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The Reverse Individuality Theory

Updated: May 18

I recall a certain, distant memory from kindergarten. The teacher sat us down in a circle and asked us how "special" we all are. They pointed at each pupil and said "you are unique" and "you are unique," until the premise was that we are all unique.

Whether or not that turned out to be true, there seems to be an oxymoron in this anecdote: if we are all unique, doesn't that mean that we are all the same? After all, in order to be unique, we must be distinct, AKA different, from one another. And if we are all unique, then we are all the same in the sense that we are unique. The great irony in this is that if we were to put in that circle a person who is not unique, AKA too bland to be memorable, that would mean that he is more unique than any of us.

How can a normal person be a very distinct individual? It appears that there is a certain degree of normalcy that can make one unique enough than many "textbook" unique people. Take for example our physical appearance. We all have different body types and different sizes of facial features. Should someone have all the physical traits that a textbook average person would have (certain height, certain hairstyle, certain arrangement of facial features, and so on), then that person would be very unique by their own averageness.

The irony of being unique is that the more people strive to be unique, the less unique they become. This is because certain types of uniqueness become normalized as more people adopt them. For example, goths, hippies, and hipsters were all unique trends at the time, but they became normalized as more people started following them.

The issue with individuality is that it is very relative. If you are "like anyone else," you are not unique, but if you are too distinct, AKA, not like many others, then you are unique.

The premise behind individuality is that such comparisons are not necessary in order for one to be distinct. However, the very word "distinct" implies relativity. Individuality, therefore, always has to be relative in order to either occur or not occur. It does not exist beyond the framework of a society, as I had hoped, but it is embedded within it in the name of one's own evaluation.

Thus, if all people became unique, the normal would become the "true" unique, and if everyone was normal, the unique would remain that way. Obviously, this implies that normalcy is also relative to those who are too different to be normal. And yet, the more normal and bland you are, the more unique you will be compared to others.

According to this article I found, The most normal man in the world is a "28-year-old Chinese man who is right-handed, has a cellphone, and no bank account." It is ironic that the most normal human being is Chinese, but with that country having the largest population on the planet, it is not surprising, especially if we add more Asian countries to the list. Since the article is from 2011, however, it may be a bit outdated. There is even an AI-generated face in the article.

Likewise, there are people with great physical differences, either artificial or inherited, such as a person who tattooed one of their eyes or a certain man with around 96% of their body covered in hair (I will provide a source shortly). The fact that there are so many unique people that they are put into a different category makes them actually pretty normal compared to more "normal-appearing" people.

I found this article, as well, to show some examples, even though some might intimidate you a bit if you're not ready. Anyways, if all the people from the source above walked together on the street, the locals might identify them as being a company, even if they are just randomly happen to walk on the same sidewalk and in the same direction.

If you wish to be more distinguished than others, you must first identify your environment and the people in it. Then, find out what they all have in common. Once you have the similarities, begin turning to the opposite direction when it comes to all the similarities that you can change. Then, at least in that framework, you will be truly unique.

However, don't be surprised to find that, even though you have transformed, you are just a typical man or woman in a very different framework. Ultimate uniqueness, therefore, can be attained by either being extremely normal or extremely different. And that is for you, the Reverse Individuality Theory.

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1 Comment

Roland Leblanc
Roland Leblanc
Jul 12, 2021

Interesting article; it seems to me that what makes us unique is the purpose that we carry on in our selves even if we do not know what it is! But also, what makes us part of the Whole Humanity is the goal that we all carry on our shoulders; this is if we are aware of our unique purpose for us to be part of this rectification of our world as per our made to do or life purpose...

Conclusion:I see it as both at the same time; we need to be as much as possible as all the others in order to be able to do our share and reach them, and at the same time, we need…


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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