After many years of enduring criticism from others that I am too often indiscreet, impolitic, or insensitive, I am forced to wonder whether or not these observations have merit. The verdict on this score is swift—and sure: those who see me as a brazenly inappropriate envelope-pusher of social norms are spot on correct.
Conformity—or worse yet, behaving like a predictable automaton—is very overrated. Trading witticisms is a poor substitute for meaningful communication. The truth is most people do not want to be nudged from their cozy comfort zones. They go through each day clinging to convention, holding on to the familiar, never daring to be real or intimate for fear that someone might actually give them something real or intimate in return. Then what would they do?
My own propensity to rock the proverbial boat is mild by the standards of the real boat-rockers among us—true artists who live for the opportunity to dismantle the status quo. My personal knack for rattling the sensibilities of others pales in comparison to those who possess the more serious tools of social insurrection—those who are truly creative at the art of fomenting discomfort: the artists, musicians, movie-makers, writers, comedians and others who are obsessed with defying convention and conquering indifference.
What is often perceived as a lack of judgment is ironically a deliberate exercise in a judgment of a different kind, one which challenges the norms we usually hold with dutiful deference. If success comes just once every ten times we dare ask another to peer through a prism other than the one which colors their own comfort zone, it is well worth it.
There are those who are naturally intimate. Possessed of a simplicity of spirit most of us can only admire, they seem a little happier; they seem a little sadder. In short, they seem more in touch with their own emotions, readily giving hugs, kisses and saying 'I love you' as they remind the rest of us to resist—the allure of the comfort zone.
2 years ago