Take a leisure stroll in a garden of roses, would you discover one that is entirely distinct from the rest? Sure, they each have little differences.. but basically, they are all the same. A way of thinking that applies to us, humans, too. Referring to Exner’s work on how we are merely innumerable manifestations of one person, I found myself taking his side. Let me reason with you. Picture yourself picking a rose, the first one, second, third, up until you ruin a whole field of them, fundamentally, they are the same, aren’t they? Only variations of their small parts—such as one has hooded petals, one barely has a thorn—differ. Moreover, stereotype keeps us sane, how are you going to form a deep interpersonal connection enough to know every single soul you have met? It has its own good points too.
Since we mirror one another, for years, I lived among reflections. An idea kept crawling under my skin of how many clones I have. Besides, who am I if not a nurture-nature constructed mind inside a human’s flesh?
Anyway, maybe you have also found that presently, we have this stereotype for people who cannot take breaks from those life-draining piece of technology, the one you hold at this very moment (ironically, I wrote this on my phone). I have seen my friends who use it even when they’re eating… one hand holding the fork, the other has the phone, with eyes focused on the screen and not the tasty, mouthwatering plate of ayam penyet* in front of them. I bet some of you even bring it when you need to go to the bathroom. Just. Why. Lord, why have you forsaken us? Being used to seeing this on a daily basis, I have developed the habit of when a random human shows worse symptoms of having no regards for social establishments, I begin to see an imaginative label printed on their forehead. Yet, what they say, be careful what you think of someone; you are probably completely wrong. An extensive amount can quite represent the majority but still, I don’t see a crowd as a group, I see individuals.
A year or so ago, I made a friend whom I believed to fall into that stereotype until when we took a walk one day, she caught sight of the sky and immediately took her phone out. At the sound of click, it was then reserved as one of many other scenery photographs in that tiny gadget in her hand. “The clouds look pretty today”. My eyes studied them carefully but I could not find anything particularly unusual from any other day I’ve seen a cloud: a clump of soft, white cotton. Yet the way her eyes glimmered and the merry tone in her voice told me that she saw something else.
It was some kind of an eye-opener. I finally saw her as she was, not as she might seem to be. A person who pays attention to details, someone with a sense of appreciation for the smallest things our eyes let amiss and mind refuse to acknowledge. Anything that captivates her, she makes sure to keep as a memory in the form of pictures. She was not just another girl with an obsession of social media, taking into account that she constantly posts them online.
At the end of the day, we are copies. None of us is original. Not exactly rare for best-selling books to recycle an idea anyway, but every one of them has its own voice. A slight distinction. That is all it takes to be our own self—to be different.
*Ayam penyet is an Indonesian dish. It is also known as a piece of heaven 🙂 Believe me, I know. I’ve died multiple times, at least on the inside, if you haven’t already noticed. It is part of the job of being an edgy angsty aesthetic millennial [hashtag themoreyouknow]