So, here’s the thing, kids:
The people who have given up on their “knack,” (i.e, the thing they’re best at…the thing they must do, or live a life of miserable tedium pierced only by the occasional pang of regret) or have allowed themselves to confuse sublimation of the self with its obliteration, will tell you to your face that neither you, nor they, nor anyone else is a “special snowflake.” They want you to focus on the mediocre commonalities and embrace the notion that we are all kind of crappy, and that we should accept this fact for the sake of our own happiness.
I would answer them by saying that there are no NON-special snowflakes; that humanity may bloody well be pretty similar the world ’round, but that it is in our unique expression of “three cubic feet of blood and meat and bone,” and if we end up living the kind of life Frank Zappa dismissed as tragic, then it is indeed our own damned fault (to a certain extent). We have within each one of us the capacity to shake the foundations of the universe, and we settle for television and food that isn’t food and chasing slips of green paper.
This is not a clarion call for American Exceptionalism (or any other kind). And I don’t want you to take this as a criticism of our common strengths. Nobody builds a snowman with a single flake, and it is in our shared aptitudes that we find a way to be more than the sum of our parts.
But I grow weary – oh, so weary – of this celebration of mediocrity; this anti-intellectual, anti-awesomeness campaign that says nobody’s allowed to be an expert of anything, and that the success of those who have slipped both hands into their knack and used it to carve a masterpiece from the World Tree are nails that need to be hammered down instead of lights to lead the way.
We must all help others; we must all knock the scales from each others’ eyes and lend a hand, or a shoulder, or a strong back, or a mind, to let each other succeed. And we’ve got a better chance of collective success if we embrace our individual awesomeness instead of telling ourselves we’ll never be as good as someone else.
And who is someone else, really? A better singer? A better athlete? A better earner? More successful, more intelligent, more socially adept? Faster, stronger, full of technology? Oh, God – gentlemen, we can rebuild Him. We can build up each other. But first we have to believe in not only our ability, but our obligation, to do so.
Water and chemicals and a little bit of electricity. Biochemically, you could be anyone. You could. But you’re YOU.
Show the world why that matters.