Nice, discreet, uncertain people: the new heroes

To R., for the idea

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(Theme-movie of today : Frances Ha by Noah Baumbach)

The less we can say is that nowadays nice people are not exactly popular within our society. Being “too nice” is often seen as an insult and “Too nice for your own good” is notoriously said about someone generous whom believes everyone else is acting the same way.

Or again “you believe you live in Care Bears world?” that we hear so much lately (at least in France), another saying to definitely shut your mouth up when you dare to believe you live in such a world, or wish you would (mind you though, the very idea of living permanently on a cloud surrounded by multicolored bears with a plastic diamond on their chest eating candies all day long seems more like Hell to me but fine).

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I mean, seriously

Kindness is depreciated, such as the dream of a pacified society where we would not be forced to first be suspicious about our kind, is omnipresent as long as I can remember. At young age I was not at all able to handle myself in any way and then trust was totally vital, as it is for all kids. From where is coming this famous “innocence loss”, when we finally get it is not always working this way and we will have to learn eventually to blindly trust everyone. It is a shame though.

Because they are lovable, these distracted, naive, dreamy people. It is very common than they actually would like very much to be another way, more alerts, less dreamy, more assertive, less trustful too, more Cartesian for sure, to shut down their feelings, scoff them, ask them to take less space. I know something about it. To be able to not caring at all about what other people think and that they like us or not, which is a very good advice in some circumstances but can also be a terrible one.

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We do talk a lot lately about the need of assuming what we are, especially if we are considered out of society mental and physical canons. I agree with this of course but what we usually can read in publications encouraging you to be proud of yourself is also insidiously telling us that it would be good though to still be inside of the norms, that it would still be better if we really want to feel good about ourselves. Because every faux-pas will still have the sanction coming after it.

It is contradictory of course, for a change. It would actually be a nice chronic topic, let me write it down somewhere.

The same way that it is for sure easier to assume who you are if you are made for perform in this specific system, meaning if you have the right age, the right appearance, the right skin color, the right gender, the right family background and, for the specific matter of today’s article, the right social culture allowing you to manage your relationships the same way you would do with start up employees. It is probably easier to assume who you are if you are certain of your right of growth in society and if you assume that we have to be ready to walk on each other heads in order to do it. Someone aggressively social, not shy, sure of himself and of their right to express their opinion with the quiet insurance of being listened and approved.

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We do valorize a lot certainty or at least the appearance of it. The most important is not that much anymore to actually know something, to believe in it deeply or even to be vaguely informed of it, the confidence you show while saying enormous bullshit can be enough to make others forget about it. Our politicians are dealing with it quite well actually.

I am finishing lately the famous book of Susan Cain Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, describing pretty well this phenomenon, with the example of the US that always seem to be avant-gardist in every way including neurotic behaviors but as good followers we are in Europe, we should not wait too much to catch back. So I consider this book as quite prophetic while she describes very well this culture of over extraversion we could sometimes wish to be less dependent on (but only sometimes, for many other things such as activism or TV shows, it is amazing).

Susan Cain is describing the absurdity of this system favoring outrageously extraversion in every aspect of life, give to the best pretenders trust benefits. So we all pretend, more or less easily and more or less successfully. But when you try to dig it down a bit, you discover than most of us really hate this but really few dare to voice it, so afraid of being labeled “too sensitive”. The ones that are sweating, that feel too warm inside, than feel quite accurately than they control nothing at all and manage to give up this crazy ambition at some point, no matter how important it to control everything.

I needed some time, I still do, to start a bit to accept myself this way, the fact than being too sensitive is also a good thing. That I should not be afraid of being seen as too emotive, doubting all the time, not knowing all at all. It might be this actually, to assume who we are, on the quiet way, not necessarily having to scream out loud how proud of yourself you are but accepting we don’t control anything. Because this is what is making a connection between 2 human beings so amazing, these feelings so intense that they cannot be controlled, this is why we are not only consumers or human resources.

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The hardest things to say are usually the most important, having emotions driving us nuts when we think about it, before talking, while talking, after the talk, mumbling, crying, being clumsy, this is making us the opposite of machines, no matter that we hear all the time that we “need to command our life” and other kind of capitalistic sermons or incantations, as the examination of performance replaced old times soul-searching.

Sensitive, lost, emotive, distracted, discreet, nice people are the ones who will help us getting out of this mentality, thanks to all these impossible to hide feelings we will allow ourselves to feel a bit less alone.

So if Care Bears world could look a bit more like that, it would be great, it is quite realistic and already happening. Ultra liberalism believers are saying all the time that we need to be realistic, they should be happy this time, for once we agree on something!

Frances-One

 

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