Distinction is just doing the work to separate one idea from another. I do this a lot, in my own head. Comes in handy as we do a metric ass-load of it in philosophy.
So, I’m looking at pictures on the internet, trying to give my coffee time to turn me back into a human being, and – for some reason – the thought struck me: Not everybody is special.
I have this thought on occasion, and it has begun to make sense to me. Thought I’d share it with you and see what you think.
We had, for a couple of decades in America, this cultural fad of trying to make ourselves believe that everyone is special. I think this caused incalculable harm. It led people to think that they were somehow better, or superior to others. And that just leads to bad behavior.
I think the mistake was made, conscious or unconsciously, in conflating two distinct concepts. Uniqueness and being Special.
They’re not the same thing.
Yes, everybody – each and every one of you out there – is unique. There has never been, is not now, and will never be anyone who is or can be you. This is the very definition of uniqueness.
But because there has been, is now, and will only ever be one of you, does not make you special.
It just doesn’t.
Each grain of sand on a beach is unique. Someone want to argue how that makes them special?
No, didn’t think so.
Special means something different.
It means extraordinary. It means supererogatory, (that is, above and beyond the normal call of duty).
Special means doing something of merit and of value.
To be unique, you don’t have to do anything. Just be you and you’ve accomplished your goal.
To be special requires effort. It requires passion. It requires skill and hard work. It isn’t about the accidents of your birth, or your particular genetic gifts. It’s about what you do with them and beyond them.
That is what it means to be Special – to do something out of the ordinary, something of worth, something praiseworthy.
Just being yourself is good. Hell, it’s probably the best thing you can do to live a happier, more contented life.
But just being yourself doesn’t make you special.
I wish more people would think about that when they’re taking a yet another selfie.
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