cult of personality

i find it terribly interesting that in a country of one billion people, almost no one tries to stand out. walk down the street and all you see are variations on a theme – everyone wearing the same clothes, the same hair. no one is trying to distinguish themselves from the pack. no one is making a statement. individualism is not valued.

i’m sure many who live here would see things differently, but xi’an is a city of 2 million, which we’ve basically spent the last two days walking around. and the only person who stuck out to me, was the guy who had half his head shaved that i saw this morning. i guess they’d probably say that americans and brits put too much emphasis on individuality, to the detriment of things like comportment, respect, work ethic, etc. they’re probably right. still – who wants to be exactly the same as everyone else? if you only get one life, who wants to be forgettable?

just an observation. i think it’s kind of sad.

we went to see the terracotta warriors today – i’d be lying if i said I wasn’t a little disappointed. i was under the impression that more of the estimated 6000 had been excavated, when really, the task ahead is still unbelievably daunting. you can just picture them all still preserved, underground, needing to be exposed slowly, gently, with the utmost care in their crumbling clay state. still, it’s easy to see how incredible they must’ve been in their original form. the bodies are all them same, but each of the faces and expressions are unique. like a real person. i found that fascinating. out of 6000 lifesize figures, they felt it important to make each a one-of-a-kind. the workmanship and time and effort going into making each figurine as different as they would’ve been in real life.

so perhaps individuality *was* valued once. it’s the politics of personality that has changed.

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