In this modern world, where the individual has taken up all the attention, assumed the role of the center of society, and the group has been swept aside; commonalities are hard to come by. By commonalities, I mean the things that we share, be it memes, social norms, cultural connections, or anything in between.
You could argue that the increased focus on the individual has afforded us greater personal freedom, allowing us the space to express ourselves more honestly, and has driven us towards our own personal ambitions rather than that of our group. To that I completely agree, and I would fight to the last nail to ensure that the individual continues to get the attention he or she deserves, and that he or she continues to have the independence to explore and endeavor to whatever his or her heart desires. For what is more beautiful than self-accomplishment? To be able to realize where one’s ambition lie, and reaching that potential?
That being said, you cannot always have a new found advantage without sacrificing another. Having been swept by the fever of the Gulf Cup, and the continued success of our beloved UAE, I’ve thought about the positive spirit that has taken over the national team, the nation, and evidently our neighboring friends of the GCC. It almost feels like we’ve regained something we haven’t felt in a long time: a big following, a big crowd, and it becoming the talk of the town – in essence, there is a spirit found.
The modern world, with all that it affords us as individuals living within it, gives little way for collective, single-dimensioned thinking. That’s not to say that breakthroughs can’t happen, we can all see by the recurring #1 most-viewed YouTube videos how memes can really permeate through societies to pull a common thread; however, with all the options and freedoms available, more variations will be found – in our thoughts, in our beliefs, and the manifestation of that with our behaviors and attitudes.
So what can we find that can create that meme? Where do these commonalities spring up in a world that is geared towards the expression of the individual? We would need to start looking at the spaces where commonalities still exist. While we might be far off from being an identical species, we are still the same species; guided by the same urges and needs, driven by the same fears, and motivated by the same interests. Within those common denominators is the potential for a large-scale meme that will be received by all and loved by all. It’s not that easy though, for it takes more than the category of commonalities to create such a powerful impact.
To give birth to a meme is to firstly find a common topic – something that a large number of a given population must be positively (or in a strong negative manner) associated with. Then it needs to be presented in the right manner – none of us would have watched the Gangnam Style video ten times over if it wasn’t produced and directed so well. Finally it needs the element of luck, to be seen or shared by the right people, to have the attention span of the audience, to not have competing memes, and so on and so forth.
While we can endlessly engage in the analysis of a meme, I would rather take a step back and marvel at the fact that even in this diversified world with all its nuances and intricacies, we still find things that bring us together. I’ll even go as far as to say I predict that this phenomenon will continue to exist, albeit within more basic human interests, so as to maintain the common ground.