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Thread: Conformity

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Default Conformity

    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?

  2. #2

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    Depends on the degree of conforming. Aligning yourself with others and the environment is a sign of maturity. But using people and the environment to align yourself is a sign of immaturity.

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    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    What's the big deal about non-conformists?
    If everyone is a non-conformist, then no one is a non-conformist.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    If everyone is a non-conformist, then no one is a non-conformist.
    I get what you are saying, I think it is possible for everyone to be non conformists if they are all seen to be not confirming to a cultural standard. Depends on what you think of when you reflect on the word confirming.

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    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    A non-conformist is one who, because he doesn't wish to be defined by others, actively seeks to distance himself from his social context. In doing so, he hopes to launch himself in an original direction, one with no foundation in society. All he succeeds in doing, however, is to make use of others as a springboard to identity; for to push something away and hold it at a distance is to remain in contact with it at every moment.
    [ Ni > Ti > Fe > Fi > Ne > Te > Si > Se ][ 4w5 sp/sx ][ RLOAI ][ IEI-Ni ]

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    Conformity has a bad rep. It's often useful and an easy way to ease tensions between different types of people. Unless you really, strongly feel another way is better for you, for whatever reason, it's probably better to go with the flow and conform. Blending in can be very advantageous.

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    Mud and rain and chaos... TickTock's Avatar
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    I have always been a non-conformist, not for the sake of it or even out of choice, Im just against much of what the majority value - because they are stupid . I don't see getting on as conforming, simply being with likeminded people.

    Edit: Nunki, your definition only holds up if someone is not conforming because they are doing so to create an identity. Non conforming isn't a way of life in itself. Having an eccentric character inevitably means not conforming to society but that is never the intention. Conforming is accepting the values of the current culture and anyone who thinks for themself will find at least one thing they don't agree with. That is to say conforming generally means not having to think for oneself.
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    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Oh there's a big difference to a bunch of people declaring their individuals because they all dress the same, have tattoos and piercings and a bunch of non conformists.

    The former is a group formed from those who want identity and something to conform to but who want to feel special and different but with the safety of knowing that they're not alone.

    The latter is a group of independent thinkers who don't accept things because they're told it what it is but they don't reject it either. They weigh each new "thing" on it's merits and decide whether or not to adopt it.

    It all depends upon whether you're deliberately not conforming to make some style choice or vote of discontentment or whether you don't conform because you just don't think that way.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  9. #9
    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TickTock View Post

    Edit: Nunki, your definition only holds up if someone is not conforming because they are doing so to create an identity. Non conforming isn't a way of life in itself. Having an eccentric character inevitably means not conforming to society but that is never the intention. Conforming is accepting the values of the current culture and anyone who thinks for themself will find at least one thing they don't agree with. That is to say conforming generally means not having to think for oneself.
    I wouldn't say that a conformist hasn't carefully considered where he stands on things. Like anyone else, a conformist reaches his position on the basis of thoughts and choices, and these thoughts and choices may be simple or elaborate. Where the conformist truly differs from his counterpart is in the place where he seeks his self-realization: he tries to melt into a general group, while the non-conformist models himself after individuals--these individuals being themselves non-conformists (otherwise non-conformism would amount to conformism).

    That, of course, raises the question of how non-conformists ever got started; you can't very well have an infinite regress of them copying one another, for that would beg the question of how the first one came to be. If we look at the growth of a human being, it becomes quite apparent that we all begin as conformists; we do nothing more than internalize our parents, and this is how we learn to walk and talk. By internalizing these traits, however, they lose something of their former nature, for a copy can never be its object. And so right from the start, a small measure of originality emerges, and this same motion is repeated each time we try to mimic each other. Furthermore, in being a unique perspective on people rather than one person alone, it becomes not only possible but necessary to intermix the traits of others and to do so in ways that can't be repeated. Last of all, even if it were possible for me to internalize a perfect copy of a personality, this copy would have to live through different life experiences than its original. These life experiences, because unique, would necessarily lead that same personality to walk down a different path in life.

    So originality amounts to trying and failing on principle to be like other people. Even those who claim they want to be original are trying to be like someone else; their wish is a mere counterfeit of something they've heard.
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  10. #10
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nunki View Post
    That, of course, raises the question of how non-conformists ever got started; you can't very well have an infinite regress of them copying one another, for that would beg the question of how the first one came to be. If we look at the growth of a human being, it becomes quite apparent that we all begin as conformists; we do nothing more than internalize our parents, and this is how we learn to walk and talk. By internalizing these traits, however, they lose something of their former nature, for a copy can never be its object. And so right from the start, a small measure of originality emerges, and this same motion is repeated each time we try to mimic each other. Furthermore, in being a unique perspective on people rather than one person alone, it becomes not only possible but necessary to intermix the traits of others and to do so in ways that can't be repeated. Last of all, even if it were possible for me to internalize a perfect copy of a personality, this copy would have to live through different life experiences than its original. These life experiences, because unique, would necessarily lead that same personality to walk down a different path in life.

    So originality amounts to trying and failing on principle to be like other people. Even those who claim they want to be original are trying to be like someone else; their wish is a mere counterfeit of something they've heard.
    I think you misunderstand how someone gets to be non-conformist.

    Check the Socratic method and the idea "The unexamined life is not worth living". It's not a statement nor a method to deliberately set your course against that of other people, it is just the ideal that you look at what you do in honesty. It is true that this does tend to lead to some bones of contention with society as a whole but this is true regardless of conformity or non conformity. Perhaps the complaints of non conformists are more noticeable because they tend to be in starker contrast to their surroundings creating a false sense of imbalance?

    In either case whether you are classified as a conformist or a non conformist has less to do with whether you do the same thing as other people, that's just the result, and more to do with whether you accept things because an authority has given them to you or whether you try to reason it out for yourself. Personally I would strongly state that the latter is superior regardless of the outcome but I think that's partially my own preference clouding the issue.
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

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