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Oct. 31st, 2006 | 07:45 pm
posted by: pifactorial in revicon


I just read that, and it struck me and saddened me. Since it relates so well to some of the things I'm going through, I'm going to take a "teenage moment" (I'm sure I haven't used up my quota) and blame some of my problems on society.

To clarify, when I say society, I'm excluding two particular elements.
First of all, I don't mean the Media. The Media is a beast of legendary might, with its adamantine jaws capable of shredding any truth, digesting it, and vomiting it upon the world. Even so, I don't believe it plays a significant role in our everyday human interactions - correct me if I'm wrong.
Secondly, I'm not talking about counterculture. I think there are several countercultural movements that have come close to solving some of these problems, but they make up a negligible part of our society.
I'm talking about when you walk down the street, the people you talk to, your daily business.

The problem I see is this - our mantra has become, "mind your own business," when it should be, "mankind is our business!" Our artificial, solipsistic, politically correct world is at once too afraid to offend, too afraid to care, and too afraid to stand out.

There's a song by Regina Spektor that addresses this issue, "The Ghost of Corporate Future", in which the eponymous apparition approaches a timid businessman and tries to warn him of the dangers of being afraid to stand out - in so doing, warning us all of the consequences of our society's unceasing "march forward":

And people make you nervous
You'd think the world is ending,
And everybody's features have somehow started blending
And everything is plastic,
And everyone's sarcastic,
And all your food is frozen,
It needs to be defrosted.

I can't say I know the root of all this, it seems to be such a complex problem. One particular issue seems to be the abolition of the (small-scale) concept of "scandal" - in haikujaguar's example, most people wouldn't have acted much differently if she'd been wearing a Halloween costume or nothing at all. (At least, in our society's ideal.)

Nonconformist behavior ought to be given notice. After all, if you're willing to stand out, it should mean you're willing to be paid attention to - it should mean you're willing to defend your actions. If people have no defense for their deviance then, by all means, it is scandalous!

I don't know if you're like me, but it seems that almost every day I find myself in a position of wanting to comfort, compliment or confront a person, and wondering if it's "appropriate". When isn't it appropriate? If for some reason - say, the person's too busy, or in a really bad mood - it isn't appropriate, can't you just apologize? What is there to be afraid of? Why should we "mind our own business"?

Really, we're living in the great archipelago of humanity - every man is an island. I guess all we can do is our own little part to change things.

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