On being Too Far Ahead

Dave Pollard’s How to Save the World keeps poking me with reminders of the Canadian perspective that I so admire –minimally tainted by infection with the global power trip that most Americans don’t even notice, and with lots of basic good sense, eh? His posting yesterday, on being ahead of the times around oneself, gets it just right. And he concludes:

I am announcing the start of a new Movement. It is the Movement of People Too Far Ahead For Their Own Good. Or, for short, the Too Far Ahead Movement. And since most movements have an icon, or a secret handshake, or some other quiet acknowledgment of mutual membership, like the ‘V’ sign of the 1960s Peace Movement, the Too Far Ahead Movement should have a gesture, too.

What might be a good gesture to acknowledge the presence of another Too Far Ahead person? We could use something exotic like the ‘be seeing you’ gesture from The Prisoner. But I’m leaning towards something subtle — say, a simple nod with eyes closed and closed right hand to right chest…

This crossed my bow at more or less the same time I was reading Peter Sandman’s absolutely essential Flu Pandemic Preparedness Snowball. Besides being a super-fine piece of writing, it has a really important point to make about being a True Believer, under the heading “Be nice to the newbies”:

Anyone who has ever been an activist knows how demoralizing it is to start winning. You had this solid “in” group of fellow fanatics. Everyone knew everyone else; everyone knew the facts and the issues; everyone knew how special you all were to care so deeply, to keep plugging away despite your neighbors’ obliviousness. Then you made some progress, and suddenly there were strangers coming to your meetings, asking stupid questions, offering inappropriate suggestions, making everyone uncomfortable, sometimes even usurping leadership… the last two weeks have seen an explosive increase in newcomers to bird flu sites. These latest newbies are in the early stages of their adjustment reaction. Some are frightened and urgent; some are skeptical; nearly all are ignorant. Some of the oldtimers are feeling crowded and a little contemptuous, and it’s showing… As a fellow fanatic put it to me a few days ago: “The mainstream is finally starting to pay attention, and some of the flu geeks are getting upset. They haven’t quite figured out why. They just know they’re in a bad mood.”

Sandman goes on to suggest practical steps and considerations for flu geeks, or (in the general sense) for anybody who awakes to being a person Too Far Ahead For Their Own Good.