy, you can make fun of everyone and still be loved. Every race and religion and famous person is available.
    Yes, there’ll be protests from “radical” people and stuff like that, but if the comedian’s brave enough, he/she won’t let that get in the way of bringing laughter in as many ways possible. Plus, they do usually make fun of stereotypes, so they’re basically saying what some people think, but say it in a funny way.
  • It’s where cursing becomes funny and enjoyable. You rarely feel a comedian’s said too many curse words.
  • There are so many types! Pantomime like Charlie Chaplin, stand-up like George Carlin, Louis C.K., Eddie Murphy, etc., shows like Rowan Atkinson does (oh, do you know Atkinson did stand-up too? Just search at YouTube for a good time. *winks* ), and so many more.
  • Comedy’s actually kind of philosophical. It depends on who you’re watching, but out of the few comedians I’ve watched, I find myself quoting George Carlin in casual conversation with friends every now and then. I’ve even picked up some of this philosophy.
  • Comedy broadens the mind. You lower your defences because your brain thinks “This is entertainment. Hey, stand down, everyone! Let’s just focus on having a good time!” and then suddenly you get hit with beliefs the comedian might have that you’ve never even thought of in your whole entire life. And you actually get to process it!
    I’m a Christian, and I’ve also heard bad-mouthing about Christians and even Jesus. While I do laugh and feel bad about it later (hey, what’s funny’s funny), I do think about what’s been said, then filter out anything that goes against my own beliefs. I’m glad to say that although I did take a year-long detour, I’m back and my faith’s actually been strengthened.
    Aside that point, sometimes you do get random facts that might actually be useful. Like when they talk about culture, for example. If you’re really into facts, Googling things based on references from comedy can be very enjoyable.
  • Provided you’re an observant person, there’re really so many styles of (stand-up) comedy. Some people elicit laughter from their fast-paced speeches, others from looking (no bad-mouthing intended) dumb, others still from animated facial expression.