*guest post* What happened to celebrating the individual?

25 07 2011

Bit of an odd guest post, not sure if it will work or not. This was written via a Skype conversation. It is in essence a guest post with a GHL addition every so often. EP’s commentary in quotes. GHL’s contribution no quotes.

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What happened to celebrating the individual?

“Today I am mostly pissed off. Pissed off with cliques and cliquish thinking. I’m seeing people I like being hurt for no reason other than they are being themselves and true to their individual opinion.”

“Most humans are social animals and its only natural that groups of people form. It’s a good protective barrier from the nasty outside world who don’t agree with us. Yet, by doing this people are shutting off from an entire world of diverse thought and opinion. It’s far safer socially to keep the company of like minds than to spread yourself across a diverse range of different, individual minds.”

Individuality is not embraced in society.

It doesn’t matter if that individuality comes in the form of a haircut, an outfit, a musical taste, a political following or an opinion on a matter. If you don’t go with the flow, beware the repercussions.

“So if humans are indeed social animals, what’s the worst kind of response to individuality or not quite fitting into the clique?

Social isolation!”

I’ve seen it in almost all social interactions I have ever had. Someone is a bit different from the acceptable norm and they are deemed outcasts. Someone dared to disagree with group leaders and suddenly social acceptance is withdrawn. Someone can go from being liked and respected to an irritant in one brief break away opinion from ‘the clique’.

“Worse is when one person decides another is no longer worthy of inclusion in ‘the clique’ and the rest must agree. The lies and backstabbing that go on to ensure the ‘other’ is discredited is unbelievable and it doesn’t matter if the clique is a group of friends in a coffee shop reading group or a group of political activists on the internet. If person A decides Person B is no longer worthy of inclusion, the lengths to ensure this is the case can be great. It’s a form of acceptable bullying.”

This is one of the things that really disappoints me about humans.

In childhood and teens, people are just learning the ropes. All kinds of behaviours are trialled to find the most effective. In adulthood we teach our children social alienation and lies are wrong,” yet adults are often the worst proponents of this behaviour.  “Adults knowing full well the strength of the rumour, discreditation and alienation, put these behaviours to great use.”

“I’ve seen some really fantastic people sent to Coventry by mediocre human specimens for minor misdemeanours against the norm and Coventry is a bit of a dump. I’ve spent more time than I care to mention there for no reason of my own.”

“I get so annoyed with this behaviour. I hate seeing others get hurt by it and often I wonder whether those who join in alienating or ignoring someone because of their disagreement with another, realise the extent of hurt their behaviour can cause.The utopian belief is that they don’t know what they’re doing and are just caught up in the moment. The reality isn’t quite so fluffy, people are often well aware of their behaviour and actively participate in such behaviours to ensure acceptance by ‘the clique’ rather than speak out at their discomfort at it and face alienation themselves.

“It’s like a form of social self-preservation. It’s pathetic really.”

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