The world cannot tolerate the true individual

Sad Man

What do you think will be the biggest challenge you will face working for this company?

It was the human resource representative of the company I am working for now asking a generic question during my interview. I went on and answered using a canned response I’ve used in countless other interviews I’ve attended.

I could’ve answered that the most difficult part is to work in a company. But I know better. I needed the job and I could not jeopardize my chance by acting like a free spirited individual. I may impress him with the fearlessness of my rhetoric and my regard for individualism but it would mean I’m not getting the job. I went on and said, “Oh, how I love working in a team. I’ve always been a team player and a believer in the concept of synergy. Our team effort and accomplishments will be greater than the sum of our individual work.”

Rubbish! That’s the only way I could describe the things I said that time. For somebody who detests being with other people, it was clear to me that I was outright lying that time.

Indeed, everyone is doped to believe that this world celebrates the existence of the individual. We are made to believe that it thrives in the creativity of an individual to begin change, but look around and you’ll see that the opposite is true. This world cannot tolerate the true individual.

Either the concerns of this world are too shallow for the individual to comprehend. Or the concerns of the individual are too detached from reality that the world is unable to understand. Either way, the world and the individual are in constant opposition, like parallel lines – equal in all respect but are doomed never to meet.

Compromise is not part of the option, this I realized a long time ago. No team will allow individualism to take root without sacrificing the integrity of its structure inasmuch as no self respecting individual can allow himself to be influenced by the spirit of the crowd. A constant struggle ensues that often takes greater toll on the individual.

The individual can tolerate the world but not the other way around. The world will force the individual to fit into its mould resulting in robotic and neurotic minions silenced by success, poverty, money, crime, corporatism, pursuit for greater happiness.

So the individual shudders in silence camouflaging himself in the comfort of the diaphanous sound made by the crowd until eventually finding himself being eaten alive by its members. But the true individual persists and stubbornly resists the soothing humming of the machination of the world. He doesn’t sleep, doesn’t stop to think because if he does, the world will eat him alive.

This is also why he is constantly sad.

And tired.


17 thoughts on “The world cannot tolerate the true individual”

  1. hahaha, i was referring to the complexity of these novels rather than the difficulty of reading french…

    but true, i know of some non-english-speaking people who learn foreign languages, other than english, more easily simply because they do not speak english and do not have to go through several levels of (mental) translation to speak the language.

  2. just found your comment regarding digesting french novels. well, just how difficult do you think it is to read french? probaly half the words in english are french, and most of them probably mean the same in both languages (the brits won’t like this fact, but they were ruled by french royalty for quite some time :)). take for ex this present headline on
    Concerts de soutien aux Haïtiens
    Un Haïtien a été sorti vivant des décombres, onze jours après le séïsme dévastateur et le bilan des victimes revu à la hausse, à 112 226 morts. Trois concerts de soutien à Haïti sont organisés dimanche à Paris.
    i bet at least half of the words are recognizable.
    just my own experience, speaking french is much more difficult, but that’s because i always translate via english. most people who’ve never used english a lot, for ex, like pinoys who never went beyond high school, learn to speak french like 123 🙂 whereas i try not to speak it at all, it comes out just sounding terrible.
    now, learning vietnamese, that’s a real achievement. it’s probably not in the same group of languages as the philippine languages (unlike bahasa indonesia, which has quite a handful of words in common with ours). i can only marvel at someone who can learn such a language.

  3. i.b.

    romanticizing poverty is one of the most insensitive things to do.

    i’m in the city this time, but going out and burn myself is not part of the option.

  4. poor woman. sounds like a single mother? i know the face of poverty only too well, firsthand, growing up. it’s not something one forgets. which is why i hate it when it’s romanticized, when people say, oh the kids in africa, they’re poor but they’re cheerful. oh, the kids at smoky mountain, scavenging on the rubbish heap, they’re so brave. or tourists who take pictures of some old poor vendor as if they’re getting some free melodramatic movie to cry over or something. bullshit (oops, sorry).
    in the pinas, you were absolutely right, too many social ills are due to having kids when one can’t afford them. if only people would start to realize that. china didn’t get to where it is now after all if it hadn’t done anything about its population, although i do think they carried it to extremes with the one child policy :).
    nice weekend, tho’ you’re probably off to the city already :).

  5. only that those who are in the really bottom part of the society have a hard time taking the blows. in the news today, i woman attempted to kill herself by jumping from a bridge together with her two daughters. she survived, but her children did not.

    she said, poverty has gone beyond her. poverty drove her crazy.

    now, that is a face of poverty here.

  6. you’re right, too, the world has always been interconnected, from the times of the silk route until now. i’ve told a friend this before, the country may be third world the Pinoys are not. our educational system has nothing to fear from other countries, it’s in technology that we’re weak.
    still, i would hate to think that the global economic crisis should affect the pinas too much, my family tells me local businesses are quite resilient as well.

  7. yeah, after reading it again, it sounded as if i indeed was…but no. hahahaha.

    i’m still happy i was born to filipino parents. the cheerfulness is one of the things i am thankful for.

    the afternoon sun there must be very soothing…cheer up, you got that beautiful sun.

  8. you’re absolutely right. now if these damned businessmen over here will only learn that crying over spilt milk doesn’t help and learn from our Pinoy resiliency, things could be better. it’s true, people always tell me i’m a cheerful person, they don’t know we Pinoys have cheerfulness as a built-in defense mechanism, having always had to cope with tough times.
    don’t get me wrong, just baiting you there, ha ha, you’re much too serious to fish for compliments but just the way you said it was really funny, i don’t know why. and there must be something wrong with your counter, i had read that entry before, as i said, one would need a PhD in philosophy to comment on that :).

  9. ibbie,

    we’re all interconnected after all. and you should not say that what is happening there in antwerp has nothing to do with the blogging activities of a twenty-something in some unknown city of a third world country in the pacific. i feel for you, although it’d be hypocritical to say that i know what you feel. but whatever little understanding i have of your case, i hope, in my little way, i help alleviate whatever bad feelings you have now.

    we’ll all weather this one. we filipinos are known for that. our optimism is an over-kill.

  10. i’m glad to cheer up a bit, though not completely, it’s a very sad day today. one of antwerp’s biggest employers, Opel, owned by General Motors has shut down today after months of trying to save it, causing the unemployment of some 2,600 direct employees, to a total of about 5,000 including closely associated companies (spareparts producers, etc). and that’s not all because other businesses (caterers, other suppliers) will also lose their business.
    General Motors had planned to sell Opel to the highest bidder. The last remainig candidate was a Canadian parts manufacturer in cooperation with a Russian bank. After they had shown their proposals, including feasibility studies,etc the Americans got their own ideas from those being presented, i think, and decided not to sell after all. If Opel had been sold off, the chances of the Antwerp factory staying would have been greater. Now, it’s final, some stupid (i want to use some really strong expletive, but well) topman called Nick Reilly announced the news in Brussels.
    It’s only my unqualified opinion, but as Kazuo Ishiguro describes so perfectly in his novel ‘the remains of the day’americans laugh at the naiveté of those who still value fair play. such words are taboo in the american vocabulary, i think.
    First, their citizens make banks tumble down due to overspending and abuse of credit, causing the world economic crisis, and they can’t even be bothered, they go on demanding the rest of the world help out in solving the crisis they had caused. and to add insult to injury, this topman has demanded that the local government help out (financially, what else) with the closure formalities as the employees should of course not be left in the cold.
    sorry, this has absolutely nothing to do with your blog, but ok, can’t help it, Peter of ‘Antwerp Calling’ has a friend who’s losing his job, everyone’s bound to be affected. dark days ahead. thank god i’ve always boycotted american products, even those that sound local.

  11. @ibbie


    i was browsing the site, looking for my old posts, when i ran into this one. i thought it is angst-ridden, i wrote this when i saw myself caught in manila. not that i am ‘fishing for compliments’ (hahaha, i don’t really, it consoles me, though, to know that somebody is reading this) but i was just wondering that no one took any interest in this. it never registered any reader. this one, i can still remember, was inspired by one of my saddest nights in the capital.

    hahaha. i am not tyrannical. come on! you digest those novels by french writers as if they’re children’s fairytale; this one won’t pose any problem.

  12. Good thing you posted the link on Facebook, that’s why nakita ko. Hehe. Ari ko sa city. Early pa b buas para sa Sex Bomb dancers. Personal Alalay naman eh. HA HA!

  13. hahaha. profound. deep.

    grabeh charmie, i didn’t expect you to drop by this time considering the speed of your connection there in the dorm area…

    hahaha. there’d be nothing to write about without conflict.

  14. hahahahaha, talk about fishing for compliments, :). no kidding, am really laughing out loud here. i think the neighbors are gonna knock on the ceiling, ha ha. you’re a dangerous creature, man :).
    if it consoles you, mr recabar, your readers proably find it difficult to choose from all your posts, they’re all such attention-drawers, that’s why. really, LOL.
    and maybe this post is just too profound for the average reader, it is for this reader at least.
    lucky you got out of that stupid place. for the crowd, individualists are tyrannical, i guess. and frankly, you show a lot of tyrannical traits, LOL.

  15. I read this twice. Haha. Kay para mas maintindihan ko gd. I agree with what you said, that the individual and the world will never meet.

    “Either the concerns of this world are too shallow for the individual to comprehend. Or the concerns of the individual are too detached from reality that the world is unable to understand.”

    That is why this world will never run out of conflicts because if it did, then what are we left to struggle for? 🙂

  16. Personally, this is one of my favorite posts. I do not understand why no one is reading this…

    Just thinking out loud.

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