Banality Kills: How To Keep It At Bay By Not Staying Away
A few years ago, I started a personal crusade against banality. Beforehand, I hadn’t signalled it out as a worthy enemy. However, once I looked for it, I found it to be present in everything I didn’t like. Fortunately, long before I was aware of its dangerous nature, I was somehow predisposed to stay away from it: I recall the sort of allergic reaction I felt when I briefly entertained the thought of following a normal life. It was extraordinary: I almost felt like I was drowning, like something was sucking the air out of me.
Initially, that kept banality at bay: I wouldn’t go anywhere near it because I didn’t like it. There can’t be much pride in avoiding something that your body or mind naturally rejects. I left home, travelled and met people from different places. I was inclined towards expanding my scope: it pleased me. It wasn’t a rational crusade against anything: I just did what I did in a similar way to those following mundane lifestyles. Nevertheless, as my incipient knowledge turned into a semblance of young and flawed wisdom, I opened my eyes to the effects mundanity had on otherwise — even formerly — interesting folk.
Recently, though, I told myself off for being so arrogant. Who was I to judge anybody on how they chose to live their lives? What I may find boring and meaningless they might experience as exhilarating, and that was my loss. Banality doesn’t hurt anybody, I told myself, so I should drop the argument, do my thing in isolation, and let others be. Of course, I have never dreamed of not letting anyone be. If there is anything more obnoxious than mediocrity, it must be imposition, of any kind. Still, I admonished myself to stop thinking I knew better.
The problem was I had been away from banal people for too long. I had forgotten its perniciousness. As I returned home for a quick visit to what must be the banalest of all banal towns, I immersed myself in mediocrity. Boy, does it hurt… I swear it must kill! Neurons, it certainly annihilates with concerning efficacy. I have seen minds that once perceived subtle meanings and questioned accepted beliefs now stop at the very surface of any topic. Spend enough time surrounded by mediocrity, and we may witness a…