Conformity Crisis: The War Between Conformists & Non-Conformists | #Conformity | #Freedom| #Life | #Truth | #Friendship | #Friends

“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.”
– Socrates


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
May 18, 2019

These days it seems that not a moment goes by without someone having some sort of disagreement.

Not that people should always agree about everything, that’s not the point.  Disagreements come in all shapes and forms, just like people do.  The point is that many of these disagreements you see, whether in person, or online, stem from a certain section of the populace’s ceaseless push to inculcate their beliefs on others, regardless of the consequences.

There seems to be two prevailing schools of thought out there regarding how to handle these situations.  When aiding others in their search for truth, the initial school of thought, the non-conformists, don’t mind when other individuals ask them questions about beliefs and ideas discussed.   The second group, the conformists, take downright offense to anyone questioning them on anything.  The former seeks to help the individual arrive at their own truth; the latter seeks to be the high priest, just like those of ancient times who controlled the free flow of specific information.

This particular trend of individuals not wanting to have open discussions seems to be growing with time.  Individuals who do wish to carry out further inquiry to seek firmer ground have nigh no options when speaking to closed-minded conformists because ultimately with a conformist, it’s their way or the highway.  Ironically, what is happening to those who seek firmer ground is not unlike what happened to the “Father of Philosophy,” Socrates, over two millennia ago.

Socrates was feared because he wasn’t afraid of questioning an individual’s beliefs about any given subject, similar to individuals today who question the official narrative on countless issues.  In parallel fashion to modern conformists, in Socrates’ time, the ultimate conformists of the time – as with much of history – was the state.  This see saw bout of ideals that took place millennia ago still takes place now.  That said, because of his very ideals, Socrates is the Godfather of Non-conformity.  Socrates is the living definition of a question mark.

With the Socratic Method – of querying deeply into the subject – Socrates would begin to dissect an individual’s paradigm and those inherent flaws if any, usually in the realms of justice and goodness.  Because of Socrates’ method, many times the paradigms individuals had – inculcated by the state and by religion – would drastically shift or disintegrate altogether, and begin something anew.  This lead the state to lash out against him for questioning the system, particularly the “might makes right” the state was notorious known for, and eventually got him executed.

The state feared that the changes Socrates was bringing about in the populace would continue to spread and from their tyrannical point of view they could not allow that.  Thankfully though, most of what he was able to accomplish still echoes to this day – even to this very post, thousands of years later.

In similar fashion, nowadays, people who push conformity are doing themselves and the other individuals a great disservice.  This is because individuals pushing conformity are: (1) not being open minded, thus contemplating life from an incredibly narrow point of view, which (2) stunts the growth an individual may have by the exposure of a wide array of information.  Further, (3) by attempting to force conformity on others, conformists are taking away a terrific learning opportunity from the individuals truly seeking answers to poignant questions, and (4) in the worst case, these conformists are even losing relationships through all social strata because they are not being open minded about the possibility that other options exist.  All of this stands against the very nature of free-flowing inquiry.

Keen conversations of proactive mental discernment should have a certain flow, like a see saw, a back and forth between minds.  However, what is taking place is far from such a common sense and proactive approach.  The talks that are taking place currently between conformists and non-conformists echo a societal instability brought about by the conformist that will only exacerbate with time.

Intricately, this particular issue is touched upon in the thought-provoking book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki, who cautions individuals on this very subject:

Try not to force your idea on someone but rather think about it with himIf you feel you have won the discussion, that is also the wrong attitude.  Try not to win in the argument; just listen to it; but it is also wrong to behave as if you had lost.  Usually when we say something, we are apt to try to sell our teaching or force our idea.”[1][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added].

In other words, allow others the freedom to make choices, to find their own path – to make mistakesThat is one of the best ways individuals grow, by learning from their choices.  However, forcing opinions and/or beliefs on others is diametrically opposed to all that is good and sensible.

Moreover, not only is overriding someone’s freedoms rather inhuman, or conformist to say the least, but it goes directly against the very idea of Freedom and its downright tyrannical.  In contrast, if conformists would opt to listen to others, as happens in free-flowing conversations of open-minded individuals, those pushing their beliefs and agendas would come to an understanding as to why the other individual feels reticent to the particular issue.  That simple step can help magnitudes in understanding where another person is coming from and why the other person feels as they feel.  A conformist’s conversations never even get that far.  Ironically, that would arguably be the place where the most progress could be made.

If inquiring individuals who wish to engage in mental discernment are not allowed their own personal moment of clarity of piercing through the veil, they will not own the moment – know the truth – but merely borrow another person’s footsteps as their own.  Such an instance robs the individuals of making great progress in their strides for the truth, and thus leaves them at square one.

When someone is forced to intellectually conform they are not allowed the freedom to philosophize – to seek wisdom.  Philosophy is crucial, for it literally means the love of wisdom.  How is an individual ever going to gain insights, journey to wisdom, unless they are allowed or even urged to ask questions?

As modern philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D. warned in his Philosophy 101 By Socrates:

If we do not philosophize, if we do not question appearances, if we are satisfied with whatever makes us feel happy, we will never know whether we are being deceived about who we are and what level of our being is being satisfied.”[2][Bold & Italics Emphasis Added].

An individual that is not allowed to hone their senses and polish their intuition will not have the opportunity to learn to see the forest for the trees.  If said individual merely accepts the authoritarian conformist’s attitudes, they will suffer in many ways.  These inquiring individuals will have a harder time – or nigh impossible time – figuring out deception, as we are seeing nowadays; these individuals won’t be able to figure out a well constructed argument based on facts and logic from outright speculation or downright lies; these genuinely curious individuals will also not be able to become as robust and intellectually self-sufficient as possible as they could be in this newfound age of disinformation.  Such an individual will be just like a boat in the ocean with a damaged sail that is drifting aimlessly directly into an eternal storm confusion.

That is why it’s imperative as individuals to help others realize their full potential as they seek truth and growth within our world.  As other individuals grow, they will share what made them change in positive fashion.  And as we learn from them we can integrate these lessons and help others just as so.  This type of concurrent growth is not unlike the rising tide lifting all ships.

Ruminating a bit deeper into this entire conundrum, maybe this issue is about more than truth though.  Perhaps there’s more on the line than meets the eye.  What seems to be missing to some extent, in some individuals at least, is simply the ability for them to be caring human beings, regardless of beliefs.  A truly caring, wholesome individual will not simply railroad someone else because they believe something different or refuse to believe them.

It seems that following a personal philosophy of seeking personal growth through an attempted mastery of your mental and spiritual wellbeing seems like a prudent choice to say the least.  And personal growth involves more than just attaining truth or strengthening beliefs.

Observing the words of Kreeft once more:

“Wisdom is more than knowledge.  Knowing all facts in a library does not make you wise.  Wisdom is a knowledge not just of facts but of values, of what is humanly important; and it is a knowledge that is a lived, that is learned by experience and lived out in experience.”[3][Bold & Italics Emphasis Added]

When conformists push their ideals and beliefs onto inquiring individuals, they take away the opportunity for those individuals to have meaningful experiences for growth and self-development, which includes more than simple truths or beliefs.  Those instances may never take place again.  Individuals that are not allowed to live to their fullest extent will only realize a fraction of the capability they would otherwise be able to achieve if they were allowed to venture upon their personal road less traveled – their individual journey.

Those who are allowed to gain personal insights on their road to self mastery will not only grow profoundly but will also develop a more robust Socratic Philosophy, just like the Greeks did in ancient times.

In ancient times:

“The Greeks became the world’s greatest philosophers partly because…they learned to question appearances to find something more, some hidden reality behind the appearances.”[4][Bold Emphasis Added]

Such is the reason why appearances, beliefs and supposed facts must always be questioned.  For if they are not, what might be hidden will never rise to the surface and will not be able to be seen in pure darkness.  Truth is the only light beam that disintegrates the shadows.  And the only way to attain truth is for individuals to hone their inner fire, their inner light.

Touching upon this very concern, award winning teacher, advocate of self-directed learning and of individual freedom, John Taylor Gatto urged in his landmark book Dumbing Us Down:

People have to be allowed to make their own mistakes or to try again, or they will never master themselves, although they may well seem to be competent when they have in fact only memorized or imitated someone else’s performance.  Success in my practice involves challenging many comfortable assumptions about what is worth learning and out of what material a good life is fashioned.”[5][Bold, Underline & Italics Emphasis Added]

Questioning our conformable assumptions, our beliefs, about what is worth learning for each individual and bringing about the most growth is what this entire conundrum is about.  That is why it is crucial that:

One should not present others with ready-made answers, preach to them, or only make them memorize thingsOne needs to activate themThey should figure things out.  The ambition can even be to liberate them.”[6][Bold, Underline & Italics Emphasis Added].

To help individuals achieve total freedom – physically, spiritually, psychologically, emotionally and mentally – they need to be encouraged to walk their own path, learn their own lessons – find their own wisdom.

If individuals aren’t allowed to grow, or choose not to, their mental faculties will atrophy, like someone who uses crutches constantly and has their muscles atrophy from disuse.

As friends, colleagues, or simply caring human beings, perhaps it is imperative not to worry only about our subjective ideas, beliefs, or even outright facts.  Not saying those are not important, so please do not misunderstand me.

All I am getting at is that, perhaps, what the vanguard consideration should be is helping other individuals wherever they may need help along their road, so they can then better understand whatever it is that they seek knowledge in.  What got them to their current point in life is vastly different to what got you to yours.  In like fashion, what gets them to the truth will most likely be vastly different than what got you to it.

Allowing other individuals the opportunity for growth, by not making them conform, is one of the greatest gifts we can help flourish in another human being on their journey.  Along this journey, other individuals may at times need help.  Walk along side them, as long as they need, and help them when possible.  But remember, their life is their journey.

While your paths may cross time and again, ultimately an individual’s journey will be a rather unique and authentic experience.  Along this path, the side of the road will surely be rife with random rocks lacking meaning.  But now and again, among the ruble, an individual’s curiosities will be sparked by sparkles of truth, and they will find gratifying gems.  These are the very gems of wisdom that will push individuals further down their path to intellectual treasure, further towards their adventure for truth – towards individual growth and incredible self-development.

Ultimately, what another individual does is up to them, for its their life, their freedom, their choice.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t help them along that journey.  Just help them in any way you can, especially if they implore you for help.  That’s what friendship is all about.  That’s what being a caring human being is all about.

And maybe, just maybe, one day these individuals will realize that it was you whose left some of those gems along their road, and that they’ve been given a gift, and that it’s been there all along, just waiting for the right moment.

And the right moment is now.

Give them that gift.
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Author’s Note:

This article was written a few years ago for New Agora Magazine.  It has been slightly edited, but the core content remains unchanged.

I share this because if you simplify a lot of the issues taking place nowadays, they are about conformists vs. non-conformists.  Now, whatever side you fall on, that is your business.  What you rarely see from each side, but even less from the conformist side, is an attempt at seeking understanding.

How can progress be made without understanding?  Perhaps that’s where a lot of the arguments and discussions should start, seeking understanding and/or common ground.  After all, we are all humans, and just because we can’t see eye to eye on every issue doesn’t mean we don’t have the option to see what other people have gone through, empathize with their plight, comprehend their obstacles and circumstances better, but most of all, understand why they are who they are and why they believe what they believe.

That alone will solve more problems than forcing people to do anything, even if you are inherently right.
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Footnotes:

[1] Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, p. 108.
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Philosophy 101 by Socrates – An Introductory To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology, p. 74.
[3] Ibid., p. 10.
[4] Ibid., p. 19.
[5] John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling, p. xxxv.
[6] Tommi Juhani Hanhijarvi Ph.D., Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx, p. 32.

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Suggested Reading:

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13 Great Reasons To Study Logic

“Raising the level of logic and understanding is an extremely worthwhile activity, and it benefits those who can grasp the essentials.”
– Jon Rappoport, The Fallacy Of Circular Reasoning: A Vast Infection In Public Discourse

“Logic and analysis keeps you from being sent down wrong roads, keeps you from buying official reality.  Logic also reminds you that you have a mind.  Logic is a road that can take you deeper and deeper into more fallacies that underpin organized society and its branches of knowledge.  Logic tells you there are always more fundamental questions to ask and answer.  There are levels of lies.  The deeper you go, the more confident you become.  The more powerful.  Logic also lets you know when you’re projecting basic pre-judgments over a whole landscape and neglecting to look at the details.”
– Jon Rappoport

ScreenHunter_1216 Dec. 15 09.15
BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
December 15, 2018

In an age where the public dumbing down of the population is reaching new lows [Read Here For More] a mindful, thorough and proactive approach to an individual’s self-directed education is vitally needed.  A great tool to help that helps accomplish this type of self-directed learning, or learning in general, is Logic,

Throughout most of History, Logic has been a component of the Trivium, which entails Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric. Public schooling used to teach the Trivium in the past as part of a much more robust academic curriculum. Such is not the case anymore though. This outright stripping of core components of classical education is one of the incisive reasons why public education has become so dismal.

In A Different Kind Of Teacher, the late John Taylor Gatto, who was an award winning lifelong teacher of exemplary virtue and respect, bluntly states that the school system keeps failing us because:

Schools were designed by Horace Mann, E.L. Thorndike, and others to be instruments of scientific management of a mass populationSchools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlledTo a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

In other words, school system is about social engineering the masses towards robotic-like predictable behaviour, and not producing critically thinking well-rounded educated individuals.

In the same vein, outspoken critic of our dwindling education system, Professor Patrick Deneen, shared in his landmark piece, How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture:

Our students’ ignorance is not a failing of the educational system – it is its crowning achievement. Efforts by several generations of philosophers and reformers and public policy experts — whom our students (and most of us) know nothing about — have combined to produce a generation of know-nothings.”[2][Emphasis Added]

As clear as one can see the sun setting, one can also see that it isn’t by accident that the school system has reached the state of decline it has.

Coming to terms with this, what’s an individual to do?  To accomplish this, one must go ‘back to the roots’ so to speak, as there is no better place to begin but in the realm of Logic.

But you might be asking: why is Logic so vital?

To answer this, let’s delve into the words of Jon Rappoport [NoMoreFakeNews.com], that home in on the matter:

Logic and analysis keeps you from being sent down wrong roads, keeps you from buying official reality. Logic also reminds you that you have a mind. Logic is a road that can take you deeper and deeper into more basic fallacies that underpin organized society and its branches of knowledge. Logic tells you there are always more fundamental questions to ask and answer. There are levels of lies. The deeper you go, the more confident you become. The more powerful. Logic also lets you know when you’re projecting basic pre-judgments over a whole landscape and neglecting to look at the details.”[Jon Rappoport][Bold & Italic Emphasis Added]

To further buttress our foray into why Logic is so crucial, let’s take a look at the work of Philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D.  Kreeft, in his extraordinary book called Socratic Logic [Review Here] outlines the many reasons why Logic is crucial to an individual’s growth.

Kreeft minces no words in stating that in the past, most students were privy to was called “the old logic”.  Due to this, those individuals were much better prepared to “think, read, write, organize, and argue much better than they can today”.[3]

Getting back to classical education, which employed The Trivium – with Logic as one of its anchoring components – is what will ultimately help individuals breakaway from the downward avalanche public schooling is undertaking. 

Below follow salient reasons why to study Logic:

“13 Good Reason Why You Should Study Logic

1. Logic brings order.

Logic builds the mental habit of thinking in an orderly way.

No course is more practical than logic, for no matter what you are thinking about, you are thinking, and logic orders and clarifies your thinking.  No matter what your thought’s content, it will be clearer when it has a more logical form.  The principles of thinking logically can be applied to all thinking and to every field.

2.  Logic brings power.  Logic brings the power of proof and persuasion.

The power of logic comes from the fact that it is the science and art of argument.  Any power can be either rightly used or abused.  This power of logic is rightly used to win the truth and defeat error; it is wrongly used to win the argument and defeat your opponent.

3.  Logic helps reading. Logic will help you in education and learning, for “logic will help you to read any book more clearly and effectively.  And you are always going to be reading books; books are the single most effective technological invention in the history of education.

On the basis of over 40 years of full time college teaching of almost 20,000 students at 20 different schools, I am convinced that one of the reasons for the steep decline in students’ reading ability is the decline in the teaching of traditional logic.

4.  Logic helps writing.  Logic will also help you to write more clearly and effectively, for clear writing and clear thinking are a “package deal”: the presence or absence of either one brings the presence or absence of the other.  Muddled writing fosters muddled thinking, and muddled thinking fosters muddled writing.  Clear writing fosters clear thinking, and clear thinking fosters clear writing.  Common sense expects this, and scientific studies confirm it.  Writing skills have declined dramatically in the 40 years or so since symbolic logic has replaced Aristotelian logic, and I am convinced this is no coincidence.

It is simply impossible to communicate clearly and effectively without thinking clearly and effectively.  And that means logic.”

5.  Logic brings happiness.  In a small but significant way, logic can even help you attain happiness.  We all seek happiness all the time because no matter what else we seek, we seek it because we think it will be a means to happiness, or a part of happiness, either for ourselves or for those we love.  And no one seeks happiness for any other end; no one says he wants to be happy in order to be rich, or wise, or healthy.  But we seek riches, or wisdom, or health, in order to be happier.

How can logic help us attain happiness?  Here is a very logical answer to that question:

(1)  When we attain what we desire, we are happy
(2)  And whatever we desire, whether Heaven or a hamburger, it is more likely that we will attain if it we think more clearly.
(3)  And logic helps us to think more clearly.
(4)  Therefore logic helps us to be happy.

Even fantasy is not illogical.  In fact, according to the greatest master of this art, J.R.R. Tolkien, “Fantasy is a rational, not an irrational, activity…creative fantasy is founded upon a hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it.  So upon logic was founded the nonsense that displays itself in the tales and rhymes of Lewis Carroll.  If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy stories about frog-kings would not have arisen.”

6.  Logic helps with religious faith.  Even religion, though it goes beyond logic, cannot go against it; if it did, it would literally be unbelievable.  Some wit defined “faith” as “believing what you know isn’t true.”  But we simply cannot believe an idea to be true that we know that has been proven to be false by a valid logical proof.

It is true that faith goes beyond what can be proved by logical reasoning alone.  That is why believing in any religion is a free personal choice, and some make that choice while others do not, while logical reasoning is equally compelling for all.  However, logic can add faith in at least three ways.

First, logic can often clarify what is believed, and define it.

Second, logic can deduce the necessary consequences of the belief and apply it to difficult situations.

Third, even if logical arguments cannot prove all that faith believes, they can give firmer reasons for faith than feeling, desire, mood, fashion, family or social pressure, conformity, or inertia.

7.  Logic helps attain wisdom.  “Philosophy” means “the love of wisdom.”  Although logic alone cannot make you wise, it can help.  For logic is one of philosophy’s main instruments.  Logic is to philosophy what telescopes are to astronomy or microscopes to biology or math to physics.

8.  Democracy.  There are even crucial social and political reasons for studying logic.  As a best-selling modern logic text says, “the success of democracy depends, in the end, on the reliability of the judgments we citizens make, and hence upon our capacity and determination to weigh arguments and evidence rationally.”  As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be lead by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reason becomes of the first importance.”[Copi & Cohen, Logic, 10th edition, Prentice-Hall, 1998.).

9.  Defining logic’s limits.  Does logic have limits?  Yes, but we need logic to recognize and definite logic’s limits.  Logic has severe limits.  We need much more than logic even in our thinking.  For instance, we need intuition, too.  But logic helps us recognize this distinction.

10.  Logic helps in testing authority.  We need authorities because no individual can discover everything autonomously  We do in fact rely on the human community, and therefore on the authority of others – parents, teachers, textbooks, “experts,” friends, history, and tradition – for a surprising large portion of what we know – perhaps up to 99%, if it can be quantified.  And that is another reason we need logic: we need to have good reasons for believing our authorities, for in the end it is you the individual who must decide which authorities to trust.

11.  Logic helps recognizing contradictions.  Logic teaches us which ideas contradict each other.  If we are confused about that, we will either be too exclusive (that is, we will think beliefs logically exclude each other when they do not) or too inclusive (that is, we will believe two things that cannot both be true).

12.  Logic brings certainty.  Logic has “outer limits”; there are many things it can’t give you.  But logic has no “inner limits”: like math, it never breaks down.  Just as 2 plus 2 are unfailingly 4, so if A is B and B is C, then A is unfailingly C, Logic is timeless and unchangeable.  It is certain.

And logic never becomes obsolete. The principles of logic are timelessly true.

13.  Logic helps one attain truth.  Logic helps us to find truth, and truth is its own end: it is worth knowing for its own sake.

Logic helps us to find truth, though it is not sufficient of itself to find truth.  It helps us especially (1) by demanding that we define our terms so that we understand what we mean, and (2) by demanding that we give good reasons, arguments, proofs.”[4]

In the age of information, ignorance is no excuse.

And Logic, more than anything else, helps eviscerate that ignorance in a way that nothing else can.

That’s exactly why its been removed from the public school system, and exactly why all individuals need to employ it into their repertoire.

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Sources & References:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 16.
[2] Professor Patrick Deneen,
How A Generation Lost Its Culture
[3] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Socratic Logic, p. 1.

[4] Ibid., pp. 1-7.

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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.