Yes, the word 'conformity' has the stigma of being used only by alternative-loving teenagers. But really, think about it. It is conformity that breeds judgemental behaviour and tribalism, and thus conformity that allows bullying, wars, oppression, lack of honest thought, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia...

The term 'taboo' is the warflag of conformity. Wherever something is taboo, conformity has been at work and minds are closed. The very concept of taboo is backwards, and should be challenged in all scenarios. Few are capable of truly scrutinising the values that they have been brainwahsed to adopt. To evidence this truth, I've collected a few common sayings that have long been circulating our Western world, on the topic of difference.

1. We have more in common than there are differences.
2. Let's forget our differences.
3. Diversity is one of the great things about this country.
4. There's nothing wrong with being different.
5. They're still human / Their blood's still red at the end of the day.

All of these are commonly given as positive and peaceful notions. Were I to speak to almost any given person, assuming they weren't racist, I could insert any of these sayings into a conversation on race and expect to be agreed with. This would thus prove his indoctrination, because they can't all be true; they contradict. Quotes 1. 2. and 5. assume difference to be a bad thing whilst quotes 3. and 4. assume different to be good or neutral respectively.

I hope I've come to a place where I might find some exception to this rule of programable people. What do you think about the whole thing?

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Hey there, welcome to the site!

Interesting points, but I can't go all in and vilify conformity across the board. Conforming to societal norms serves a purpose and it is not always bad. Although I do find myself becoming more eccentric as the years roll by.
Why thank you! I like this place.

Do you mean that some social norms have a purpose or that the act of conforming itself has a purpose? What I mean is, are you saying that some social norms are good because of whatever reason or that they're good simply because they're a social norm?
I'm going to presume to answer for Reggie, simply because I've read enough of his posts to think we share a similar thought process.

Nothing is ever good just because it is what it is. Okay, that came out very babble-y. Most of us "free-thinkers" tend to evaluate any given premise (the 'norm' to not kill your neighbor, the 'norm' to mate with the opposite sex, etc) on its own, separate from the fact that they are norms. In this case, it's a good norm not to kill people. But the norm against homosexuality doesn't really make sense.

So, I presume to suggest that Reggie thinks some norms are good because they serve a good purpose, rather than accepting them because they are normative.

(Sorry if that's horribly rambly... I'm at the end of a 14 hour shift, and my brain is squish)
Yeah, that about sums it up, you mind reader. ;)
If you buck the "don't shit where you eat" convention you should have antibiotics on hand.
If you cannot stand to drive on the same side of the road as everyone around you (an arbitrary convention to be sure) you might want to mount a large flashing light on the roof of your car.

Feel free to experiment rather than taking my word for it.
We drive on the same road as everyone else because it is beneficial to our health, not because it is a norm. I'm not villifying every norm, I'm villifying the idea that something being a norm makes it more valid for that reason. If you believe that social norms hold credence for their own sake, you cannot villify any event that was largely supported by the populace. Homophobia, witch burnings, religious indoctrination, persecutio of Jews... all these things were considered the social norm in their own contexts. As Wendy said, it is imperitive that everything be evaluated on its own merits, separate from peer-pressure.
I can think of at least one case where conformity trumps individuality:
Honor killings.
They are happening with growing frequency in America, based on the woman becoming 'more westernized'
Here is an idea.
Don't immigrate if you think the norms of the country you are moving to are evil!
@ Wendy + Reggie: Yeah, then I agree with you completely. I guess I didn't really express myself very clearly. I'm attacking the positive perception of conformity itself, if you get what I mean. The unwillingness to defy social norms is a bad thing, not necessarily the eventual decision not to. If you've questioned it, that's good enough. Sorry for being so generic in my opening post.

@ Misty: Honour killings are a symptom of conformity. Conformity to the social and religious doctrines of ettiquette in that country. It's backwards to criticise the woman for being 'more westernized', as this distracts from the fact that the blame is firmly on the shoulders of the killer. Conformity is still the culprit.
But conforming to the norm of the new country would have negated the need for the idea of 'honor' entirely. Likewise, while no longer in the culture of 'honor' there is no pressure (except for the internalized) for such barbaric actions.
They are now the minority, and the ideas they cling to are rightly opposed by the vast majority of people.
The parents of such victims have lived in the new society for as long as the murdered children, so they should be just as exposed to new ideas, ways of thinking, ect.

I mean personally.. as a world traveler.. I wouldn't move into any nation that I couldn't respect its laws. To some extent, conforming is necessary for our survival.
I'd love to be a world traveller, it's something I aspire to do when I leave education. Is it plausible on an average income?

I wouldn't live in a place who's laws I couldn't abide by either. Comformity in such scenarios is indeed necessary for survival, but then I know this would be a sorry state of affairs and would not conform my opinions. If these killings happen in America, then surely conforming to the new coutnry would result in being westernized? It is the killers that are not conforming to the new norm that they find themselves in. In Saudi Arabia, the person conforming is reversed. So, for the same action, in a developed country the killer is wrong and in a backwards country the killer is right? Seems a little apologetic.

There is never a 'need' for barbaric actions. We should stop making excuses for murderers.
I'm attacking the positive perception of conformity itself, if you get what I mean. The unwillingness to defy social norms is a bad thing, not necessarily the eventual decision not to. If you've questioned it, that's good enough. Sorry for being so generic in my opening post.

No problem. I figured that was what you meant. Some people generalize for ease of conversation and some people generalize because that is how they see the world. Good to know that you are not the latter. :)


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