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If you don’t “get” a piece of art or literature that everybody else raves over, it doesn’t mean you aren’t sophisticated. This applies to everything, really. It may be the latest bestseller, or the latest style, or the latest TV show. Perhaps you’ve tried to understand the appeal. Perhaps you’ve even faked that you like it. Perhaps you’ve hidden what you truly like because it isn’t “in.”

Please stop doing this.

What if everybody else is faking it too?

Wouldn’t it be better if everybody was honest? Sometimes what is popular really isn’t that great. Sometimes what is “high art” really doesn’t make sense. Sometimes what is fashionable is really quite ugly and painful to wear.
It is far better to wake up from the mass delusion of popular culture and just like what you like. Maybe the artwork or the novel or the clothing style doesn’t speak to you because it doesn’t actually have anything to say. It isn’t your lack of class that is the problem.

It is entirely possible that the art piece that you don’t understand is just as incomprehensible to everyone else, and they are faking it too. Perhaps it is just blobs of paint on a canvas, and there is no real meaning there. It is entirely possible that the modern day bestseller really isn’t that good, and the plot is terrible, and the writing is infantile.

There are plenty of famous classic works that aren’t that good that we were forced to read in high school. These works have killed off more passion for reading for fun than they have inspired new readers.

It is perfectly OK to buy all your clothing from Goodwill. It is perfectly OK to drink white zinfandel from a box. Be yourself. By being who you are, instead of buying into the mass delusion of what is “good” (that really isn’t), you’ll actually feel better, and you’ll give other people permission to be themselves too.

How do you divorce yourself from popular culture? For starters, stop watching television. Perhaps that is too radical for you. Try this – pick one night a week and turn the TV off. Read a book. Play a board game. Do something not electronic. The further you can get from the television the better. You’ll no longer have “your” thoughts created for you. Work up to unplugging the TV entirely. You’ll find you have more time to do everything else that you love to do but haven’t found time to do. The TV is a chain around our necks. The same is true for Facebook. Both can be useful tools, but they are more often huge time-sucks. Time is in short supply. Be mindful how you use it, or it will get away from you.

Look at what everybody is raving over and really examine it. The fact that it is popular is a clue that maybe there isn’t really anything there. It is part of the delusion. It has been marketed as “popular,” but not “meaningful.” Don’t waste your precious time on something just because everybody else is doing it.

Western culture has pushed a sense of entitlement on us. We are taught that we deserve the best. We are taught that we need to have the latest, hottest, coolest thing. We then are suffering from our excesses. We go into bankruptcy. We are obese. We have huge houses yet no place to live in them because of all the stuff we have. Our stuff isn’t real. It isn’t what we want. It is what we are told that we want.

We don’t need to have manicures and pedicures. We don’t need to wear makeup. These are things that are pushed on us to teach us that we aren’t good enough on our own. These are prosthesis, when none are needed. We are taught that we need to color our hair so nobody sees the grey. We are taught that we need to do so many things to our bodies so that we look “normal.” We are normal, the way we are.

It is hard at first to break free from the hive mind. But the more you become yourself, the more you help others do the same. I encourage you to be you. You are the only you there is. Celebrate that fact.

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