Being an outsider is the only way one can truly discover one s true self. To find yourself you must spend time with yourself. An outsider, unlike people who belong to a particular group, isn t defined by the group, but instead defined by their individual character. So to really know or to fully understand one s self you must break away from the ways of the majority so they can discovery their own place in the world. In accordance with that, Elizabeth Telfer wrote Aristotle may still be right in saying that everyone ultimately seeks the good as he sees it, but only if the good can cover both what the seeker thinks will be pleasant and what he thinks is good objectively (50). In the books Never Cry Wolf, Siddhartha, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull a character does exactly that.
In the book Never Cry Wolf, the author, main character and narrator, Farley Mowat is faced with the idea of being an outsider. Mowat was amongst nothing of any familiarity. Mowat wrote in his book As I looked about me at the stark and cloud-topped hills, the waste of pressure-rippled ice, and beyond the valley, to the desolate and treeless roll of tundra, I had no doubt that this was excellent wolf country (Mowat 23). He was virtually alone; yet, during this time of social isolation he was able to really see himself. He was able to see all the things one tries to hide from themselves when among people of impression. Through his isolation he was able to see and fix the faults hidden from view, which would have never been found and rectified without his experience of isolation in the Canadian wilderness.
When one achieves enlightenment one achieves Nirvana, which is the breaking away of all psychic ties with the world. Herman Hesse wrote in Siddhartha When the Illustrious Buddha taught about the world, he had to divide it into Samsara and Nirvana, into illusion and truth, into suffering and salvation (Hesse 143). This is probably the best representation of someone breaking away from the world itself to find himself. Although, through out the novel Siddhartha is deterred from his quest for enlightenment, his focus is continually on his objective and is then raised to the almost unreachable state of Nirvana.
In the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, the main character Jonathan Seagull is faced with being an outsider. David Dunn had an opinion to help people who faced this, None of us can live within ourselves; we must, if we are to be truly happy, have a sense that the world likes us and values what we can do, or appreciates what we have made of ourselves (63). Jonathan Seagull was an outsider because of his refusal to accept the norms of his community. Robert J. Ringer touches on this when he says, Avoid the inborn tendency to do some thing just because it s in style. While it may seem easier at the time, it can be very costly in the long run. Conforming, as the channel of least resistance, can carry a heavy price; the long-term cost may be a lack of self-respect (92). He loved to fly and he spent most of his time trying to perfect his love because that s what he liked to do. The author, Richard Bach, wrote Most Gulls don t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight (12). Kind of how someone who loves basketball tries to hone their skills in order to reach their intended goal, whatever it may be, either to make
it to the NBA or to beat their older sibling in the backyard. The courageous Jonathan Seagull tried to fit in but he eventually had to do what made him feel good and truly represented himself. If Jonathan Seagull had succumbed to the pressures of his peers and elders he would have lived a life of complete dissatisfaction. Instead, he held on tight to his love and reached the unreachable level of enlightenment, in his own right. This is truly remarkable.
In conclusion, even though it is a basic human need to be part of a group or to feel a sense of belonging amongst our peers, the need to discover one s self is of much more importance. Even if you believed in the purpose of a group and did have first hand knowledge of the facts, it still would be less complicated and more efficient to act on your own rather than in concert with others. In fact, the group is a danger because, as already pointed out, collective action really helps you avoid personal responsibility (Ringer 135). Don t feel you moral obligation to make people see the light. Concentrate on looking out for Number One. I m sure you have enough problems of your own without worrying about helping others. As is, life burdens us with too many nonproductive projects, such as brushing our teeth, getting haircuts, and other normal-course-of-living drags. Don t look for more (Ringer 136) If someone doesn t know who or what they are, they couldn t possibly have any contribution to the world because they themselves are disconnected from reality. Someone who isn t in touch with himself or herself is blind and anyone that s blind has no right to lead those of equal disillusionment.