A friend of mine recently shared the following words with me:
“Group-think makes you all stink. Group gods make you all frauds.”
The approval of others can be a pleasant thing to have, but it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.
When the bulk of what you read, watch, think, listen to, and talk about is shaped by mainstream thinking, you’re in danger. You’re in danger of losing the very thing that offers you the opportunity to make a difference in this world: your individuality.
When you sacrifice your individuality, you compromise your integrity.
By “integrity,” I don’t simply mean “your ability to follow moral codes.” I mean “your ability to add something good to this world that can only come through you.”
D.M. Dellinger wrote: “You are unrepeatable. There is a magic about you that is all your own…”
When you make a god out of fitting in, however, you lose that magic. The world will never experience your wizardry if you refuse to go your own way, if you refuse to walk the path that wears your name and your name alone.
I’m also reminded of Joseph Brodsky’s advice regarding how to overcome the forces of tyranny:
“The surest defense against evil is extreme individualism, originality of thinking, whimsicality, even eccentricity. Evil is a sucker for solidarity. It always goes for big numbers, for confident granite, for ideological purity, for drilled armies and balance sheets.”
Want to change the world? Want to create a freer society? Want to keep the forces of darkness at bay?
Be an individual.
Changing the world never begins by conforming to mainstream concepts, convictions, and conversations.
T.K. Coleman is the education director for Praxis and an adjunct faculty member for the Foundation for Economic Education.