From an evolutionary perspective of human beings, it surely a very, very thing that human beings have a propensity to fit-in. Much of the cooperation between human beings is driven not so much by a sublime grasp of the significance of this or that activity. Quite the contrary. To a tremendously large measure, the cooperation between human beings is driven by none other than the tremendous desire that human beings have to fit-in. Of course, not every human being is animated by the desire to fit-in. But as the saying goes: The exception proves the rule.
Clearly, most human beings are tremendously animated by desire to fit-in. A most compelling example of the significance that human beings attach to fitting-in is the wearing of tremendously sagging pants on the part of males. There is no benefit whatsoever to wearing such sagging pants other than the affirmation that such wearers receive as a result of fitting-in. Indeed, it is rather humorous just how much attention a male wearing sagging-pants must pay to the position of his pants so as to make sure that the pants do not end up end up falling down way too far. But the additional attentiveness that males wearing-sagging pants must pay is in effect compensated for by the affirmation of fitting-in.
Needless to say, there is a tremendous difference between (1) people fitting-in because they are all independently motivated by a deep and abiding concern to do what is right and (2) people fitting-in simply because they want the affirmation that results from doing what others do. We very much have the moral platform for courage in the case of (1) but not so in the case of (2). Indeed, there is simply no evidence which warrants the view that from an evolutionary perspective (1) reflects the psychological structure of human beings much, much more so than (2) does.
Alas, one profound problem with the propensity that human beings have to fit-in is that if this or that group of human being does not have the right leader to inspire them, then it is very, very, very unlikely that the group of human beings in question will do that which morally good on their very own. Indeed, it is very unlikely that a single member of that group will so behave.
When I reflect upon my own life, a quite poignant truth is that I did not become a fiercely independent individual after college or after graduate school. And so on. Quite the contrary; for even as a young 5-year old lad, I was animated by a tremendous streak of independence. And I shall go to my grave ever so grateful that being independent clearly manifested itself in my life even when I was a kid. The happiness and joy that is occasioned by the life I now live is so profoundly tied to the tremendous independence that was definitive of my life as I grew up.
A final and quite interesting thought is that when a person has indeed continuously experienced being the author of her or his own life, thanks to the tremendous independence that has animated that individual’s life, then she or he will have a most profound sense of security and sense of self-worth that does not even come close to resembling arrogance. And it is precisely that profound sense of security and self-worth that enables the individual to marvelously appreciate and be inspired by the excellence—indeed, the superior excellence—of another rather than feeling threatened by other’s unquestionable and ever so marvelous excellence.
The following should be manifestly obvious: It much, much, much better to be inspired by the phenomenal excellence of another rather than to be jealous of that person’s excellence. Most significantly, the moral backdrop for such inspiration is none other courage to be the author of one’s own life. Alas, the propensity to be jealous far is far greater than the propensity to be inspired.