Contradiction in Terms
"Eccentric Club?" - "Isn't there a contradiction in terms?"
No doubt, this question crossed your mind.
Well, congratulations! You are not the first to ask it! In fact, ever since the first club was launched in 1780s, numerous social and literary critics were pointing out that the very idea of British eccentricity is built around the escape from the social circles, a reclusive comfort in a secret hideaway, 'far from the madding crowd'.
French author Pierre Maillaud in "The English Way" (1945) gives an accurate description of such a perception of an English eccentric: "...A distinctive feature of English society is its ability to produce individuals who do not challenge the social order but choose to break away from conformity by singular pursuits and harmless oddities. I mean primarily the eccentrics... The true English eccentric has two great merits which raise him above his foreign competitors: his eccentricity does not depend upon his wallet; and he is not an exhibitionist. He does not demand any audience but himself. Sometimes he even hides, not out of fear, but to enjoy his hobby all the more. He is an example not only of sheer harmless individualism but of the contentment that life can offer to the wise if it is crossed on a few selected and original stones instead of by the communal bridge. There is usually a distinct touch of the quixotic about him and his enterprises. The genuine eccentric does not attempt to defy society and its laws. He pays the unavoidable tribute to social order and then finds refuge and consolation in doing what the law and even the world permits, but in a way and according to rites of his own. There is nothing calculated in this. It springs from inspiration. The eccentrics were a great English asset and a country that breeds eccentrics is immune from 'caporalization'."
Historically, there has been plenty of examples which support this belief, and we shall not try to argue with those who, either by personal lifestyle or by producing similar descriptive accounts, re-inforce it. We just would like to add that there is no more varied group of individuals than the eccentrics.
Many of our former members were very much in the spotlight of social attention which nevertheless did not diminish their eccentricity. They were comfortable with both, and achieved much more in their lives for themselves and for the mankind by not underestimating the value of socialising.
Whilst some eccentrics are indeed extremely introverted characters (and cherish their reclusiveness which may, in extreme cases, eventually lead to becoming completely out of touch with reality), there are others who need the society of those who understand them and use it as a lab for testing their ideas. They would always seek 'the eccentric club' and understand the idea behind it...