A recent comment I found thought-provoking. Thoughts?
‘How you characterize ‘the crowd’ is your own, no doubt, and unique construction. The coils of belonging have already entwined your soul, as the baby is reliant on its tribe; you are a part of that crowd as seen by all others. The crowd is amorphous, bright and boiling and giving off heat, as the face of the sun is in no part of its being eternally fixed.
Oh, god, where would one be without the crowd!
And amazingly, each person is so arranged and constructed as to be a defin/ed piece having a separation zone, that event horizon, from the crowd, our individuality and aloneness, and across that electric zone we each give of ourselves for the lives of others and each takes the required food of life only others can provide. Small pieces, well and active and forward-looking, constitute the dynamism and vigour of the crowd.’
— Author (un)known
The greatest gift you can give another is a piece of your deepest self.
Not your time. Not your money; but something more precious still.
Is it understanding, or compassion, or attention that you offer? Is there a word bringing these together?
That piece you offer freely, that is the gift. You offer without reservation. You say ‘Do with it as you will’, though, of course, you hope and trust the other treads lightly.
And that’s the risk you take…
…and the pain you can inflict.
Here’s an experiment. Tomorrow, before entering the world, wear your hair a different way. Don socks that don’t match. When asked ‘how are you?’, don’t lie. Frown.
When the queen walks in, remain seated.
Be honest. Be yourself tomorrow.
Unless you are infinitely agreeable, unless your hair looks equally good parted, unless you are God, prepare yourself.
Prepare for the onslaught of thinly veiled snideness, disapproval, disdain; prepare for unsolicited opinions, for rolled eyes, for mockery; prepare for all the tools at society’s disposal to keep you in line. To hammer you to conformity.
You’re a glass half empty kind of person? You best have them walkin’ papers signed and stamped!
DO NOT ROCK THE BOAT!
You got that?
And always, always remember: FOLLOW THE CROWD.
I dare you: wear your hair differently tomorrow.
By showing up with hope to help others, I’m guaranteed that hope is present. Then my own hope increases. By creating hope for others, I end up awash in the stuff. – Anne Lamott
ILLUSTRATION BY ELEANOR DAVIS
Read her beautiful article in National Geographic’s October 2018 issue.
Arrogance is bad. Arrogance grounded in ignorance is even worse.
Independence may be a defense from the truth, a form of self-righteousness and silent arrogance.
Don’t seal yourself from the world, and claim superiority.
We may be our own worst (or forgiving) judges, yet removed from the tempering wisdom found only in human contact, our judgments lack facts.
A mind turned inward fails to recognize its reflection in the arena of social interaction.
The eye can’t see itself.
No one is an island.
Don’t hide behind clichés to justify yourself. Don’t blame the craziness of this world for your crazy actions. Take some goddamned responsibility.
Yeah, this life is crazy! Simply acknowledging that does not excuse your craziness, does not give it justification, does not clear the path to forgiveness and understanding.
Let me tell you, you don’t bring order to a chaotic world by increasing the chaos. There is no second law of social thermodynamics, wherein your personal order is attained at the expense of increasing social disorder.
You decrease overall chaos by first dealing with your personal chaos; get your own house in order before throwing yourself into the gears of the universe.
See it for what it is. That is the first step. Selfishness. Insecurity. Anger. Aggression. Weakness. Immorality. Willing blindness. Self-deception. Denial. Deceit. Lying. Obstruction. See it for what it is.
What is your role? Take the lead in judgement upon yourself. Develop some moral fortitude. Admit and attempt to remedy your mistakes. Few of us are so far gone that we can’t be pulled back from the abyss. Give yourself that first helping hand. Surely you must know, if anyone does, your actions are wrong, hurtful, dangerous, destabilizing. You simply have to ask yourself: ‘how would I feel?’
How would I feel?
How would you feel?
Bring some order to this chaotic world, and with humility and honesty, answer that question.
The mind has made a switch,
From days inward searching spent,
To heed the call of assumed responsibilities,
And rejoin the careening wheels of society.
The mind has made a switch,
And slides sadly into this communal pit.