Sunday, September 16, 2012

Puck on... Individuality

You hate individuality?

Oh, no, we like it just fine. Provided, of course, that it’s the kind of individuality that we want.

Which is conformity.

Well, that’s a rather bland way to say it, isn’t it? It makes it sound so boring. Why not give a nice title? After all, as we’ve discussed, you humans do like nice, catchy names for things.

What would you call it?

Why not: Evolution? After all, it’s all heading towards the same thing, right? The ultimate existence? The paragon animal? And you are just animals, after all, correct? Why, look at the animal kingdom. Oh, yes, diverse, certainly, with your cats and sheep and sharks. But notice the similarities amongst the cats and sheep and sharks themselves. Can you tell them apart? Yes, you have spots on one and stripes on another, but the spots are always spotty and the stripes always stripe-y.

Presumably they can tell each other apart.

Presumably, yes. Though 9 times out of 10 it’s by smell. But look deeper than that. How many existential lions are there, do you suppose? Or erudite mollusks? Any creative giraffes? Or an ape who finds the termites in this particular hill more tasty than another? Aren’t they all very like each other?

I think some people would insist that their pets are quite unique.

Of course, they would. But how much of that do you suppose is their implanting personality into their animals?

You could easily argue that they were drawing it out.

Yes, you could, but that’s through domestication. In the wild, would they not find themselves forced to follow the call of their species or be left to die? That’s what you do, you little individuals, so keen on offering individuality to everything else, potted plants included.

Is that so wrong?

We’re not here to argue that. The point is that of conformity, as you said. Do you not realize that nature asks for conformity? Adapt or die?


And yet you would insist that individuality is some kind of virtue, wouldn’t you?


How many of your fellow men would agree with that?

I think a lot.

Really? How altruistic. Don’t get me wrong, they would most certainly say that. But what would they actually believe?

I see, you’re saying people celebrate individuality, but really they are only celebrating the aspects that they want or like or need. That they are fine with individuals provided they are their kind of individuals.

Does that seem so surprising?

No. Most of the time when people offer freedom they are really only offering another set of guidelines.

Exactly. Conformity. Oh, you don’t call it that. You call it a million different things. Fitting in. Adapting. Evolving. Communing. Coming out of your shell. Hanging out. Being social. And my personal favorite: growing up.

The world asks for conformity because that is what it needs. Like nature, it has no space for individuals. You fool yourselves, of course. You talk about your uniqueness, of geography or ethnicity, but it’s a cover. You see, there’s a theory that’s been going around a while that you are nothing more than animals. And if you truly believe that arguments can still be made for society and order as the constructs of man’s evolution, but only just so. If you really believe that there’s nothing that would allow you to be individuals or unique at all. Because you would still be products of nature and it does not want but one way. There are no parallel branches on the evolutionary tree, only superior and inferior limbs.

Now, where do you suppose you got that idea?

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