Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay 

The road was pretty rusty by a heavy rainfall that prolonged over a whole week. The bike riders were cautious while taking turns. The sky with radiant blue color seemed healthy after shedding the grey clouds towards far-away lands. The road went down with no end but soil-smudged vehicles parked around houses far better described in Dicken’s novels. Some with paintless walls exposing cement, corroded window panes, creaking door, rusty door locks, dark rooms, simple structures with complex ingredients, and people of various backgrounds into one alley of what society likes to call, below middle class or- sometimes, poor.

A girl of age around nine to ten with a pink toothbrush stuck between her teeth curiously watched my hooded figure looking at the top of her tiny tiled roof. Her mother from behind, squatted like a humpy frog was busy cleaning clothes, whose strength and domination snatched away the strength and validity of the clothes at every slap on the hard rock. I wanted to observe more of the girl’s features and I regret not taking my camera toward that spot, where I happen to stumble while searching for a cycle repair shop. Sometimes we seem to understand things while comparing them to their extreme opposite ends. In this article, I saw huge buildings with well-off people over the roof of that about-to-be-lucky girl. Not just one building, but many, all the same, lined like school children with a similar uniform. The brown staircases leading to the terrace were twisted like DNA. The yellow water tanks at the top were heavily tired and open-mouthed for rainwater. The balcony, filled with flowerpots and wet clothes, couldn’t help but force me into thinking about my life choice as an IT engineer in a Multinational company a few kilometers from there.

We like to be safe, to feel safe, and act safely because that’s what we aspired to do since the first organism emerged. With safety, we can reproduce in more numbers, with more of our kind we feel unconditional safety within ourselves. But, what’s changed now is that this craving to be safe is being disengaged in modern society with its affluence in every field directing our basic needs for survival. Enlightenment preachers like Steven Pinker are proud to say that we are living the best lives compared to the complete history of humankind. We are no more threatened by surprise attacks from opposite clans or countries. There is enough food to imbibe and enough security guards and policemen- ready to get their promotions. This idea of feeling safe is no more physiological but psychological.

With each generation, the ideology behind hairstyle, dress, climate, government policies, education, and health changes like the continuous flow of tides and waves. Our inability to imagine and accept change remained constant in one go. It puts in this paradox of human decision-making where we are progressing relative to the negative acceptance rate we expose at every new thing. The way out of this paradox is not too difficult to guess for it would take no greater effort than to realize that among humans there is those separate group, who very rarely stumble over each other, who imagine and create things in an unprecedentedly new way. We call them Outliers. The world is built by outliers who ignored societal claims to go for the right thing instead of a new thing. When I look at those houses, I am not complaining about the inhabitants but the architect who could only imagine the weakness of conformist thought. Maybe, he was weak too, due to strict imposition from his boss or he just wanted to save some extra time to spend with his family. It would be very wrong of me to expect every architect to be Howard Roark from Ayn Rand’s influential novel The Fountainhead. One simply doesn’t seek out novel ways because they could be a part of the wind that changes the motion of society’s tide.

We like being different, being unique, and staying above the crowd’s herd mentality, but we always fail to calculate the amount of sacrifice it takes to be that way. Even if I have a certain talent that with practice could make me happy or bring some money, I should be equipped with one more ingredient to take me to that place. Courage. Talent without courage is a peacock without feathers. The loop in which every educated human life is so contagious that free time without a smart device feels like hell time. Although many hate their nine-to-five job, there’s very little affinity in them to get out of it. It is not because they can’t, it's simply because what if they leave their job? Thousand more questions pop up like bubbles within the foam disturbing the balance of the mind. Questions are hard to answer when they concern our inner self.

What if we were given a choice that our most important decisions, which specifically call for non-conformity, would change the course of history when observed from the future?

Before moving on with this question, I would like to announce the cruel fact that non-conformists never did care about their impact on the world at large. All they do is something that they want to do. It's difficult to seep in the extended implication that all of those uneducated, unemployed, and undeserving citizens are all types of non-conformists. We have to be careful while differentiating them from the Outliers. A heart-throbbing good-looking person isn’t beautiful because he was born beautiful, he is beautiful because the people around him are average looking. Just like the previous analogy, Outliers are those beautiful people.

When it comes to the question of serving society it never occurs to any Outlier that they are bringing in the change that would in turn change the course of humanity. When Einstein was writing the Special Theory of Relativity, he simply wanted to challenge the established authority, which we know was not clear of the fundamental objective facts. Every living person lives half of his life in sleep and subjective trance that involve quarrels, love, anxiety, happiness, sadness, etc. The other half in his/her work indirectly serves the intersubjective realities called Company, Country, or any ideology. So, if one were to know this his decision would change the future, he would only shy away with his imagination which would fall short due to the complexity of the decision's path moving through minds of all kinds.

That little girl and her family, who does hard work all day long with no expectation to get to those identically looking buildings is far better than those who work all day long carrying the wrong intention towards others and getting back home with regrets. It is not that the girl’s family isn’t caught in a loop, they too need money to survive, but unlike the ones in the building they can do what job role they wish. Choices are limited but not as much as those above them. Everybody lives once, according to science, the nihilists went lucky about after-death. My question is, why live a life of a conductor who travels the same way all around the year? Why not be a street dog, that could live wherever it wants with minimal need?

The signs of conformity are everywhere, from the toothbrush with bristles of exact length to the parking lot structure that constricts our space. They are being ritualized to control our mode of thought and redirect us to become an ideal citizen, not a man building his story. At the end of the day, we are nothing but a story, let that story be different and sometimes foolish too. For foolishness is nothing but a kind of madness that others are afraid of exposing. 

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