Individuality matters more than belonging to the wrong group

As a child I loved Greek mythology. The stories of vengeful, vindictive, impulsive Gods, heroic men and Demi-Gods, the adventures embarked upon, dangers faced, challenges overcome, rewards gained and bravery applauded.

But not all the time. I loved the fact that it wasn’t always a Happy Ever After, things didn’t go smoothly into the distance. No, these stories were marked by tragedy, many people including the heros and their loved ones died brutal deaths, many more bystanders and bit players in the stories faced and suffered the wrath of Gods and the revenge of Kings of men.

One of my most favourite was the story of Prometheus, a god himself, who when he saw how badly humans were being treated by Zeus, he gave them the gift of fire. And Zeus was not happy, in fact he was so incensed, he sentenced Prometheus to an eternity of torture as punishment.

Chained to a rock, his liver eaten by eagles every day, only to regenerate every night, Prometheus paid a heavy price for his compassion to the human race.

Why did Zeus punish him so ruthlessly? Why did Prometheus think humans were worth saving from the worst excesses of his fellow gods?

I also loved the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. A mystical,  magisterial king who ruled with authority and wisdom, imbued with magical ability, and supposed to return when things get bad in England. Can we say, ‘hurry up?’ to such a being? And the knights, each one a shining example of the Code of Chivalry, Launcelot, Gawain, Galahad, Tristan, Geraint and so many more. Each was individually fascinating, with unique abilities and character, and overseeing it all, the most mysterious, magical character of all, Merlin.

I loved travelling through space and time to these distant magical otherworldly realms, inhabited by larger than life men of honour and adventure. Being a hero in Ancient Greece seemed an almost everyday thing, very few people were ordinary and mundane with no gift or special abilities that shaped them and got them out of trouble.

The same with the legendary beings of Avalon, King Arthur, Guinevere, the Knights, everyone in those tales seemed touched with magic and the sparkle of having something extra, something more than everyone else, whether it was being extraordinarily handsome, blessed with fantastic fighting ability, incredible honour and a sense of justice and always doing what’s right.

I loved that epic sense of individualism, no-one was anything less than special, everyone was extraordinary and each was valued for the unique gifts they brought to the collaborative effort.

There was no pressure to conform, to be the same as everyone else, to think the same, to fall into line.

Dissent, the voicing of concerns, disagreements, alternate pints of view was welcome and valued, because they agreed wisdom was that no one person had all the answers.

Now, look at us today. We expect everyone to think as we do, to agree with our causes and beliefs and if they don’t, then they’re just plain wrong. We choose our sides and stick to it no matter what. And so we all lose.

We lose the diversity and integrity that having different people with different views brings to a common cause, everyone applying their skills and knowledge, working together to achieve the aim of better lives for all.

Isn’t that what politics is supposed to be and do? Especially in these days when a person buying a cheap t-shirt in a mall in the US or UK High Street impacts on a garment worker in Bangladesh or Uganda. When someone upgrading their mobile phone in France or Canada or Norway affects a child mining for cobalt in the Congo. Shouldn’t our politics and our legislation for human rights and corporate malfeasance be less nationalist and more globalist?

Corporations now bestride the world in a way Colossus could only dream of! They know no borders or nationalities except when it comes to avoiding taxes. The greed for profit is everything and they’ll exploit people from every part of the world to increase their profits, no matter the consequences.

Clean drinking water? – who cares?

Air we can breathe? – not interested.

A healthy environment, unspoilt by mining or excavation? No profit in that!

Animals left safe in their own habitat? – don’t be sentimental and emotional.

Here we all are, the rest of humanity, milling around distracted by social media, tv, the news, by flags, football, nationalities and tribes. Divided by false constructs used to pit us against each other and yet all desperately wanting to fit in.

What’s trending?

What look should I have now?

What game should I be playing?

Who should I be hating?

Who do I support now?

And even more than the collective sense of community, we’ve lost our individuality, our unique voice, the ability to be ourselves, stand in our own skin as ourselves in the face of criticism, anger, dissent.

The need to belong to a group with like minded ideas and ideals overrides the fact that we don’t always agree and we often don’t fit in. We hide the parts of ourselves that don’t match up, we pretend we’re all in and deep inside of us the truth of who we are, our personal set of values, our unique world view, our wants and desires and goals and dreams gets lost in ‘group think,’

We stop seeing each other as human, as friends, neighbours, colleagues, you’re either in or not. One of mine or the enemy.

Compassion, dignity, community all swept away by slogans, quick fixes and the invention of an instigator for all our woes and we’re told, it’s their fault, they’re different from us and even worse off than us and we blame everything on the ‘other.’

And life gets more and more twisted, dialogue more and more hate filled and it seems like we’re teetering on the brink of chaos and collapse with no way back.

People shout ‘All lives matter.’ and who could argue, all lives do matter but for generations black lives, brown lives other lives have been shown not to matter. So let’s get that in order. And then we must look at all the other disenfranchised, disconnected, othered lives and help them matter everywhere too.

When our global societies show that all lives matter and that is reflected in our public discourse, in every school, town, country, when we can say look, Black Lives Matter, Women’s Lives Matter, Poor Lives Matter, Homeless Lives Matter, Animal Lives Matter, and it is shown in how they are treated everywhere by everyone, until then we have much to do.

Within all the groups we hide in, big and small, online and IRL, every single individual life matters. Every statistic is a life, a person who had dream, goals, ambitions, who deserved to see what life would make of them and they of life, whether a POC killed by the police or by Coronavirus or by malnutrition or rape and murder.

Every statistic is a real person, and I hope to hell they mattered to someone, that their life mattered and that in some way their unique heroic voice was heard.

Be heard. Be seen. Be felt in this world. Be YOU!

Love,

Cynthia xx

PS. If you’ve been stuck, feeling like you’ve been living the same day over and over and its no fun anymore, if you’ve fought weight issues, depression, anxiety, addiction, or simply a feeling of general dissatisfaction with how your life is unfolding for you, and you feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked. It’s natural to feel that a solution is almost impossible.

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