Thursday, 2 January 2014

Basil explains why it's better to be plain Jane or average Joe than be a nail that sticks out

The general consensus among the people of Japan is that "it is better to be plain Jane or average Joe than be a sticking-out nail that gets hammered down."

Basil in The Picture of Dorian Gray explains why:

(Lord Henry, talking to Basil about Dorian Gray) "...Don't flatter yourself, Basil: you are not in the least like him."

   "You don't understand me, Harry," answered the artist. "Of course I am not like him. I know that perfectly well. Indeed, I should be sorry to look like him. You shrug your shoulders? I am telling you the truth. There is a fatality about all physical and intellectual distinction, the sort of fatality that seems to dog through history the faltering steps of kings. It is better not to be different from one's fellows. The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat. They live as we all should live -- undisturbed, indifferent, and without disquiet. They neither bring ruin upon others, nor ever receive it from alien hands. Your rank and wealth, Harry; my brains, such as they are -- my art, whatever it may be worth; Dorian Gray's good looks -- we shall all suffer for what the gods have given us, suffer terribly."


  1. Greetings Saya!

    It's always a pleasure to receive insight into the mind of a multifaceted and capable individual such as yourself!

    I agree that standing out can create many unwanted outcomes. Naturally those around us put up their shields as their survival instincts kick in to protect them from a perceived threat; Thus the "hammering down". We are essentially still animals at our core and would have to actively fight our instincts to avoid doing such things. A majority of people may not even recognize this about themselves as they act upon it; there should be no negativity shone upon them in light of this, to acknoledge it would only give it more power over us.

    The suffering from external sources aside, an internal storm must also be weathered. They say the apple from the tree in Eden brought knowledge and with that came suffering. This makes me wonder, was Eden truly a paradise or was man just ignorantly blissful in his perception till the knowledge was endured. Those with great thoughts also have great demons, a constant struggle of morals, logic and missed expectations.

    However, I do not believe at the end of their days we should lament for what gifts we carry. A greater understanding of things can bring a greater appreciation resulting in a very vibrant and fulfilling experience. They say "Stop and smell the roses", if we had no mind to consider the roses in what way could we enjoy and marvel at such things. The gift of knowledge is just that, it offers a path to enlightenment and a world of joy.

    Following The Art of War, we can be seen as part of the herd while carrying our gifts out of sight of judging eyes; after all a nail can still stick out in the attic without worry of being hammered down.

    I look forward to seeing more of your creations and thoughts as well as being enlighted by your research material and horrified by the tales you uncover.

    Thanks Always

  2. Dear CRRobbins,

    I would like first of all to say how much I appreciate your message...

    I've been suffering from a cold, and the deadline for an essay submission is looming, and I'm feeling like an useless piece of fresh in the vast, indifferent universe... LOL

    I would like to write a longer reply to you when this is over. I'll be on holiday from around 16 January.

    But anyway, I just wanted to thank you first! :D

    Take care, and I wish health and happiness for your and for your loved ones.
    Love, Saya

  3. Greetings once again!

    Please, take your time and do what you must. The health of your mind, body and spirit is essential.

    I believe that through your works you will always find meaning and that when the body is recovering, the mind will not relent which can result in an unwanted dreary mood. I theorize that there is no defined function set before us in which to serve. Therefore, we have the freedom of seeking fulfillment down a path that we create for ourselves. We can thank our indifferent universe for this. :D

    I ask that you do not feel obligated to produce a lengthy response; I am happy to know you have taken the time to hear me out and I appreciate any amount of words you offer in response.

    I look forward to your recovery being expedient and your essay being successful (as I am certain it will be).

    With the deepest sincerity,


  4. Dear CRRobbins,

    Thank you again for your kind words!

    Your first comment got me to think many things, but the moment I try to express them in words they become shallow and contrived somehow....

    But I just want to say I appreciate your insightful thoughts and I'm glad you shared them with me!

    With very best wishes,