Our modern society can be dehumanizing.
Schools and work, these external structures, they enforce their rules, their priorities onto us, so that we are easier to assess, organize and categorize in their eyes.
Think about it: standards like grades and salaries are completely arbitrary — they are social agreements, you and I agreed to subscribe to their values, in order to be accepted.
That’s not entirely a bad thing — until you let such arbitrary measures get to you deeper than you should.
Let’s think about grades, for example. They are judging your performance, based on your test, papers and homework. Some of us get straight As without spending much effort. Other ones struggle mightily, put in great effort, and manage to pull up from D to B. It doesn’t matter that you learned and improved greatly in the process. In the end, that letter on a piece of paper determines your worth — A is better than B, even if it’s a lazy A compared to well-earned B. You are your performance, and it’s more important than your growth or what you learned.
And that’s sad. Why do we think like that?
Because it’s convenient. It’s easier to measure us by tiny portions, very small aspect of who we are.
Same things happen in work places. When we’re hired to be a cog in the machine, you’re asked to do the same kind of thing, over and over. What matters is that you provide one expertise that they’re looking for. They don’t care if you can sing or dance or do somersaults. You are judged, and asked to be, a much smaller version of who you really are.
It’s not a false alarm
The ashes settle in
I guess, we are the insane
As we ignore the mirror’s truth
Should I join the feast
Should I acknowledge the leash
A future in captivity
I’m not who I’m supposed to be
Without even trying
Let this night explode
Without even trying
Find the exit sign
You know, I don’t wholly deny everything about this exchange. But we have to recognize it for what it is: earning value, gaining worth by reducing ourselves.
I am one of the fortunate ones, because I happen to enjoy my expertise that I provide. But I know many others are not in a similar place.
It’s a compromise, and we all accept it and learn to live with it.
But that doen’t mean that I am losing my intention to leave this system. No, not at all.
I’m working, I am inching closer, to a place where I can offer more, to allow the world to see my bigger, original version. The unreduced one.
And yes, I do believe that when that time comes, there will be less trying. Because making ourselves smaller than who we are takes a great deal of effort.
It will be easier, when you stop having to stuff yourself into little boxes so they can neatly stack you up on their shelves.
You will fall off their shelves, spill out of the container, let your self spread wide and open, and revert to your original shape.
Without even trying.