It didn't occur to me until about a week ago that I am a mutant.
When genes duplicate, the overwhelming majority of them are copied with perfect fidelity, with only the occasional rogue gene mutating into something unexpected. Most of these mutations, called neutral mutations, have no real effect.
Once in a while, though, a gene mutates, and happens to produce a significant difference in its host, and that difference affects the host's survivability.
I've been isolated lately. I wake up in the RV, start working, and take breaks only to go to the spa to shower, or to eat. Sometimes I read at night. I see my friends a couple times a week, but mostly I'm by myself. I have almost no interaction with strangers.
I used to go to a spa in the mall, but I switched to one across the street in a hotel, so I hadn't been going to the mall. I found out that a Chipotle opened in the mall, though, so I went in for the first time in a while.
The mall is a bit of a magical place for me, because it's this immersive experience of what life is like for most people. There's offensively condescending advertising, trendy clothes, crappy food, and, most importantly, a lot of fairly normal people. As weird as it sounds, I feel like I'm at the zoo, observing another species.
Something about seeing the mall-- this intense expression of everything I don't participate in-- and having been separated from it for so long, really made me think. I realized that I'm not a normal person who's a little bit weird. I'm actually a weird person who's a little bit normal. I'm a mutant.
Somewhere along the line, for some reason, I went astray of the path that most people follow. I mutated. The variance from the norm was small at first, but a trajectory away from a straight line will only bring you farther as you continue to drift. Now I'm way out there.
Lives are complex things that don't neatly fit into categories, but if I try to get to the root of how I'm different, I'd say that somewhere along the line, I just decided to start doing whatever I wanted to do. That's my mutation.
If genetic mutation is the building block of evolution, maybe social mutation is the building block of culture. Normal cells, and normal people, are absolutely necessary in the quantities they come in. But mutations are important, too; they're the ones that push things forward.
Just another good reason to keep being weird.
Photo is me swinging off an abandoned tower in a WWII NSA listening base in Berlin.
Posted from the side of the road a few hours outside of Portland. Funny road trip story:
I ran out of gas in the middle of the night, four miles before the gas station. I always run out of gas on road trips. I did the natural thing-hopped onto my folding gas-powered scooter that I store inside the RV, and blasted down the side of the freeway to the gas station. Bought a gas can, filled it up, and began to head back. I realized that my only option was to drive back on the same shoulder I came on, because the highway was divided and I wouldn't be able to get across the ditch in the middle. Lots of confused drivers flashing their lights at me.
haha this post really hit home with me. I've never really been the guy who follows the norm or does all those shits. In fact when I was small I would always question my mom about why we did stuff just cause society says we had to. I have always been kind of oblivious to the other way, because i love my life too much to care about the others.
but once in a while, when i go to the mall, be it for a random movie or that random product i don't want to ship, i see it. Everyone moving around to the beat of the same drummer. From store to store, looking for a piece of clothing to impress their friends. Or walking around trying to find the best deal on something they don't need when in fact the best deal would be not buying it at all. Everyone just ends up seeing so robotic and superficial that at first yo believe you are better, as if you are one step above.
But after a while you look back and you understand that some of these people live their everyday lives just fine. they go day to day and enjoy the little moments in their life that stand out, even if they are not deliberate. They enjoy there once every 5 year vacation to europe and all that other cliche stuff you here about. But the truth is, as Tyler from RSD said, if you live in a First world country all your problems are man made and thus they are just living to day comfortably and happy in a somewhat complacent way.
I classify this as "Memetic Mutation". A personality the whole greater than the sum of its parts-- and those parts are memes (ideas or behaviors that replicate). An organism preserves homeostasis unless it is threatened. A group of memes forming a personality will resist Memetic Mutation, because it is valuable for each meme to resist mutations (in the same way it is valuable for a person to obtain a lease, guaranteeing they can continue to reside in their home). However, when the very existence of the group (of memes) is threatened, the lease contract / homeostasis goes out the door, and the group is willing to throw any members overboard, beat a new behavior into them, or welcome in a new member. Most people only adapt when their alternative is death. And they adapt only a few times in their whole life-- key life turning points. "Cusp" of personal responsibility. What makes Evolvers, different? We adapt, mutating our memes WHENEVER WE STAND TO GAIN. We have a meme that considers "not thriving when there is opportunity to do so" to be equivalent to "death". Because the part of ourselves that GROWS will die if we stop growing. We are mutants, as different a species in our memes as chimpanzees are in their genes. We adapt, and when our new behaviors / mutated memes prove valuable, very quickly the meme spreads as others take on the now proven, "socially safe" behavior. Sorry for this rant, but your post speaks to something I've been giving a great deal of thought; it seems trying to articulate a truth I hold dear to my heart, and spent a long time identifying. If you want to read more about Memes, I suggest Richard Dawkins' "The Selfish Gene", in the last chapter of which he coins the term. -- http://RONENV.COM
I guess I might be mutant too. But I am not fortunate enough to be able to live my life exactly as I wish. The first goal is to make enough money to take care of close family and then I can totally be myself.
Nothing worst than the mall, gotta agree with you on that one!!
Being labelled normal is an insult in this day and age, normal is basically being a doomed sheep!
I already feel like normal people live in the Matrix, not the cool "anything the mind can conceive feels real" Matrix ..but the jelly covered body in the pod like organic battery side of it where they're unaware that they are merely faceless/indistinct cogs in a huge machine going nowhere.
Normal people work jobs they hate to earn money to buy junk food to treat themselves and drink alcohol and take drugs to distract them from the reality of a mundane empty existence where they just consuming resources, in their sober moment they let their ego's get them into debt buying things they can't actually afford, merely treading water mentally saying they'll do something interesting "one day".. at best 20/30/40 years later if they're lucky.
The normal masses eat junk, mainly carbs, processed junk with tons of pure sugar that makes them unhealthy when coupled with their car and (for the majority) desk bound lives, invariably ending up on medication for everything from diabetes to heart conditions and wait for others to "fix" them, not taking any responsibility for their actions or their own life.
Being in a minority is a bonus.. being a mutant is the goal... long live the mutants!
I was on the phone a couple days ago with my friend Hayden. After hearing about my plan to continue up to San Francisco, he predicted that within a year I would be living "somewhere posh". I doubt it. I really just love living in this RV, and can't imagine circumstances that would make me move out (famous last words). There are certainly upgrades I'd like to do (more solar, more batteries, more water capacity), but for now I have no inclination to move out.
Why do I love it so much? What makes me so willing to give up things like adequate floor space for a trash can? Here are six of my favorite things about living in an RV.
Moving becomes easy. As I skateboarded over to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant (Rahel on Fairfax), I realized that I am basically a Los Angeles resident. Not for tax purposes, of course, but I feel the same as when I lived here a few years ago. Visiting somewhere, complete with sightseeing, hotels, and rental cars, feels different than living somewhere. I may only plan on being here for a few weeks, but I feel like a resident.
I'm an introvert. I've been introverted for as long as I can remember, always preferring solitary activities, or activities with select friends or small groups. I never had any interest in attending parties, but often did because I was invited and it was 'the normal thing to do'.
But I hated it, found them boring and a complete waste of time.
After discovering only six years ago that I was an introvert and what that actually meant, I embraced the 'ownership' of it. I decided to be an introvert and be happy with it, rather than try to fit in with extroverted 'social obligations'.
I stopped going to parties filled with people I don't know, and just went to the smaller dinner parties where I knew most people there. I enjoyed time to myself, doing my own things, without feeling guilty about it because extroverts were telling me it wasn't 'normal'.
I also started breaking away from the extroverts in my life, choosing to avoid them instead of hanging around them. At least those who just made me uncomfortable with their judgements about what was and wasn't normal.