• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
  • offline last seen September 11th

Sprocket Doggingsworth

I write horse words.

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Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - Outsiders · 6:06am Sep 21st, 2018

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine took a meme quiz. I don’t remember what exactly the theme was, but her results where that she was an “outsider” personality - a black sheep. This prompted an interesting discussion (which I will make relevant to MLP shortly).

Is there anyone who doesn’t, on some level, feel like an outsider? I haven’t met that person.

It’s a messed up Kardashian World, and to be honest, anyone who looks around at all that passes for normal, and feels perfectly at home is somebody I’m going to raise an eyebrow at.

Post-modern society is dehumanizing. It encourages us to feel alone. It hones in on our are weaknesses, and our insecurities, and advertises to them – selling us snake oils, and placative comforts. At the end of the day, however, the constant and omnipresent message of materialism only creates a society of loners.

We, as a society, lack any coherent drive or purpose, apart from the acquisition of wealth. On the individual level, we suffer for it. Most people do not have a sense of community in the Outernet. Online communities and fandoms have largely taken their place. While it's wonderful that we have that, millions of people still go days or weeks without touch - meaningful touch - despite the fact that countless studies have shown it to be a basic human need.

Which brings me to Rockhoof.

I don’t think there’s anypony here who has spent an entire millennium in a pocket dimension, or had to acclimate to a world that’s undergone centuries of change since last they took part in it. However, on some level, most of us can relate to that feeling of being lost. Of having our talents and passions - the pieces of our souls that yearn the most to be valued in the world - deemed useless. Of feeling alone.

In Rockhoof and a Hard Place, the answer is remarkably simple - so simple so as to be profound. “Rockhoof Yona’s friend, and that make this home.”

Is there any better answer?

All of us suffer. Physically. Emotionally. Existentially.

But by building friendships - real friendships – by being there for one another, and sharing not only each other’s triumphs, but sorrows, we can break the cycle of isolation. There are millions who feel the same loneliness, but it’s hard to stray from the comfort of the familiar, and it can be scary to be the one to take initiative and reach out to those around us.

It is in each other that we find not only solace, but purpose. It all starts with friendship, whether that be a change in how we deal with those closest to us (a commitment to really be there for one another), or a change in how we engage with the world. Friendship can give us the strength not to withdraw from the world. It can keep us from retreating into our isolated existences, and turning ourselves into stone as Rockhoof had wanted.

Of course, that's all easier said than done. Please don't mistake me. We all have obstacles, both psychological and physical, and some are more surmountable than others. The point of this essay is not to say "just try harder," but to examine the commonality of that which makes us feel "lost" or "alone." Yale is currently offering a course called The Psychology of Well-Being - a course on happiness. New York Magazine recently published an article about this, Yale's single most popular course, and in it, students mentioned that one of the most profound things occurred simply by walking through the door, and finding hundreds of other students who felt as lost as they were, despite their facades of success and purpose.

By reaching out to one another and sharing in the very tribulations that we all have in common - we can bridge our gaps. It all begins and ends with friendship, whether we're talking about a massive social upheaval, or an upheaval in our own private lives.

That, to me, is what made this episode so powerful. With all of that daunting, easier-said-than-done work ahead of us, the best advice was simple - equally applicable on a large scale, as in the little things. In a way, it distilled a lot of the core themes of the entire Friendship is Magic series into a single phrase, and it came straight from the earnest heart of a child.

As Yona pointed out, if you’re with friends, you’re already home. Think on that. Really think on that.


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Comments ( 3 )

...You know, I was wondering what, if anything, to say in comment on this, and then I realized that I'd just finished a ~2-hour-long unplanned chat with a friend, the first live chat we've had, and that seemed like it might have some relevance to the subject of the post. :)

And yeah... what is "home", when one really things about it? What you/Yona propose sounds like it's at least a pretty important component. :)

When everyone's an outsider, it's time to build a new house. And you're going to need friends for that.

But by building friendships - real friendships – by being there for one another, and sharing not only each other’s triumphs, but sorrows, we can break the cycle of isolation.

That may all be true, but it forgets one thing:

That some rather stay alone, because friendship always fails them.

Like Tempest Shadow. We can only guess what else happened to her that made her give up on friendship altogether after the initial betrayal by her two best friends. Or Capper, who, as you will know if you read the prequel comics, went through a similar horrible experience as Tempest did.
And while such cases are the exception in Equestria, it happens very often that people pretend to be your friends, but show their true colors eventually when they unexpectedly stab a knife in your back or leave you behind when they don't need you anymore because they only abused you for their own gain, in this world.
For some people, this happens all the time, until they have enough and rather stay alone, because they have come to the point where it isn't worth trying anymore, because they know that it will just continue like this for them.
These people exist, too. Friendship doesn't always work.

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