Individual vs. Institution

While recently reading an article about Wikileaks, I came across this piece of wisdom about the founder:

He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution.

I can’t believe how succinct this since sentence is, yet it embodies the transformation I have gone through for the past 3-5 years.

As the past few years have gone by, I’ve found myself steadily withdrawing from things considered ‘the american dream’. I’ve started down the minimalist path with my possessions, really placing a premium on buying experiences vs. buying items. I’ve scuttled friends after realizing that they weren’t friends at all, but rather immature drags on my life. I can’t remember the last time I bought a piece of clothing. In fact, I can remember almost 4 times that I’ve given away 6-12 items in the past few years. I eat less meat, I don’t drink pop, and I’ve given up fried foods. Very little TV and none of it live. It seems like as each month passes, I scuttle more and more “traditionally” accepted facets of life.

And I couldn’t be happier.

As I have removed less and less, I’ve noticed a considerable decrease in things weighing me down ( in addition to a slimming waistline ) and an increase in things I value: more time, more amazing experiences and more freedom.

Unfortunately, everywhere I turn, there’s someone else commenting on what I should be doing because it’s “normal”. What I’ve found is that these normal things are really constructs of the marketing and sales departments of large corporations. From personal finance decisions to spending / consumerism to what constitutes love between two people. Doesn’t it seem ironic that happiness is foisted upon us as a product of spending money / taking on debt? Doesn’t that seem strange?

I’m at the point in my life where watch where the majority of people will end up on….and proceed to the opposite direction. To me it’s as simple as following the chain of logic: Humans are notorious for not understanding the consequences of complex systems. The majority of people will flock to cheap connivence. Corporations will market and service that industry. Thus, I and skeptical of any and all marketing and anything that the majority of people deem “common sense” or “a no brainer”.