Groups, artists & monks

I’m good at relating to individuals, but less so with groups. I’m an astute observer of individuals – I understand what drives them, what frightens them, what bores them, what interests them, what consoles them and what aggravates them.

Every new member added to an interaction multiplies this calculus – and eventually tracking individual sentiment ceases as collective pressure builds. The group then seeks equilibrium and consensus, and collective sentiment forms in accordance with those at the top of the hierarchy.

Groups, as they grow, encourage collectivity and dampen individuality. They’re hostile toward individual expression. This is why artists and geniuses have always been the outcasts of contemporary society. Indeed, this is what makes an artist – someone willing to suffer outside the bounds of what the group has converged on, and intent on making regenerative changes from the outside.

It’s lonely on the outside, but less of a choice and more of an inheritance. Perhaps there’s a middle ground, similar to a Buddhist monk who has reached enlightenment, done away with all worldly desires, yet returns to the suffering of this world to act as a beacon for mankind.

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