It’s a fairly recent phenomenon, at least on the computer timeline. Leaving a comment on a friend’s blog would only process for approval after I “proved I was not a robot” by typing in the blurry words provided by “the robot”. Irony, anyone? I’m assuming there is not a human just sitting waiting to get these words run across his or her screen typed correctly so he or she can press the “approved” button verifying the key tapper on the other end is in fact biological in nature. And so, I can only assume another robot approved my non-robotic proof. I would love the opportunity to type, YOU FIRST! And then, my friend would never get my comment and sooooo, I behaved and conformed to the cyber rule of humanity verified via machine. Deus ex machina, anyone?
There are so very many metaphors apparent with this one statement, “Please prove you’re not a robot”. They all come down to authenticity, don’t they? Everywhere you look, we are bombarded with constant reminders of what we need to succeed. Clever jingles remind us we might have been born attractive but chances are, it’s really the makeup which allows us to be presentable in public. Even Abercrombie and Fitch is in trouble, or at least the CEO is, coming under fire for not selling XL clothes because he wants to “attract the cool kids”. There are so many choices out there for all of our daily needs and desires, it’s a wonder any business stays in business very long! So, how do we stay authentic? I’m glad you asked! You did ask, didn’t you?
Authenticity is not easy for everyone. In the truck today, my 6 year old daughter asked if we really “need” money. She has been pondering our misuse of money as a society ever since she found out about way back when’s bartering system. She feels we don’t really need money. Everyone should just do what they are good at and share equally with others and everyone will have what they need! It really is as basic as that, isn’t it? And yet, I had to explain to her that to live in our culture unfortunately, we do need money to live and pay bills for all the different basic necessities. However, I told her, if we lived with a tribe somewhere, wherever they may still exist, we would live on what was around us to be found and money would no longer be an issue. She gets it! She loved that idea! We didn’t talk menu of course, (no need to burst her bubble) but, she gets the basic idea of all the materialistic excess we wallow in, and even more amazing, she sees how distracting it is from relationships. She keeps me grounded, that little logical scientist!
I feel a bit like a social chameleon, most of the time. Having lived in different countries, I became very adept, very young, at blending into situations, observing the cultural norm and doing my best to copy it. There were many families who could not and would not incorporate the local culture in all the countries I lived in, demanding everyone else recognize where they were from and proudly refuse to be educated in the present culture and so they missed out on many treasures our family experienced because of our willingness to soak up what other’s had to offer. While in these situations however, I do my very best to be true to who I am, my inside values and ethics don’t change even though my body language and words do, according to the circumstance in which I find myself. For example, I wouldn’t follow a dare which compromised my morals just to fit in, or do anything else I don’t agree with to go along with the crowd but, I would change my syntax and etiquette to not stand out and to show appreciation for someone else’s turf. There are times I am not true as well, such as at my writer’s group. (That’s the most tame example I feel comfortable sharing, I know there are more, sigh.) Not sharing when I really should have, because it’s part of why I joined in the first place. Darn inner introvert was shining through, or perhaps that’s the wrong way to put it, I was dulling down to my subconscious self-conscious and not venturing out.
Are you authentic? Are you, YOU, no matter what? Are you able to adapt to surroundings instead of having them adapt to you? Or do you demand to stand out at the expense of others? Perhaps you don’t even realize what you’re missing. My challenge to you is take a deep breath, and hold it! Okay, that was metaphorically speaking, breathe! If you tend to be the loudest one in the room, try something new and, step back, observe and soak in. If you are the wallflower type, take a chance, step out and join in the mayhem surrounding you, it might be the best time of your life! Just stay the course, keep true to who you are, don’t be a robot and compromise your value. It might be an experience worth repeating.