Conformity and The Pleasant Curse of Being Different

“It is easier to walk a path threaded by someone else than forge a new path for yourself.”

This quote encapsulates the reason why we dread being different. Walking alone speeds up the journey, but that’s if the loneliness doesn’t kill you first.

And that brings us to the question of conformity — the idea of following societal norms like sheep controlled by obnoxious sheepdogs.  The same reason we buy the same devices, do the same TikTok dances, and accumulate student debt in the hope of a golden retirement.

But conformity is not an original sin; we don’t start following social norms by default once we exit our mothers’ wombs. 

In fact, the journey of indoctrination begins when you are given a name and continues within the walls of the home, shaping the way you behave and the religion you profess. 

By accident of birth, every practicing Christian, Jew, Muslim, or whatever must abide by a medieval dogma unique to only their faith. And straying from that ideology condemns you to eternal damnation — or places a bounty on your head. 

Then you grow strong enough to attend primary school, where you imbibe and abide by more rules. You learn from the same books, filled with propagandistic crap that layers over the ugly parts of your history — sometimes, it even whitewashes atrocities as tremendous victories.  

You are forced to learn the exemplary virtues of morally bereft forefathers and pioneers. And you think you are approaching enlightenment, not knowing that you are slowly transforming into a high-performance humanoid robot in the federal industrial complex.

At this point, the system starts to pigeonhole most of your radical thoughts while providing enough room to create an illusion that you can still rebel against it.

But no, you are in a trap.

And no place traps your mind better than the grimy halls of a boarding school — the microcosm of the harsh realities of adult life. Everything you do becomes part of a routine; a bell regulates your life. 

If you don’t want to get smacked up during recess, you have to look and act like your mates. Don’t be the nerd that wants to invent things. And pray that your question doesn’t prompt the teacher to add extra homework to the workload.

So, you play your part to make it out of boarding school and finally roam free in the university. This is your time to shine, your time to unleash all that pent-up rage on the world.

As a rambunctious twenty-something, you feel this eternal urge to rebel against society. You have so many dreams and world-changing ideas. You despise the system and will give a limb to buck it.

And by your mid-30s, you would have been railed so much by the system that you’ll willingly exchange every ounce of a rebel in you for some peace of mind. And before you know it, you are dead.

But is conformity really that terrible?

In my opinion, conformity sometimes keeps everybody in sync for the greater good. Maybe to fend off the Nazis. Perhaps to ward off those pesky Russians. No rebels. No anarchists. Everyone must commit to this ideology and see it to the blazing, nail-biting finale.

As humans, we crave social acceptance within our tribe. If you follow the same standards of morality as everyone in your circle, you’ll become socially acceptable. That is why smokers resist the urge to smoke indoors, unlike knucklehead vapers who pull it out everywhere. 

Besides, your freedom to express yourself in society hinges on your willingness to conform to moral standards. If you don’t abide by the rules of the tribe, you will end up in jail or, even worse—dead. 

But since we’ll all die anyway, why not try to live on your own terms? 

After all, over 107 billion have walked the Earth, but only a few names make it into the history books. If not for anything, try not to be a statistic. This could be the meaning you are looking for in life.

All of us are born with the opportunity to stand out and forge unique paths. It takes a mad person to believe that humans can land on the moon, but it takes a highly-motivated Elon to reach for Mars. 

Unfortunately, most people are born into political or religious conditions limiting their individual freedoms and financial buoyancy. For some of us, our dreams of going to space died at the dinner table, slaughtered at the altars of medicine and law.

So, if you get the privilege to fulfill your potential, grab it with both hands and your teeth. I believe every individual has the moral responsibility to stand out like a black dude in the Curva Sud. 

Don’t worry about what your friends and family think: none of their opinions will matter by 2099. 

Because by conforming, you place yourself at the mercy of the overarching authority: government, religion, or culture. Everything, from the way you talk to the things you do with your body, comes under the auspices of someone else. You become a cog in someone else’s dream machine—a propaganda piece for despots and politicians.

Besides, when everybody follows the same rules and wears the same clothes, things get awfully boring and toxic over time. We all rush to our deaths in a meat grinder to defend the outdated, moronic ideologies of delusional tyrants.

Maybe being different is your way of getting your revenge on the system. We all wish to channel our inner Mr.Robot and fight evil corporations. That’s why we adore Che, Gandhi, and Mandela. Heck, we all dare to Zlatan. So, bite off that ear and make a name for yourself.

Would you rather chase your dreams or spend your life pushing paperwork in a stuffed cubicle? Yes, you will have financial security. But why not give yourself a chance to explore your true path? 

Not the version into which society or religion has boxed you. Not the version your parents would love to boast to their sexagenarian friends about. I mean exploring the person you feel lurking within — trans, cis, rebel, serial killer, or freedom fighter. Even if you set the world on fire, at least you did it on your own terms. 

Conform if you wish, but realize that most restrictions exist inside your head — at least if you live in a free, democratic society. 

Fly, Ronin. Fly. Don’t let the veil of self-imposed responsibilities clip your wings.

If you are tired of living a boring Orwellian life, start planning your escape today because that golden retirement you are waiting for could evaporate in the ashes of war. And when you die, the show will go on with rice at your funeral.

4 thoughts on “Conformity and The Pleasant Curse of Being Different”

  1. Ginika Isabel

    Really intriguing read. Truly none of their opinions would matter by 2099. Dare to be different. Even if you fail, atleast know that you tried. Thus really speaks to me. Thank you Ugo !

  2. Right here is the right webpage for anybody who wants to understand this topic.
    You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want
    to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that has been discussed for ages.

    Great stuff, just great!

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