Nonconformity: the art

Last edited: November 26th, 2010

Nonconformity does not start at any age and it is certainly not inherited for traditionalism and nonconformity almost diametrically oppose. Nonconformity is a trait, a trait most easily described as having the motive to ask the question: "Why?" It's a spark, which often does not light a fire. It is something one carries all their life, and its negative effects become apparent earlier in life than its positive ones. Its evidence can be in the way one dresses, how one speaks, how one learns, ad. infinitum. However, a nonconformist never acts with intrinsic purpose, one does not question the accuracy of calculus for the sake of mischief, or wear grey to an all white party in the interest of obtaining unearned attention. Nonconformity is likely most effective when it is not noticed, because conformists will attack like white blood cells to cancerous ones. Every nonconformist has a reason for their actions, they question and act out of concern, out of curiosity, out of the desire to improve. This leads to an incredibly salient point: nonconformists are intrinsically motivated. Nonconformists are not devil's advocates, they will not always fight for the underpopulated side. Likewise they will not consistently rebel, there are many things they will agree with the norm on. However, nonconformity may sometimes grow into a reflex, and whenever a nonconformists sees themselves mindlessly accepting or agreeing, they may begin to question. A nonconformist, however, will likely have a record of being in opposition to nearly unanimous societal decisions or actions. Nonconformists have to learn to become risk takers, otherwise their true self will never be revealed. They have to learn how to speak up, and to be resilient when there is no answer. A great difficulty of the nonconformist's life is not the rejection and discord, but likely the fear of it. It's most difficult, in any regard, to intentionally act with the knowledge that the action will lead to more discomfort than pleasure. The most difficult quality for a nonconformist to develop is the capacity to disregard what others think about them. This, in fact, may never be fully achieved by some. There also exists a gaping hole in each nonconformist, where social acceptance would lie. Nonconformist's disagreements may also be more prevalent in various realms of understanding and opinion, such as societal and academic.

The more stringent the system, the quieter the nonconformists will be. It should be the other way around.

Submission is a nonconformist's suicide.

Certain organism's cells, or multicellular organisms act in complete accord, making decisions as a whole and result in the benefit of the whole. Complete human accord is not healthy, and will lead to stagnancy of development. It may even lead to an Orwellian society, this may have been alluded to by Huxley and Orwell's abolition of the past in their books.

There exists a natural essence that differs between conformists and nonconformists. Each other's essence may never be understood, which is perhaps why the two categories exist in the first place. This essence exists in the derivation of pleasure. One group feels accomplished, feels completed when they've successfully carried out the actions that are required of them, when they've persisted even against their will, and performed tasks that that are for the greater good, although they may not yet currently see it. The other group obtains the same pleasure from acting by how they feel is best, regardless of whether or not other's agree. The difference is not equal to that of cowardice and bravery, it is what each individual believes will give them the most personal benefit (even if that benefit is through a lack of disturbance). The most difficult part of nonconformity is the isolation byproduct. We are biologically predisposed to agree with our peers. This is indicated by the false-consensus effect. One is more inclined to believe that which is favored by the majority. A nonconformist cannot be circumscribed, only his actions may be.

Nonconformists have to learn to handle criticism, and persist, appearing ignorantly intransigent. They have to accept failure, for their subversion will often lead them on a road to nowhere.

A nonconformists life can best be described in a metaphor. An act of nonconformity they commit can be likened to roads. All of these roads look identical, and even once following them, they receive no help or encouragement. They must persist all along knowing that a road that leads to nowhere is identical to one that leads to where they wish to go. All along this road are forks, each with proponents, enticing rewards, and tangible relief. The traveler must persist, they must continue in spite of the discouragement of the men along side the road. In the incipient moments of their travel, they will experience the most difficulty, this is precisely why many don't accept the travel. The short time negative effects certainly outweigh the benefit. This can easily be seen as a primary hinderment, indicated by even our world leaders futile effort to switch to the more expensive alternative energy. The possibility of no reward, no success at the end of the road is an additional disconcertment. Sometimes it is necessary to delude oneself into artificially inflating the odds of success.

There exists a spirit in every man's mind that entices him to act in some way. In all men it is the ghost of the masses, and to a few he is the whisperer of lies, to others he is the messenger of truth. He follows nonconformists wherever they go, regardless of whether or not their actions at that moment would affect their subversion.

Man-made systems deter nonconformity. They ensure that effort is required for it to exist, and even then, they're remarkably good at dissolving it. Everyone is in some system, a written or unwritten series of rules that guide behavior to a desired and agreed upon beneficial outcome. These systems are not necessarily put in place, but they are supported by the majority. They are encouraged to continue existing because they are utilitarian, and the majority always wins. They are supported implicitly, questioned by few because the majority don't see any other option. People accept what they see, they don't believe society to be malleable. They don't question their pain, their dissatisfaction, because everyone else experiences the same thing. They don't expect to have control, and they accept that without protest. Why? That's the question any perspicacious person would ask. It may be a biological factor. Our species' primary tactic for survival is collaboration, the merging of forces to achieve a desired task, like wolves coordinating to catch their prey. This is what has enabled our species to survive, and eventually thrive against their anatomically superior predators. Therefore, those who neurologically more inclined to work together are more likely to survive and avoid

To have a life, you often have to buy into a system, regardless of whether or not you agree with it. For example, in order to survive in this society, you need to work. Working follows a system, few jobs deviate from the norm of an eight our day. Everyone needs to participate, and there's no escape. Although men differ in interest, some are nonconformists, their pleasures are often the same. Money, wealth, success, fame, importance. Like food, our system locks these up, only to be received by complete submission. (A lot like Ishmael). We aren't even in control of this anymore, there is no real leader, our conformity and lack of questioning is the new power that keeps us in check.

Examples of systems that reduce variety, nonconformity, individualism are: The education system, the political parties,

The problem is the people that many people who have a real potential, are those who are always at a disadvantage. They are suppressed by the majority, the middle, the systems always cater to them (the middle). The two extremes aren't able to follow the system, it's meant for the average majority. It's often difficult to decipher between the two, especially on paper (grades).


  1. The personal origins of nonconformity
  2. Nonconformity can be in the form of having higher standards for allowing belief, for support; incredulity.
  3. The motives of a nonconformist
  4. Misconceptions of nonconformists
  5. Challenges of nonconformists
  6. Nonconformists in history

Chapter I

Vertere lives in the confines of Conteigal, a small village off the coast of equatorial Brazil. Vertere's antecedents stretch back nearly six-hundred years, and have changed little in that time. Needless to say they are a village of tradition, both in demeanor or practices. He is of age twelve, and is not a particularly prominent member of his society. A common saying amongst the Conteigals is best translated to: "So it was, and so it will be." On a day of normality, Vertere wanders into the borders of the woodland encompassing Conteigal, escaping the vex of his peers. He stands at its edge, his mud stained footwear sinks slowly into the underlying forest slush. He gazes deeply into the mouth of the jungle, his eyes focusing farther into its oblivion. He feels the resonance of his surroundings, the exuberant life steals him from his own blood. He stretches out his leading leg, but, his moment is disrupted. The harsh hands a caretaker restrain him from his departure. She turns him to face her, and places her cold palm below his chin. He winces slightly. He feels her holding him, her presence is disrupting.