Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Noncomformist: a Slave Against Convention.

Some people say: "The real nonconformists don't care about whether they're conforming or not conforming." Then they are not noncomformists. I'd go one better and say that NOBODY should whether they are or aren't conforming. Would that person who truly doesn't care be a nonconformist? No. A nonconformist cares about conformity and reacts against it.

It is not admirable, not in any way, to be a nonconformist. There is no courage of convictions in it, because there aren't any convictions involved.

Neither nonconformity nor conformity involves anything more admirable than a concern for what the crowd is doing. Conformity itself is neither black nor white nor red all over. To mindlessly shackle one's self to whatever the crowd is not doing is no more admirable than to blindly shackle one's self to what the crowd is doing.

Nonconformity has no value except where the norm is wrong: where you can see and say why it's wrong. Where to conform would be offensive or unjust. The question is whether there is a real reason to recoil from a given norm. Where there is, you recoil from it - but unless you're some convention-obsessed nonconformist, you're not recoiling because it is the norm. You're recoiling because you can see and say why it's wrong.

A given normative trend or trait, habit, course of action or point of view may be good, bad or indifferent. Where the norm is good, conformity is good. Where indifferent, conformity is meaningless, and so is nonconformity. It would be a matter of pure taste and preference, with no real reason to embrace the thing or to react against it. Nonconformity is not "good for its own sake," except in areas of no import, of frivolity, fashion, and pose.

It is only where we can say and show the norm is bad that nonconformity can be admirable. Just so, conformity is good and admirable where you've chosen to conform for a reason, because the norm is something you can see is right. Either one of these takes convictions to steer by and courage, to act. To a person of convictions, in neither case will it matter whether it's the norm.

A person of convictions evaluates behavior based on convictions, not conventions.

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