Sunday, April 7, 2013

Do We Really Want a Society of (Imperfect) Clones?

(I have seen the graphic below in several places, but have not seen any attribution. If it not meant to be freely shared, and you are the owner of it, please just let me know.)

"Everybody is a genius. 
But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, 
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Albert Einstein

I find this image and idea interesting to consider. We often act like we are all very much the same, and we have this idea that life should be "fair." So if we are all the same, and we need to be fair, we must define some sort of standard that works for all of us.

The inherent problem to this belief is that while we may all be human we do not have the same strengths and leanings so whatever one picks as the "standard" is already biased and even if someone doesn't feel "stupid" for it, he or she certainly might feel like they don't "fit." In the process, it may also give the illusion to those involved that they need to be the same as everyone else.

It would be great if we could find a way to allow each individual to be an individual and let them flourish in the way that they would flourish. A rose and a carnation are both flowers, but they will not bloom or smell or look the same way - and, more importantly, it would be silly for us to expect them to.

Somewhere along the lines I would suggest that our need to "control" things is what brought this way of thinking about. It isn't about fairness, at all, as the process such as it is is inherently unfair. But in the process of calling it that we gave ourselves the illusion of control and given how we desire fairness, who would argue with that?

Interestingly, I saw an article recently about how similar weddings were becoming, due to sites like Pinterest. Apparently people have mimicked what they have seen, whether it fit them, or not. While there is nothing about fairness in this article, it does speak to the nature of human beings to want to all be the same in some way.

The "funny" thing is that when everyone starts to be the same, then there are those who want to strike out and be different. Striking out to be different first requires an awareness and then a boldness and sometimes bravery. The minute you stand out there is a possibility you will become a leader and others will follow, or you will be ostracized. 

Standing out in the middle of no where is generally no fun for those who are by themselves or for those who would want to corral everyone in a certain direction. And when we do not respect others for who and how they are, it seems to me that it is a potential recipe for conflict and disaster.

Why would it be a surprise that people are unhappy at the moment? Some might say it is because they aren't able to have a job or a relationship, or any number of things that (our) society says are important. Are these things universally important? No. But we act like they are, and until we can act like ourselves, we are going to be unhappy trying to be someone we are not, by living by someone else's standards, likes and desires.

We set ourselves up for failure when we seek to be a clone or a society that seeks for its members to create clones of themselves. No one likes to be told what to do or how to do it, and yet many will try to drum our unique qualities out of us for some idea of a "greater good." The only chance we have to truly succeed and be happy is to know what makes us tick and follow the beat of our own inner drummer. 

Yes, I mixed metaphors. 
But you know what? 
I like it like that. :)

One last thought: What if the only thing that is "fair" - and truly works - is when every person gets to be how they truly are and who they are meant to be?

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