Sunday, April 3, 2011

Short and Sharp - Conformity

A thing that really bugs me is when people get all snooty when it comes to conformity; that if anyone does what the mainstream does, they are just a mindless sheep. Now, I won’t dispute that there are people who legitimately participate in activities they hate just because the majority it. But I believe these individuals to be a minority; most people who make are the mainstream are simply prioritizing their desires.

Let me explain further; in life, we have to prioritize our desires because it is impossible for us to undertake them all concurrent. Desires can mutually exclusive (i.e. wanting the security of a stable partner and wanting to experience the thrill of getting to know someone new) where as others are just temporally exclusive (i.e. they can’t be undertaken at the concurrently because they take up too much time and resources). We have to order our desires and select which are most likely to make us happy and which are most practical.

Conformity comes into this when you realise it too is a desire; the desire to be a part of the group. Take the following example:
Person A’s desires (ranked by preference):
  1. Person A wants to be a porn-star.
  2. Person A wants to be a nurse.
  3. Person A wants to conform to a group.
Now a lot of people would say that they should just go with their most powerful desire to become a porn-star and, if they chose nursing instead, would criticize them for conforming to what society wants. But what they fail to realise is that, by becoming a nurse, they are fulfilling two lesser desires, which may be greater than their first one.

My point is simply this; don’t criticize the choice a person makes just because it happens to align with what mainstream society does. The desire to conform is no more rational than any other emotional desire (to be loved, to feel happy etc.).

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