Should we fear conformism?, by Hani Chkess
The task given is, undoubtedly, a paradox and by definition a paradox is provable, thus true, so that if avoiding conformity is, as it seems, impossible, is there a ?good? form of conformism?
But before developing what I previously mentioned, it is necessary to clarify what conformism is and, especially, what renders its ampleness. Generally speaking, it involves doing whatever others do and following already trodden paths. For example, on a social level, behaving like the others, namely having similar clothes, reactions and goals gives you a sense of comfort and belonging. In other words, you would not feel at ease when wearing a bathing suit in a conference room, where everybody is dressed formally. On the other hand, it is interesting to see how all the anxiety disappears at a swimming pool, where everybody wears such a suit. Abraham Maslow, a famed psychologist, attributes such a way of deporting to our need for social appreciation, as we, human beings, are social animals. Thus, how else to fulfill our hunger for acknowledgement, but by satisfying the many, which are, by definition, conformists?
So then, why is conformism to be feared of? In an uncontrolled dosage, it bounds us to mediocrity. As I mentioned, the excuse for ?being like the rest? lies in our need for appreciation. Consequently, if trapped in the vicious circle of conformity, you end up doing what has already been done, because the many do not appreciate alterity. History has proven this with a vengeance, if considering the chauvinism characteristic of the beginning of the XX century, which was one of the causes of the first World Wars or even today?s global efforts to change our collective mentality and make us accept otherness. So when you come to ask yourself ?Why am I here??, what will the answer be? ?to copy?, ?to plagiarize??
However, conformism can also be beneficial, if not indispensable to evolution and to nonconformism. Logically speaking, the two terms are opposable, thus they cannot exist but in a pair, as ugliness cannot exist without beauty, the former being the mere absence of the latter and vice versa.
Moreover, to become a nonconformist or the pioneer of a certain domain, you must first be a conformist. Namely, you have to master all that is known about that field, in order to improve it or to use it as the base for something new and original. My words may seem abstract, but they actually apply in reality. Eminescu, and outstanding Romanian poet, although born genius, would have remained idle, if he had not studied the ideas of Platon, Kant, Schopenhauer, etc. All in all, what I want to prove is that in order to stand out from the crowd you first need to pass through the purgatory of conformism.
Hence, conformism is an inherent part of our lives, both beneficial and detrimental, depending on our capacity of taking advantage of it.
Acest eseu este castigatorul premiului oferit din partea juriului in cadrul 2012 Shakespeare School Essay Competition, grupa de varsta 15-19 ani. Premiul a constat intr-un voucher de reducere in valoare de 200 de lire pentru o tabara de limba engleza de 2 saptamani in Anglia oferit de Mirunette International Education, carti de la Fischer International si de la Carturesti si materiale promotionale de la Vitastal Consulting. Il felicitam pe Hani pentru eseul lui care s-a evidentiat din mii de eseuri trimise la concursul national de creatie in limba engleza organizat de Shakespeare School si ii uram mult succes in continuare!