This premeditated process is going on for as many years as you can count, while you continue to unwillingly and rather thoughtlessly yet voluntarily subject yourself to its mechanism. A worn out and overused path peppered with ups and downs and classically clichéd transitions like- a childhood to schooling, college to a fixed job, then to an archetypal family life.
From a comical standpoint, all this looks like a globally performed charade, but a closer view shows how an established universal standard- constructed for the process called living, has every thinking individual conforming to it, in order to lead a supposedly promised happy and peaceful life.
Mediocrity, Conformity, Imitation, Human Piracy & Plagiarism
So, where is this getting you? You go to work with the sole purpose of earning, or making a living, with which you can spend the rest of the days. To make it sound nicer, you may even consider it some sort of ‘contribution’ to the society or self. Now, you are content with treating life as a mere way of making a living, because that is what is expected, that is the standard of living in modern society, just like marks were the standard of being ranked and accepted in school.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
By conforming to this expected, tried, tested, and secure way of living, you immediately become immune to the disagreements, frustrations, opposing views, that would arise had you not followed what was asked of you. That itself serves as a comfort or an aid, in maintaining you to keep doing what you are, and what you should be doing.
This is a society where people collectively consider anything falling outside of their point of views, opinions, or belief system to be unarguably wrong. The weight of a baseless opinion then surmounts to something comparable to the validity of a universal fact, consider, gravity, with you being the hero trying to defy it. Hence, confrontation or simple discussions amount to nothing but shutting down of the opposition without any open-minded discourse and understanding.
“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
― Rita Mae Brown
No one likes confrontation, or facing up with someone holding opposing views, especially when the other side is holding a stance as above. Opinions become information, which further expand into socio-cultural beliefs, and thus begins the cycle of conformity and mediocrity.
Who makes your life’s decisions?
Now all these activities that we perform in our daily lives, we tend to believe that we have chosen them for ourselves. We possess the capacity to think, but we have lost the ability and will to do it. No wonder, a centuries-old system of artificially constructed socio-economic processes prevails even to this day. Despite being aware of these long-established systems, where we have people like you and me being pushed down through them like a bottle through a processing plant, we have somehow managed to delude ourselves into believing our choices, actions, and thoughts to be self-chosen.
The truth is you are an imitation of someone else’s idea of living, which you picked up, admired and connected with while you were growing up. You were naively charmed by someone else’s greatness. It is not wrong to praise and appreciate someone else’s achievements, but if that admiration serves as an influence in leading you off of your own unique destined path, then without question, those influences have done more harm than good.
Paul Graham depicts wonderfully, how we are the consequential byproducts of imitation.
Just as houses all over America are full of chairs that are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of chairs designed 250 years ago for French kings, conventional attitudes about work are, without the owners even knowing it, nth-degree imitations of the attitudes of people who’ve done great things.
This analogy serves best in pointing out how our career and life’s decisions are unknowingly decided by these recurring patterns of imitations and derivations, of some perfect or ideal example of something that occurred centuries ago.