con·form·i·ty –noun, plural -ties. 1. action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc. 2. correspondence in form, nature, or character; agreement, congruity, or accordance. 3. compliance or acquiescence; obedience.
non·con·form·i·ty –noun 1. failure or refusal to conform, as with established customs, attitudes, or ideas. 2. lack of conformity or agreement. 3. ( often initial capital letter ) refusal to conform to the Church of England.
The Transcendentalists, especially Henry David Thoreau, appalled conforming to society merely for the purpose of “fitting in”. They advocated that society corrupted a person’s inner goodwill. They believed that by remaining outside of society’s influences a person could transcend the evils society tempted them with and achieve true peace. In his essay Civil Disobedience, Thoreau supported violating the laws set forth by the government if one felt that they were harmful. Thoreau practiced as he preached and refused to submit to the concept that slavery was morally acceptable. He attempted to enlighten others and bring them over to his side. He was shunned by many for his radical ideas. However, he ignored the protests and stood up for what he believed in. The definition of non-conformity is considered a failure to conform. However, Thoreau saw it not as a failure, but as a success; a successful method of exercising ones intrinsic right to defend his beliefs. “A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority.”-Henry David Thoreau.
“Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of our own mind.”-Emerson, Self-Reliance
“Society is a joint stock company in which members agree for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”-Emerson, Self-Reliance
Quotes About Nonconformity
Nonconformity to Society as Source of Self Development – College …
At studymode.com, this is one of those essays (writen in 2008) that appears to be something you can rip off the web and turn it or at least cite for some paper you were to be writing in a class about society and self-development. Check the opening premise..
“As human beings, no two of us are the same. We look, act and think differently from each other. However, man cannot live without community because it is the essence of social bond. Community binds one person to another, transforming aggregates of individuals into coherent social groups.”
The essay goes on to cite Hobbes and Durkheim, but I didn’t “register” so I could read the conclusion. [Don’t need to… it’s playing out all around us day by day.]
And there’s a similar essay here: http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/11/2/24546/2305/
“Summary: Non-comformity to society can have both negative and positive consequences. It can lead to personal disaster or to positive social change. The act of non-conformity is examined in two films, “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Remember the Titans,” as well as in the civil disobedience of Rosa Parks.
Non-conformity is an act of rebellion, opposing the expectations set by society. Non-conformity should be admired and admonished, valued and reproved, depending on the various situations it is applied to. I believe that non-conformity may have both positive and negative outcomes, ghastly consequences and excellent results. Those who choose not to conform either do it knowing it will result in an affirmative or negative outcome, or not knowing it what they are doing at all. In all fact, an act of non-conformity cannot be judged by it’s rebellious nature, but by it’s effects on the society or things involved. Acts of non-conformity can have both minute and immense effects on the environment that surround their occurrence, but either way they will definitely have clear consequences. In many forms of literature and entertainment, there are examples of non-conformity and their consequences evident, whether it be…”
“I’d really like to be normal and conform, because, at heart, I’m not a risk-taker at all,” said Grand Rapids, MI, high-school sophomore Christine Kornowicz. “But if I want to fit in, I have to be different. If you don’t stick out, everyone at school makes fun of you.”
“I’ve started wearing all black, painting my nails, and shaving my head, just to fit in,” said Jonathan Auger, a Binghamton, NY, high-school junior. “You can’t understand how hard it is for a young person not to make waves these days.”
Notoriety: Outrageous Appearance & Personal Behavior as a Social Art Form
the entire Kardashian complex
Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking
Posted by samzenpus on Monday December 09, 2013 @08:07AM
from the you-are-all-individuals dept.
An anonymous reader writes
“Despite how much people might say they like creative thinking, they don’t, at least according to studies. ‘We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,’ says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity. ‘As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,’ he says.”
Coercion and Social Cohesion
December 26th, 2013
(by Adam Elkus)
Reader PRBeckman left a very great comment on my “Legibility at War” post, placing the WWI draft effort in perspective:
The federal government wanted to conscript millions of eligible men, but it had no information about those men and it lacked the institutions and money to gather that information so it depended upon private, voluntary organizations to fill the gaps. This is where the culture of voluntary associations reveals its dark side. The army’s estimate suggested that perhaps 3 million men never registered at all. This illegibility was a great dilemma and that’s where voluntary associations came in. Americans of this era are famous for their prolific creations of associations of every kind. You would think that would be a good thing except that they too often veered into vigilantism. These organizations were populated by people who weren’t themselves eligible for the draft, but they saw it as their duty to ensure that those who were eligible weren’t shirking. Organizations were formed all over the country, the most prominent being the American Protective League which counted 250,000 members. In 1917 and 1918 the APL and these other organizations, in collaboration with federal, state & local gov’ts, ran “slacker raids” to try to find those men who were eligible but who hadn’t registered. The accounts of these raids are frightening. The raids varied in size but they culminated in a massive operation in New York City on September 3-5, 1918:
“The APL later estimated that somewhere between twenty thousand and thirty thousand men participated: city police, government agents from the Department of Justice, more than two thousand soldiers and one thousand sailors, and thousands of American Protective League operatives. For three days they scoured the city’s streets and public places interrogating somewhere between 300,000 and 500,000 men. A man who lacked a draft registration or classification card found himself escorted by these self-appointed authorities to the nearest police station.”
They surrounded the “exits and entrances of every train, ferry, subway” station, “cordoning off whole blocks and interrogation men on the street. Later they raided theaters, saloons, billiard parlors, and boarding houses. Sailors wandered through the city’s restaurants moving from table to table inspecting the cards of diners.”
All the consequence of trying to achieve ’legibility’. And it would have an impact on concepts of citizenship, changing how citizens interacted with their government. The WW1 period was the transition era from the “illegible,” “wild and unruly forest”-era of citizenship to one that has taken on “a more legible shape.”
It’s worth pondering this when we hear endless appeals from pundits about how if our politicians and partisans were only forced to abandon their substantive political differences and get together, if our populace was regimented by a peacetime draft unconnected to urgent military danger for the purpose of social cohesion, we would somehow be a more perfect union. John Schindler rightly dispenses with these ideas:
A Swiss-style mass reserve force would make a great deal of sense if the United States worried about actual invasion from Canada or Mexico, something which even Sheriff Joe Arpaio doesn’t think is a realistic threat. Otherwise, not so much
Moreover, what would the U.S. military do with all those people? Since, unless you want to replicate the worst features of the pre-1973 draft, when flimsy exemptions abounded that privileged the privileged, the Selective Service system would have to direct millions of young men (and women too? how, in gender-equal 21st century America, could they be excluded?) into the forces. Even allowing that a high percentage of young people would be kept out on grounds of rising obesity and general idiocy that are spreading in wildfire fashion among American youths – many place that number at seventy-five percent unfit for military service these days – the Pentagon would need to find lots of make-work work for many big battalions of teenagers.
I don’t hear anyone suggesting a draft period of two years, as it was before 1973, so we’d be talking about a one year – twelve months – service period at most (Austria is down to six months coerced service, as a reference point, which has limited functional utility for the active forces.). Which would mean the U.S. military would have to invest in a vast training system resulting in lots of units filled with half-trained troops plus many others counting the days until they get out. It’s not difficult to see why you hardly ever meet career military types, of any rank, with any enthusiasm for restoring peacetime conscription.
Schindler acribes this to the utopian dreams of pundits that never had to endure military discipline themselves but want someone else’s sons and daughters to do it. However, even this is actually too charitable. I wrote and scrapped a column for War on the Rocks that analyzed this at length (it was getting too dense for a typical op-ed format) and I came to the conclusion that there is actually an strong element of authoritarianism in this.
The idea is that, in essence, with a regimented body of Americans we have cohesion again — cohesion, however, defined by the pundit’s own views about what politics America ought to have. What Dana Milibank’s column (which Schindler’s column rebuts) amounts to is the idea that a regimented America is one that will be more likely to agree with his own subjective political beliefs. Key is his sentence at the end that the ultimate goal of this would be to do undo the damage of “self-interested leaders” and the fact that the shutdown was the impetus for his column:
It’s no coincidence that this same period has seen the gradual collapse of our ability to govern ourselves: a loss of control over the nation’s debt, legislative stalemate and a disabling partisanship. It’s no coincidence, either, that Americans’ approval of Congress has dropped to just 9?percent, the lowest since Gallup began asking the question 39 years ago.
If partisanship is what regimentation seeks to cure, than the unspoken assumption is that a drafted public is one more likely to share Dana Milbank’s view of American governance. Let us be direct: his view of governance is one that conflates ideological disagreement (combined with the particularities of the US system) with pettiness and flaws of character. And the implication is that regimentation, authority, and discipline will reduce disorder and make American politics legible to him and other observers — like the China-fetishizing New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Don’t get me wrong, I found the shutdown disturbing too. I dislike partisanship as well. I think that the shutdown was also a failure of American governance. But it had complex structural causes, not some sudden and simplistic deprecation in the character of Americans raised on butter instead of guns. Structure, particularly when combined with ideology, matters. And we should start being very careful when an intellectual avoids existing structural analysis, warns of societal decadence , and declares that we must regiment ourselves and quash disagreement to save the polity. We should particularly be concerned when said intellectual creates a mono-causal explanation for a complex set of social problems and declares we must regiment ourselves and quash disagreement.
In any event I’d rather have vigorous partisanship and democracy (even if it results in gridlock and partisanship) than the kind of America Milbank seemingly wants to build. And knowledge of history should make us very cautious about the constant of the intellectual proposing coercion for the sake of order, cohesion, and discipline in society. Diversity builds robustness and strength, and centralization and regimentation can have substantial costs.
Posted in intellectuals, theory | 3 Comments »
There is a fine line that separates conformity from nonconformity, and both of them from intelligent decision making. Although the distinction may seem clear, I believe the difference is far more complex than most people are aware of. Why? Because an accurate measure of conformity or nonconformity is based exclusively on an individual’s true understanding of a subject. It doesn’t matter what decision a person actually makes, or if someone else has made a similar decision. What does matter is the reasoning behind the decision.
Many people believe conformity is tied solely to the act of following the masses. This viewpoint is inherently flawed. Let’s keep this ridiculously simple. The circular tire is one of the most commonly used tools in existence. Am I conforming because I use 4 of them on my automobile? The answer is no. I use them because I have fully evaluated the circumstances and concluded that circular tires get the job done right. Would I be a true nonconformist for trying another shape of tire? No, I would be practicing nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity with no value added, and actually spoiling my productivity in the process.
Conformity is not just about following the masses. True conformity involves following the masses without first evaluating why the masses are doing what they are doing. Many times the masses are correct. If you properly evaluate the circumstances and conclude that the masses are indeed correct, you would be foolish to run the other way, or practice any form of nonconformity.
This brings me to my next point. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity is conformity. When people try too hard to be different, they usually end up being just like everyone else who is trying to be different. Don’t conform to nonconformity for the sake of it. Mindfully evaluate the circumstances. Once you fully understand your options, make the decision that works best for you…..
NON-CONFORMITY, MY ASS;
OR WHY WE’RE ALL A BUNCH OF POSERS
“… I encourage people to question society, their parents, their boss, and themselves. And to question, of course, authority.
Since a young age — since, I don’t know, around the age of 6 — I’ve always questioned things. In high school, I was one of those grunge/punk kids that rebelled against “the system” (until I dropped out due to boredom, that is). I eventually went to college and dropped out of that, too. Not because I was lazy, but because I never intended on getting a degree. I chose to go to classes that I was interested in, instead of following core requirements and a major program. I’m not trying to downplay the value of diplomas, or degrees, but the path of self education has always felt the most right for me. (See: becoming a raw foodist, Jeet Kune Do, blogging, drumming, writing, web design, and reading at least one book a week.) I commend those that follow the traditional path of education deliberately (instead of doing it because they’re told it’s a good idea). It just wasn’t for me, personally.
So anyway — back to the story: During my short-lived high school days, I wanted to disengage from the machine. So I became “anti-everything.” I rejected popular notions, traditions, belief-systems, religions, and anything classical, formal, or institutionalized.
Now this was something I was really proud of back in the day. It was everything street cred and a serious symbol of how “real” you were. It was a seal of renegade pride to not wear anything with a label or brand name. If you were a true non-conformist, you didn’t listen to music that was on the radio. You read books and listened to music that were considered “underground,” and often admired artists simply because they were unknown. We called this being real.
If you want to meet a real non-conformist (hell, the title of his blog is The Art of Non-Conformity. Helloooo.) I suggest you check out Chris’s blog. He also has a really badass free ebook called A Brief Guide to World Domination. You won’t be disappointed. Plus you can’t be even if you wanted to. It’s free.
Before I talk about the pitfalls of this approach, I’ll say a bit about the reasoning for questioning authority and all things popular.
See, if you’re really down, if you’re really with it, then you know that the whole reason for non-conformism is to not live unconsciously. It’s to get in touch with who you really are and express your own individuality. This is wonderful. This is beautiful.
While it doesn’t happen all the time, I occasionally get criticized for admonishing other people to follow their own path and rejecting the mainstream. Following your own path, for the sake of being different, isn’t very smart when you’re trying to reinvent the wheel.
That’s because modeling the success of other people is often one of the quickest ways to become successful. I have nothing against this. I don’t think it’s wrong, but it only makes sense if that’s really a deliberate choice.
We’re all a bunch of posers.
If there is anything the nonconformist hates worse than a conformist, it’s another nonconformist who doesn’t conform to the prevailing standard of nonconformity.
We all live our lives within a giant melting pot of borrowed ideas. Our beliefs and views about ourselves and the world are nothing more than a collage of things we’ve heard from other people, or ideas we’ve picked up and patched over our existing mesh of ideas along the way. We can pick up new ideas, new beliefs at any time and shed the old skin of what we no longer identify with.
So yes, in a way, nothing is original. Nothing is unique. We all have the same DNA, just arranged differently.
We’re all saying the same thing, in different tones. We only perceive it as different because we’re reorganizing the notes on the ledger. A musician may play the notes at different lengths, in different time signatures and varying progressions and keys. But they’re all the same notes.
Studying martial arts and Jeet Kune Do has led me to see that conformity to systems of fighting doesn’t make much sense. Placing your attacks and defenses into set patterns leaves you fixed and immovable when real life happens. Fighting, like real life, is alive. It’s dynamic. Bruce Lee was known for rebelling against all styles because he said “We all have two feet and two legs. How can there be any other style of fighting, unless you have three feet or three legs?”
In the same way, we’re all living life with the same stuff. We all work, sleep, and eat the same way. Though we might have different expressions of these things, we all put on our pants the same way.
So yes, blindly rejecting the mainstream is pretty stupid. Non-conformity for the sake of non-conforming is still conformity.
Rejecting all patterns and styles blindly is still a pattern.
Do I think that rejecting everything because it’s popular is conformity masked as some rebel badge of “with-it-ness” or a sign of how “real” you are? Yes, I do. I think it’s just as unconscious as blindly following trends. But I also think that questioning is a deeply sacred part of life. Yes, it can become lame when questioning everything becomes an institution in and of itself. But I think it’s a better alternative to some other traditions (see: not questioning a book written over 2,000 years ago).
So yes, I’m a conformist. And I encourage you to be one, too. After all, non-conformity can be quite ugly taken to the extreme. You wouldn’t want to chop off all your limbs or stop wearing pants for the sake of being different, right? I didn’t think so.
What this all comes down to is…
If you want to wear chucks and cardigans as a badge of your indie-ness, go right ahead. If you like rules, routines, and detailed plans, do that. Follow trends or boycott them. Avoid all cliques or be a scenester. Embrace the system or rage against it, but do so consciously and deliberately. And remember, life is dynamic and you’re alive, and therefore subject to change. If you rejected something because you thought it was trendy and you found out later that you really did like it, be honest with yourself and accept that.
Free spirit or group-think, express yourself authentically. Accept that who you are now and what you believe now may not be the same in 5 years or 5 minutes.
Embrace your aliveness. Embrace that you might not recognize who you were yesterday and that’s okay. As you grow and change, so will your dreams and desires. The good news is that your integrity never changes. It’s always nudging you to accept what you really feel. It doesn’t differentiate between what’s popular and what’s not. It just knows what is. Call it intuition, your conscience, whatever you like; it’s probably a good idea to listen to it. When I do, things just seem to work a whole lot better than when I resist and try to “rebel” against things because of their homogeneity.
You might also be wondering: if I really don’t think that mainstream ideas are evil, why do I continually write posts in a way that comes at things from an unconventional angle? Why do I write articles with titles like “Productivity is a Waste of Time” and “If It’s a Good Idea… Don’t Do It”? Is it because I think that unconventional ideas are better? No, I don’t.
I just happen to get bored reading the same things all the time. I like to explore uncommon, lesser seen angles to view things from. Everything conventional is already being said, anyway; why would I want to repeat the same echo?
The whole unconventional, counter-intuitive thing is my style. It’s the way I like to do things, but it’s just my flavor. It’s nothing different, really.
It’s just my way of rearranging the notes.
“… Many people are becoming successful because they chose to become both conformists and nonconformists. So, for an individual like you, there is a great chance for you to become successful and happy by choosing to be a conformist and nonconformist.
Further readings on Conformity and Nonconformity:
I recommend you to read the great and inspiring book of Chris Guillermo: ”The Art of Non-Conformity“, that shows you how to make you life an adventure, find your life’s meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.”
About the author: Michael Newman is the founder and the author of this psychology dedicated blog. He is a psychologist leading training sessions, an expert in NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), transpersonal psychology and Eastern philosophy. Email
Source of image: http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com/category/law/human-rights-violations/causes-of-human-rights-violations/
“To think deeply in our culture is to grow angry and to anger others; and if you cannot tolerate this anger, you are wasting the time you spend thinking deeply. One of the rewards of deep thought is the hot glow of anger at discovering a wrong, but if anger is taboo, thought will starve to death.” ~ Jules Henry
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