Are you unique?
It seems like a simple question at first. “Yeah, everyone’s unique.” But if that’s the case, no one is unique, because uniqueness is being different from everyone else. If everyone’s different, no one is.
By that argument, then only a few can be different, which means only that few is unique. Yet we all know that can’t be right – or at least we don’t want to agree with that, because we like to argue that everyone is unique in some way. (Otherwise I’m not special :O)
I think a way to get on the right track is to ask, “What makes someone unique?” Yesterday saw me asking my friends this question, and the variety of replies was fascinating. There were a couple who thought it was personality and likes and dislikes. Another said experiences, interest, personality, culture, and talent. Yet another said it was the way people think, and another theorized that it was a conscious decision to vary from surrounding people. And overall, most agreed that everyone is somehow unique.
But what exactly is uniqueness?
Most of the time, I think a lot of us define “uniqueness” as deviating from some standard. For example, a purple apple would be unique because it defies the typical red, green, or yellow colour we associate with that fruit. Yet when you look at humans and the variety of personalities, experiences, cultures, interests, and everything else, you very quickly realize that there can be no standard for such a broad range. With no standard, there can be no deviation from that standard. In other words, uniqueness cannot exist.
At least, not by that definition. What if you try another way: uniqueness is simply equivalent to “different.” One of my friends argued that no snowflake is (supposed to be) alike to another, and there we attempted to define “uniqueness” as being unalike to the person next to you.
But if everyone is unique and being unique is unlike any other, that doesn’t work either, does it?
Actually, I think it’s quite logical that everyone is unique. Most of us refuse to accept the “Nobody’s unique” or “Only a select few are unique” answer; we just know they can’t be right. And clearly it doesn’t make sense for uniqueness to be a deviation of any kind, either. But what if someone is unique simply because there is nobody else exactly like them?
It sounds right, but then we have to deal with the opposing side: “If everyone is unique and being unique is unlike any other, no one is unique because everyone is.”
Here I think the issue is with the rebuttal for the theory, not the theory itself. See, the problem is that in this case, “unique” isn’t a single definition. You can’t put it down to a single personality trait or way of thinking, simply because each person is made up of so much more than that. People are too complex to know them completely – too complex for even themselves to know themselves completely. Just because everyone is unique doesn’t mean everyone is the same, which is exactly the same reason why they’re unique in the first place.
To put it concisely: the argument assumes that everyone being “unique” would make them all the same. When you put it that way, it’s obviously wrong. If there are ten unique apples, are they all the same as each other? No, they each have their unique qualities.
I know it’s mind-boggling. That’s why I wanted to bring it up. Simple questions aren’t as easy as they seem sometimes. (Confound college essays; they come up with the most complicated questions.) Also, I wanted to point something out: obviously, there are people who are more special to you than others. Why? Because you’ve “tamed” them, as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says in The Little Prince.
We are so deeply unique and intricate. And the God of the universe sees exactly how uniquely and wonderfully He made each and every one of us. We’re important to Him. He has tamed us.
What do you think about uniqueness? Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said, and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts if you weren’t thoroughly confused by this XD And even if you were, maybe I can explain it better.