I’ve never admitted this, but the thought of becoming part of something bigger than myself actually scares me.
I’m always afraid that I’m going to lose something good about myself, that I’ll have my identity stolen or subsumed, or that my thoughts or feelings will no longer matter.
I guess this makes me a bit odd. Most people say this is a primary need for themselves, but for me it’s the last thing I want. I want to have friends, and people who I can care about and who can return that care, but I don’t want to entangle my being with theirs; that thought just scares me.
I can tolerate being with certain types of groups because there isn’t any “purity test” for being a “real member.” I can choose what that means without going through any sort of clergy or bureaucracy. But when it comes to a close organization, I always come into conflict because I always have a difference of opinion that I can’t let go of.
I guess this is why, even though I’ve never completely abandoned the idea of a greater truth outside of myself, I’ve never felt any real connection to any sort of organized religion or politics. I always felt at the end of the day that I was being asked to give up something of myself by becoming part of a larger organization, and it always felt wrong to me.
And yet, this puts me in the position of having many thoughts only to myself, of being intensely private. It’s been said that an idiot, in the classical sense, is one whose thoughts are entirely idios, that is, their own and shared by nobody else; you could say that the fear of losing myself to groupthink has made me an idiot.
At times I find that this fear of losing myself goes so deep that I become isolated and paranoid that I’m somehow going to be swayed by the people around me into losing myself. I become aloof and suspicious of anything large numbers of people begin rallying around. This has served me well a few times but other times, I feel it has made me unwilling to put my energy into organizations that might have been worth supporting.