Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it. – Ellen Goodman
On one of my walks I saw a young man, who appeared to be well dressed and mentally stable, using a payphone. A Payphone! I could only assume he was being told where to deliver the ransom money for his rich father.
This man was different from the usual – he was unusual, he stood out. I have often written about how strange it is to want to be typical, but now I ask myself: what makes someone normal? And for that matter, what makes someone abnormal?
When we think of the abnormal, the non-conformists, we immediately associate them with the word ‘rebellion’. These are the people who go out of their way to be different, to do the opposite of what other people do. But is this really being a non-conformist?
Modern Day “Non-Conformists”
Hipsters, Punks, Skinheads, Atheists, these are all rebellious examples of what we imagine when we think of our typical non-conformist. Your garden variety conformist has a belief in some sort of system of doing things, and your typical non-conformist has a belief in not believing that it is the true, or the right, way of doing things.
This seems to be a very reactionary way of approaching life. To go out of your way to disbelieve a belief is to give that belief importance. Besides, you need a belief to exist in order for you to disbelieve it. You’re also still part of that belief system’s game of extremes. Any publicity is good publicity as they say.
True non-conformism isn’t about reacting, and it isn’t about rebellion. It’s about being liberated from beliefs (“for OR against”), labels, assumptions and dogmas.
A non-conformist has the freedom to make a decision based on present moment merits. Or, in other words, based on your own experience, what comes true to your nature, your curiosity, your wisdom and your personal understanding of the situation or idea.
10 Conformist Commandments
To be a successful conformist you must master and apply these ten commandments to your daily life.
#1 Take The Path Most Traveled.
This is essential if you seek the security and peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re heading in a direction that has been proven and tested time after time. It provides you with the least amount of dangers, worries and problems to deal with in your daily life.
TIP: Do everything you’ve been told to do by your parents, teachers and peers to influence your decision making.
#2 Hold Other People’s Opinions In High Esteem.
To be accepted by society is your utmost concern. Your sense of self-worth should come solely by how liked, respected and accepted you are by those around you.
TIP: Your sense of identity should only come from the external world and the value you have been given by it.
#3 Avoid Passionate Pursuits.
Finding what you’re passionate about and pursuing that passion is too risky. It will distract you from your essential concern of safety seeking and will cause you to deviate from the Path Most Traveled.
TIP: Avoid introspection at all costs. Passion is dangerous, it is unpredictable and should be repelled like STD’s.
#4 Be Realistic.
Realistic ideals will keep you on track of what is important in life: security and certainty.
TIP: Using creativity and dreaming big can open you up to Passionate Pursuits which will result in embarrassment.
#5 Avoid Unique Behaviour.
Standing out in any way is detrimental to your survival. It will put you under the spotlight of Others Opinions and Esteem.
TIP: Soldiers in the army are your paradigms of beauty. Dress and groom yourself like everyone around you: it will make it easier to blend it.
#6 Idolize The Media.
Watch television as much as possible. Listen carefully to the media, especially the News. They constantly share important information that will enrich you spiritually, inform you of what you should believe in, and validate your fears.
TIP: Pay close attention to publicity and advertisements. The people in these commercials genuinely care about you and want to help. Debt is an ally in your quest for conformity.
#7 Establish Routines.
Routines are immensely useful to maintain a tunnel vision of your conformist objective. Try to always do the same things so you can get the same result.
TIP: If possible, schedule your day so that there are no gaps left for spontaneous uncertainty. Eating the same food, going to the same places, and refraining from traveling will provide immense conformist satisfaction.
#8 Feel Like Part Of A Collective.
A sense of individuality is your number one threat. Feeling part of a collective will take away any individual responsibility from your life and the choices you make.
TIP: Find your sense of identity in a much larger group such as a religion, nationality, political party or sports team.
#9 Complacency Is A Virtue.
Never strive for more, always settle for less. The more you take for granted in life the less you’ll have to think, do and be grateful for.
TIP: Try to remain unaware of your actions, of how they are affecting others and think only about immediate gratifications and pleasures instead of the bigger picture of your actions and their long term effects.
#10 Think Inside The Box.
Never, and I mean never ever, question or inquire deeply into any aspect of your life. Follow traditions, every rule, and every idea you have been taught since birth unquestioningly.
TIP: Do everything exactly as everyone else has always done it. Don’t try to deviate from this at all costs. It may result in the death of kittens, or worse, make you stop and think.
We live in a society that actively encourages people to be themselves but criticizes anyone who is. We are taught obedience in our youth, but then we reward with fame and fortune anyone who stands out through innovation or challenging the status quo.
Have you begun doing something differently that you’ve done the same all your life? Dumped your TV? Gone back to vinyl music? Let me know below.