“Find the Others”

I do not want to have to start carrying a shield around wherever I go just so people leave me alone.

So I tend to like Ze Frank’s videos, but once in a while I seem to disagree with them. Find the Others would be one of those (note: words are apparently not by him. they are by Timothy Leary).

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close”

This is true. And the point in the video is that it isn’t true for anyone, which I also more or less agree with. People are different from each other, nor am I inclined to angst about homogeneity amongst the masses. People are the same in some ways, different in others, we’re all individuals, it’s cool.

“it seems the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider”

Hm… ok, this is also true. I’ve been doing less and less trying to fit in the past few years, and while I do still feel like an outsider (to the point that it has religious significance), I find I worry about it less and less as well.

“watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences.”

Wait, what? I think I’ve just been insulted. Am I really supposed to view other people that way? Do other people view those around them that way? I admit, I don’t really spend a lot of time (any time) thinking about the personal existence of Random Guy I pass on the street, but I don’t go thinking his existence is automatic. I mean, that seems incredibly unlikely. People aren’t robots (and even if they were, maybe they’d be like Data).

“For every time you say club passwords like: ‘Have a nice day’ and ‘Weather’s awful today,eh’, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like: ‘Tell me something that makes you cry’ or ‘What do you think deja vu is for?’

Wow, no. As I’ve written about before, I am increasingly of the opinion that the things we do are rarely, if ever, meaningless. Even if we don’t consciously know their meaning, the fact that we keep doing them says something, and I don’t think that something has anything to do with Just Being Normal or Just Playing Along.

Ritual still has a place in our society, even if we’re less direct about it. Those “club passwords” are social rituals, helping to create connection between strangers. Personally, I don’t tend to yearn to say those types of forbidden things to complete strangers, and if I’m saying “have a nice day” to someone I know, it’s probably a ritual farewell and asking a “deep” question would be inappropriate at that time. Yes, I do yearn to have those types of conversations with people I’m close to, and with my friends when I say “how are you doing?” I actually mean it and want a real answer. But if I’m playing a ritual with a person I really don’t have much of a connection with, then I am also understanding that leaping to those other questions might have to wait. I mean, I’m not super thrilled with the idea of telling anyone what makes me cry, much less someone I don’t have a good connection with.

“Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator.”

Are you kidding? No I don’t! Nor do I want some random stranger to talk to me when I’m in an elevator and have no way to escape. Plus, I do not owe some random stranger my time or attention just because we’re in an elevator together and they happen to want it. There are times and places where it’s ok to approach strangers, and elevators are not among them.

“But what if that girl in the elevator, and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work, are thinking the same thing?”

Since I’m not thinking it, I’m not going to go assuming they’re thinking it. Aren’t we all supposed to be individuals here? Are we getting homogeneous again?

“Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger?”

Ok, this one seems to be true enough. I certainly don’t know what I might learn, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go approaching strangers everywhere. Anxiety, shyness, and social awkwardness aside, this just doesn’t seem to be a good idea. Once in a while, yes, I get amazing conversations with strangers, and I like that they happen. I still don’t want Random Guy In The Elevator to ask me what makes me cry. Because creepy.

“Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. No one comes into your life by mere coincidence.”

What puzzle?

Ok, maybe not “mere” coincidence, but unless you believe in a deity (or something) directing all of our lives as though we are pieces on a game board (I do not), coincidence plays a role.

“Find the others…”

Sounds nifty! Finding connection is amazing and fabulous and I highly recommend it. But I am not going to go about it in the ways described above.

1 Comment

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One response to ““Find the Others”

  1. Wolfy

    Truthfully I quit trying to be like others. And based on what I see daily working as a bagger at a whole foods where college students are the best customers I wonder who IS normal. Perhaps because I avoid social media and do not use a smartphone, I am more aware of whats going on than the folks with devices to tune out the world are.