The Loner Manifesto
The Anatomy of Individualism
by Jason Crumer (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Modern culture brings us many comforts and conveniences. We have insulated homes wired with phones and television. We have cars and public transportation. We have an abundance of food stores and restaurants. We have public education and a lot of colleges to choose from. We have institutions that offer us opportunities for both personal and professional advancement. But all these cultural advantages come at a price.
The price of admittance is a certain amount of conformity. Our education system gives us standardized tests to make sure we learn a set number of variables. It also serves as the social structure where young people first find or lose acceptance outside their families. High school and college continue to add demands on whom we are and what we know in order to be fully admitted into the culture. And the work place has its own demands on what we are in order to be "successful." Sure many different people are involved in the process, but a certain amount of homogenization takes place. Even if the homogenization doesn't take root inside us, it is required to at least look as if we have conformed. What we wear, when and with whom. What we say, and how we say it. What we do, and for whom. Each of these things is important if we desire the benefits of the culture.
But in conforming in order to obtain the benefits the culture has to offer, we often lose the ability to interpret one of the most fundamental needs of human existence: when someone really loves and accepts us for who we are.
If we become, or at least look like we've become, an integral part of the culture, we will find acceptance. But since that acceptance is based solely on how well we've modified our appearance, we cannot know for sure if people love and accept us for what we are inside or for what we've learned how to show on the outside. Finding someone, a best friend, family member or lover, who will take the time and the risk to find out who we really are, becomes one of our major objectives. As our culture becomes more mobile and more demanding, this becomes increasingly difficult. One need only stay up and watch late-night television with all its moronic but successful "love lines" to see just how completely intense the search for acceptance has become.
It is, ironically, in this search for love and acceptance that loners find their birth. They have hit upon a simple and almost foolproof way to delineate between cultural acceptance and personal acceptance. They have blatantly and forcefully rejected the culture. They, unlike many counter-cultures and the like, do what they do not to offend the sensible, but to reject the mono. To the eyes of some yuppie fucks they appear reprehensible, but a true loner is a hero. Loners are saviors of culture. They are saviors of a true culture that lasts, not plastic cup culture or disposable Americana. They develop their own way, and subsequently with their politics, their environment, and their art they make clear they do not and will not fit in the dominant culture. They get a lot of rejection, but they know it's from people who would only accept them on a cultural basis. And when others do continue to love and accept them, they know it is not a cultural acceptance but a personal one. The fact that you don't have to be at all like them to be their friend attests that they are not merely adding an alternate cultural norm to adopt in order to have value, but truly discovering themselves and their place.
Although you need not be a loner to be friends with one, it is quite understandable that people willing to subject themselves to massive rejection in order to have true acceptance by a few would naturally have much common ground for friendships. What many loners didn't get from the dominant culture, they are able to give and get from each other. Where the outside world offers false acceptance if they conform, their own loose-knit community of friends offers real acceptance regardless. This is why loners hang out with weird random people, not in pre-set social groups like so many others, where, even in counter-cultural circles, conformity is the key to success.
Minus standardized expectations, loners find a freedom to be themselves. You can be an atheist or a Christian. You can be political or not. You can be republican or democrat, a communist or anarchist. You can be in good shape or bad. You can do drugs or not. You can dance or not dance. You can be rich or poor, and it doesn't matter because those values are no longer the basis for acceptance.
This unusual form of community oriented non-community life that loners have developed does not make them immune from human failings. They fuck up as badly as the rest of us, and they also love and care as do the rest of us. They have all the same attributes of humanity as the businessperson, the homemaker, the college student and the retired person. But they also have a community in which they know they are accepted for who they feel they are rather than for what they're told to be. And they have found this to be worth the rejection they get from society by their refusal to play in what they see as a heartless game.
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