16 September 2008

The art of being yourself

"Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd."
- Edith Sitwell (1887 - 1964)

There is no counting the publications today devoted to "How-to" directives for forming our characters - rules for dressing right and eating right and speaking right and rightly getting ahead in the world. Just follow these rules and you too can join a standardized populace in one great grey goo of bumpless similarity.

I think the time is at hand for our finding, in a flash of ancient glory revived, the art of being ourselves. All you can do by listening to rules and sedulously conforming your life to them is the hideous art of how to be nobody at all.
  • Thomas Edison slept 4 hours a day, instead of the recommended 8
  • Charles Waterson, english naturalist, slept in a tree occassionally because he felt it gave him the right tuning for feeling like a piece of God's creation
  • Henry Ward Beecher used words in an unconventional way, and this made him the greatest orator of his day. He said: "If the English language gets in my way, God help it"
  • Charles Darwin hated social encounters so much that he often became ill. He therefore stuck to himself and came up with the Theory of Evolution.
There is and always will be the threat that we are thought for, rules, regulated, pushed around, made into things. There is only one weapon against that, which is the Dionysian self!

My favourite outsiders:

{Diana Vreeland}