I’ve had a number of conversations recently about conformity. One particular conversation I had with an old friend stood out, not necessarily because of its content, but because of my friend’s unbending commitment to ‘nonconformity.’
It seems like an odd pairing of terms: commitment to nonconformity. Try saying it with a mouthful of croissant; there’d be flaky bits everywhere. I always thought nonconformity belonged to a more spontaneous and relaxed ilk; I didn’t realise you had to commit to it. To do so sounds like a dreadfully tiring feat. I mean, do you set reminders on your phone? Do you mount a plaque on your kitchen wall, ‘thou shalt not conform today’? I rather got the impression that not conforming had become a key part of her identity, and that sticking to it had become a bit of a conformist trend in itself.
Yet there’s an essence in her argument that’s stuck with me. To be ever alert to our automatic tendencies, and decide whether or not we always need to live by the same patterns, or follow a path unquestioningly, is helpful. My friend is hyper-vigilant when it comes to conformity, almost to the point – I sense – that she has to be seen to not conform, in order that her sense of self is affirmed. But that preparedness of mind appeals to me. It made me think about all the things I do that I seldom question (if ever). I’ve listed a few of them – as well as some thoughts on how and why I might try to be less ‘conformist’ a propos said themes – below:
What do you think about conformity? A trend, a yardstick for a certain identity, or a valuable human asset? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – do get in touch via the means below, and let me know what you think.
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