To be eccentric, to exist outside the plane of our traditions and conventions, is to move toward right action.
Being eccentric implies that we are deeply questioning the myths and narratives of our culture. The more profoundly we question the world around us, the more likely we are to have a real sense of what is true, and thereby have a real sense of how to act rightly.
Being eccentric has less to do with what we say or wear, and more to do with our underlying attitudes about our culture. It is about not accepting authority without inquiring more deeply into the nature of it. It is about refusing to abide in the made-up rule set that encompasses much of our civilization.
In essence, to be eccentric is to question everything and take nothing for granted, and this is why it is so important and so crucial to our development, both in a personal sense and in a collective sense.
Being normal has never made sense to me.
Growing up I always felt that there was a kind of energetic curve surrounding me, a cultural trajectory toward normalcy and uniformity that seemed to go unnoticed and unchallenged.
We dress the same, we act the same, we have the same societal norms that we abide by, and when people diverge from these standards, they tend to be treated a certain way or looked upon strangely.
There is a cultural narrative here, certain ideological underpinnings and assumptions that determine the path of our society. We didn’t choose this narrative, yet it has a profound impact on our lives, our actions, and our perceptions.
We have this notion of “normality”—a notion that has not been consciously derived, that has not been deeply pondered upon or deliberately chosen. There is no such thing as normal really. It’s a made-up concept that is not inherently aligned with any kind of truth or really conveys in any deep way how it is we ought to be.
This is why eccentricity and quirkiness have always spoken to me, for it implies stepping outside the box of our cultural conditioning, removing ourselves from the implicit—or explicit for that matter—rules of society.
I grew up in a relatively unconventional family, and I’ve developed a much different relationship with the world around me than most of my peers, particularly with this idea of what it means to be normal.
I’ve never known what it means to be normal, and in all honesty I’m very grateful for this.
I’m grateful for this because being disconnected from the conventions of modern culture have implored me to be eccentric, to be uniquely myself, and have my own unique appetites. Because of this, I have felt a sense of freedom that I don’t believe would exist if I simply capitulated to societal norms entirely.
When I first fell ill with the chronic condition I’ve been contending with for the past few years, it became profoundly difficult to accept my role in society, and if it hadn’t been for my eccentric background, I don’t believe I would’ve coped with it as well as I did.
If I had just accepted my circumstance at first hand, which is to say, if I didn’t embrace the fact that I was different and didn’t fit into the culture around me, I don’t know that I would have been able to deal with it.
It was the absence of my blind acceptance of cultural norms that saved me. If I had subjugated myself to the false notion that I was somehow a lesser human because of my incapacity to move through the world in the same manner as others, which is certainly an undercurrent of any hyper-capitalistic society, I would’ve suffered much more than I did.
I’m not entirely sure I would be here today, and I don’t say that to be dramatic.
When we grow up with different expectations than everyone else, we come to cultivate a much different sense of self, one that is not grounded in cultural norms. We see through a different kind of a lens, and quite likely a lens that is more in accordance with our own autonomy and authenticity.
This has certainly been the case with many of the people I know and love. It is the absence of their willingness to conform without first inquiring whether or not it is necessary to do so, that makes them so capable and so powerful.
If we accept the cultural trajectory as “truth,” as containing some innate value or meaning, then surely our individuality is lost.
How could we possibly live with any kind of meaning or personal power if we are constantly bending over backward for this false notion of normalcy? There is simply no way.
So, let us be inquisitive. Let us be curious. Let us be rebellious.
Let us be eccentric.
Author: Samuel Kronen
Editor: Lieselle Davidson