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From Rebels to Conformists

Updated: Jun 22

The Paradox of Growing Up in a Changing World

On November 2, 2013, at 4:16 pm, a conversation with Anonymous sparked my curiosity about our mutual friends. I asked, “What’s been going on with our friends, Anonymous?” He responded, “There’s nothing wrong with them. They’re still the same as before, at least that’s what I’ve gathered from their current reality.” Intrigued, I continued to inquire about our dwindling time spent together. Anonymous explained, “We’re still a group, but now we gather in different places.” Seeking clarity, I asked, “Have conflicts arisen among us? It seems like we rarely see each other anymore.” With a smile, Anonymous replied, “Well, perhaps everyone’s been caught up in their own activities.” As we conversed, I realized that many others had asked the same questions.

This phenomenon intrigued me—the curiosity people had about the lives of others, even when they were complete strangers. It seemed that the desire to know one another was exploited by producers, resulting in the popularity of shallow gossip shows on Indonesian private television. However, let’s leave this topic behind for now. Feeling a void within me this evening, I decided to invite Anonymous for a drink at a café. I wanted to lend an ear to his concerns, listen to his thoughts, and provide support.

As we sat down, Anonymous took a sip of his bitter black coffee and began to share his thoughts. He revealed that communication with our friends had become scarce, especially through cellphones. Verbal interactions had also diminished. Ego, obsession, principles, ideals, and even our dreams seemed to have corroded over time due to our customs, environments, and individual traditions. These factors intertwined, drawing us together, yet hindering us from embracing differences. We found comfort in our perceived safe and sheltered spaces. In the past, we recognized the dangers of such “safe boxes.” Could it be that we’ve lost our friends, as depicted in Bondan feat Two Black’s song? Have we found an absolute stance while remaining oblivious to the destructive forces that accompany it?

There’s no room for gaps anymore. We gather alongside our daydreams, finding similarities in various aspects, yet we evaluate our humanity based on adherence to customs and traditions—our ancestors’ ways. What happened to our clenched fists? Why did our anarchic spirit fade as we faced the so-called “maturity”? We used to be unfamiliar with the concept of “safety,” but now we peacefully succumb to its allure, all in the name of “maturity” and “togetherness.” Why do we scapegoat the “foreignness”? Is being “together” synonymous with blind conformity? It’s not as narrow-minded as it seems, and deep down, we know this.

Anonymous shifted the conversation towards our shared love for various forms of art. We indulged in music, videos, and films considered peculiar or rebellious. We admired Jim Morrison’s passionate rebellion through his music, which ultimately became a mere money-making machine for record labels. We were avid consumers of boycotted books, controversial literature, and works deemed strange and dangerous. We had a knack for finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, often blurring the line between “boring” and “normal.” Yet, in our present circumstances, we resembled old men, sitting idly in civil service offices or the parliament, reminiscing about the fervor we once had. It seemed as though we were hypnotized by private TV programs, effortlessly glued to our seats, remote control in hand, no longer needing to go anywhere. We were encouraged to stay at home, just one click away from entertainment.

As the evening drew to a close, Anonymous extinguished his cigarette, leaving it in an unfinished ashtray, and finished his coffee. With an artificial smile, he asked about my own experiences. Reflecting on our conversation, I recognized the areas where our society and friendships had changed. It became clear that certain adjustments were necessary to reclaim the authenticity and depth that seemed to have eroded over time.


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#Conversation #friend #bestfriendever #BFF #Discuss #Friendship #Friends #Dialogue

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