When I saw the title ‘Great Expectations’ and the topic was about, well, expectations, my brain went fiction. A story started manifesting itself.
But the think-tank then kicked to an even higher gear and started doing its thing. It started to connect elements of our living world and soon a web of thoughts started forming.
This is then a result of my mental musings, normally put into my other blog but as this is my blog for weekly challenges, it will go here. My other blog will link to this location as well.
As the mental processes went into action my thoughts came to social media. As a person who posts up on Facebook and here on WordPress, I realised that like it or not, I’m a victim of wanting an acknowledgement for the things I’m sharing.
It was like a drug. I was looking for feedback; a like or follow or comment – the lot, all to satisfy a need to be heard or seen. It made me contemplate why is it that I go through this wave of thoughts, feelings and such a need.
And then it came to me. Social media was a voice for us to reach out where our real voices had no strength or weight. It’s a voice for our generation, a means to express ourselves and tell the world our thoughts, our true thoughts.
Now just a note before I proceed on, I’m saying this using myself as a point of reference. I’m sure there are those out there who aren’t affected by this sort of situation. Who have the confidence in them, or are sure of themselves. I’m a victim of occasional insecurities as well as coming from a history of lacking self-confidence. Only ever so lately am I slowly building it up.
Back to the topic. Why do I say true thoughts.
The thing is, whether one recognises it or not, society as we know it today is a ‘factory-system’ society. We come into a society having to follow certain ‘standards’ or ‘requirements’ or what is deemed proper or ideal. It’s a form of expectation.
The ideal body, ideal mindset, ideal hobbies, ideal path in career, ideal faith, ideal results in exams, ideal choices in people, ideal love choices…ideals ideals ideals.
We are expected to be this or that way. To like this or that. To be otherwise would garner weird glances and looks and prejudices.
The thing is, the human being is a being that is special. We are all special. We are all unique in some way or another. We are born with an inner potential that no other has – similar or very close maybe, but definitely not exactly the same.
But society today with its ideals forces us to enter certain expected societal moulds. An example is in our education system. How a student with good grades is deemed a good person while those with poor grades are labelled good-for-nothings.
The thing though is that there is the flaw in itself. Are we to judge that a person is a good-for-nothing or has no hope for his / her future just cause of some numbers or letters? And the point of reference for these ‘marks’ and ‘grades’ are based off information that actually changes with time? Example being new science discoveries that debunk the knowledge found in textbooks. So should we deem people who were judged based off old outdated knowledge good-for-nothing then?
Another good example? History. Ooh la la.
I’ve bear witness to so many changes in historical claims that I’ve changed my perception of how I looked at myself as a history student. I was terrible in history during my school days. And now? I think I’m a better historian than my own teachers. So am I a good-for-nothing now? Are my teachers good-for-nothing as well?
There are many examples of how judging someone just because they don’t fulfill the expectations of society is flawed.
Dropouts end up becoming millionaires – dropping out became the best blessing in disguise. And no, I don’t advocate dropping out just for the sake of dropping out. These successful dropouts of society did so and through that found the right channel to direct their energies to – their in-born potentials.
Not all of us are academically gifted. But we are gifted in other aspects – physically for sports, or mentally for analytical situations and so on. Some are born suited for engineering, or artistry, or sciences, or philosophy, or medical, etc.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
– Albert Einstein –
I came from a family upbringing and background where being of an artistic inclination is deemed as being ‘stupid’ and those of the sciences are deemed smart and have a bright future. It’s in this conditioning that there’s a form of expectation and suppression. Expectation of what we should pursue and was deemed right. Suppression of the inner-potential, which in my case, was more inclined towards creativity and writing.
And this isn’t even coming from society yet, the outside world with its many beasts and monsters (grrr! gasp! *rolls eyes*).
The thing about the human spirit is that whenever there’s a suppression of free will, there are two natural reactions. Either you break free and be yourself or you go ‘numb’ aka accepting the suppression and become a zombie of society. Although from numb you can diverge to quite a lot of negative outcomes such as depression, losing yourself or worse.
Social media serves as our outlet to break free. We express ourselves via this channel. Whether it be blog posts, or selfies, or vids on Youtube or FB, or sound bytes, etc. It’s to get a feedback to our voice. We humans are social creatures, beings that require some form of interaction.
To have a like or positive comment is proof that there are individuals / groups out there who share our directions in life (likes, inclinations, hobbies, thoughts, etc). It’s a manifestation in the digital realm of acknowledgement that pushes us and tells us we’re okay, and that we’re not weird or queer or wrong in our decisions and undertakings and thoughts.
As the title goes, society today with its ideals, it’s a form of expectation. Call it rebellious but I kind of find it nice that there’s a movement to be oneself. More and more people are finding ways to express themselves and to break from the social mould of what an individual should be; should look like, smell like, eat like, talk like, hear like, sound like.
To say, “This is me. I’m unique. I’m the way I am.”
I’m not saying that if you’re a sociopath you walk down that path. Oh no. There are of course very fundamentals no-no’s. But I think if you have a quirk that doesn’t hurt anybody but makes you happy, I don’t see what is wrong with that.
I think we as human beings have to start developing empathy and acceptance for others. Use of intellect and the development of a real human heart of compassion to reach out to others, or at least, not ostracize another.
Instead of judging with the glasses of expectations why not change them to glasses of understanding? Learn the history of a person, why he / she / he-she is the way they are. You’ll be surprised that you’ll learn something new and walk away with a deeper understanding that the world isn’t black and white, and it’s not what you’ve expected.
The perception of your world is the result of cultural, communal and societal conditioning. And that bubble of conditioning is actually a very small bubble. Break out of that bubble and you will see that the world is much bigger.
A room is four walls. But open that door and window and you’ll see a different view. Step out through either of them and you will see a different world of possibilities.
Perhaps then you will realise that prejudgments are most of the time uncalled for and expectations should be readjusted and checked or should just plain be made redundant. More often than not, viewing something unfamiliar with curiosity instead of prejudice, you may find more excitement in learning something new about someone else, and most definitely, about yourself.
As a closing note, remember that these are just my opinions and the mental musings of my brain. Just the result of me trying to connect the dots of a material element with an abstract element within the human condition.
So long as you don’t harm yourself or others, stay yourself and find the love within. That you are special, unique and no one should judge you if you’ve done no wrong. And also, that there are people who share your train of thoughts and personalities and that you’re not alone.