Strong and Independent.
Why? Because the worst atrocities that the human is capable of doing and that has indeed done in the past (i.e. Holocaust) have happened when there is a lack of strong and independent human beings to put some checks and balances.
Please, please, please! Like me! Look at how I dress! Look! I’ve got an iPhone! Come on man! Look at my cool job! Please look at me!
That’s all you see on Instagram, and funny videos, I have to admit, but that’s irrelevant. My point is that there seems to be a manic need for approval, for being recognized by others. And the problem here is that you cannot truly become a strong and independent person as long as you are so dependent upon approval.
The incessant need to be liked and admired will destroy you, for your actions will not be yours, but instead will be dictated by someone else’s agenda. Just like a puppet.
“It is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act.”
― Stanley Milgram, Obedience to Authority
Read Stanley Milgram experiments here: https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html
I know, it’s hard to go against the current, the want of approval seems to be ingrained in us, but so does our addictive craving of greasy, sugary food that you know is not good for you. Nevertheless, you don’t go eating a delicious McHeartAttack every day, do you? Haha.
What happens when you stop looking for approval is that you begin to look for authenticity instead, for what is real, in yourself and in others.
Who do you really like? What do you think actually matters? The important questions that raise important actions in the world, like passion and real community.
It’s about changing the focus. This is going to be hard, obviously, because it seems that everyone is just going with the heat of the moment. And we, as social animals that we are, tend to deviate towards whatever everyone is doing.
There is actually a term that describes the kind of people that just follows without asking questions about who or what they are following, the authoritarians. You don’t need to be the autocrat ruler to be an authoritarian, you can be the just a follower and you’ll still be denominated as an authoritarian. You would be an authoritarian because you’d be a person that follows authority no matter what.
The weight of freedom is a heavy one and it is far easier just to let the ‘authority’ make the decisions.
“The frightened individual seeks for somebody or something to tie his self to; he cannot bear to be his own individual self any longer, and he tries frantically to get rid of it and to feel security again by the elimination of this burden: the self.”
― Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom
Nazi Germany did this with Hitler. And understandably so, after having lost the first war, with the morale on the floor, they would cling to any leader that told them they’d still have power if they followed him, and so they did.
They became authoritarians, fully. Hitler gave the orders and everyone else followed.
But that seems miles away, right? From our developed civilization?
Wrong, every time you can’t explain why you do something, other than because everyone else is doing it, you’re falling into the authoritarian mindset. You become a sheep.
Now, we are social animals and we need structures of authority so that we can function correctly as a society, but those structures need to be legitimate if they are going to be useful.
The problem today, as it has always been, is that we don’t even question the legitimacy of our authority figures.
It’s absolutely ludicrous, the power and the influence that Hollywood actors have, not only in the United States but in the entire world. More people know who Kanye West or his wife Kim Kardashian is than who Noam Chomsky or Slavoj Žižek is. And I honestly don’t think that anyone blindly following Kim’s advice has seriously questioned why he or she does so.
It becomes a problem because the supposed authorities will not always want the best for you, or society at large. It might be there just for power’s sake and it can lead us to horrible places like Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia, bought on the right and the left end of politics, equally horrible.
The need for approval, to be recognized, to be told you are a good girl or a good boy, is at the heart of the problem of authority.
Antiauthoritharians, the strong and independent men and women we need
“I was never aware of any other option but to question everything.”
― Noam Chomsky
The solution is simple.
Question authority, question your need to be accepted like a little boy or girl, grow up, and develop a hard-rock sense of self strong enough so that illegitimate authority cannot touch you.
You are free, just like the authoritarian following people, but unlike them, you do not fear your freedom, you rejoice in it and you use it. You do not fear speaking up your ideas in spite of them being ridiculed and laughed at, you don’t fear to grow as a person because of this.
“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”
This is the hard part, being authentic is hard because you have to put yourself out there. Being independent is hard because you are on your own, fending for yourself and finding things out for yourself, while everyone else is getting their ideas from Kim.
Again, authority isn’t a bad thing. Unquestioned authority is.
This is why we need you, the strong, and the independent. Because if you don’t question authority, power will be given, no questions asked, to those who want to use it to coerce you, not to your benefit, but theirs.
Entire societies collapse, for this reason, let’s not let that happen with ours.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance
I recommend reading this now: How To Be Free In An Unfree World
Thanks for reading,
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