Why is there so much conformity and such a scarcity of true, individual uniqueness in the world?
When we are born we are immediately surrounded by people behaving in certain ways which are expressions of social norms they have sub-consciously taken on since their birth.
As we grow older and gain the ability to speak these behaviours become imperatives.
“You mustn’t do that!” or “You must do this!”
At first children question.
“Why is the sky blue?”, “Why is that bad?” and “Why do I have to do that?”
See people are born naturally inquisitive. They don’t just take things on authority. This of course has to be stamped out of them.
So in much the same way a parent stops their child from fouling themselves and being naked in public they stop their child from questioning authority; which in this case happens to be represented by the parent.
In answer to all the questions the child asks the parent answers “It just is! Stop asking questions!” Often attended by a scowl on the face to implicitly say that asking questions is naughty because the parent knows – on some level – that the statement “Asking questions is naughty” is just not right.
When the child moves onto school this isn’t changed. The child isn’t taught how to inquire for themselves – oh no – instead they are told what is and then told to repeat what they have been told in things called exams.
It’s not really until they reach certain subjects in university – by which time the conformity has become safely entrenched in the sub-conscious – do they start to re-learn their innate capacity to inquire.
`The thing is once you break out of the conformity. Or at least once you see that there is no ground for you to necessarily conform; you see that it’s so easy to see.
So why don’t more people break out of this?
I think it’s because they become entangled in activities that don’t need them to inquire into their own being, their own way of life, their own possibilities of action.
Instead they do things like build tables. Want to build a table? Well here’s how you do it. If you do it a lot you might find some better ways of doing it; but you’re still going to live your live, wear your clothes and talk about the same stuff the way everyone else does.
Even in science there is a large element of dogmatism. Mainly in the methodology which wouldn’t be a problem if people recognized that the scientific method – or any method – is not universally applicable. But there are a large number of people who believe – and evangelize vigorously this belief – that if the scientific method cannot be applied to it (that is if it cannot be quantified in some manner) then it doesn’t exist. (Not to mention the paradigmatic dogma talked of by Kuhn).
Philosophy is maligned on all sides because it doesn’t produce definite answers. Instead it calls into question everything and in so doing it grabs hold of its practitioner and forces him to look at himself and ask “What am I?”, “What do I want?”, “How am I to live?” and “How the fuck am I meant to answer those questions?”
Philosophy is maligned because it not only points at the emperor and says “You’re naked mate” but it also causes the emperor’s subjects to look at themselves and realize how silly they have been in obeying this old, wrinkly, naked man.