To some I’ve seemed extraordinary in a good way, To others, in a bad way.
Some saw me as being wiser and/or in some way better than they; a person who, when they didn’t know what to do, could tell them what to do. Even more, a person who could do for them what they couldn’t do for themselves. Someone Christians call a Savior.
Others were sure they knew what to do, what everyone ought to do; it was self-evident. If I said it was not self-evident to me, they accused me of being a liar, a charlatan trying to fool people into thinking I was wiser and/or better than they.
It’s true I gave advice to people who asked me what to do; but I never claimed I could do for them what they couldn’t or wouldn’t do for themselves (which usually disappointed them, and convinced them I was a charlatan).
Contrary to what others assume, I never considered myself extraordinary. I’ve always thought of myself as exemplary, a microcosm of the macrocosm.
Just as in biological evolution ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, so it seems to me that my life recapitulates the social evolution of my species.
As my species lived at first in tribes, whose members are all related, and then moved to the anonymity of cities in which what used to be called society is now called the market, so did I move from a large extended family to a social isolation in which the only people I meet are salespeople.
If my life is in any way extraordinary, it’s because I've always striven to be exemplary in the Kantian sense of doing what I wish everyone would do.
It seems to me few people now believe they know what everyone ought to do. That could be because I now see few people. But of the few I do see, most do not seem to see themselves as extraordinary, in the sense of being exceptions to the rule. Most people don’t seem to know of any rule which they might follow, or to which they could be exceptions. Most people now seem to see the world as a chaos in which we all struggle to survive. And it is a chaos at some level; or it seems a chaos to us, at our level. If it has an order, it’s not one we can understand. That’s why we built our own order.
But we no longer believe in the order we built; or rather, we no longer suspend our disbelief in it. We always knew it was built on convenient fictions, which we no longer find convenient.
We no longer believe in the old fictions, and seem unable to imagine new ones; therefore no rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to give birth to a new order. We are the beast, and this is the hour of our death.