• IvoryBlackBishop
    290
    Most responses to this term seem to have negative responses and associated it with "group think" or "herd mentality" and so forth.

    I'd argue the only problem is that some degree of "conformity" is basically taken for granted, and that any argument against conformity taken to logical extremes would end in nihlism or absurdism.

    (For example, learning the English language, or following the Traffic Laws in an English speaking country is a type of conformity, much as how the philosohpy of the Law is predicated on conformity within the realms of moral behavior, such as not commiting evil acts against others; obviously though there's a difference between a person who is "abnormal" in the sense of an Einstein or a professional athelete, or a very-well educated person, such as a scholar of law and moral philosophy - versus "abnormal" in the sense of a Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy).

    So my conclusion is that some pragmatic degree of conformity is more or less necessary and taken for granted; when people speak against "conformity" they're only doing so within a degree of acceptable reason, however beyond that is a very touchy subject which I want to avoid probing further, lest it degenerate into arguments and aburdisms.
  • Judaka
    911

    Anti-conformity is more often than not a kind of virtue signalling, it's not usually a well-thought-out position. I find most people who are anti-conformity, tried to conform, failed at it and found the answer was to dislike conformity. It's not a dysfunctional way of dealing with failing at it but it makes for a weak position.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    IvoryBlackBishop, I think Judaka pretty much nailed it. Conformity and non-conformity can both be either principled or unprincipled. Then too, deviation is probably a necessary step on the way to good individuation. Mass-conformity (the cheering crowds at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg for instance, or Trump's fan-base) are a major downside of conformity.

    This is a good topic, imho.
  • Judaka
    911

    Might be a relevant link to this discussion too, it's all about cognitive biases which I think sometimes get simplified as conformity unfairly and incorrectly.

    https://www.visualcapitalist.com/50-cognitive-biases-in-the-modern-world/
  • Antidote
    155
    Interesting, this reminded me of my training course for Counselling. Very early on within the first 2 or 3 sessions, conformity came up as a topic and the tutor said, at the end of the class we will do a test on conformity. I was immediately intrigued. The class ran on, and we forgot about it. At the end of the class she chatted briefly about it, and then said "ok lets do the test, everyone stand up". Immediately everyone around me stood up, but I remained seated. She immediately announced that was the test. Everyone sighed, and then looked at me. I then became very nervous and uncomfortable. Shortly after this, I left the course and lost £2000.

    I learnt my lesson that non conformity could be expensive.
  • TheMadFool
    7.3k
    Conformity is bad insofar as it is on matters not well-reasoned and good otherwise. Since we're still not out of the woods yet in re the former, I suggest we err on the side of caution and keep the negative connotation attached to conformity. Think of the many, what are now "obviously" bad, ideas that were floating around not so long ago: slavery, sexism, racism, etc; had we conformed to these patently harmful ideas we'd be in much thicker soup than we're in at the present moment. In short, the downside of conformity outweighs any advantage we may gain from it.
  • Zeus
    31
    The Indian philisopher J. Krishnamurti says we are all second-hand human beings. Don't know how much truth that contains but non-conformity is certainly not everyone's privilege, statistically speaking. But, is non-conformity really the answer? I think at the very core of it man should aim at individuation, the Jungian wholeness philosophy. Because, then the man is original. A complete human being doesn't bother about conforming or not conforming. He does what's right and he's pretty confident about that.
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