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Thread: Conformity

  1. #31
    Pumpernickel
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4375 View Post
    Life shouldn't be about non-conformity and conformity. It should be more about being yourself and happy who you are.
    Yeah I don't understand why this is even an issue.

    Can't people just get by by doing what they think is best/more right?

  2. #32
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4375 View Post
    Life shouldn't be about non-conformity and conformity. It should be more about being yourself and happy who you are. If conforming in a certain situation is not being true to who you are, then in my opinion, it is wrong. If your value system is opposite to what society believes and you feel you need to make a stand, then non-conformity is good. To be completely one or the other makes no sense. Because nobody completely disagrees with society on everything and know one complete agrees with society on everything. To be a non-conformist just to be a non-conformist makes no sense. I see that as being attention seeking or narcassitic.
    I don't think anyone should be entirely conformist or nonconformist, but I also don't think anyone should feel just plain happy about being themselves. A lot of times, nonconformity is used as a reason to say "I'm fine the way I am. I live by my own values and measure myself only in accordance with those values - not arbitrary guidelines dictated by society."

    But if there are no external values to measure the self against, than a person can end up rationalizing away their own weaknesses and can end up with an objectively twisted set of values.

  3. #33
    Allergic to Mornings ergophobe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    My whole life "conformity" has been the big, bad villain.

    But in the past couple years, I've started thinking that conformity is not only necessary but almost refreshing - like it's a sign of humility in an era of narcissism.

    Anyone else get that? What's the big deal about non-conformists?
    What changed? What is comforting now about understanding/aligning with prevailing views?

    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    For example, I loved the bit in New Moon where the friend she's shopping with goes on a tangent about people that say they hate shopping and how zombie movies are metaphors for consumerism and yada yada.
    That part in the film was hilarious!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    I don't think anyone should be entirely conformist or nonconformist, but I also don't think anyone should feel just plain happy about being themselves. A lot of times, nonconformity is used as a reason to say "I'm fine the way I am. I live by my own values and measure myself only in accordance with those values - not arbitrary guidelines dictated by society."

    But if there are no external values to measure the self against, than a person can end up rationalizing away their own weaknesses and can end up with an objectively twisted set of values.
    So, if I understood you correctly:
    Adhering to a strictly personal code = not evaluating our own standards
    Aligning with the prevailing view = not evaluating the prevailing view

    So, what standards should be used?

  4. #34
    Member 4375's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    I don't think anyone should be entirely conformist or nonconformist, but I also don't think anyone should feel just plain happy about being themselves. A lot of times, nonconformity is used as a reason to say "I'm fine the way I am. I live by my own values and measure myself only in accordance with those values - not arbitrary guidelines dictated by society."

    I guess I can agree with that if you are talking about people who are selfish. I would agree with you if you are talking about people who are only happy when others suffer. But for a healthy individual I would disagree with you. You should be happy with who you are, but at the same time seek to grow as a person. Becoming stagnant is not being healthy.

    For myself I am very happy with who I am. Part of who I am is to seek out new challenges. Therefore I can grow as a person.

    I think I may have gone way off topic............I am non conforming.
    I am male. Don't hold it against me.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ergophobe View Post
    What changed? What is comforting now about understanding/aligning with prevailing views?
    I don't think it was something that changed in terms of how I felt, but more the ways I saw nonconformity operating in practice.

    -nonconformists need a foil, so they set up a conformist opponent. Invariably, the conformists they imagine are two-dimensional characters who do things without thinking and only because "that's the way they've always been done." In order for a nonconformist to feel a sense of identity, they need to see the majority as part of this thoughtless herd, and themselves as standing out from the crowd.

    -nonconformists often overestimate their intellect or their moral/ethical correctness. Imagine a job in which you have to make a decision. You believe one thing, while everyone else in the organization believes another. Absent all other evidence, wouldn't a person who kept their own abilities in perspective assume the error in judgment was their own and not everyone else's? But right now, the pendulum is so far in the other direction, that we make heroes out of the individual who holds strong to their original choice. We only hear about those stories when the individual is correct, and not in the more likely scenario in which the majority was correct, and the individual wrong.

    On a personal note, I was always told to follow my own path. But the truth is that the things about me that were considered "different" weren't just different - they were shortcomings. For instance, I was always disorganized as a child. Rather than people telling me I was lazy, I was told that my mind just works differently. I'm now 30 years old, and I'm still disorganized. I no longer believe that it's my mind working differently than others - I believe that I should have been expected to conform to the basic level of order that others use. I should have been told that an objective standard does in fact exist, and that I wasn't special enough to fall outside of that standard.

    So, what standards should be used?
    Societies have broadly shared standards of conduct. What's wrong with deferring to those when possible, and following a different way when necessary?

  6. #36
    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    There are two polar views in this thread that we know aren't true. Of course there is some overlap.

    Conforming is what humans do and for the most part it's a good thing. But to say that all nonconformists are only doing so just to be different isn't true. It isn't a conscious choice to be a nonconformist. I will add that very word sets the meaning up to be a nondesirable attitude. But many of the people who changed the world did so because they weren't conforming. Womens rights activists were nonconformists, the black woman on the bus, all new music, art and dance, the list goes on and on. I think really we all agree - it's polar views that aren't real.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    I don't think it was something that changed in terms of how I felt, but more the ways I saw nonconformity operating in practice.

    -nonconformists need a foil, so they set up a conformist opponent. Invariably, the conformists they imagine are two-dimensional characters who do things without thinking and only because "that's the way they've always been done." In order for a nonconformist to feel a sense of identity, they need to see the majority as part of this thoughtless herd, and themselves as standing out from the crowd.

    -nonconformists often overestimate their intellect or their moral/ethical correctness. Imagine a job in which you have to make a decision. You believe one thing, while everyone else in the organization believes another. Absent all other evidence, wouldn't a person who kept their own abilities in perspective assume the error in judgment was their own and not everyone else's? But right now, the pendulum is so far in the other direction, that we make heroes out of the individual who holds strong to their original choice. We only hear about those stories when the individual is correct, and not in the more likely scenario in which the majority was correct, and the individual wrong.

    On a personal note, I was always told to follow my own path. But the truth is that the things about me that were considered "different" weren't just different - they were shortcomings. For instance, I was always disorganized as a child. Rather than people telling me I was lazy, I was told that my mind just works differently. I'm now 30 years old, and I'm still disorganized. I no longer believe that it's my mind working differently than others - I believe that I should have been expected to conform to the basic level of order that others use. I should have been told that an objective standard does in fact exist, and that I wasn't special enough to fall outside of that standard.



    Societies have broadly shared standards of conduct. What's wrong with deferring to those when possible, and following a different way when necessary?
    ~ Truth ~ Freedom ~ Health ~ Love ~ Communication ~ Humor ~ Respect ~

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    How are personal values more thought out and rational than societal values?
    You invest more time coming to your own conclusion than just accepting someones interpretation of reality. Then again, some people just briefly skim over their beliefs and ideas, in which case it doesn't really matter which way people choose. I'd like to think in those cases, it's obvious the person doing the thinking doesn't really care that much about the subject matter, in which case conformity/non-conformity becomes a non-issue.

    However when it comes to important matters, personal values are more likely to be thought out than ones accepted without understanding. It's basically along the lines of the study:

    If people disagree with society views, they will most likely need stronger foundations for their beliefs, and their views will be seen as more thoroughly thought out. It goes under attribution theory in psychology.

    However that doesn't mean that people can't agree with society views, but in those circumstances, there is still the fact that they accept these views based on their own analysis rather than just blindly accepting details from someone else.

  8. #38
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TickTock View Post
    There are two polar views in this thread that we know aren't true. Of course there is some overlap.

    Conforming is what humans do and for the most part it's a good thing. But to say that all nonconformists are only doing so just to be different isn't true. It isn't a conscious choice to be a nonconformist. I will add that very word sets the meaning up to be a nondesirable attitude. But many of the people who changed the world did so because they weren't conforming. Womens rights activists were nonconformists, the black woman on the bus, all new music, art and dance, the list goes on and on. I think really we all agree - it's polar views that aren't real.
    I don't think anyone in this thread has argued that it's two polar views; just a matter of where to find the right balance. Your point about social movements being built by nonconformists isn't entirely accurate, but it is widely accepted. There are VERY few instances of social change that have been initiated by an individual, and none that have been successful without followers. The people behind those movements certainly compromised their inclinations to reach consensus within their community. Civil rights activists of the early '60s had written rules of conduct (the tenets of nonviolence) and dress. If you failed to conform to those standards, you were shunned from the movement. Union organizing is another obvious example of trusting the group (in this case, for collective bargaining and the like) over the individual. Go against the standards of the group (eg. break a picket line) and you're out of the union.

  9. #39
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    I am reading a polar view. You clearly have a bias towards conformity and are denying the merrits of nonconformity. You are ignoring nearl all points that are of sound bases. Your definition is skewed somewhat also. Still, you don't have to get it. Whatever works for you.
    ~ Truth ~ Freedom ~ Health ~ Love ~ Communication ~ Humor ~ Respect ~

  10. #40
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    You invest more time coming to your own conclusion than just accepting someones interpretation of reality. Then again, some people just briefly skim over their beliefs and ideas, in which case it doesn't really matter which way people choose. I'd like to think in those cases, it's obvious the person doing the thinking doesn't really care that much about the subject matter, in which case conformity/non-conformity becomes a non-issue.

    However when it comes to important matters, personal values are more likely to be thought out than ones accepted without understanding. It's basically along the lines of the study:

    If people disagree with society views, they will most likely need stronger foundations for their beliefs, and their views will be seen as more thoroughly thought out. It goes under attribution theory in psychology.

    However that doesn't mean that people can't agree with society views, but in those circumstances, there is still the fact that they accept these views based on their own analysis rather than just blindly accepting details from someone else.
    I would agree with you, but with one change: You seem to be arguing that every question is open for the individual to consider without regard to societal standards. Maybe they reach the same conclusion, and maybe they don't.

    I would argue that, just as in a court case, the burden of proof lies with the challenging view. The original standard (the prevailing view) gets the benefit of the doubt. People aren't just followers: "society's views," as you put it, are set and evolve based on collective wisdom, whether or not people go through a conscious process to accept/reject the norm. That collective wisdom may not always be correct, but it deserves the assumption of correctness.

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