In a recent conversation, a colleague talked about stimulations like sounds that could be very disturbing to her. A lucky chance helped her see that she has a better ability than others to hear these sounds. It had never occurred to her that her perception was different from the one others have.
Listening to her I found myself wondering about the phenomenon, inviting us to see our experience and assume it is the same as others have. Another comment in our conversation made me ask what it is that creates the belief that others need to be told how special one is. It aligns with a belief that others need to pay attention to what makes them different and special.
It is based on the idea that everyone is the same. And it is based on the idea that differences need special care. A logical conclusion then is that everyone who claims to be different can develop an expectation that others have to “care for me.”
But it doesn’t seem to be sufficient that such attention comes from the people surrounding us, the assumption is, that it needs to be institutionalized.
The most astonishing thing about this is how difficult it makes it for individuals to be supportive. Expectations transform the act of giving into an obligation. It reduces the individual’s ability to experience gratitude.
Society entered a cycle of protection.
Individuals and groups seek to be protected from others to be able to remain the individual they are. It reduces their ability to position themselves as an individual and assumes they can’t do it without the institution.
Instead of accepting their individuality as it is, they seek to establish it by fighting an assumed norm, meaning that their reference point remains the norm they imagined.
This doesn’t mean that protection is wrong. It simply questions the consequences of asking for protection.