The Loss of Real Opinion

Irelynd Brown, Staff Writer

We are told that individuality is good, that we should think outside of the box; and then we are laid side by side to be scrutinized and compared so as to find the “individual” that best fits society’s mold.  “Emulate this person!” we scream, “They aren’t afraid to be themselves!” Our adoring cries rend the air as we lurk in the darkest corner, careful to conceal those unpopular parts of ourselves that might reveal the terrifying truth:  We are different in a different way.  Original is only allowed within the carefully constructed guidelines of socially acceptable originalities.

If you don’t learn like WE think you should, you are dumb.  If you aren’t good at what WE value, you are untalented.  If you don’t appreciate what WE like, you are uncultured.  Over and over, people are told these lies, and who lets it continue?  WE do.  Public opinion is only that if WE agree.  Easy to agree with the ones whom you follow.

It is easy to agree with the ones whom we follow, but it is difficult to understand the power that agreement gives the leader.  Even if someone is completely clueless about an issue, the minute that someone esteems their opinion, that opinion becomes valuable.  If you treat something with value, it is naturally defined with more importance from then on.

“To define is to limit,” Oscar Wilde said.  When you define beauty as having big doe eyes and curly hair, you automatically have exclusively limited it as such; this not only shames the most fiercely beautiful into tragically dark caves, but shoves the slight and the harmless into an arena of mindless masks and ridiculous role-playing.

In a world where we are constantly having other’s opinions shoved down our throats, it  becomes difficult to discern which is ours and which we have parrotted.  Are we echoing our parents?  Are we copying our favorite celebrity?  Are we trying to shadow the latest trends of “What’s Hot and What’s Not?”  Or are we simply disagreeing for the sake of pleasing the “non-conformists?”  (Hipsters will insist they said all this before it was an article.)  Following has always been the most mindless way of living, but calling it a “piece of cake” would be both naive and untrue.  So would individuality be worth the work?  (Don’t let me tell you the answer.)

According to Daniel Schonbuch, “Individuality is a very powerful part of being a teenager and the need for it grows as children get older.”  The loss of individuality is, therefore, not only damaging the hipsters chill, it is hurting the lives of children and adolescents in a very real way.

Individuality is good.  But… is that just what we are told?