Wednesday, October 6, 2010

i will stand here for humanity.

i'm a creature of the times. as are the majority of my generation.

things aren't like they used to be. in fact, i remember the days when i would sit down every day after school and watch a 1/2 hour episode of full house. such a simple joy. very 'leave it to beaver'. now my idea of watching tv is a 20 minute episode of "modern family" on hulu once a week. sure that was the 90's...

but even just 6-7 years ago...

we reminisce to the times when one e-mail account was plenty. when cell phones were still 'an option'. when texting was merely a way to send a generic message like "on my way" or "meet me in ten"...before it was an actual genre of communication.

these were the days when we weren't required to have the internet everywhere we went. and when people did not have to be able to contact us at every waking hour...when 'socializing' took more than a click of the 'like' button and hours were spent doing things other than facebook stalking.

tweet tweet.

and yet, here i am...

i am an avid participant in the blogging community. i have an active facebook account to my name. am found guilty of tweeting. carry a cell phone that may as well be surgically stapled as an appendage to my body. have so many e-mail accounts, for so many different purposes that i have had to link their mailboxes into one...thank goodness for that function...

and not only do i use all these things personally, but it's also my job. i'm in marketing & pr. it's what we do. it is the new, personal, instantaneous relationships that we create through social media with our audiences that bring us success. it's not about throwing flashy ads in our audience's faces anymore. nope, it's about the proactive world of social networking.

summed up: i am a twenty-two-year-old creature of the times. and i'm okay with that.

to be honest, i'm more than okay with it. i love it. sure, it has it's ups and downs, and i think all and all, most of us can step back and see the ridiculousness of the situation. but this is evolution. so eat it up and enjoy.

it's time to keep up. and here is why:

this is a time of unlimited power to have a voice and position of your own. so use it.

one of my all-time, top-ranking, hands-down most influential pieces of literature in my life is 'self-reliance' by ralph waldo emerson. i remember the first time i read it. american studies, mr. birrell and mrs. wolsey...sophomore year of high school. reading this essay was a life changing experience for me.

the title describes it's objective perfectly. in this essay, emerson is expressing his opinions and beliefs on human reliance with one's self. faith in your own ideas. reaching your own potential. and living by trusting yourself and not conforming to the will of society.

in emerson's words, "it is easy in the world, to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own, but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness, the independence of solitude."

for those of you unfamiliar with emerson. his views on conformity and individuality are more extreme than most people can, realistically, comply with. we live in a world where it is rare to find someone that has remained untainted by society in some way or another. whether it's the brand names on your clothing or the forced smile you give when in a situation you're not completely comfortable with or the fact that, you too, have a facebook account...

i dare say, it is impossible to never conform.

however, emerson's defined principles of remaining true to oneself and as he would say, "believing in one's own thought" are spoken of so poetically, honestly, and powerfully in this essay. and i believe they still apply.

a man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light that flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his.

i've beeen thinking about this a lot lately. especially in this world of instantaneous communication, virtually unlimited access to any portal of world-wide networking, and such free, uninhibited speech. it leads me to contemplate over the power that is in each and every individual. an endless capacity for knowledge...of any kind. the ability to say what they want. to express their beliefs across the globe with the click of a button.

this power is in you. and this power is in me. picture a time when you've had a sudden flash of an idea...or a thought....that was yours and only yours to claim. did you claim it? or did you dismiss it?

according to emerson, that is the line separating the great from the ordinary.

what makes a great man great? could it really be so defined?

emerson talks about knowing and understanding a very basic principle: that i am human and so are you. hence, i understand you more than i realize. this is a whimsical concept to me. one of those, "emerson, you just rocked my world" kind of concepts. in his words, "the inquiry leads us to that source, at once the essence of genius, of virtue, and of life, which we call spontaneity or instinct."

i often think back to this in my life experiences. when i watch an event unravel or am presented with a situation involving some sort of human decision, action or involvement. if you look inward...clearly and honestly- as uncomfortable as that kind of honestly with oneself may be, as the situation may not always be pleasant- you will sense that instinct. because you, you are human too. truly, this is genius.

is it not? correct me if i am wrong.

he continues on, explaining his reasoning behind this. "in that deep force, the last fact behind which analysis cannot go, all things find their common origin. for the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them, and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed. we first share the life by which things exist, and afterwards see them as appearances in nature, and forget that we have shared their cause. here is the fountain of action and of thought."

once again, it's that understanding, that "last fact behind which analysis cannot go"
that allows us to trust our hearts, our minds and in ourselves. we all share this life. we were all born. and are growing daily...we share that common origin. we have all shared a broad, yet-oh-so-specific cause.

in my social media experience, one of the main objectives behind the madness is to establish, maintain and nourish relationships. whether for personal or professional reasons, this is a very common goal. we want to relate. we want understanding. not necessarily by agreement, but simply by understanding. as i work with these tools on a daily basis, it is astounding to me to watch how such an 'impersonal' environment of creating and maintaining relationship has become so personal. and it has made it just that much more important to remain true to yourself...because a "personal world" in an impersonal setting is dangerous to the soul.

in his essay he expressed his hopes and desires that the world and it's people would move past the phases of conformity...hmmm, sorry emerson. we shot that idea down.

and though he'd probably roll over in his grave if he could see what this crazy-little-beautiful world has become, i know that the principles of self-reliance can still be applied. they can be planted, nourished, and hopefully sprout the great minds that trust in themselves enough to make a difference.

i was once reading a speech by ronald reagan, from a broadcast in 1964. i didn't have to read much to feel the power behind this man, before my heart started racing and my mind took off...in fact, it was the very first words that came out of his mouth....

"i am going to talk of controversial things. i make no apology for this."

that, i admire. that right there is unique. part of what defines the great from the ordinary.

now, i'm not saying (and though i can't speak for emerson, i don't believe he is either)...that we have to be the next world leader or einstein to be defined as great and that's what i love about this.

i know i will never be the next winston churchill or gandhi (though they are both definitely "like" worthy on facebook--just some social media humor there for you) chances are, you won't either. i have no plans to be a world leader or a world-renowned philosopher...or the scientist that solidifies the string theory. though these are great, this isn't what i'm refering to.

to be defined as great is to be true to oneself.

and when you are true to yourself. you are true to god and others around you. your work may not effect the millions, it may be the smaller numbers of a 5th grade classroom or the seven, possibly eight kids in your sunday school class...or maybe it's just the one, select person who is listening to you from the twelfth row back of the auditorium...no matter the numbers, it is the work of a great, unique, true human being.

i know that i can look back at my twenty-two years and recall many individual experiences and select people that have struck me as unique and great. and those impressions have stayed with me and continue to direct me in many ways.

as much as i love it, in this world...in my world and your world of instant satisfaction and results...of google search bars and rss feeds. its easy to get caught up in the unmanageable pace. caught up in the "you say this because this is what they're expecting you to say"...and basing large decisions soley on appearances...

guilty.

we just have to be careful. because we are the thinkers that are going to keep this place progressing onward. and if we're not, someone else is going to do it. so we choose now, if we will be who 'they' want us to be...or if we will be true to ourselves. and be unique. and be great.

in the words of emerson, "i will stand here for humanity, and though i would make it kind, i would make it true." i could not, could not agree more. mmmgh. that gets me everytime.

it's quite the thought.

shall we?

i, kristen, will stand here for humanity. and though i would make it kind, i would make it true.



now, you can follow my blog by clicking here.
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check out my tweets by visiting here.
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e-mail me at kristenwar....

just joshing.

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