One of the most vicious and darkest things I see gripping the world is an appeal to the mediocre. The desire to hide behind the average, the mean, the usual.
The average and the usual is a dangerous place to find one’s self in. In passion, witnessing the products of our abilities as less than what we believe they should be, makes us angry and disappointed. Should we care about our performances, we are driven to be better and achieve the standard we believe we should. Where the magnificent product of our abilities fills us with pride, and the failed products of our abilities fill us with the desire to do better, the average or the “just sufficient” product of our minds compels us to nothing.
Mediocrity is dangerous because it is an evil we can most easily get away with. Certainly, there is nothing externally unjustified about producing a show that is “mediocre”, about making an “average” performance. Internally, however, mediocrity radiates evil. It holds us back, by being the standard which is allowed by others, but not by ourselves.
Mediocrity is one of the core evils of the education system. Upon being dragged through the bureaucracy public schools, the very agency to be passionate about anything is eroded and crippled. It's already a fight to get things that are forcefully pushed on you to be simply done with, and at that time, why spend any more energy on work that you will be proud of? Schools breed mediocrity rather than dispel it, and by sanding away passions and replacing them with duties they actively disfigure imagination and curiosity.
After the worst speech I had ever given in my entire life, a freshman girl came up to me and congratulated me on how “normal” it was. The prior year, I had given a speech that received a standing ovation from members of the crowd. She seemed more satisfied with the speech which be forgotten than the speech which would be remembered, and looking at her at that moment, I could only feel a sense of disgust.
The disgust was not directed at her, but at whatever compelled her to feel that the better achievement was the one which garnered the least attention. The girl who said this was visibly intelligent, worthy of giving a speech better than my best and receiving a larger standing ovation still. The thing holding her back was her inability to be proud of her genius, and let her superior mind be seen in the light.
Mediocrity was a comfortable place for her. She could hide her talents and abilities and mind for years there. I was disturbed at what I was witnessing in her, a total selling short of perfection for imperfection, of greatness for meekness, of the best for the least suspecting.
I imagined what that principle would look like in life. The selling of the greatest passion for the somewhat interested, the replacement of the best music for the least memorable, the substituting of living in a vibrant world, for living in camouflage.
Mediocrity is an evil that goes unnoticed. It is an evil no one bothers to fight. It is a demon in everyone. I hope that anyone and everyone can see the mediocrity holding them back, the thing restraining them from their own greatness, and holding them to a standard they can even recognize is beneath them.
Until next time,