There’s an invasive, pathological pattern to modern culture. More than ever before, so many of us are feeling a deep need to belong; yet that urge eludes us because we’re unaware of our desire to be validated by outside sources. A contagious, indiscernible thing has taken over daily life. And while most of us hunger for individuality, increasingly, social media is one of the ways in which we attempt to acquire it.
Life will not get less complicated, so there’s no better time than this moment to discover our life-calling internal go-to. Hopefully we don’t put it off for so long that it turns into a too late. Yet the way in which the world is turning, we’re in need of some kind of armor to protect the mind from false evidence appearing real, and falsity in general. It’s time now to work on things that will elevate our mind-set; stuff we can put in our Real Self kit. It takes hard bloody work to learn what self-acceptance feels like.
There are times when I sense someone I’m talking to is making genuine effort to commit to their soul’s conviction. However, in my day-to-day interactions, it’s becoming clear to me the “real us” is too insecure to own a less popular worldview. More and more the majority are seeking verification from the outside; because, like in high school, there was this feeling of acceptance when we went along with the Popular and/or Cool People.
I don’t know. Perhaps it could be because once upon a time culturally we honored some kind of tradition, but that has long been lost. Lines have been blurred for some time now. What does traditional even mean? And if there’s a new traditional, what exactly is that traditional?
It was earlier today, when these thoughts started bouncing around my psyche. I stood on line–a long line, in fact–waiting to get a cup of coffee. Not an espresso drink mostly made up of more than a day’s maximum intake of sugar. I was on line to order an old-fashioned cup of hot java. While waiting, and growing impatient with the barista chatting too long with a customer, my eyes rolled to the bottles of “cold brew” stacked in the cooler.
SBUX, the widely recognized brand, has gotten a lot of money out of me over the course of 20-plus years. Back in the day, I loved going to the ubiquitous Seattle coffee bar to sit and write in my journal, or catch up on reading materials in the then-artsy, but cozy chairs. The baristas, trained in those days for a different time and clientele, made the best brevé lattes. I loved the music they played.
But when the iconic brand went global and began to offer free Wi-Fi, the coffee company that made caffeinated drinks trendy and introduced Frappuccino to the world, lost that once can’t-define-it quality. When they began selling “cold brew,” every coffee franchise, every supermarket, and every anything else that sells coffee, followed behind the “cold brew” idea. “Cold brew” is everywhere! I looked up one day and there was cold brew. I’m not sure why, but somewhere along the way–the millennial era, perhaps?–it was decided SBUX is the standard-setter.
What happened to originality, the unpredictable? The amazement, and the awe? The aha, the extraordinary? We’ve become clones, imposters, followers. On an individual level, it’s difficult not to isolate from what I define as our normal-on-crack! We cannot imagine the idea of being insignificant, and we trust that in order to be noteworthy we have to be like everyone else.
We Facebook, Instagram, tweet–there’s something about being connected to hundreds and thousands of people we don’t know. Even if that connection is superficial, it makes us feel a part of something, thus we engage. We admire people we aren’t even sure what they do to earn a living, and the average person recognizes their Name.
We spend less time being curious about anything unique, the truly brilliant, the under-relevant (unless or until it goes viral). Lowbrow talent is admired and put on a pedestal. We’re so busy following the clones, the herd, the noise. What happened to us? The direction we’ve taken has progressively become silly and senseless. There was once depth and substance; perhaps because our attention span was vast and long-lasting.