I guess most people would describe me with the word “eccentric”. Perhaps “quirky” if they were trying to be nice. People try to be nice a lot, at least to your face.
So I imagine the terms “eccentric” and “crazy” are thrown around a lot when I’m beyond earshot. I’m writing this not because I’m at all fazed or bothered by what other people think, but more to explore the notion of eccentricity.
What is the definition of being “eccentric”?
Departing from a recognized, conventional, or established norm or pattern.
So basically being a deviant, an outlier, someone who doesn’t conform to the norm, who doesn’t fit in or get along.
Strange, weird, bizarre, deviant, erratic, peculiar. Here are a few other fun terms that tie into the eccentric status.
There are many facets to being an eccentric. It’s like depression – you have to tick a few of the boxes to be a confirmed eccentric. Thankfully, being depressed isn’t one of them, although that is commonly attributed to eccentricity.
So what are the steps to being labelled eccentric?
- Keeping to yourself; enjoying your own company
- Acting the way you like, usually in an anti-social manner
- Liking the natural state of things
- Having an atypical belief system
- Doing weird activities (but within the legal system, for the most part)
Let’s break it down, shall we?
Numero Uno: Eccentrics Keep To Themselves
Why? Because it’s easier.
Life is simpler when you don’t have to accommodate others, when you can do things you want, when you want, the way you want it.
People who like to go off on their own and do their own thing are thought to be a little off, right? Off with the fairies, they say. Hiking through the lonely hills, drifting upon a solitary sea.
But is there a problem with enjoying your own space, having a dose of me-time?
Yes, humans are social creatures and no man is an island and all that, but that doesn’t mean you need to be surrounded by yammering yahoos all day long.
The extremes are the hermits, those who shun the company of fellow human beings and retreat to nature, far from the madding crowd. Perhaps you would go a little loopy being in solitary confinement all by yourself. But then again, you have the company of nature and her flora and fauna. Fresh air does wonders to you, you know?
So in short, an eccentric person would tend to be a lone ranger, a singularity, an isolated entity, that curious person who would rather read a book or take a walk than browse Netflix or sip cocktails at parties.
Funnily enough, considering his name is Solo, Han was rarely ever alone.
Point the Second: Anti-social Actions
People expect those labelled as eccentric to act out in certain ways, often in crude or brutish ways, with snappy temperaments and lengthy lectures about irrelevant things.
I don’t think those people are eccentric, they’re just ill-mannered.
Eccentric people will push other people away, or keep them at arm’s length (actually that’s barely social distancing – definitely several arm lengths). This is because of point the first – eccentric people value their own space and time and want to keep it sacred.
And that means prioritising it over other things, like other people or activities that they feel are meaningless.
That indicates that eccentric people have a mind of their own. They are not bound by social obligation, not influenced by peer pressure, not swayed by public opinion, not brainwashed by herd mentality. They are not afraid to have their own thoughts, and sometimes not afraid to express them as they see fit.
Eccentric people act however they like, which sounds like a bad thing. I’m imagining poo flinging and public music making. However if no one is getting hurt or inconvenienced, I see no harm in letting eccentric people have their own way.
Eccentric people will do what they like, when they like, how they like. And the dangerous part is they don’t care what other people think. They’ll walk their dog in the middle of the night; they’ll talk to themselves out loud and makes amusing (at least to them) sounds.
The eccentric do things their way, which society regards as bad, because they are not team players. They don’t fit into the hierarchical work structure; they do their jobs a funny way. And yes, they’re not the best at communication or at adhering to society’s rules and regulations.
They’re the rebels, the mavericks, the loose cannons. The eccentric won’t rule the earth, and they certainly won’t stop anyone who is gearing to try.
第三 : Natural State of Mind
Progress is about conquering and going beyond the natural state of things, right? So returning to nature is bad; it is a step backwards and is undesirable.
And so we slave our days away to pave over this dirty, uncomfortable natural world. We build glass houses and gaudy rocket ships to pierce the heavens and pollute the earth, our home and place of birth and living.
The eccentric tend to gravitate toward nature and a simpler way of doing things, a tranquil uncomplicated way of living. Eccentric folk don’t want to participate in the rat race – they’ll work, but only as a means to an end.
Eccentric folk tend to shy away from socialising, as they are content with their existing company, even if it’s largely their own. They avoid the “vulgar masses”, the mindless herds of sheep and cattle suffering from FOMO.
Nature is the perfect example of contentment. Nature does not need to strive – it grows and it thrives, it withers and it dies. The cycle repeats, and yet the pattern is always unique, always changing and adapting, while always staying the same.
Being at one with nature and going back to your roots is eccentric; it is only something monks and hippies do. Environmentalists lobby for a cleaner, greener earth, but they just want to make sure their pristine mansion doesn’t sink because some dipshit clogged the sewers with their plastic waste. They all want to care for the cute turtle and otter, but a lot of it feels like attention-grabbing.
Eccentric people don’t care for that – they just feel nature has all the best things to offer, and offers it without having to sign up and download the latest app or investing some ridiculous amount of money every month.
Those eccentric folk like tending to animals and plants and romping through the jungle and over the hills. And the best part is all of this can be done without even saying a word. Perhaps that’s the appeal of pets (although we talk to them all the same).
As mentioned, eccentrics appear to be weaker in communication, but that’s just because they appreciate the power of the spoken word, and they treasure silence.
Is silence the natural state? Mother nature is a noisy bitch, but her cries and her vibrations resonate within us. They are a part of us, like purring is a part of a household cat. They are instinctive noises, guttural earthen sounds, that our brain processes differently from speech.
And so eccentric people glide back to their roots, back to nature or as close as they can get. They go out in search of their homeland, where they belong. They go with the flow, they’re in no rush.
Nombor Empat: Losing Your Religion
Having an atypical belief system isn’t just about the afterlife and top tier principles; it permeates into every aspect of life.
Eccentric people believe in…well, whatever they want to believe in. Not what society says they should believe. Or it might be their own interpretation of whatever the prevailing belief system is.
Those eccentric folk believe that life is what you make of it, and so they give up subscribing to the American Dream and create their own dreams. They try new and different things, they’re open to new experiences, although they don’t seem to be hard up about trying everything under the sun. They don’t need to.
Having your own belief system means you’re not measured on the same scale as everyone else. At least from a societal ranking perspective. And so those eccentric folks don’t compare as much, don’t go around judging other people. They live life a lot easier and they accept things quicker and move on, going with the flow.
Of course having your own belief system means you don’t congregate with all the others and perform the same rituals as all the others, which makes you a bit of an outcast. But that doesn’t mean you don’t respect the other belief systems, or incorporate their principles into your own playbook.
Eccentric people don’t necessarily shun others and their belief structures; they just pick and choose what they deem worthy, and discard the rest. They think for themselves and form their own theories and values from their knowledge and experiences.
Religion tells you what to think and what to believe; eccentric people make up what they want to believe. Hell, a lot of these religions were started by so-called “eccentric” people.
I mean, if you met the Prophet Mohamad or Jesus on the streets, you might find the way they act and the things they say more than a little bizarre, right? Is it because they spoke in riddles and stories, or were they stark raving mad? They appeared to have their wits (and followers) about them, so their countenance and values (as well as their marketing) were certainly on point. I mean, so many people ended up liking what they said, so they must have had some merit, right? Right?
다섯 번째 : Hare-brained Hobbies
Finally, those labelled as eccentric tend to partake in strange pastimes and irregular relaxations. Their idea of fun seems a little skewed.
These activities tend to be lesser known hobbies, involving smaller groups of people. Yes, I suppose Magic: the Gathering makes the cut, but that one is really just a pay-to-win ever-expanding card game. It’s kind of a cult.
Eccentric people tend to delve into activities that meet the previous four criteria: they can do it alone or in small groups, it’s not complicated and they can do it the way they like, or whatever the natural way of doing it is, and they don’t need to proselytise in the process!
I mean, by and large these activities aren’t necessarily truly deviant; would you consider Christian an eccentric person? Perhaps eccentricity does lend itself to certain fetishes, but for the most part I feel the eccentric label is reserved for a different type of wacky crowd. Let’s keep BDSM locked up in a cage, yeah?
So what are examples of eccentric activities?
Well, there’s no exhaustive list, but generally things that most people would find strange or disturbing or downright distasteful.
Admiring bugs and plants? Running ultra-marathons? Cribbage?
Drawing stickmen? Eating uncooked and unseasoned vegetables? Travelling to the frigid wastelands of the tallest parts of the world?
Playing with stray cats and dogs? Volunteering at a soup kitchen? Learning axe throwing?
Woodworking? Picking seashells on the beach? Listening to Vegetarian Grindcore Metal?
Hint: I may or may not partake in some of these activities. I’m not saying which ones though.
Essentially, any activity that doesn’t conform with society’s idea of a normal, conventional hobby is passed off as eccentric. People fear what they don’t know and can’t understand, and eccentric people are a big part of that.
So now that we have a rough idea of what classifies as eccentric, where do you fall on the scale?
So what do you do if you tick all these boxes?
Keep on living, my friend, keep on living to the fullest.
To be fair, if you were truly eccentric, you wouldn’t be taking anyone else’s advice anyway. But here’s hoping this little essay made you think a little more, and maybe it brightened your day (or night, for those nocturnal eccentrics out there) knowing that there are others out there like you, fellow eccentrics.
Stay eccentric, my friend, and never change. Unless you want to change. Then do whatever you like, weirdo.
Personally, I’ve always been a little eccentric (if I do say so myself). I acknowledge it’s probably not an attractive quality and might hinder me from getting that promotion or that luscious mate, but as long as I have my freedom I couldn’t care less.
My belief is that as long as you are truly happy and content, and nobody is getting harmed to maintain that status quo, then why should you change? Certainly not for the approval of others, or for some short term gain. We eccentrics see the bigger picture, we plan for the long term, while on the other hand we don’t care about the future and don’t let what tomorrow holds worry us. Like a wise man once said:
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”
So don’t worry, be happy.
And now I’ve got that blasted song stuck in my head. Wonderful.