Monday, September 28, 2015

About being contrarian

It was quite some years ago, but I was an adult and had already been a spiritual seeker, a thinker, and a keen student of philosophies, life and beyond for many years.

I was in conversation with the girlfriend of a friend. I forget what we were talking about, but I said something like "nah, I don't want that, it's too popular".

She looked up at me with her clear blue eyes and a smile and said: "but isn't that still letting others decide what you do?"

Ouch! That got to me. Here was this young little apple-cheeked chit of a girl barely out of her teens, and she was teaching me a basic life lesson I should have learned long ago!

If you are making a choice mainly to be different from others, you are still letting the others make the decisions for you.

I suspect that many highly successful, mature, intelligent people are still in this trap without realizing it. If a book is very popular, they can't possibly be seen reading it. If a viewpoint is normal, it's obviously not for them. Et cetera.

This is not deciding, it is reacting.


Bru said...

"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." Comment about a restaurant, made by Yogi Berra.

Joe Dick said...

I was like too, but realized how stupid it was - something being popular doesn't make it bad. Although the "bonehead mass audience," to quote Costanza, does like some shit things (Two and a Half Men, Mrs. Brown's Boys)...but sometimes something popular is still good. Plus there's the hipsters - I don't want to be one of those "I liked ______ before it was cool!"

Ken said...

I try to like what I like and am usually successful. What I find is that the popular things may be good at first but soon lose their appeal so I'm more careful about purchasing them.

Tommy said...

I'm not sure what I like, so I ask everyone else to find out...

Russ said...

One of my favorite quotes by H.L. Mencken, "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public". Currently, Donald Trump is leading the polls as Republican candidate for President... nuf said.

Anonymous said...

To bad, that's a misquote.

This is the quote:

No one in this world, so far as I know—and I have researched the records for years, and employed agents to help me—has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

I can't believe you never checked that.