When I’m not doing more important shit (so most of the time), I’m known to hit up my preferred meme website 9gag. This is not a sponsored post, I’ve just taken to spending time with Mary Jane and there aint much else to do. This quote, originally by Dr. Seuss highlights humankind’s desire to be liked for who we are. A noble pursuit for authenticity in our human interactions.
Be who you are and say what you feel – those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
Lets unpack this quickly. To me this implies that being yourself is going to piss people off, which is probably true. It also insinuates that everyone has some sense of self that they feel is worth sharing – generally speaking, that’s probably not the case.
To me, this blind praise of individuality is going to bring an end to society itself. We live in a society and a society needs etiquette. Why? Because without self-control we cease to be human and become beasts (something that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing :P). This doesn’t mean we need to be prudish, sexually frustrated bible-bashers who walk without sin. It means you need to be nice to people, even if you don’t think they deserve it.
I read a book about Proust (Alain De-Botton) and I really liked that he was overly nice to people. He would shower mediocre poets with praise and brings gifts whenever he could. This sort of inauthentic niceness has just as much, if not more place in a western society which is breeding loneliness and isolation.
To often I see people falling in love with romantic notion of individuality. The idea of being a rogue thinking. Being committed to your beliefs, so long as those beliefs are not related to a monotheistic religion (that’s not hip at all). By avoiding spending time with people whom we disagree with, we lose that drive to question ourselves. We love the drive to question the core concepts we take as common sense fact. Only through questioning these things can we change paradigms and move forward as a community.
To me, I want to be liked, not so I can accumulate a thousand facebook friends or a million twitter followers but so I can disagree with people and retain their friendship. That we can disagree on fundamental beliefs like religion, science, future, history, politics, whatever. I want to find authenticity in these interactions without alienating or upsetting someone. I believe this can be done.
Or maybe I’m wrong. What do you think? Where do you seek authenticity in life? Through travel? Human interaction? Your writing? What about connecting with your own sense of self in a truly authentic manner.
Thanks for reading.