Are you real? Or just another fake? (Intermediate +)

Our age is an age of conformity. Today, no-one who does not conform can feel comfortable.  Whenever individual thought arises, it is a struggle to make it heard.  Right from early childhood, we are constantly bombarded with facts, opinions and the thoughts of others, until we find it very difficult to think at all except in the terms that others have thought before us. Most of us entirely abandon the search for originality; our capacity for individual thinking having been smothered in a unending flood of clichés.  And so conformity has become the order of the day.

It is natural to ask why we all accept this situation. Why is individual thinking so feared? Why is it so avoided? The answer is simple: To be an individual requires courage and it requires strength. Conformity, by contrast requires nothing but nodding and easy assent to whatever everybody else thinks.  The individual thinker is alone, with only himself to rely on. The individual must have the courage to say: “Here I am. I am different to the rest, and I am not afraid of that. And I will remain different until the day I die”. And it requires strength to maintain that position.

The position of the conformist could not be more different. He feels safe because he has made sure that he is with the majority. He cannot be singled out because there is nothing for which to single him out. And he need not bother with leaving his mark on his world, with creating anything new, because in one sense he will not die. He will live on in the millions of people who are just like him. He is immortal.

It is perhaps natural that we always seek the easiest solution to a problem. But it is not a good thing that we do so. The individual thinker is prepared to go beyond the easy and obvious solution. She is prepared to question. As a result she is often shunned and sometimes loathed by those who know her. Why? Because she is a danger. She is a threat. By showing that she relies on her own judgements and values, and not those of others, she demonstrates a great power. As well as the burden, hers is the freedom of individuality. And the conformist, trapped in the ideas of others, hates nothing more than someone with the freedom she does not have.

Today, as throughout history, the individual thinker’s life will not be an easy one. It may even be a dangerous one. It is unlikely that he will be nailed to a cross, but make no mistake, the means of suppression are there, though they are rather more subtle. It is as true as it ever was that individual thinkers are likely to lead the lives of outcasts. And it is as true as it ever was that we desperately need those with the courage and strength to live independently. In our age of information and conformity the vast majority of people live passively, dominated by things outside of themselves and alienated from their human potential. We need individual thinkers.


Age of conformity Эра конформизма Seek the solution Искать решение
Arise (здесь) появляться Go beyond the easy and obvious solutions Видеть дальше простых и очевидных решений
Make smth heard Сделать, чтоб услышали Single out / shun Сторониться
Think in the terms Думать в терминах Loath Ненавидеть
Entirely Полностью Be a threat Быть угрозой
Abandon Оставлять, покидать Rely on your own judgment Полагаться на свое суждение
Search of individuality Поиск индивидуальности Burden Тяжесть/ноша
Capacity for individual thinking Возможность для индивид. Мышления Be trapped in the ideas В ловушке идей
Smother Подавлять Means of suppression Средства подавления
Flood of clichés Поток избитых фраз Make no mistake  (здесь) Не обольщайтесь
The order of the day Заказ дня (злоба дня) Be subtle Малозаметный, искусный
Require courage and strength Требовать мужества и силы Lead the life of outcast Вести жизнь отшельника
Be with the majority Быть с большинством Vast majority Абсолютное большинство
Leave his mark on his world Оставить свой след на земле Be alienated Быть отчужденным
Immortal Вечный. бессмертный