Involution: Inside The Outsiders

Involution: Inside The Outsiders
I was very young when I first found my fascination for outsiders.  The teacher was reading Snow White and we were all sitting on the floor around her listening.

The fairy tale, like many others, taught us that life was very straight forward.  There are good people and bad people.  It all made sense, it all felt safe.  Then a question popped in my head.  “What made the Queen so evil?  Was she ugly when she was little and made fun of?”  After that, I could only think about how much better it would be if the plot was about the origins of the evil Queen.

We’ve constantly heard that we’re primarily deeply social creatures by nature.  We also know deep down that social banishment is extremely threatening to our evolutionary welfare.  So what happens when there are exceptions?  What happens when there are people who don’t have an instinct to belong – who choose the Involutionary path instead of the Evolutionary way?  What about those people who don’t care about being popular?  Or those that don’t place social rejection at the top of their ‘fear lists’?

This is where the outsider is born.

Typical is Strange

Innately we are born aimless beings.  Slowly and unwittingly through our childhood, we are given a standard of what it is we should aspire for and pursue.  Prestige, fear, money and power are the typical incentives.

At some point, outsiders realize that typical isn’t fulfilling.  And so begins an inner evolution of the heart, mind and soul, an Involution.

For instance, your typical job is a draining 50 years of work unrelated to your true passions, and your belief system isn’t fulfilling either, especially when deep down you know it creates a world replete with inequality.  Your typical health and eating habits are pretty bad as well, not to mention the thousands of typical debt you have in your bank account.  Even your typical marriage is statistically bound for failure, while your typical lack of self-exploration leads to a personally unfulfilled and emotionally reactive life.

The general mentality is: It’s good enough for everyone else, so why not me?  Nobody really wants any of those typical things, but most will continue to pretend.

Involutionary Outsiders have learned that society’s standard should have nothing to do with their own.  Does having higher standards mean they think they’re better than everyone else?  No.  It means everyone else is running below their capacity, and outsiders want to make up for the distance.  Involutionary Outsiders gauge their progress against what’s typical, and instead base their standards on their own thoughts and feelings – not what’s normal.

Many will argue that if we’re all so typical, how did we create such brilliant innovations in science, spirituality, technology, literature and so forth?  In fact, it was not our human specie as a whole who delivered these incredible feats, but fierce outsider individuals who deviated from the comfortable “typical” (such as Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, Jung, Picasso), who were often received harshly by the “typicals” of the time.

Outsider Courage

Typicals will always encourage you to be typical.  To advise you otherwise would force them to have to re-evaluate their typical standards as well.  Tell someone you want to become a writer instead of studying medicine and they’ll respond with telling you what a dangerous and bad career choice that is.  Tell someone you want to become a vegetarian and you’ll be met with stories of friends of friends who became vegetarians and started loosing their hair, turning yellow or going blind.

Involutionary Outsiders will always be marginalized.  They are ridiculed, bullied and feared.  To the typical, they are alien and unpredictable.  Not only that but it’s impossible to empathize with them as well – how can you predict what they are thinking? Or what they will do?  They have their own standards, their own rules, their own strange patterns of internal growth.  To the typical, outsiders have so much freedom that the uncertainty of what they’ll do with it is terrifying.

To be an outsider takes courage, to be typical takes conformity.  The fear of sticking out and screwing up is too great.  The safest way is the old way, the proven way, the boring way.  The typical way.

The Involutionary Outsider

“Outsider” is a broad term that covers many different types of people.  Generally, outsiders are characterized by social ostracism and their existence outside the circle of social normality.

While some are voluntarily outsiders, choosing to focus their attention on the inner world of the mind and heart, others aren’t.  Some are outsiders due to their ideas, beliefs, social status’ or their physical, emotional or mental differences, while others are outsiders through a mental illness or trauma, gender, hobby, family, nationality, personality or cultural trend.

In essence, ‘outsider’ is a shallow umbrella term used to describe an amazing diversity of people.  These people all share the same symptoms on the surface: solitude, eccentricity and social rejection.

As an outsider myself, I’m hoping to explore the various causes and origins of solitude, eccentricity and social rejection.  I’m also wanting to delve inside the different lives of these Involutionary Outsiders, or as Robert Frost so eloquently put: of these wanderers of the paths least taken.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Robert Frost

Photo by: Ozge Gurer Vatandas

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  • Lisa Lacatena

    i really want to share this article and it won’t allow me to post… it’s covering the part “post” on both sides….love this article! could u please post it on your page so i can share it? ~thank u

    • http://lonerwolf.com/sol/ don Mateo Sol

      Hola Lisa,

      That’s strange, I’ve tried to share it and it seems to work for me. What button did you use to try and share it the bottom round ones or the floating bar on the left? Also what device are you using to browse the site?

      You can always simply post the link directly on your timeline using copy and paste and all your friends will see it that way.

      • Lisa Lacatena

        thank u :) i just copied & pasted the link

  • Paul Maupin

    I am grateful for souls like yourself that help with self reflection. I don’t have anything to prove anymore, I just am. I have come to appreciate being me, without anybody knowing or wanting to know. I use to see my difference as a source of power over others, now I use it to show love and understanding.

    • http://lonerwolf.com/sol Mateo Sol

      Being different has always been a source of extremes; you either feel inferior cause you want to fit in or it makes us feel superior because we enjoy standing out.

      To be in the middle, without comparison, and simply acceptance of everyone’s differences and love of ourselves, is what create true deep compassion with those around us.

      Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • http://YJohnD.com/ YJohnD

    It’s funny, I think I remember as kids everyone wanting to prove how unique they are, but as I grow up I see more people embrace conformity. Now, I don’t think conformity’s a bad thing, I just think it’s a funny longitudinal shift.

    I’m a young adult and am interested in writing and the like, so maybe I’m predisposed to being atypical as I try to find my own voice in this big world of ours. Whatever the case, when my friends and family playfully call me “weird” they do so only because, you could say, they don’t recognize my “pattern”. What I mean to say is, what someone else calls weird is very normal to me. For example, I wash my hands when they’re sticky, dirty, or after I use the bathroom and a cousin says I wash my hands too much (may or may not be true), but then when I eat food that drops on the floor for a few seconds I’m weird because she doesn’t understand why I care about hand cleanliness and not about germs.

    At times being an outsider can be a bit lonely, but other times I can’t help but look around and feel a bit prideful for being who I am. Because I don’t worry about whether I make sense or not.

    • SolW0lf

      Perhaps your identity has already settled in? I remember how much focus, how in depth I could think, and how amazing I thought my thoughts and discoveries were to me because of their novelty to a naive mind. As I’ve grown older the youthful rebellion of wanting to define your individuality seems to die down.

      I feel you in germs thing. I’ve often been called “strange” because I decide to wash my hands BEFORE going to the toilet as well as after. You’d think that it would make sense, since your hands are dirty and you don’t want to be touching your clean “privates” with them, but there you go :P.

      Thanks for the comment!

  • space2live

    I watch my kids want to be ‘typicals’. They don’t see writing as a real career, which is tough since I love to write and would like to make it a career. They want me to re-marry again soon, preferably someone like their friends’ dads.
    I try to teach them about what’s inside individuals and how differences are not right or wrong, just different. They focus on outward appearances and actions. It’s easy to follow the pattern, it takes courage (as you said) to be an outsider. It took me 35+ years to find the courage. I’m still working on it.

    • SolW0lf

      I know the feeling too well, my little brother is the same way. It’s tough being a kid these days, with so much distraction, so much stimulation in the exterior world. How does one learn to retreat inwards, even for introverts, when video games provide the stimulation, fantasy and adventure in the solitude and comfort of your own home. I’m very thankful for growing up in rural Spain where there wasn’t much to do but be bored.

      Hopefully your kids might become different type of “atypicals” someday, writing is a passion that a rare few get to enjoy, at least that’s what I’m hoping with my brother.

      It’s interesting how children strive so much to fit in (like wanting a dad like their friends dads) while at the same time working so hard to stand out, to be “unique”.

      At least you found your courage, the majority never do :). Thank you for sharing and reading the article, always love hearing outsiders stories :D