Socio-Political implications of Snowflakes

August 21, 2006

I had a few interesting thoughts this morning….

The world around us is always changing, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Our society works hard to convince us that we are unique and important individuals amongst an infinite number of unique and important individuals.

Unique amongst the unique, is of course quite ordinary.

What the cult of the almighty ‘self’ truly teaches us is that our power lies in the singular ‘me.’ We are told that we are unique, because segregated and alone we are predictable and controlable.

A snowflake is unique, and a snowflake is powerless.

Of course a snow storm is considered quite common.

Why is it that this facination with and sacredness of individuality has emmerged at the same time as a system of economics and government that – I think we can all agree – depends on some suffering while others flourish?

Is it a coincidence that we are taught that we should think in terms of what makes us unique, at a time when global politics depend on the assertion of fundamental difference?

Creativity, we are told, is the expression of one’s individuality. What, I wonder, would we then call learning to express our solidarity?

History, some argue, teaches us that collective action is for drug smoking hippies and idealistic minorities. A strange coincidence that it is those who might be threatened by collective action that are so adament about its shortcomings.

Revolution, we are taught, is paramount to terrorism. Change, we are assured, is rarely positive.

It is enough to push many people into a defensive apathy. Better to excel within the rules than to fail at changing them.

I often find myself frustrated and saddened by the limited energy many exert into the world around them.

However, surrounded by my friends (artists, socialites, demons, anarchists, geeks, academics, poets, lovers, cripple haters, dancers, villains, and of course ‘bad ass bitchs’) I am inspired by the diversity, creativity, energy, advocacy and potential of these amazing people.

But above all else, I am humbled and awed by the intense love and solidarity that permiates our social circles.

Not everyone is as lucky as we.
Can you imagine what we (people) could be if we were even half of what some of the people we know work to be?

Individually, each of you are spectacular ….

Working collectively, we could be the future.

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7 Responses to “Socio-Political implications of Snowflakes”


  1. Interesting and heart warming read that I, in a scrooge like fashion, totally disagree with.

    Within a very small group of exceptional people, who share a common purpose and deep emotional bond, collectivism is immensely rewarding and powerful. However, this synergistic trend is negated, then reversed, as you scale upwards. The reasons are as follows

    1. The larger you make a social system the more it become defined by the average.
    Social loafing, interests and scope being reduced to lowest common denominator (and thats assuming that any common interest can be agreed upon), and the glacial bureaucratic slowness that would come from each party being properly represented, reduce the whole process to banal mush.

    2: Most people kinda suck.
    Even ignoring the hostile insularity that most people live in, you are limited by the fact that the majority of folks are not particularly bright, engaged, capable, or even interested in self determination. People exert limited mental energy, because they have limited mental energy. And that is just the average person, toss in the dimwits, antisocial misanthropes, and puritantical/leacherous fanatics and you go from “illsuited” to “Would actively work to destroy any gains made”. Our friends are admittedly awesome, but they are very much outside the statistical norm, and as such a horrible test study.

    “What, I wonder, would we then call learning to express our solidarity?”

    An oppressive hive mind.

    “A snowflake is unique, and a snowflake is powerless.”

    Snow flakes are distinct but they are not unique. It takes more than few microscopic structural differences to allow a thing to be clearly of it’s self, just as it take more than a few random social/mental convolutions for one person to be qualitatively different from another.
    ………………………………

    A point of clarification: While I distrust and fear cripples, I do not hate them. My Villianhood I accept without contest.

  2. w()rmwood Says:

    I do not disagree with many of your comments – though i interpret certain facts differently than you do.

    “The larger you make a social system the more it become defined by the average.”

    absolutely, however that is an effect of the current system – I do not agree that it is inevitable of all mass action.

    “Even ignoring the hostile insularity that most people live in, you are limited by the fact that the majority of folks are not particularly bright, engaged, capable, or even interested in self determination. People exert limited mental energy, because they have limited mental energy.”

    I agree that many people are like that, I am not as sure that they are ‘naturally’ or ‘intrinsically’ like that.

    However, I think an even more interesting question is why are people like that, and under what conditions could they rise above those tendencies?

    Finally – Solidarity is not the same as Equality, Community, or Egality. Solidarity describes common interest and united action and potentially cause across diversity. Solidarity would have zero meaning in a hive – ants cannot express solidarity.

    I like to think of myself as an optimistic Nietszchean.

    The last men are the only possible conclusion for ‘man.’
    Man is not a goal, but something to be overcome. While many beleive Nietsche would simple leave all weaker people behind, i prefer to read him as saying that those dedicated to the limits of man are to be left behind.

    I cannot escape a level of hope in the amazing potential of people, and am interested in the conditions under which people can become more than their obvious limitations.

    * I will also ammend my post to remove the slanderous title of ‘cripple hater’ – though in my heart i know the truth.*

    =)

  3. jess Says:

    *applause*

    great article, and i like the discussion too.

    a couple of thoughts:
    The larger you make a social system the more it become defined by the average.
    as wormwood said, this is already the case in today’s society.

    and the glacial bureaucratic slowness that would come from each party being properly represented, reduce the whole process to banal mush.
    isn’t this also already the case?

    i don’t think we stand to lose as much as some think. and the connection between current political agendas / organizational structures and the qualities that are nurtured within citizens is a very interesting point. on the other hand, are we right to propose a causal relationship between two things that might only share a correlation?

    ok what i’m trying to say is that i enjoyed reading that :)

  4. w()rmwood Says:

    thanks jess, and AJ – your comments are really much better thought out than my article.

    =)


  5. “as wormwood said, this is already the case in today’s society.
    and the glacial bureaucratic slowness that would come from each party being properly represented, reduce the whole process to banal mush.
    isn’t this also already the case?”

    I should clarify that I am not actually a champion our current system. I believe that humans are idealy suited, via evolution and current disposition, to work best in small groups connected by emotional ties and directly accountabilty to one and other. As soon as you expand the society beyond these tribal clusters a you force a degree of speciation and alienation that denies a meaningful connection to the group as whole. Mind, my proposed solution is wipe out 95% of the human race so we can live in small clusters that would allow for sufficient resources, loosely connected small group co-operatives, no pathology inducing hyper crowed urban centers, and vastly accelerated natual selection process. Note,I did not contest my villianhood.

  6. jess Says:

    AJ, my evil side is 100 % with you. being an environmentalist only makes it worse too! haha.

    unfortunately, I can’t stomach actually doing it, so apparently I am going to spend my life advocating for “sustainability” and other pleasantries.


  7. […] –          Snowflakes […]


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