A case for doppelgängers.
For the better part of my life, I have been indoctrinated with the belief that individuality is sacrosanct. I am the only “me”, unique and chalk full of distinguishable differences from any other human being in the world. It’s a nice thought until one considers believing in one’s own individuality is dangerous.
Believing in individuality can’t help but make an individual feel special, as though having a different mix of chromosomes somehow makes than better than the usual (though having a different mix of chromosomes is very much the usual) and that’s precisely the problem. Feeling special breeds feelings of entitlement, of privilege, over-inflating egos beyond acceptable levels of confidence and self-esteem to full-blown narcissism. Why should I be the only me if being special only means having an ultra-confident exterior that’s ready to crumble at the slightest criticism?
Even worse than developing into a narcissist, being the only me is basically accepting an eternity of loneliness. Because I am wholly unique, totally different than everyone else in the world, does it not stand to reason that even the most empathetic people will far short in their assessments because they’ll never truly know what it’s like to be me? Given the cock-eyed looks of shock shot my way whenever I express my true feelings, I, for one, can’t help but believe that the only person that could understand me is another me.
Embracing individuality leaves you with two choices: narcissism or eternal loneliness. Why should I be the only me?
Just to be clear, this is not an endorsement of conformity and assimilation. More so that we might want to rethink our position on doppelgängers. Rather than think of doppelgängers as shadowless wraiths from beyond come to announce approaching death or misfortune, assuming our physical essence to perfection, we ought to appreciate them. Appreciate doppelgängers for providing solace to a mind weary from eternal loneliness. Appreciate doppelgängers for grounding us in humility.
Why should I be the only me? I shouldn’t be. No good can come from being an individual. If you feel the same way, I hope your doppelgänger crawls into your bed tonight to spoon you, passing on humility, perfect companionship as well as death and misfortune.