I Disdain Groups

Erasmus was very much a loner. He never allowed himself to be tied to or associated with any group or institution other than the Catholic Church. Erasmus once wrote something to the effect that “I am a citizen of the world, not any one city or country.” He also wrote something like this: “The one thing I congratulate myself most heartily for is that I never joined a group, faction, or sect.” 

I now realize that this is part of my attraction to the man. I have always assiduously avoided joining any group, club, association, congregation, party, faction, or other voluntary conglomeration of people. Indeed, I have long felt it important to stand apart from others. When I was a teenager, I was so acutely aware of the dangers of social pressures at that age that I took steps to keep my distance from others. In high school, I used to tuck my pants into my socks. This wasn’t merely unfashionable; it was anti-fashionable, a loud declaration that I didn’t give a damn about current teenage fashions. I disdained the music that my peers liked, although later I developed a taste for rock and roll, and now I appreciate a lot of that old music. But I had to find it on my own, not out of loyalty to any convention.

I did end up in a social group in high school; we called ourselves the Ajax Rowing Crew. They were brought together by a love of music, and although I have never had the slightest musical talent, I admired and respected their talents. I don’t know why they accepted me; I was utterly unlike any of them. I was a fairly passive member of the group; I was fascinated by their liveliness. Since everybody loved to watch Star Trek (this was the mid-sixties), they called me Spock. The name fit; I was the outsider.

Throughout my life, my determination to walk my own path has remained strong. I have never identified with any group. In politics I have no affiliations. I have never registered with any political party. I do not consider myself a liberal (although some conservatives call me a liberal), nor do I consider myself a conservative (although some liberals call me a conservative). I believe that government has grown too large and should be trimmed, but I vehemently reject the idiocies of the Tea Party. 

This intense sense of individualism does not go over well with most people; Homo Sapiens is a highly social animal. My aloofness makes me seem suspicious to others. Simultaneously, however, I seem to attract some people who see me as a leader. I have never understood this, as I have never desired acolytes, proteges, or followers. Perhaps my strong sense of self inspires others; I simply don’t understand their motivations. I try to give these people what they want, but I never encourage them.