Isomorphism

People fall into a vague, undefinable “type” that you can’t quite put into words but instantly recognize the second you see a person and how they present themselves. Sometimes a few details about a person reveals a great deal more about them than the unobservant person would realize.

You can generally get the gist of who a person is by a glance. Most people are generally not unique or anything approaching unique. Being “unique” means you fall into no tribe of your own. People crave belonging and solidarity, and their interests and beliefs will slowly align into one type or another.

A few details is all you need to really pick a person apart. Of course, this is not at all 100% accurate. But I get a good laugh out of all the “freethinkers” that believe things that exactly match how I’d expect with how dress and way they present themselves.  No, if you belong, you probably are not a “freethinker,” being truly freethinking or unique is a horrendously lonely affair.  Whatever glamour you find in those words will be irrelevant once you find yourself stranded on your own little island the great big social sea.

These people do exist, though.  Usually neurotic, depressed, and awkward, as they have gone through life on the fringes of any social group they’ve tried to gravitate towards.  It’s a chicken-and-egg problem–are they “unique” because they never had much social support or friendships, or is their lack of popularity the reason they’re different?  I suspect largely the former, as nothing could be more natural to the instincts of a social animal than to fit in, and those that do not fit in were probably isolated from their peers at an early age.  They did not develop interests in line with some peer group and thus were not shaped by the normal socializing forces, at least not in quite the same way.

What interests me about a person’s idiosyncrasies isn’t how much they deviate from the norm of society at large.  It’s how much they deviate from the norm of their peer group, or perhaps parents, if they had a warm family environment.  There’s an immense pressure at all stages of life to be like those nearest to you.  What happens to those that don’t have those same pressures?  They end up weird, outside-the-box thinkers wholly irrelevant and unhappy, isolated from family and lacking friendship.

There is little value in nonconformity to the nonconformist.  Nonconformity is a contrivance of someone wishing to stand out from their own peer group(s), nothing more.

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