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Social Conformity

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posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 01:07 PM

Social Conformity

All throughout nature we can see that one of the most basic survival instincts of many creatures is to conform to the world around them. This trait is so important that some animals have evolved to blend into the very environments in which they live, such as the chameleon.

Unlike the chameleon, human beings are unable to change their skin tone – but for good reason. Human beings are among the world’s top most predators. Despite adversities such as racism, skin tone has very little to do with our survival.

Our survival has more to do with conformity into social environments than anything else. Our greatest threat doesn’t come from the world, but from each other. However, in order for our species to stay at the top of the food chain, we must stay banded together. For societies to stay melded together there must be some degree of similarity.

In ages past human beings would kill one another for being socially different – this includes dress, religion, (admittedly) race, even language. Over the course of thousands of years people have learned to adapt to their social climate, and those that couldn’t or refused…. Well, they were weeded out.

To a degree this can still be seen today.

Look at the schools you attend. In many of them the most popular children are the “jocks” and the “Cheerleaders”. Why? Is it because they are more physically dominating? I argue that the answer to this is no. They are more popular because they group together. They dress similar. They act similar. Like a school of fish they seem larger than they truly are. They have socially conformed, and are rewarded by favor from teachers and peers alike.

In today’s sociological climate it is highly important to understand how clever conformity can equal higher chances of survival – or at the very minimum, a higher quality of life.

People on a mass scale desire to feel unique. In today’s age being unique is more acceptable than any other time in history – in which being unique was often analogous with death, or being an outcast. But even in today’s society being “unique” can cause strife in social situations. I do not think it is necessary to point out examples, as this should be fairly obvious to anyone with a set of eyes and a hint of common sense.

Some people are born with a higher sense of survival, and how it blends with conformity. Others have to learn this fact; sometimes painfully.

Is it possible to conform to society and still retain a sense of self? Yes.

Think about my analogy of the “Jocks” and “Cheerleaders” above. Even though they appear similar in appearance, they are drastically different in their own realm – home, car, hobbies, etc. With this knowledge we can deduce that they do indeed see the superficiality of conformity, but know its value from a survival perspective – which is synonymous with social acceptance.

Think about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. They were trying to reach the heart of corporate America, who is typically politicians and business men and women. They were never taken seriously by those they were trying to reach, because they didn’t approach them in a way they related to. Instead of wearing masks, and screaming through megaphones – their odd of any reformation would have been greatly increased if they would have worn suits and setup meetings with administrators, and lawmakers. Their refusal to conform saw the end of their movement.

Consider psychopaths. Often times they will adjust their appearance, and conform to any social situation in which they are currently in. This is the skill that makes them so dangerous and increases their survivability. They can climb social ladders that many cannot, because they can play the social game so well.

Application of Conformity

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Dress for success”? This phrase has a lot of truth to it. Look at the average store manager of a McDonald’s. He or she dresses different than their underlings. Their garb denotes a status the rest of the minions do not have.

Look at a typical office setting. The managers often wear nicer clothes than their underlings as well.

Observe your supervisors, and their supervisors. Take note of the way they dress. As an experiment, one day dress as identical to them as you can. Make it a point to pass by your superior – and I would be willing to bet that you will be noticed. Why? Because it is human instinct to conform to society, and management is like a society unto itself.

Pay attention to the way people talk, including body language. Adapt to the situation.

Notice people’s energy levels. Reflect the same amount of energy back at the person – this is typically done through tone of speech, and bodily movements.

Dress, language, and energy adaption are the keys to increased survival, which is to say – better quality of life.

Closing Thoughts

I have heard people say before, “I don’t want to change, or shouldn’t have to change, who I am for anyone.”

This is a misconception that people cannot seem to get around. You will never change who “you” are. No one can ever change “you”.

Conformity is simply a mask… you will always exist below the mask, which can be removed at any time.

It must be understood that social conformity has nothing to do with changing who you are, or “selling out”. It has more to do with changing a temporary outward appearance, so your personal lifestyle can be more peaceful.

Social conformity is a tool. And like any tool, when properly wielded, it can accomplish great things.
edit on 25-8-2014 by MentorsRiddle because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 03:23 PM
Please note: I am not suggesting you give up who you are.

I am only suggesting to use temporary conformity as a tool to success.

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 03:58 PM
Ugh conformity. No matter how unique we think we are we're conforming no matter what. Even language is conformity if you think about it. It unites, it is no doubt useful but in a way isn't it a tool of conformity? Telling us how to convey our thoughts? Don't know, it's obscure I admit.

Conformity's everywhere. It's one of existence's ways of letting us have structure so there's no chaos. But define chaos and structure. Even conspiracy theorists are conformists in many aspects. Think about it.

Rebellion at least how the media sells it is conformity. "You must hate the police state and support Snowden." No one needs to be told what rebellion is, most specifically because most are too comfortable and conformist to even think about such a thing.

All the best, thanks for getting me thinking

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 04:04 PM
Very insightful.

Conformity is everywhere - even anarchy is a form of conformity.

Would you say conscious conformity is a key to a faster social evolution?

edit on 25-8-2014 by MentorsRiddle because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 04:15 PM

originally posted by: MentorsRiddle
Very insightful.

Conformity is everywhere - even anarchy is a form of conformity.

Would you say conscious conformity is a key to progress thing?

Thankyou, I say it all the time that anarchy isn't free from the structure either. Anarchy in its truest form is the ultimate negation of law. Not the negation of order or cooperation but of official oppressive law. But then it works on a form of consensus, community. So it is conformity. Heck, anarchy is still equated to Crass (helped create awareness but created their own form of conformity whether on purpose or not) and being "different". Nah, anarchy is truly about peace for everyone and everything, not just for those who don't wear suits or don't own their own homes.

Conscious conformity is natural. We encounter it everyday, many things we barely think about. A line, a queue. Most walk in this direction, so it's natural to just go that way usually without thinking it. Even the basics like hygiene could be seen as conformity despite being a natural progression. Even etiquette. But conscious conformity to me is natural even if it's frightening how it can be so easily manipulated on such a huge scale. Without some form of structure I think we'd be much less "civilized" than we are today but that's imho.

To make it shorter haha, I'd say CC plays a big role in our existence. If people didn't choose to buy cars to get around we might never have had such a large market for automobiles. The world is made up of trillions of opinions and ideas but in the end it is truly ruled by only a few. Follow, consume, regurgitate, repopulate, follow, consume, etc, etc.

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 04:18 PM
a reply to: MentorsRiddle

I disagree 110%. A person does not have to dress up/speak/act in any way that is not their own.

Perceptions are nothing more than perceptions. That whole "you never get a second chance at a first impression" is a load of BS!

I recently had to go to my local yacht club(that my grandparents belonged to and where I grew up) and do repairs on a boat. First thing out of Mrs.________'s mouth was, Robbie what the hell happened to you, you were such a clean cut young man. I was absolutely gutted! Here's a person that knows me as one of the kindest, family loving, hardest working people that'll give the shirt off my back and now I'm looked down upon because I choose to work in comfortable clothes?

I told her that no, I don't shave or dress like I did growing up, but I'm still the same person. Throughout the several days that I was there working, I had multiple friends and their family members come over to see how I've been. ALL of them were shocked that I let my appearance become what it is.

Well guess what? I am one happy SOB where they are miserable pricks trying to keep up with the Jones'.

You don't have to wear anything you aren't comfortable in, you don't have to shave or speak in any manner that you're not comfortable with. Simply let your work ethic and your skills as a good human being direct you life and let the chips fall where they may!

I went and got gas a few weeks ago and my Snap-on man was talking to a guy at another pump. Gut says, look at the f##king punk in what has to be his Daddies Porsche... To witch my tool guy say, "you have any clue who that is? Him and his Dad own__________, and he's worked his entire life for what he has. That little prick has worked harder throughout his life than most people our age". They're in their early 60's and I just turned 38.

That pricks perception was that I'm a spoiled rich kid and he deserved my car more than I did. The guy couldn't have been more wrong and was told so.

Don't fall for perceptions, it's not pretty when you do. Be yourself and succeed. Lord knows I did and I look like a mess!

posted on Aug, 25 2014 @ 04:35 PM
Like most human traits there are positives to the social conformity phenomenon. Those social media 'challenges' have raised millions of pounds for their charities because people are made to feel like it's a moral imperitive once they're nominated. It's forgiveable because it's for a good cause I suppose even if half the people on the videos don't talk about ALS at all, and the harassment and guilt-tripping I've seen at people who didn't want to do it has been worrying to see.

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