“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”
Despite my being (on most days) an anti-social misanthrope, I am also a very happy person. I never feel depressed nor hateful nor angry about anything… and I can say honestly that my life gets better every day.
No, I don’t take meds. And life isn’t perfect. But the most vicious demons of my teens and twenties are dead and buried. They were burned to ashes in the white hot fire of solitude and meditation. And my mantra is thus: Happiness is a hardened indifference to the caprice of fortune.
Because I am happy… I really do try and find the best in people and help out where I can. If for no other reason than daily life is a lot easier when you treat everyone with kindness.
So although I am deeply annoyed by small talk and gushing politeness in the marketplace… I try my best to limit the number of people that I selectively ignore. Shutting people out robotically stirs up a lot of bad vibes.
And as for helping people… I genuinely enjoy it! I like helping individuals… on my own terms, spontaneously and without recognition.
But I refuse to be guilted or shamed into ‘doing good’ by people whose set of values differ radically from my own. The ‘do-gooders’ will kill us all. But that’s another story.
I won’t be budged by social pressure… at least not without a gun or a tax to my head. And it isn’t because I am a contrarian (I am) exhibiting defiance just for the sake of controversy.
It is because ‘the masses’ and their ‘social conventions’ and their ‘moral standards’ are by definition meant for ordinary people with ordinary lives. They appeal to the average. They are only appropriate for a sheepish life of persistent mediocrity. These standards restrict brighter souls with bigger ideas and greater expectations.
Strong men need to write their own constitution. And they need to dismiss that squeaky voice inside themselves that worries about other people’s feelings and criticism. And they need not be shocked when, upon taking an honest inventory of their ideal character and desired life outcomes, the constitution they come up with is starkly opposed to what is considered ‘common wisdom’ and ‘common morality’ etc.
This is true not just for moral issues, but for financial ones and life decisions big and small that are made in day-to-day living. If you ‘get along’ with what the crowd approves of, and subscribe to their standards, and accept their culture… you’ll get what they have: a life of weakness, mediocrity and ignorance.
As Oscar Wilde once wrote:
“Everything popular is wrong.”
Most people that make up ‘the masses’ (your so-called ‘Average American’) are of lazy intelligence… poor taste in art and food… horrendous physical fitness… weak self-discipline… led by turbulent emotions… broke-and-in-debt… hedonistically consumeristic… showing vanity without merit… sheepishly obedient… self-absorbed… cowardly, shallow, empty, ugly, greedy and willfully ignorant.
Am I being too harsh? NO.
Just look what appeals to the mass-market… look how it is sold and advertised… look at the crowd that eats it up. Virtually everything that floats down the mainstream appeals to vanity, weakness, laziness and ignorance. Not just products but ideologies and culture.
Look how politicians and corporations market to the masses: as if they were marketing to squalling children… an easily amused idiot… a fit of conflicting emotions… unable or unwilling to act or think critically… sexually frustrated… weak-willed… thinking only of fulfilling their most base desires with the least possible expenditure of intelligence.
Is there no bottom to how much the consumer crowd, the herd, is willing to be insulted and abused?
Could anything be more offensive and despicable to a balanced man of intelligence, strength and honor?
And just look at how fantastically inept most of these ‘common’ people are at managing their own lives, relationships and finances… look at all the pettiness and meanness in them… look at how narrow their thinking is… and how willfully ignorant they are of how the world actually works.
Look at how out-of-control they are with their emotions… how easily they lose their composure when confronted by new people or new ideas… how dearly they cling to their comfort zone… how readily they make excuses and play the victim.
So… tell me… WHY THE HELL would you subscribe to the same set of values and standards that the herd lives by? Why would you partake in the group activities they partake in? Why would you visit the places they frequent? Or buy the products they buy? Or eat what they eat and drink what they drink?
Why would you try to please them? Or make yourself favorable to them? Or share their opinions? Or… god forbid, attempt to correct them where they are wrong or convince them of anything?
What’s the point? They don’t want to be helped. They will cling desperately to the narratives they’ve idealized. If you challenge them, they will double-down on their delusions.
This is the cold truth of the world, dear reader. And a rule of thumb that has served me well (with notable exceptions) is this:
If the crowd shifts in one direction towards something… or if something is seemingly enjoyed by enough people that it is considered ‘mainstream’…. I RUN, screaming, in opposite direction.
It is a barometer, of sorts, that measures the mediocrity and un-remarkableness of something by the volume of ordinary people that enjoy it, and the extent to which it is adopted by the mainstream.
Uniqueness and beauty only appeals to people with critical minds and cultured taste. Which is exactly the opposite of what the masses have.
Music, food, film, entertainment, lifestyle — if most people like it, then it is probably very dim, vanilla, predictable and boring. The opposite of exceptional. It is, by definition, appealing to the most average of sensibilities.
Yes, of course there are many exceptions. After all… it is a rule of thumb, not a rule of law.
But on a more fundamental note: high standards, strong morals and a bold character are the product of discipline, will-power and sharp discernment. Hard work aligned with critical thought.
As it is clear that the masses are lacking severely in these qualities, how can you expect the resulting ‘social approval’ to be of any constant value?
Social pressure comes from a place of ignorance, cowardice and laziness. Never look to the masses for approval or permission. Run away from their complacency. Avoid their contagious attitudes.
And I am talking on a personal level here. Of course in business, you are typically going to have to sell to the masses… but that is something else entirely.
I am talking about you personally adopting their attitudes, mind-sets and opinions. I am talking about seeking their approval and chasing their good feelings.
Be kind and polite to everyone, but never ever obligate yourself to suit their ever-changing whims and feelings. If they don’t like the way you are, they can choose to avoid interacting with you.
You are not responsible for other people’s problems.
You do not owe them anything.
Especially not anything that compromises the character that you want to build for yourself.
Their expectations of you are most likely deeply flawed and coming from a place of ego-driven self-indulgence.
Other people’s collective ‘feelings’ DON’T MATTER. They are NOT IMPORTANT.
Giving into this pressure will literally bury your success and dreams. It will destroy you, if you let it. It will drag you down to a wasteland of complacent mediocrity.
If you have mass approval from the crowd, you’ve either ‘made it’ and are a resounding success that people admire… at a far distance… or you are a sheep that is reducing yourself to please everyone.