In our culture, we strive (and are driven) to be special, to be
different, to stand out, to be (thought of as) a "winner" in a
conversation in which to be thought of as a "loser" is the kiss of
And in "our" culture, I'm including
the whole world,
not just these United States. It's a
This essay isn't about to decry, criticize, or denigrate any of the
above. They're all noble pursuits. They encompass some of the most
enthusiastic ways we play the game of life. They comprise some of the
many paths we traverse in order to succeed in the game of
life. What this essay is about to do, is take a look at
their roots, roots which run so deep that like air to the bird and
water to the fish, they're seldom if ever noticed and even less
We take it for granted that striving to be special, different, to stand
out, and (to be thought of as) a winner, is what there is to do in
life, what it's all about - indeed, we take it for granted (ie without
questioning) that that's what we must do in life, that
that's our purpose, that that's our raison d'etre. But then,
because we never question it, we seldom if ever get to see what hides
behind it. Wait? Hides behind it? What does that
mean "hides behind it" Laurence?
Consider (take a look at) this: what hides behind our striving to be
special, different, to stand out, and (to be thought of as) a winner,
is nothing more (and nothing less) than our response to
of being un-special,
of being the same,
of being ordinary,
of being (thought of as) a "loser". And we seldom if ever question that
of being unspecial, the same, of being ordinary, is first and foremost
in being human.
For each of us human beings, there's an endemic
in being human ie a
that goeswith (as
may have said) being human. It's triggered by our instinct to
survive. It's our lizard brain circuitry, pre-programmed to keep us
alive and to win no matter what it costs, in the face of which we
seldom if ever question the value inherently available in
being unspecial, the same, of being ordinary
in being human, of being unspecial effectively, totally hides it).
"Wait! Value? In being unspecial? You're kidding
me!" the incredulous, lifelong career winner says regarding
the sublime value in being unspecial.
It's this: the value inherently available in being unspecial is the
possibility of being humble. In reality, neither you nor I are
special. In reality, we really are un-special, ordinary, no
different than any of the other eight billion unspecial, ordinary human
beings now in survival on the planet - and stop lying about it.
Here's the thing (this is what I request you try out and take on): it's
in our very unspecialness, it's in our very
ordinariness, that we have
to our most magnificent, potentially our most transformed, our most
air-to-the-bird water-to-the-fishtrue nature
which (for the most part) we never fully embody, given that we're so
frenziedly (and unquestioningly) chasing the illusion of being special
and different. The hidden, terrible costs of that are all too apparent.
Take even the most cursory look around you. Turn on
the morning news.
We're brilliantly run by but not served well by lizard brain. To be
transformed (we may say) is to invent the possibility of being humble,
to be willing to love being unspecial, to relish being just another
ordinary, no different, human being.