There’s me and then there are humans.
Tell someone you aren’t human and apart from thinking you’re a bit on the mad side, they tend to think you think you’re an alien than being a unique individual. Should that be regarded as most people lack imagination or not seeing all the possibilities?
Describing everyone as being unique tends to confuse them because mostly they think everyone is the same as anyone else. They only see the physical first rather than any other attributes. Well, unless I read their minds.
I suspect, for them, unless they have particular talents that others don’t possess or aware of or those regarded as being unfortunately sub-normal, and nothing that makes themselves stand out, they just think everyone else is the same as themselves. Even so, without that, everyone is different from each other to give them unique differences. A lot of the time, people don’t think of themselves as unique. I guess herd instinct gets in the way. When you add extreme talents, then these differences are even more unique but they see such people as the exception, hence the herd instinct gets in the way. If anything, I’m always surprised that people fail to have my kind of imagination and abilities in art and writing.
I’ve already discussed how our interest in Science Fiction gives us a somewhat ‘oddball’ look to those who lack our kind of imagination or to appreciate the same. But, just for a moment, if we treat it as ‘there’s me and then there are humans’, it makes more sense when standing away from the herd that for the most part, we don’t really feel part of and they certainly don’t think we belong to. If we see ourselves as a different kind of herd, then there are more alpha males and females amongst us than the normal herd, making our collective even more unique.
When you apply it to all kinds of skills, like being good at art or writing, that normal people clearly don’t have a capability beyond school for, is it any wonder that people like me should be thinking that we’re not run of the mill. When such skills are exhibited in paintings or writing and people like to collect the end product, then it should be seen as whether they like it or not, people hold a fascination for such work and such people regardless which herd they belong to.
Are they looking and reading because they wish they could do likewise or are they doing so because they want to savour something they can only dream of doing themselves but can’t get their heads around how it’s done? The transition to exhibiting some skills or purely by hard work to emulate is something many people aren’t that willing to develop, have the time or think they are incapable of doing. Talent has to be nurtured by practice, experience and love of doing it. In some respects, the talent can be regarded as the small kernel from which this develops.
Whichever. There still exists a them and us. Me and humans again, if you like. A play on nobody ever fitting any particular label definition. I suspect the reason that so few think of reality like this is because there is a need to belong. The herd instinct kicking in, whether they want it to or not. Non-conformists, like myself, lack this herd instinct and see nothing wrong with being individual. If anything, it’s also the converse of them and that we don’t understand herd solidarity.
The real question is which is the right category to belong to? To be obtuse, I would say neither and both. In a lot of circumstances, we tend to stay aloof but others, we all help the herd and a lot of those decisions will also sway others in the herd as well. After all, it’s not as though we don’t like the sound of our own voices.
To some extent, the herd instinct is a protection for the many. Conforming means you hide in the pack and are less likely to be attacked unless you stray from the perimeter. You see examples of this in the animal kingdom. Fine, back in the savannah of our distant forefathers but less so, you would think in the present more civilised world. When it becomes mob violent, definitely not. The herd instinct gives a sense of belonging to something, even within our own genre communities, although with a bunch of non-conformists that doesn’t give much lee-way when there are so many leader-class levels bumping heads.
Non-conformists are the outcasts who are needed from time to time but are invariably viewed with suspicion. If you look over the history of mankind, such people have been people other people have listened to: storytellers, seers, prophets and scientists. Even leaders and con artists. You can pick the order of importance. All are lucky individualists if you think about it. Without a role or some activity in life, then we would be seriously lost if we weren’t called upon to use our talents from time to time by the herd to do some of the collective thinking for them. From a social point of view, a world of non-conformists probably wouldn’t get anything done because there would be too much indecision or no one willing to follow any one lead until it’s absolutely certain. We’ve seen that in scientific development over the years although, thankfully, verification is now done by repeating experiments first than purely vocal disagreements.
Are there any advantages of thinking yourself as an individual even when your instinct might scream at you to conform? Well, it allows you to think for yourself and make your own decisions. The quirkiness of eccentricity means you can please yourself and oddly, for clinical empaths like myself, you do end up being kinder to other people and be helpful than a hindrance. You’ll have to answer to yourself as to whether that attitude is more to help those who don’t have so many talents that they can use. No wonder, we’re described as being colourful. We don’t live in a monotone world. Aren’t you glad we don’t?
The only thing you have to decide for now is by agreeing with me are you joining my herd or because you thought about this subject and agreed independently. Your call.
Thank you, take care, good night and just how human are you?
A Zen thought: A fire in the soul is better than a stone cold heart.
Occasionally, I find things by looking around at a tangent on the Internet. Have a look at this link:-
an interview with AE Van Vogt from 1977, giving information about how he started as an SF writer and some of his techniques.