The harmful myth of "Individual Exceptionalism"

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The harmful myth of "Individual Exceptionalism"

Post by circuitbored » Thu Oct 21, 2021 7:32 pm

When you're a kid, everything social tells you you that the world is "exceptional", "magical", and that "anything is possible" but I think too much of that exact ideal is what has gotten us to many bad places historically and especially in current times... Praising normal accomplishments or achievements, and things that are not even really "accomplishments" or achievements like group affiliations or physical characteristics and personal value beyond that of others is what often gets us to some of the worst political, economic, and social points of division in history.

I no longer have immature and overly-simple childhood ideals of "exceptionalism" as a measure of my life, nor the right social and political positioning for being a billionaire, nor the right contacts, nor social influence, nor rich friends to just throw me the money. I was also definitely not born rich... I am not "better" for my beliefs, though I hope those beliefs represent a life-long pursuit to keep myself grounded in reality, which is hopefully good practice. By speaking with others who aren't exactly like-minded as me, and by allowing mistakes to be discussed in context, I grow and experience a far better world beyond the small the one I'd know otherwise. So many movies throughout time tend to focus on one story all about one central character who is "exceptional", or even a unified band of "exceptional" individuals with unified purpose, when the real world only works when it involves many people working together, even when they don't have a common bond or identity. In the real world, we have to stop being insulated within our own cultures and open our minds to more, and to also be considerate to those we don't know in order to thrive in life against real modern issues. Even the biggest troupe of humans in this world cannot save the entire world because we are not in a movie, and not gifted with special powers of "Individual Exceptionalism", because our individual exceptionalism (above others) doesn't really exist.

Over the more mature adult years of my life, I've worked towards simply being happy, and towards hopefully (eventually) living on a tropical beach with a good wife and good kids without money problems (to be honest) and not obsessing with much else beyond music... Simple goals I can probably achieve if fate works properly of course... Those goals, as long as I keep my ego in check, won't likely conflict with the goals of others, and hopefully, it will help many others along the way to my individual success.

Just a theory, but I believe some people who carry the biggest egos in this world, and who ultimately end up doing great harm in positions of trust and leadership, were often coddled by others as children and adults with ideals that they are somehow "better" in aspects like their ideals, action, genetics, intelligence, education, choices, religion, socio-economic status, etc... And that kind of ideology develops into a sense of toxic entitlement that often overshadows any positive accomplishment.

Harmful ideals of superiority based on ideals, action, genetics, intelligence, education, choices, religion, and socio-economic status are often devastatingly exclusionary and more-and-more often these days totally alienating to the billions of people that don't fit into that ideal. A very complex thing happens when we salute "Individual Exceptionalism" as a earned or God-granted trait for popular people; everyone else pays a price for being compared to those very superficially appointed "model humans". The term, "model humans" is in quotes there (for me, it's impossible to be a human being and also a standard for other humans to measure up to) because in my experience, no human is born without flaws... Even the genetically and biologically modified humans do indeed have flaws.

There is a truth we all have to admit to ourselves about that, otherwise, we wouldn't have invented Photoshop, contact lenses, Botox, fake money, and hair implants, along with the thousands of other things that create certain artificial standards of "beauty" and "success" amongst us... Not judging enhancements of course, but implants are not gifts from heaven, and many turn out to be scary as aging sets in (if you know what I mean).

"Individual Exceptionalism" (as a driver for lifetime success) is mostly derived from pure luck, based on what I've observed in my years on earth; especially when you consider that there are almost 7 billion other people on this planet besides us, and all of us working to each gain from a pool of limited world resources to share amongst us all... Many people hoard A LOT MORE THAN THEY'LL EVER NEED of those world resources, and that in-turn dries up the lake (of opportunity) for the rest of us, and makes us all fight each other a lot for the wrong reasons. When we fight each other for the wrong reasons, it still does not create any new water in the lake (of opportunity) we all swim in, it only serves to exclude us from happiness and the pursuit of everything good and ruins our futures.

To think that any one individual reached a point of higher talent or intelligence to achieve success beyond everyone else is a total "consumerism-driven" lie...

Movies and TV create celebrities because it drives their profit and sales of merchandise, not because they really feel the actors they back are unique and worthy of praise; We find out often the people branded as "exceptional" suffer greatly for that label very often because they gain popularity and consequently can't live up to the standards portrayed of them within a lifetime, or they live very short lives in order to not let everyone down over time.

The biggest lie we can tell ourselves is that we're individually "exceptional" beyond everyone or anyone else -- physically, spiritually, mentally, or in any other way.

Somehow there's an ever present ideal pushed by Fitness Gyms, Churches, Psychologists, News Media, TV, Movies, Video Games, Social Media etc... that individual human exceptionalism can exist. In truth, individual human exceptionalism is simply not sustainable for any individual, and there's a pile of discarded "celebrities" down the hill by the river in Hollywood to prove that... That doesn't however mean that we can't be individually special of course...

Once we're individually humble in life, and we realize that opportunity, paying attention to what's around us, caring about and understanding others, learning things, proper positioning, luck, and circumstance are what grant us the most potential for success -- It's the actions that we take to seize opportunities, THOSE ACTIONS WE TAKE are what set us apart from others who may be hesitant, scared of, not ready for, and/or unaware -of and to- the opportunities when they present themselves.

When we reach points within our lifetimes of individual success, it's extremely important to remind ourselves of others and their situations and to not look down upon them, and to help others to succeed as much as possible in order to not feel isolated in ego and self praise and in turn, morally corrupt.

I may sound like the Dali Lama here, but fighting against our own internal ego in a world like this one is a constant battle; I work hard every day to keep everything in this kind of context in my own life, and I'm not perfect just like everyone else.

Whenever I'm driving my car out in public though, everyone's a "frickin' idiot", and that is a bad instinct will probably never change... Sorry in advance. 🤫

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