Today I feel like writing about a different perspective on Individuality, the perspective of school and education. A friend of mine was venting about the professors they were encountering in college. She was going back to college, in the hopes of opening up her employment opportunities.
One research paper she wrote, was given me. I found it to be well written and researched, however the professor’s remarks regarding it were strange. My friend felt discouraged and frustrated, as she put her soul into the work.
What the professor seemed to find issue with was not the research, but the fact it was different from some restrictive constraints they imposed on the class. The class was instructed to use specific source material, stay within a page limit and limit outside information.
What resulted as a classroom of essays that read the same.
By taking away the individuality of the students, the professor would no doubt find it easier to churn through mass amounts of papers.
When we strive for our individuality, it isn’t just the religious zealots we have to watch for. Our very society conforms to the idea of everyone being the same. Oddly it often feels the opposite.
In the comedy, “LA Story,” there’s a scene where everyone is ordering coffee at a restaurant. It starts with one order, and every subsequent order becomes more oddball, till the final order is absurd. In the quest of becoming unique each person became copies of a concept, just to varying degrees.
Similarly today, people spend great sums of money to look unique. The name brand outfit gives the appearance of individuality, until the motive behind it is revealed. Often the motive is to be what a marketing professional wants you (or I) to be. To drive the car that will put a smile on our face, to wear the clothing that makes us feel unique.
If a choice of expression doesn’t originate from within ourselves, then the result comes not from us, but from a marketing department somewhere. In the strive for Individuality, a person often finds themselves folding into conformity.
I don’t mean to judge. I’m as guilty of this as the next person. I certainly don’t cater to fine fashion, but I have been led to try and stand out in one way or another. I’ve fallen into the allure of the next video game that will be life changing, or the next book that will expand my sense of self.
These objects in themselves aren’t the fault, it’s the drive of the aspirant to think that something someone else came up with, when applied as our identity, will satisfy our Individuality.
The clothes we wear, the objects we have… these things, if seeking Individuality, should come from our own desire. Obviously I can’t create my own clothes, but I can wear what I wear, without it being sold to me as concept art. “I’ll wear this and be somebody that the ad shows.”
This is the same problem of joining an occult organization. To suggest that another’s views, beliefs or philosophy is required for our individual expression, actually subverts our individual nature. At least, those are my current thoughts on the matter.