Get this – there is no other schmuck on the face of the planet identical to you.
Profound, right? Across some 7.5 billion people – I am the only me and you are the only you. That’s fucking wild.
Yet, for some reason, we (myself included) make a ton of effort to fit in. To migrate in and out of our ecosystems unseen. To go without disrupting or disturbing.
Maybe as a species, we’ve found it easier to fit in than to stand out. Perhaps many of us do not possess intimate self-knowledge. Or maybe when we step out we feel ostracized.
There seem to be deep psychological underpinnings of the tribal mindset within us all – where we see ourselves as an individual functioning unit within a larger body.
Perhaps many of us walk around with a proverbial Dr. Jekyll in our pocket – a dark side – the unknown self of our personal Johari window.
Regardless of why – the more fascinating question is what would we find if we all embraced our purest selves?
An Identity Crisis
I find the idea of ubuntu challenging – that I am who I am because of who we all are – as if the fabric of human identity is a maze with no beginning or end point.
It seems likely and obvious that we should all be somewhat a by-product of the people we surround ourselves with; the environments we inhabit; and the endeavors we pursue.
But what lives underneath all the extremities? What lives a few layers deeper – near our core?
Divorced from our surroundings, what form would we take on? Who would we be absent the influence of other people – or rather, absent the influences of influences that detract from the purest version of ourselves?
If there is merit in the idea our surroundings impact our identities and personalities, then it would follow we should deliberately guard ourselves from unwanted influences.
Yet – in order to grow, we must break down barriers of ignorance. We must effectively expand beyond our current states of understanding.
So perhaps eradicating “unwanted influences” is not the proper aim. Perhaps instead we should seek to avoid inhibiting influences.
I wonder, what would you find if you audited the influences in your life? Would you discover the people, activities, and environments in your life are desirable or undesirable?
If desirable, what makes them so? What influence does the agreeableness of another agent have over desirability?
Are you surrounding yourself with people and ideas primarily because they agree with your worldview or because they challenge you?
Do the people in your life push you to become a more pure version of yourself or do they coax you to conform more?
You must set your own standards – but as for me, I choose to surround myself with people who sharpen me, who push me to embrace myself more, who challenge me to enhance my game.
I don’t see comfort as the goal of life. Nor conformity. There’s a reason we’re each unique. Embrace it.