Our problem isn’t that we’re individualists. It’s that our individualism is static rather than dynamic. We value what we think rather than what we do. We forget that we haven’t done, or been, what we thought; that the first function of life is action, just as the first property of things is motion.
― Fernando Pessoa, The Education of the Stoic
Our love of lockstep is our greatest curse, the source of all that bedevils us. It is the source of homophobia, xenophobia, racism, sexism, terrorism, bigotry of every variety and hue, because it tells us there is one right way to do things, to look, to behave, to feel, when the only right way is to feel your heart hammering inside you and to listen to what its timpani is saying.
―Anna Quindlen, Loud and Clear
The interplay of individuality and unity is not one of uniformity and unanimity imposed from above but rather of conflict among diverse groupings that reach a dynamic consensus subject to questioning and criticism. As with a soloist in a jazz quartet, quintet or band, individuality is promoted in order to sustain and increase the creative tension with the group–a tension that yields higher levels of performance to achieve the aim of the collective project.
―Cornel West, Race Matters
But I am, although I’m undergoing a cure, because my problem is that I lack a particular chemical. However, while I hope that the chemical gets rid of my chronic depression, I want to continue being mad, living life the way I dream it, and not the way other people want it to be.
The faerie represent the beauty we don’t see, or even choose to ignore. That’s why I’ll paint them in junkyards, or fluttering around a sleeping wino. No place or person is immune to spirit. Look hard enough, and everything has a story. Everybody is important.
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
“Marjan. I have told him tales of good women and bad women, strong women and weak women, shy women and bold women, clever women and stupid women, honest women and women who betray. I’m hoping that, by living inside their skins while he hears their stories, he’ll understand over time that women are not all this way or that way. I’m hoping he’ll look at women as he does at men–that you must judge each of us on her own merits, and not condemn us or exalt us only because we belong to a particular sex.”
―Shahrazad in Shadow Spinner, by Susan Fletcher