"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist."- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate others."- Anonymous
In the dictionary, I found two main definitions for the word, "nonconformist."
1. One who does not conform to, or refuses to be bound by, accepted beliefs, customs, or practices.
2. A person who does not conform to generally accepted patterns of behaviour or thought.
I can go along with those interpretations of that word. There is also an older meaning to nonconformist. That is: A Protestant in England who is not a member of the Church of England.
Nowadays, when you hear the title of nonconformist, you usually think of the first two definitions. At least in the U.S. you do.
I found this interpretation of what it means to be a nonconformist on Urban Dictionary and I thought it fit me well enough. I've never really put it into words how I usually roll but this was pretty accurate:
It's not that you purposely go against the norms. It's that you fail to recognize the importance rules, structures and social norms and this naturally makes an above average level of uniqueness to you. Given the lack of this pressure to conform to sociality you're given much more freedom to think and act and do. Your acts, thoughts, and ideas may appear absurd to others. Nonconformist tend to either be leaders or loners and mavericks. They are often too new and innovative for their own times. What they hate most is bureaucracy, and way too often when given a position of power they will throwaway the normal routines and traditions of the office.
I consider myself to be a nonconformist because I've never allowed fads, trends, beliefs of others to influence me enough to where I'm set in this mind locking concrete that I will follow a certain line of thinking or anything else society dwells upon. Take celebrity worship or something equally as mindless or insipid, for example. Nonconformity, to me, is more of an attitude than a purposeful unwillingness to follow, without question, a trend, a person or organization of authority or a belief.
Some claim that it is rebelliousness for the sake of rebelliousness. Nope. Sorry, my closed minded, unenlightened monkey. The majority of society thinks that the nonconformist thinks it's something that the nonconformist can throw on, like an obnoxious shirt, just so they can piss the majority off. It's not like that. It's really not a conscious decision. In truth, it's really a matter of strength of mind, independence, free will and honesty. It's just being yourself, for better or worse.
Side effects of being someone that expresses nonconformity can, but not necessarily, include some nice traits such as:
Being creative, intensely independent and individualistic... or being innovative, and trailblazing. I'm not saying I'm any of these, of course. I'm probably as innovative as a speck of dirt on a rock that lays on the side of the road. Still, others that get their jollies by taking the opposite viewpoint on this subject will say that a nonconformist is destined to be a definite loner in society, maybe an immoral individual that is thinking up ways to destroy the world, molest a chickenhawk or some other nonsense. You can't see me but I'm pressing a big red imaginary buzzer at the moment- which represents that this assumption is not only stupid but it can be dangerous- especially dangerous to the innocent person who's victim-less personal choices in life are being thought of as a sinister threat to society. Mass hysteria, anyone? Holy shit!
In truth, nonconformists come in all shapes and sizes and colors and upbringings and class room teachings and so and so on. They conform only to themselves. They are the free thinkers of our human civilization, untouched by the persuasions of a monkey see-monkey do society. All of us could benefit from some of the traits of nonconformity. The bottom line is: Without change and fresh outlooks, it's a stagnate, fearful society we will continue to have, crushing the spirits of all of us.
There now. Glad I got that out of my system. Thanks and have a happy, dandy-as-heck kind of day. Smiles, everyone, smiles!