Can Anyone Truly Be An Individual?

Kelly Sikkema
Kelly Sikkema

The constant working engine that propels the majority of human action is, without a doubt, the fragrant dream of individualism. And while the presence of its scent is undeniable throughout the worlds entirely, its value is worshiped with such potency in a land no other than that of America.

As the framework of its history, America holds individuality as the ever-popular green light, the essence of the statue which became the symbol of hope for immigrants to come, the value beneath which government is scrutinized, and the justification of unconventionality in today’s affairs. In fact, in America’s current social status, individuality has become something of a birthright, and a necessity plastered upon the face of the media, where it had formerly been valued as the American dream. There is no denying the prevalence of this idol in American society, and little hope for escaping it.

However, though most pride themselves in their individualistic state, perhaps humans, when stripped to their core, are everything but.

The presence of this reality, coupled with the assertion of an existence of individualism, poses the ongoing question of, “Is there a part of humans that can remain uninfluenced”. It is no new discovery that people are the sum of their experiences- this is a thought that has been quoted by numerous individuals throughout time. Yet, the weight of this truth is often taken for granted. The overwhelming majority of human experience involves other humans, along with the interactions and relationships between them. It is a rare occurrence when a life is built upon events devoid of this stimulus.

Indeed, interaction is the core of experience. Therefore, in order that humans are the sum of their experiences, they must be the sum of the people that they meet, just as well.

As an Americanized teen, the discovery that not only my self-entitled individualism was false, but that I, as a being, was a product, grew increasingly unsettling to unravel. Questions haunted me such as “If I am bits and pieces of everyone I have met- my family, my teachers, all of my friends, and even strangers- then what is left that is just me? What part of me is just me? How much of myself is the stitching together of different parts of different people? Is such a separation between myself and others even possible?”

Such are inquiries that will continue to be pondered, as I have come to accept that they will remain a mystery. In fact, is questionable that there is a part of humans that remain uninfluenced at all. Therefore, with the allowance of this question, the response must be a change in the definition of “oneself”. The previously mentioned questions no longer concern me, as I have put a halt to the mindset that the “real” me is some lost uninhabited island atop an ocean of influence.

Instead, I realized that my personality, who I am cannot depend on a distinction between influence, and an individualism, as such is a line that cannot be distinct. Instead, I must be a person whose composure is a beautifully hazy mixture, and a steady question, contrary to the American sale. Thus, is the commonly unnoticed durable mystery that is the frustration of those who can see through the lie of individualism. Hopefully, they will come to acceptance. TC mark

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