Living within society means living within a set of rules called culture. We have family rules, government rules and relationship rules. This are collective or personal, think about all the ways your family and your relationships are different but similar to other people. All rules create our understanding of culture. They are extremely subtle but nevertheless they are there and we follow them daily. The problem with these rules is that some help us and some definitely do not. When we are not conscious of them, our individuality is restrained.
What does it mean to be an individual?
I believe we all know deep down o what individuality is. Everytime we feel like our own, everytime we reject stuff in our lives that we don’t really care nor wifh for, the feeling of individuality springs and the joy of being our own emerges. Everytime we have the courage to say no to something internal or external.
This collection of rules is called culture. They are set by people across time that believed that doing something in a certain kind of way would be convenient for what they were trying to do. It’s good to greet each other or say good morning, it makes our relationships better.
Culture is everywhere and it permeates every corner of human society.
We may think that we are individual acting independently but most of the time we are just doing what people before us thought was good.
Culture is good, culture is great, it gives us a road, it provides us with answers that people before us had to figure out for themselves. The problem of culture arises when we don’t realize that culture is just a supposition of how things should be done . Nothing “should” be how it is but most of the times we fall in the trap that we “need” to do or act in certain ways because “that’s just how it is”.
It’s important to know that culture is constantly changing. We can see it with Rosa Parks sitting at the front of the bus being a black woman, changing what could and could not be done forever. Culture is manufactured by us, by human beings.
Everyone is searching for happiness, we look for it as best as we can. Every “culture rule” we follow we do it because we think it will benefit us. The problem is that when we don’t know that the rules of the game are not set and static but can be effectively changed and molded.
Individuality and independence is the power to be a culture creator. An individual must know what culture is: a useful social contract on how to behave that can be accepted or not accepted and therefore recreated. This is why an individual has to learn to say no. Saying no, often, is not easy. We feel the urge to obey the government, our families or our partner because we feel safe within this social boundaries but if we do not learn to say no, we will never be true individuals that can actually say or do something that can help make the culture better. We would just become part of the blind masses.
If culture is manufactured, why not make it ourselves?
Once we realize what culture is we can decide, independently, what benefits us, what benefits others and what is just plainly stupid. Remember, people live within culture because it is a shelter. Being independent means not being afraid to go into the wild and claim new lands for ourselves.
To be truly independent is to know that the way we act must be consciously chosen by ourselves. Our fears, our doubts and everything about us must be consciously analyzed to see if it is helping us or hindering us, this act must be constant. If there is anything inside us that is not pushing us forward, we must let it burn and create something new that sets new standards for living a better life.
You may meet with scorn, but scorn is just fear of the new, fear of the truly independent individual that is not acted upon but that acts independently and that refreshes culture as a plant must be watered everyday.
That is the importance of learning to say no and becoming an individual.
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A stoic boldly leaps into life, he does not question himself wether to act or not, the decision has already been made, we want to help you become a stoic. Thanks for the support