I’m reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation and this quote jumped out at me last night:
There can be an intense egoism in following everybody else. People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular – and too lazy to think of anything better.
This was written in 1962, well before social media, which is immediately what I thought of when I read the words “magnify themselves” in the quote.
How often do we find ourselves copying what is popular on social media to make ourselves look more important?
Merton’s point is that by copying others, we’re being “too lazy to think of anything better” to do. And yet people work so hard to copy others that they don’t feel as if they are being lazy. They are doing a lot of work, it’s just the wrong work. That can be painful to hear.
Here’s to spending more time being less like others and more like myself.