March 09, 2010

Because Barney Told Me So!

I swear, that song will never be entirely out of my head. "You are special! special! Everyone is special!" but how, it's nice to know now and again that brilliant, poetic individuals are looking out for us.

In reading Dante's Divine Comedy, I come across a line very early on in Canto III of the Inferno a line that struck me as quite contrary to what this brainwashing public school I'm in right now informs me. I quote:

"They're mingled with that caitiff crew
Who against God rebelled not, nor to Him
Were faithful, but to self alone were true;"

Currently, Virgil is leading Dante' through a sort of limbo. A place neither heaven nor hell (nor purgatory, for that matter). Quite obviously from description and incredibly undesirable position to be in (naked and chased by swarms of hornets? Not my idea of a dream vacation!). The Gate of Hell, I believe it's called. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

The part I'd really like to focus on is at the very end of that quote: "but to self alone were true;" This strikes me as ridiculously relevant in this day and age. Ridiculously relevant because...well, because it's ridiculous! I personally love debating man's position as a social animal and forming societies, blah, blah blah. Interesting post Ambrose made down there, however for the sake of this argument the basic unit lies more relevantly with the individual. I won't argue with Barney. Everyone is special. But it's the way the idea is applied that irks me.

For some odd reason, the system would have me believe that I am free to express myself in whatever special way possible I could ever conjure from the most deeply misconstrued portions of my evilly-inclined, twisted heart. They call it self-expression, or whatever. The ambiguity could cause intenstinal convulsions. Regardless, if everyone is special and everyone expresses themselves "specially," then there is no such thing as "group expression," or in short, "cooperation." No, I am totally not committing the fallacy of bifurcation here.

Ultimately, though, this goes back to my fun little pet peeve of conforming. Above case in point: if we are all special, we are not collectively special. Society relies on a certain amount of conformity. With authorities, with each other, and with God. Obviously it would take quite a few tomes and college dissertations to explain all those, so I'll allow them to be taken for granted. If society is non-conformative and insubordinate, it will both overthrow authority and errode equal relations. This, friends, relatives and distant relations, is why I'm always crazy about being a societal conformist. Not with trends, but in the best interest of society.

So let's all be some wacko conformists, okay? :D


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Blogger Sam Ignes said...

Mild misinterpretation.

The people in this area of limbo, the "vestibule" of Hell, are the wearers of cowardice of decision; those who run about aimlessly after an aimlessly whirling banner doing nothing in the fear they will miss out on something.

Quite my fault for taking that quote out of context and complaining about something so naive.


March 11, 2010 3:02 PM  

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