October 8, 2011

An Ode to Individualism

Solitary Man - Neil Diamond

An ode to individualism.

Walking can be one of those meditations that you do to contemplate. Yes it does help after a few laps around the block, people who get their heartbeat up tend to think clearer due to the rush of adrenaline.....
*kick the can
*hauch a loogy
*shoot the shit

Walking or running in Seoul is a huge eye opener. There are many different ways to look at things in this city. The tourist perspective, the cave of an office worker perspective, the athlete perspective, and the stressed out dodger/runner/speed walker perspective. As a tourist you see things for the first time, its foreign you are detached. As a cooped up office worker, you see a room, a computer (maybe) and a few other people who look like you, as you think about what it is like to walk. As the athlete, you take on the Han river and master each mountain view with the rest of Seoul's old man population, through fun runs, climbs, or river walks. And the dodger perspective only sees the butt of the person in front of him/her because you can never get around the unlimited amount of people packed into this city.

This goes back to a couple of other posts about communal living, doing something for one's neighbor, etc. With so many people in one place, how could anybody be alone?!

So why am I ode-ing to individualism? Individualism doesn't necessary make you independent from others or able to take on everything alone. Napoleon's great quote, "If you don't like the way something is done, do it yourself", I don't think was meant to do everything all at once.
Individualism is to distinguish yourself from others in the process of working with them. For me this isn't through better or worse, sicker or poorer, black or white, not even a woman or a man.

When a person's character has been tested, maybe even multiple times, those who are older and wiser see this. Her/His individualism shines, the shinier the more interesting. Experience, bravery/stupidity/insanity, attitude, and connections all add to the shininess.


Connections; who you know, and how you know them will matter for the rest of your life. Connections can be deeper than an acquaintance, a job, a shared interest. Interactions between people help everyone to understand how or why a person behaves in a certain way and this understanding can lead to less unhappiness and more compassion. "Compassion can only come from understanding" DearJason

Attitude; always thinking positively really does help, dreaming and never waking up is probably not a great idea, but always getting back up after that horse threw you could help you do something like idk...- Stronger by Kelly Clarkson (will embed when can) aka smile when your down.

Experience; comes in all different shapes and sizes. For me it isn't about making the perfect resume anymore. Of course I need to keep up with promoting myself to whoever pays me a decent salary.  Money is a limitation. You can only overcome it if you are smart enough. But what will matter for you and everyone else in the long run is what you contributed to society other than money. Seeing what is important to that other person is as important as seeing what is truly important to yourself.

 "Contribute more than you consume" - Ray Bachard KU Volleyball Coach. This is not said in an Asian setting where everyone should work for less and sacrifice their weekends to earn a ton of money. But to volunteer, spend those weekends improving society's environment, schools, people. Seoul is on the brink but there is not nearly enough effort put forth by its own people. American cities are also taking the fast track to money mind set, where they need to think what things can help those have-nots. "Giving the time is just as important as giving the money"  Ex-NBA star returns to inner city, brings hoop dreams. 

Just like most limitations they can be overcome. Here is just one example a media limitation enforced by government, being overcome by a perfectly legitimate media producer and entrepreneur. Yang Lan a media mind attempts to challenge the Chinese censorship of media. As China overwhelms the West, its media needs to be a little more savvy. And of course like any other - brainwashing. 

Another individual initiative that contributed more is Steve Jobs' thinking about schools as market for change, educational innovation, and provided a sustained presence in power politics. Instead of just relying on 22 year olds making babies! OR the "Git R Dun" technique which I don't see, with an education system in the crapper would be such a good idea?

Why does individualism matter?  For the obvious reason that one person can make a bigger change than an angry mob.