They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. I say it is standard procedure.
We learn to talk by copying our parents. How else would we figure out what words mean what? School is spent mimicking the behavior of those around us. We take on roles such as doctor, engineer or scientist after we observe how other people have done it before. Human culture is simply behavior that is presented to the next generation for them to copy.
I would think that most of what we do is simply following a set path. We are born, play with toys, go to school, grow up, form relationships, get a job, grow old and die. Having a set path is a measuring stick that lets you know how close you are to achieving your goals. How do you know if a path leads to success if someone else hasn’t paved the road for you?
We choose whom we wish to emulate. Our heroes are the ones who embody the traits we value. If you value intelligence, then you might try to emulate Einstein. If you value strength, then you might choose some athlete as your role model. If you value masculinity, then you probably are into John Wayne.
The groups we are a part of each have their own set of expectations. To be accepted by a group requires acting like the other people in the group. A father may expect all his children to follow in his professional footsteps. A religion should expect its followers to be devout. A country demands its citizens to be loyal. The roles we are given to inherit are often carved out for us before we are born. People get upset when you don’t fit their molds.
I acted different as a child. I chose different. The diagnosis of ADD was first given to me and eventually that turned into Asperger syndrome. People needed some sort of explanation for why I did not fit in. My explanation is simple. I don’t want to be like anyone I know.
I want to be a part of my family, but I don’t want to make the same choices as them. I want to find true friends, but I don’t want to earn them as some reward for acting the right way or speaking the right words. The things I value most are on paths that have no footsteps. I don’t even know if the things I dream of are at the end of the path I walk. If I have to walk alone, then so be it. Someone has to be the pioneer. I probably won’t get praise for it. How do you value the worth of a treasure that is one of a kind?