on the topic of “individuality” being a myth, and in particular what seems to be a forced attempt at individuality in places like northern california, where “alternative” lifestyles are celebrated, but on a wide scale:
i’m going to steal this from IP for a moment:
i do not think that those who are trying to be “individual” are trying to do so in order to distinguish themselves. each of us individual by nature, no matter how we might appear on the outside, and we all know that. what we wear, who we hang around with, what we buy or drive or eat is all a PART of who we are and a rough representation of our inner personality.
we all have to make choices about what to wear and what to eat and where to work and where to live- we HAVE to, otherwise we die. so given that there is a finite set of those things to choose from, then yes, no one is a complete individual as far as their lifestyle and logistical choices go. those who try to achieve outward individuality get disappointed quickly.
but on the inside …you don’t believe we are all unique? and don’t we all know that?
when i go back “home” to northern michigan, i stick out like a big pink thumb, as jay once put it. here i find people who are into the same things i always have been – it didn’t just “adopt” a liking for performance art and dancing and nature and music and philosophy and alternative lifestyles when i moved to northern california.
i was also thinking, however, that part of the reason i think northern californians get so targeted for their behavior, as opposed to say, people who live in Boulder, which is just as much a hippie commune as berkeley if not more, is that perhaps there is some serious bipolarity to our culture. i say perhaps because i know many NorCal types who live as they speak – in the santa cruz mountains with compost toilet, diesel-driving bus types. but for most living in the city, when it comes down to the numbers, a good chunk of “us” are yuppies.
young. urban. professionals.
who buy expensive food and expensive coffee and expensive clothing, fair traded and organic, but still 25-50% more than what the average joe pays at Safeway or JC Penney. so to make up for it – our indulgent lifestyles, however you spend your money – we overcompensate by spiritually slumming it, building sod houses and driving biodiesel Mercedes, buying hemp Adidas instead of regular, giving money to local artists instead of Disney. The Bohemian Bourgeois.
again, i say that this of course does not apply to everyone – some people amazingly, through a lot of grace and effort, live perfectly aligned with their stated beliefs – but i know it does me.
what does this have to do with individuality? i think human nature downright prevents it. we are creatures of both habit and herd, and our lifestyle choices are confined to those instincts. what’s truly unfortunate is that our instincts apparently don’t prevent us from mimicking bad behaviour.
If you ever get close to a human
And human behaviour
You’d better be ready to get confused
There’s definitely no logic
To human behaviour
But yet so irristible
There’s no map
To human behaviour
They’re terribly moody
Then all of a sudden turn happy
But, oh, to get involved in the exchange
Of human emotions is ever so satisfying
There’s no map
And a compass
Wouldn’t help at all