Thursday, April 21, 2005

my pigsty

Not so long ago, feeling all the angst, passions, yearnings, and idealism of a gung-ho, non-conforming, agnostic, defy-all-institutions dreamer was very much acceptable and would not be seen as a fleeting juvenile fixation.

Now, it is regarded, at best, as a dangerous idiosyncrasy that must be tamed, if not totally suppressed. There are just so many rules to consider. You suddenly get knocked off by a massive wall of restrictions. And however hard you try to turn the other way, you just can’t. You’re forced to face it, or rot.

And then, like a cowering animal, you slowly crawl on all fours into the silky folds of conformity, abrading your palms and knees with its nauseating softness and mind-numbing mediocrity.

Everyone looks alike. Everyone speaks the same language. Dissent is gunned down. Individualism is seen as a deviance. Unorthodoxy gets quarantined along with leprosy.

Your wings are clipped to give way to boring feet bound in tight shoes whose leather was the result of murdering poor cattle. You are instructed to follow to the letter a manual of decorum and ethics that wrings the last drop of humanity from your dehydrated body. You are forced to melt your ego and re-forge it into something that is in keeping with their image.

And when you’ve emerged as your new self, dressed, as you are, in a fine suit, you hardly recognize your reflection. You wonder if there is still a soul inside that breathes the same fire that had tempered your psyche ages ago. But no, it is no longer there. In its place is a cold mist that feeds on pragmatism.

Is there a way out of all these? Perhaps you could try flying despite your clipped wings and heavy leather shoes. But you doubt your powers now, because flying requires more than tons of steely drive and determination, most especially in your sorry state. They have mangled you so much that your primal strength would only permit you calculated, delicate movements within the confines of their pigsty.

You think of other ways to escape but find yourself wanting the necessary creativity to execute them; creativity being one of the first things that they had siphoned out of your system. What would you do? How would you prod on?

Don’t ask me. I don’t know the answer. As soon as I get out of my own pigsty, I’ll tell you what to do.



At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have just described the other side of “socialization,” the process through which we consign ourselves (wittingly or otherwise) to a lifelong captivity to socially constructed norms, rules, and other trappings of what we call society. Homogenization is the natural and logical offshoot of this process.

On the one hand, homogenization performs a social function in that it purportedly facilitates the preservation of “order” and “peaceful co-existence.” On the other hand, it could not but militate against individualism and creativity. The question is: do we attempt to reconcile this dichotomy (seek the proper balance perhaps) or do we wholly reject and rebel against homogenization. My guess is as good as yours.

C'est moi, lu.

At 8:48 AM, Blogger slim whale said...

To wholly reject homogenization would be to sow seeds of chaos in an otherwise smoothly running society. It’s akin to debunking an apocryphal belief that has long entrenched itself into the minds of the people. That belief (or philosophy or faith) may have already done wonders to their lives, albeit only through placebo effect. In the same manner, homogenization may have already conditioned every member of that society that she/he belongs to a group. And that is a good thing because belongingness is the precondition for unity, and with unity, we know that any task can be accomplished. As a person who wants to maintain social order, I do not go against this necessary consequence of socialization.

As an individual, however, I find it too restrictive and suffocating. I am more inclined to celebrate my individuality (at times, this can be so hard). There are times when I do not even try to maintain a balance between the two. I simply unbind my non-conformist self and do not care if I get accepted or not. I would rather be known as the eccentric, non-conformist fool who lived his life according to his own ideals than be remembered as just a face in the crowd.

At 2:27 PM, Blogger weng said...

masyadong intellectual ang usapan dito, mwehe. =D

my take on the issue is, it is thru the exercise of individuality in its purest sense that certain things happen. could you imagine tiananmen square without that lone man in front of armored tanks. or myanmar without aung san suu kyi. or the israel-palestinian dispute without rabin. or the entire catholic faith without the now deceased pope!

in every social process, individuality and homogenization exists in an untenable conflict. these realms of reality, i am presuming can never be balanced like the way the west provide safety nets for the evils of globalization. the existence of one is the absence of another. people conform because it serves a purpose in their goal of things. once it conflicts with their personal interests, an outburst of rage, angst, passion as you say it will surface.

chaos is a norm rather than a deviation. and the need to preserve a certain amount of harmony in an anarchic society impregnated by different views, intentions and desires is possible as long as the goals of each unit coincide with the other. a regime exists not because each one concede part of their individuality/freedom but because it pays to conform.

good piece, thought provoking. =D

At 5:04 PM, Blogger slim whale said...

whew! nice take!


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