Thursday, 2 February 2017

Thought 444: The Superficiality of Normality

Three of my big bug bears in life are the trio of
  • conformity
  • norm-ality
  • superficiality
The word convention comes from the Latin cum venire meaning 'to come together'. In other words where there is a coming together of human beings conventions will arise. 

It would be superficial to take issue with convention for its own sake, it being obviously necessary for human society to function on a basic level, but I do have an aversion to the ethos of conformity, which entails making oneself fit the shapes of social convention arising from quarters other than oneself. 

The main reason I am an anti-conformist by temperament is the extent to which I resent the superficiality of conventional/normal preference, its lack of reflection or critical thinking, its mimicking what others choose to do, its safe and predictable judgements on the worthiness of individuals as measured in terms of financial and hierarchical success, its invariable lack of taste and, most of all, its lack of imagination.

All these aspects of conformity can be gleaned 24/7 from that most conformist of mind control paraphernalia: mainstream television. 

Mark Passio from is an anti-conformist seeing the majority of social normative practices as so many instances of what he calls mass mind control including the trappings of the monetary system. 

For my part I have often wondered whether the most potent divide within the human population is not one between professional conformists, i.e. people who identify with and seek to realise themselves within the confines of normative social practice and belief, and vocational misfits, i.e. those who, whether by choice or not, realise themselves outside preferred conventional routes and means of evaluation. 

Great authors like Balzac and Dickens shed a critical literary eye on the inanity, cruelty and ruthlessness of conventional social functioning, both on a nationwide level as well as on the micro-scale of, say, an aristocratic social gathering. 

In any case my preferred pastures are those at the margins of the overgrazed fields of the οἱ πολλοί, particularly those of the moneyed, superficial and unimaginative so-called upper echelons of society, as well reflected in the characters of Tom and Daisy Buchanan in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.