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Thread: Conformity - The good, the bad, and the ugly.

  1. #1

    Conformity - The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Conformity. To my eyes, it seems to be something that everybody participates in to some degree or another, but the words for it get bandied about as a boolean (black and white). You're either a conformist or not. I call bulshit. The word has become politicised and poisoned. Calling out someone as conforming is now used as an insult, especially amongst the youth.

    Conforming - Doing things in such a way that you do not have a large negative impact on the health, wellbeing, or happiness of the people around you. Stopping at stop signs (or at least almost stopping ), not running around Toys R Us naked, not shitting all over a forum on a daily basis. These kinds of things. Good?

    Conforming - Doing things for the sole purpose to fit in, despite it's negative impact on the health, wellbeing, or happiness of yourself or the people around you. This is likely where the fear of being or being considered a conformist derives from, which is a bit ironic. Bad?

    Conforming - Doing things that have no immediate impact or even a positive impact in the short term, but have very negative long term effects, because it's what everybody does or expects. Overuse of water, tanning beds, electricity consumption, etc... Ugly?

    And of course, some things bleed around into 2 or more of these adjectives, and it's hard to decide which carries the most weight. Conformity is not a bad thing. It's not a good thing. It's not an ugly thing. It's all, one, or some of all the above depending on the circumstances. Conforming... it's not necessarily the dirty little word it's made out to be. Or is it?

    In it's most problematic form, anti-conformity is basically self centered and childish.
    Quote Originally Posted by whatloveihave View Post
    I don't find you a potential threat to human society, you're not crazy. Feces.

  2. #2
    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    Conforming: Good
    Being the object of conformity which hipsters mock because you challenge their social consensus.

    Conforming: Bad
    Being a hipster, and thus believing you have joined a progressive movement of liberal social individualism.

    Conforming: Ugly
    When a quirky hobby or passion you enjoy is consumed by hipsters who then conform around the "ironic embrace" of that hobby or passion sucking all life from it.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    This is gonna sound kind of... immature, but I've only recently discovered what it's like doing what needs to be done on a daily basis and not "when I feel like it". Dude. I have no time. It's 2.00 am and I just finished, all of them daily things that shouldn't be piling up. WTF?

    I think I'm starting to realize why people get married. Mind = blown
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madrigal View Post
    I think I'm starting to realize why people get married. Mind = blown

  5. #5
    .: PERSISTENCE IS ALL :. Pan_Sonic_000's Avatar
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    I don't give a shit unless someone is acting against their stated principles.
    Wild skies
    Full moon and thoughts collide
    We look for answers in those catatonic, bloodshot eyes
    A steady stream of madness
    Rises to a flood...

    ...The clock is ticking for Bad Blood

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    Bringer of Jollity MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    Judging by appearances I'm a conformist. I find it works wonders for being left alone. I dress like a Bible salesman for the most part, when I'm not in my work uniform. I conduct myself in a pleasant unobtrusive way when navigating meatspace (one could argue the conformist thing to do would be to act like a selfish douche but the path of least resistance isn't exactly shaking things up, either). I just mostly want to be treated like a non-descript-human (which I imagine many people do. I suspect it's easier for a white guy to pull off in the USA).

    I really have no idea if all the outward conformity I think I'm expressing is a thin veneer most people can see through. It feels very precarious sometimes. Just earlier today I had one of those weird conversations where I felt like I wasn't accurately gauging the volume of my voice. I'm much more likely to foist eccentricities onto other people than I was when I was younger. "Even the most 'normal' people are weird" is a maxim that keeps proving itself as I age. People with technicolor hair and jewelry in their face are no more or less likely to be interesting than any nondescript soccer mom, either. You really just have to ignore people on a case by case basis.

    Glimpses do ye seem to see of that mortally intolerable truth; that all deep, earnest thinking is but the intrepid effort of the soul to keep the open independence of her sea; while the wildest winds of heaven and earth conspire to cast her on the treacherous, slavish shore?

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    Member Zephyrus's Avatar
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    The stereotypical SJ is the perfect example of when conformity is bad: conforming because you are required to do so by some cosmic binding force. For example, getting married because, well, that's what people should do.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Being unable to conform is a giant pain in the ass.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  9. #9
    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    I thought of starting a similar topic on civilization, for which conformity is a necessity. Any small, basic social unit enforces conformity on some level. I wonder if the needs of civilization may exceed those.

    In practice, I see no practical difference in terms of potential gain between self-discipline, and discipline we adopt collectively and enforce on each other. There are of course repercussions to society overstepping on individualism, but all the same, rampant aimless "instinctive" individualism alienates others and would not benefit society were it adopted by the majority. I take it that some are merely better suited to being cast-out (in a way), enforcing their own discipline, living by their own code and, perhaps indirectly, benefiting society in their own way.

    These are the sort whom are most suspicious of conformity, but stand to gain less from it and lose more. I'm not sure that society can reliably and consistently acknowledge these and lend credence on an individual basis without betraying conformity for the others. Basically, there's little avoiding the backlash for breaking rules, but they amount to little-more than shunning in today's world, which is perfectly fine as far as introverts are concerned.

    If we assume this is all true, what are the necessary pillars of civilization to keep everyone in check, and moving towards prosperity? What of rituals? What of cultural, disciplinary practices once covered by the Church and now abandoned? Did we lose something important in the 21st century or are we just fine?
    Last edited by Faust; 09-15-2015 at 06:27 PM.
    "All my heroes are dead" - John Zorn

    "It's not selfish if you hate yourself"

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    The Experience Catoptric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starjots View Post
    I think Luke was angry because he realized he was kissing his sister.

    Also why doesn't his arm not squirt out blood?

    Though Leia did eventually go Solo. . . Luke Skywalker circumcised himself with a lightsaber it seems.

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