You cannot avoid it, you cannot out run it, you cannot fight it, there is no escaping. You can stand staring directly into a mirror for hours on end, but you will never see your reflection. And as you absorb the world around you, your mind will grow tired, your eyes will become blurry, and you will feel as if you are suffocating. You were brought into this world with a personality that will separate you from every other person on this planet. You are unique in every way; what you choose to eat, wear, think, and say.
No one can stop you from being you and nothing can impede your imagination, because you are an individual, and no one can take that away from you… except, society. From the moment life was sparked on planet Earth, the human mind has been influenced. In the both the Christian genesis and the Quran’s genesis, God influenced the minds of Adam and Eve. God taught Adam and Eve the names of all living and non living parts that resided under his kingdom, and said things are the way they are just ‘because’. Specifically in the Christian genesis, Adam and Eve’s mind only knew what was moral; they were clean and free of sin.
However, after an incident involving Eve following what the serpent said, she ate an apple from the Garden of Eden, which Adam soon followed suit. Both became modest and their minds began to open up to think differently about the world around them. They knew right from wrong and by disobeying God, they suffered eternal sin. Their minds were supposed to be blank, and God was to fill them with the information he wanted Adam and Eve to know, and exactly how he wanted the information interrupted. But, after receiving two different forms of influence, Adam and Eve no longer had a blank mind.
They were receiving conflicting points and had to use their own minds to determine which point was going to lead them to who they truly are. In ‘The first human beings, their sons and Amazon daughters’, from the Kabyl Legends of creation, instead of a God figure, people were influenced by a bug, specifically an ant. The people in this story live under the Earth’s surface and they have their own labeling system of what things are. However, one day they see a light coming from above them, they crawl up to it and find themselves on the surface of the Earth.
When they begin to walk around on the surface, they are confused by everything around them. They meet many talking animals, who help them figure aspects of life on the Earth’s surface. They also end up meeting other humans, who they do not realize they are related to. In one scene, the humans were learning about growing crops from the animals. They were struggling to keep certain crops to grow and flourish. During the explanation of a certain method, one of the humans said, “Aha, so one must do it that way” (61) implying that you must only do it the way that was being shown.
There is no problem solving in this way of thinking. In problem solving you figure out ways to solve a problem using past experiences, but if you are thinking on a one way street, you may never try any out of the box solutions. Your mind is wrapped around what others have taught or told you to do, there is no need to think for yourself, and therefore, you are just going with the flow and following the crowd. In today’s society, we even have a term to describe something we do not know or do not remember the name of, thingamajigger.
Members of society have begun to create their own terms to describe objects and situations, and they make the urban dictionary possible. But, the greater mass of society does not recognize the “slang” being used. It is as if the current generation is changing the English language to fit today’s trending need. This concept can be argued in two major ways. One way being that people are trying to change past influence by developing new concepts and language, and the second point being that there is no need to fix or change what is not broken, since the concepts and language has existed for generations.
Yi-Fu Tuan wrote in his writing titled ‘Community, Society and the Individual’, that individualism may not be an obtainable characteristic. He took a stance saying that if we are truly an individual, then how do we belong to a community and a society? The dictionary definition of individual means; a single human being as distinct from a group, class, or family. That being said, Yi-Fu Tuan made the argument that it is not possible to be an individual and simultaneously belong to a community and a society.
A community and a society influence who we are, whether we realize it or not. People tend to associate with other people who have similar attributes to them, which if others are similar to you, eliminates the concept of being an individual. Tuan also stated, “The, I, as never before, is absorbed into the “we” and feels wonderfully powerful in consequences” (311). I interpret this quote by recognizing that we are no longer one individual unit, rather we are many units, and you are more powerful with a team effort. So you are better to be f the many, then the only one. Yet, society tells you to go ahead and be you, be unique and stand out. Yet when you do, you are scrutinized for being different and being an other. But the cold are truth is you are not an individual. Society has been molding you to fit their standards since the second you took your first breath. Just think back to how you were raised, even your parents raised you either by some book that says it is proven to be the most effective childrearing program, how they were raised, or how friends/family have raised their child.
They have not done anything out of the ordinary or special. That is why families try to develop traditions, something that is unique to their family, but that’s not to say that other families don’t do it too or that the tradition may not change as it is passed through the generations. As a member of society, you also need to act or behave a certain way. It is like liberty with license (229; Six great ideas) you have freedom with rules and boundaries.
Society has many unspoken rules, don’t expel gas in public, walk on the right side, chew with your mouth closed, be punctual, don’t skip/cut in line, mind personal space, don’t be noisy when someone is sleeping, hold the door for someone directly near you, and the list goes on and on. But then society has actual rules/laws for behavior, some are logical like mandatory need to wear clothing, but others are questionable; no kissing on a train, no standing around a building without reason or loitering, and no loud noises, but there are plenty more example that can be used.
They are all odd laws related to how you want to act or behave, even if no one is harmed, it is still illegal. The way you act or behave is not unique to you, it is what society wants you to do. There are good reasons to have laws for certain behaviors, such as the ones found in the purge. But, other behaviors that are outlawed are repressing who people really are. We are to conform to society norms, and if we don’t we can be ticketed and charged. Besides the language you use and how you act, society also tells you what to wear and what to eat, just walk into a grocery store, you see food all around, but everything is basically the same.
There are products that grow from the ground or the trees, there is bread, milk, eggs, yogurt, meat, chips and so forth. We all buy and eat the foods our society says is normal. But if you go to Papua New Guinea, you will enjoy eating insects and dogs; but if you did that in American, you would be seen as participating in animal crudity and being weird. Once again, society is implying to the citizens that they must conform to American norms. There is no being unique in the food dishes you make, being unique is just being weird, and being weird is an unwanted characteristic.
You can walk into a clothing store, and see many items that look the same. Even if you go to a different store, everything appears to be made by the same people. Everything is ordinary “America apparel”, but really, where are the yellow and purple pokadot shirts with glitter covering the sleeves and feather wings on the back? Why do we have to walk around wearing colors that match and have two arm holes? What if I want to change what sleeve my arm is in? Why do I have to wear what others around me wear?
I am tired of wearing jeans or leggings with the same old t-shirt or blouse. I cannot be me, society tells me to be a unique individual, but every time I try and be me, society says I am not like the others, and I don’t belong. I am supposed to conform to what is trendy, and what is in style; society sells magazines and air TV shows dedicated to telling people what to wear and what to look like. Young teens are also targeted, magazine containing articles about how to look your best this school year, or getting the best beach body.
Now only does society tell us what to eat and dress like, they also tell us how to think. If I have an opinion on a topic that I decide to share with others or do something about, I better still be within societies wants. Just look at Winston in George Orwell’s 1984. He had his own opinion of Big Brother and when he decided to start to do something about it, the government took him and Julia away and abused them. The government in 1984 also was trying to develop Newspeak, this would be a way to eliminate specific words and phrases that target the government in a negative way.
It is bad enough having an opinion or thought on something that you cannot share, and now they are taking away language to express those thoughts and opinions. If you have an out of the box opinion or view point, you are seen as crazy, you are supposed to think in line with what other members of society believe. Same for Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, he had a certain idea or belief related to outer space, and since it was a new idea and there was other studies done in the past, he was thought to be a fool for having such an idea.
Society officials wanted him to stop with the non-sense and they said he was wrong and needs to stop trying to change the ideas of others. Once again, showing that if you do not have similar ideas, you are just shunned. In this World of Ideas class, I have gathered that this world is full of not only repressed ideas, but repressed people. Society has morphed our ideas on other people in society and aspects of society’s entirety. People don’t seem to like change, because it’s a scary and stressful thing, but they also don’t like the current workings of society.
This makes me start to question everything I am and everything I believe in and know. As John Locke stated, the mind is a blank slate when you are born, ready to take in the world around you. But, if you are taking in the world around you, you are not able to develop into who you are, your development aligns with the world around you. So, if you had the opportunity to develop into who you were destined to be without society influencing you, who would you truly be?