Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth
Somewhere in this world today sits a senior executive in a company boardroom secretly disagreeing with the popular consensus of the people in the room because he or she sees something that is morally wrong and driven by greed. Across the country perhaps sits a young graduate working on his or her secret aspiration to develop the next big software that could possibly change the world of mobile phones. Sitting at the desk in India, which was once popularly known to be a poor country, sits a billionaire working on how to take over an American corporation. Standing in a line up at the security check in an Airport at O’Hare International stands a father watching his young teen daughter being stripped of her basic dignity and being scanned through an invasive x-ray machine while a bunch of security personnel are watching her and thinks what can he do or say that could challenge the system and inspire them to develop a less degrading and more sensible process.
No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors. ~William Faulkner
Similarly today there are those who choose to appease their immediate management and superiors and comply with programs and actions for personal benefits. There is a young teen somewhere thinking of ways to convince their parent to buy them the next greatest feature filled expensive mobile phone. And across the room sits their parent figuring out what else can they sacrifice from their personal lifestyle to siphon out a few more hundreds to help pay their credit card bills that they never thought will be a problem one day. And there lays another young uncorrupted mind thinking about the biased information fed by someone who he or she believes in and has managed to entice them to join a popular growing opinion that benefits the propagators more than the activists.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – even if I have said it – unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. ~Buddha
In this advanced and fast developing world of ours there are people who are passive non conformists, those who challenge the popular opinions against harsh objections or possible persecutions and there are those who indulge in ritualistic and monotonous day to day living by conforming to popular norms and processes as dictated by those who they consider are authoritative figures, experts and intelligent people..
In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. ~Bertrand Russell
If one thing statistics, recent and past history has proved to us is that the popular opinions, democratic decisions and expert advice have often been more wrong than right which has lead to several adverse consequences. If is was not true the economists would have foreseen and avoided the crisis that grips the world of finance today, doctors would not have misdiagnosed several critical cases and get sued for their gross negligence, there wouldn’t be contradicting studies from researchers over drugs and food, America would not vote the president for two consecutive terms who drove them to economic crisis for personal and collective personal gains, and all corporations and their respective experts and top executives will not pay themselves millions of dollars and run their organizations to bankruptcy and get bailed out by the common mans money. These and several other such examples goes to prove that experts, authoritative figures, popular opinions, and majority decisions are not necessarily the right ones. If anything they have repeatedly proved, is the fact that their decisions have been grossly wrong and biased. Our dependency and reliance on such figures, people and decisions needs to be based on individual sensibilities, common understanding of morals, values and the responsibility to educate ourselves on unbiased and sound facts before we make our choices. Especially the decisions and choices we make that deeply impact our own personal well being and those who depend on us or seek our wisdom and advice that may influence theirs.
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. –Albert Einstein, in a letter to a professor emeritus of philosophy at the College of the City of New York, defending the appointment of Bertrand Russell to a teaching position
Such individual sensibilities, the power to change their world and surroundings stems from ones personal beliefs, educated opinions and self confidence. Many great scientists, inventors, musicians, politicians, revolutionaries and contributors to society were able to bring the inventions, computers, systems, and many things that has made our lives better were able to do this only by going against the popular opinions, total dismissal, humiliation, objections and over bearing influence of powerful conformists of their times. Also many organizations and corporate are brought to their knees by those individuals who stand by sound morals and principles when the collective top executive decisions are biased and unethical. So are the popular uprising in countries against their once powerful and controlling regimes, and political figures.
Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
But the challenge for every individual is to develop the courage, self-confidence and the wisdom to seek and form balanced opinions based on sound values, morals and beliefs without prejudice. These qualities are needed by those who choose to progressively evolve themselves, their societies, their world and make positive contributions towards their own prosperity, happiness, achievements and growth. Alternatively one can choose to continue to be an ignorant conformist and follow popular opinions against their own sensibilities and conscience. Great countries, communities, corporations, families and people are inspired by intelligent, educated and progressive thinking without prejudice. If one feels the need not to confirm to processes, decisions, and opinions, it has to be based on intelligence to truly make positive progressive progress and gains for self and to the world we live in. Weather they are political beliefs, religious or communal rituals, mundane processes, or authoritative decisions, each needs to be examined, well thought out, understood and practiced on intelligent, educated and balanced principles for positive and progressive living and growth. Allow your individuality to shine based on your sound moral beliefs and progressive attitude. Lead and make a new path for others to follow.
Are you an intelligent thinker or an unquestioning follwer? That is a question we must confront daily. Because we shape our individual lives by our own personal choice and actions. Wewill receive the same outcomes that others succumb to as followers, but we truly possess that potential to change our lives compeltely and lead ourselves to our individual successes and happiness.
Individuality realized is the supreme attainment of the human soul, the master-master’s work of art. Individuality is sacred. –Frank Lloyd Wright
And a few more quotes:
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs. ~Robert Peel
And who can doubt that it will lead to the worst disorders when minds created free by God are compelled to submit slavishly to an outside will? When we are told to deny our senses and subject them to the will of others? ~Galileo Galilei
Conformity is that jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth. ~John F. Kennedy