Non-Conformity the New Conformity?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by beyondtimeandspace, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. beyondtimeandspace Everlasting Student Registered Senior Member

    It seems like everywhere you go you find people, young people in particular, going on about non-conformity. Don't conform to rules and regulations, don't conform to religious doctrine or dogma, don't conform to the popular fad, don't conform to the government, don't conform to the ways of your parents, etc... Just be yourself! Don't let anyone tell you what to do, who to be, or how you should live your life! Individuality is the most important thing!

    Don't you get the feeling that this is a notion that they expect you to conform to?

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    I mean, don't get me wrong, be yourself, live life the way you believe to be good and right. But come on, your parents, teachers, the laws and regulations, religious teachings, etc... they DO have merit right?

    All I know is, to teach non-conformity is like teaching relativism, it self-destructs from the outset. Conform to non-conformity, just as relativity is absolute.
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  3. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

    The young are often lost. Trapped between two worlds. Pre-pubescents are attached to mother and family. Their are friendship bonds as well, but on the whole it is mother that provides meaning to the child.

    Teenagers are overwhelmed with hormones. As the body begins to prepare for sexuality and to shift the attention of the child from family to other. During this time there is a feeling of helplessness. A loss of values once instilled by faith in mother.

    In primitive tribes, the men intervene at this time and adopt the child into the group of men. Coming of age rituals and an instilling of responsibility takes place. The boy is a man. Accepted.

    I am a man and am unable to explain girl's behavior in these times. Man is motivated by sex. Boys want girls. And such a desire is easily handled via simple hormones. Girls on the other hand don't want boys. They want boys to want them. Their hormones are far more complex and confusing than the simplicity of male hormones. Is it any wonder that they're mad?

    Anyway, to the topic of being a non-conformist along with the others being just another form of conformity, this is true. But, it is all about what they are non-conforming to. They are lost and they find themselves in these non-conformist identities. Security and strength in group. In the absence of acceptance from adults who should be beyond such superficial identities (although this is not always the case) they latch onto each other and give each other identities.

    The identities are stolen from whatever media outlet appeals at the time. In this way adults are still giving the children their identities. But, rather than a gift, they sell it to them. Instead of being shown your tribal identity by a loving tribal member, you are sold a generic identity from a shady identity dealer.

    The revolution is not only televised, it is mass-marketed. Sold to the highest bidder. Come one! Come all! Identities for everyone. Step right up.
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  5. Fenris Wolf Banned Banned

    Non-conformity has been popular for quite some time now - usually pre-packaged as Invert has noted. Marketers will usually note trends earlier than most.

    What I'm seeing more of these days is the rebellion against even this - Those finding identity in what they are not rather than in what they are. We have one or two on this forum. Their taste in music is both mainstream and indy. They hate ignorance, and they hate these supposed "non-conformists" more than anyone else.They have recognised the hypocrisy of the non-conformist, but reveal themselves in taking great pains to point out they are not of this "group" either.
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  7. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member


    When those trends weren't started by the marketers to begin with. However, I agree that most trends likely start honestly. Marketers are too short on imagination to come up with enough ideas to sell. They seem to latch on to a concept and then just spin it from every angle possible until every last cent has been milked from it.

    The safe course. Yes? Not only does this become a trend of non-conformity to non-conformity, but it also allows one to pretend to be whatever one needs to be at a given moment.

    And of course, you just can't win. Can you? Perhaps if these revolutionary conformists were original in their conformity then they would have something. But, they too are merely imitating.

    Hypocrites all.

    How does one avoid this paradox is the question. How can one be sure that one is staying true to some ideal of self rather than just conforming? Or non-conforming? Or non-conforming to non-conformists?

  8. Insanely Elite Questions reality. Registered Senior Member

    This is not new, as has been stated.
    In the US the social mores are undeniably conformist.
    Picture a white young republican.
    Picture a black intercity youth.
    Get a clear picture?

    In no way does this detract from the uniqueness of the individual. One person, one unique personality. We all conform to some degree to exist in the society in which we live. It is but a mask. The danger is to lose yourself in the mask. This mask can never become you, but it can trap you for a long time.
  9. top mosker Ariloulaleelay Registered Senior Member

    Not a different type of conformity, a diferent paradigm.

    There is a huge difference.
  10. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

    people love to do things out of spite. why do you think GW is still in office.
  11. cyberia Lounge Act Registered Senior Member

    Non-conformism is now a label.
    which completely defeats the point neh?

    But even if someone is indeed "original" They are still part of a larger group.
    Take for example a very hardcore Goth.
    In white urban suburbia they are definitly unique.
    But as people always are searching for like minded this Goth inclined individual leaves suburbia and meets up with others of the same inclination. Does that individual then become a "sheep"? I mean they all are dressing alike and have similar media influenced interests.

    An original idea is a really really rare thing. And there's always someone who starts the ball rolling. But even the person who starts a trend, is not the essence of that trend, as they are the sum of all of their own experiences.

    Its all spectrumatic.

    And on the same train of thought we fear what is different. When Rock and Roll hit the waves it was caste as the devils music, then punk hit in the 70's and the disenfranchised youth made noise and stirred alot of shit up. From there Goths, Gays, rappers what have you have all gone from stigmatized to syndicated. Whats next? Extreme body mutilation? Fake stumps from old navy? What will become domesticated next year?
  12. Insanely Elite Questions reality. Registered Senior Member

    spectrumatic- good word

    With the state of political affairs, I predict an "it's hip to be square" look to make a big comeback. Hopefully the messy hair for guys look will go away.

    Turbans! Now THAT would be a statement.
  13. WANDERER Banned Banned

    It all depends on how one defines conformity.

    I mean you can say the same about Nihilists believing in something that claims to believe in nothing.
    Even those denying morality, in a sense, are making a moral stance.
    When you say: I don’t believe you are making a statement of belief that contradicts the meaning of the original statement.
    I guess it’s one of the flaws of linguistic symbolism.

    The problem arises when these terms are given a mystical absolutist slant which contradicts itself due to the absence of absolutism.

    As for conformity…
    It is usually used to describe an adherence to a popular norm.
    Whatever that is in a particular time and place.

    Non-conformity then becomes the resistance to popular cultural/social/economic norms.
    The fact that it then conforms to different ideals is inescapable.
    There’s no such thing as complete disconnection due to the uncomfortable fact that we exist within something that dictates our freedoms and actions.
    By existing within something, whether it’s the Universe or a social system you inadvertently admit adherence to some or all of its norms.

    The act of being conscious entails the acceptance of ideals, morals and truths and our nature as social beings makes the pooling of individuals into groups a natural inevitability.

    The current popularity of rebelliousness is mostly a sign of declining systemic control and of an overall cultural decadence.

    I think of conformity as a form of gravity.
    It maintains a systems order and balance but the deterioration continues until the system breaks apart.
    For instance the Sun's gravitational field forces the planets to conform to its presence.

    When gravity is powerful the amount of individual resistance necessary to break free is large and only a few can do it.
    But when gravity, through time, weakens and the system begins deteriorating the amount of resistance necessary becomes less and less until a majority is capable of it.
    That’s when the uniqueness of non-conformity is lost and it becomes so commonplace that it ceases to be special.

    But to believe that non-conformity or individuality means an absolute self-reliance and solitude is to mistakenly take these labels to their extreme.

    There is no uniqueness, really, only different manners of expressing similar positions
  14. Fenris Wolf Banned Banned

    That is definately one aspect of it.

    Here is where you're getting at the heart of it. That desire to "win", to prove superiority over the non-conformist (that term is getting tedious) is the very thing which gives them away. They're saying "I don't need to prove anything. I am not a member of one of these groups. I am an individual"... and that need to announce it, in itself, gives the lie to their own self-ideal.
    Seen "The Life of Brian" by any chance?

    Not really. I had to cut that post short this morning.
    This forum has a good cross section of personalities. It is rather easy to spot the deliberate non-conformist, but also easy to spot those that feel a need to announce their own individuality - stridently. Any names come to mind?
    It's only "tricky" if you can't see through the chaff.
  15. water the sea Registered Senior Member

    What I see in these strivings for "non-conformity" and "individualism" is a desperate cry for identity.

    The whole problem arises from thinking that one's identity is to be defined on the basis of the individual vs society conflict. "I am what others aren't."

    Which is impossible, and hence the great desperation in those cries. Most of us would prefer scrambled eggs over coal for breakfast! Most of us like to be warm and safe! Most of us want to be loved! Most of us want to make good money!

    One's desires, one's values and preferences don't make one special.

    Trying to define your identity on the basis of the individual vs society conflict is eventually like claiming that preferring scrambled eggs over coal for breakfast is something that makes you special. No. Identity cannot be build on such flawed premises.

    "I am what others aren't" becomes fully meaningful in interpersonal relationships though -- through love.

    Of course they do! Everyone has to go to the dentist sometimes. Meaning, we couldn't survive without other people.

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