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Why Mainstream sucks?
If EVERYONE loves it, no-one loves IT.
Anything begins with one person, be it a religion, a belief, a government, a country, or anything. In the beginning, it’s novel, unique, and real. It may be even termed as “weird”, before it gets accepted by a handful of people. But unlike the word “special”, the word “weird” brings in some negative connotations with it — something that is abnormal, an outlier, perhaps a disease. But quite frankly, “weird” and “special” are just the same terms — those that appeal to you, you call it special, others you call weird.
Sooner or later, more people adopt that belief. But how does a belief travels across minds? You guessed it — via languages and words. Words are nothing but symbols for things. Most compact and compressed definition of anything. This compression is lossy in nature, i.e. it loses some features, some meaning while transferring. Defining something is just decompressing this compact word, and this again is a lossy process.
Even if we consider this process to be loss-less, while spreading, a belief changes its forms many times.
From “weird” to “special”
From “special” to “cool”
From “cool” to “normal”
From “normal” to “cliché”
This process makes the word (the belief) lose its meaning in the real sense. The real meaning gets lost in translation. By the time it becomes a mainstream and reaches the masses, it is no longer itself. The masses use and reuse the words without knowing its meaning, and repeated use of words itself makes words lose their meaning.
A friend to all is a friend to none.
Aristotle wrote: “A friend of all is a friend to none.”
In true sense, all he meant was everyone is different. So, if you are friend of everyone, you are not true to yourself. You've undergone countless transformations in order to be accepted by others. Else, you are bound to have someone who disagrees with you.
Everyone is different. Anything that is accepted by everyone has molded itself so many times, that it is no longer itself. It no longer carries the same definition.
Words change meaning.
The word “insanity” was used in legal and medical scenarios. After being adopted by masses in colloquial speech and media, it’s definition has changed from “the condition of being seriously mentally ill”1 to “doing the exact same f**king thing over and over again, expecting sh*t to change”.2
Words that refer to physical objects have changed meaning over time. In the past, someone would define a word like “Web” to be “a network of fine threads constructed by a spider from fluid secreted by its spinnerets, used to catch its prey”. But now the term “Web” would most probably make you think of “The Internet”.
Digital media has borrowed so many terms from the physical media. If meaning of physical words have changed so much, One can not imagine how much abstract words would have lost. Words like: love, happiness, etc. are loaded with hundreds of interpretations, if not thousands.
Infant words are innocent.
I personally, love words in their infancy, because they are true to themselves, naïve. They mean what they say. I was first introduced with the word “Introvert” in my school and I read books to understand it, and hopefully understand myself as well. By the time, I reached college, this term had aged enough to become “cool”. Everyone around me was calling themselves introvert without knowing what introvert meant. They thought it was cool to have in your bio.
Social media killed words like “Friends”, “Follow”, “Creator”, “Filter”, etc.
Pathaan, a blockbuster. Masaan, a flop.
The movies that attract the masses are mostly the masala movies, which serve a little bit of everything everyone wants — dance, action, (semi-)nudity, popular actors, masala dialogues, lights, etc.
Movies with complex plot and metaphorical messages, rarely perform well on box offices because they don’t appeal to the masses. Add an item-song (as they call it), some fight scenes, nudity, etc. and Masaan may also turn out to be all time blockbuster.
Conform or Confront?
You may ask, why am I crying about this? It’s because I want to be aware that whenever you see that most people are following something or someone, just keep your guards on. The truth has been long lost. The creator’s message might have been still be remaining there. Try to listen. Try to read.
Conforming to the society and its norm is okay. We are social creatures. But the weirdness, the outliers, and the confrontations are where innovations come from — where the truth lies (no pun intended).
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