Have We Come to a World Where it is Survival of the Conformist?
Have we come to an age where it is Survival of the conformists, not the fittest?
If we take a look at history we will see that dictatorships were set up in most countries. From the civilisation of the Romans or Egyptians to modern day China or even up to a leader which died recently, Pol Pot. Therefore since we have created a basic framework for the essay it is possible to discuss whether or not we have come to an age where it is "Survival of the conformists.
The earliest type of conformist was slavery. Slavery was a form of dictatorship which began very early on, maybe when language began or even when tools could be used and people had needs, because of people's needs there are some jobs which people don't want to do. this could for example be a "caveman" telling his wife to hunt for berries. Another form is that of slavery in the Egyptian civilisation where they built huge pyramids with relatively little pay or reward. Here are two first type of conformists, wives and women who have for generations gathered berries while men have hunted for generations, the second is that of many people working on one project such as a pyramid in order to serve as an Eternal tomb.
This type of conformist can also be seen in Stalinist Russia where men had to obey the dictatorship in order to survive. A choice between life working for low pay compared to life living in a gulag where conditions were rough and where people were even irradiated after mining radioactive elements in Russia.
The worst type of conformists however are not those who are forced to work in mines or be killed but those in today's western civilisation, children, teenagers, and parents… basically everyone is affected in some way or other in this tragic need to wealthier than others. When Karl Marx began with his idea that police forces were hired thugs for the higher society, how precise was he? Are they really hired thugs or is it peoples who are allowed to be human? Therefore would it not be more accurate to call them warriors since they fight for what they believe is right. What about the higher social classes? Simply because they have these warriors does it mean that they too nonetheless conform to what is expected of them?
After all of the literature that has been written about people not enjoying being in the high social class such as Levin in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, is he too not someone who is expected to conform, his friend Oblonsky is a proven conformist in that he does whatever is expected of someone of his stature. What about Kitty, what can be said about her? She is afraid that her parents will become angry with or against her if she prefers Levin to the other character whose name I've forgotten. Does this mean that she is an outward conformist while within she is thinking about all that she is saying and doing. Is Levin not considered a conformist since he goes to live in the countryside with the poor while others despise the poor for there simple way of life? It is an interesting question that we have asked ourselves here, however this is not the aim of my thoughts so we will move on to higher ground.
This point I am talking about is of course School, much like social classes it envelops in certain ideas we must obey in order to pass. I, myself, have once witnessed an event which led me to the conclusion of this theory "Survival of the conformists". It is indeed a very complicated debate which I am engaging myself into since there are so many points. What has triggered my reaction to this is that I've received 3.5 in History when I have the background knowledge that is required but because I came to a different conclusion it is considered as being wrong. that is expected of me. The question was "In what ways were diplomatic efforts unable to prevent war in 1914". After reading through many sources I came to the conclusion that the reason for this was the fact that small countries in the Balkans disagreed with each other Since they disagreed larger countries were dragged in. The correct answer of course would have been to mention that world war I was caused by several powers such as Russia mobilising and Germany reacting to it but I've come to believe that it was the smaller states as indicated in my essay. Are any of us right? The teacher, system, yet another factor, or me. The employer of the company for which we will work? Can anyone answer that without being contradicted or contradicting?
Another area that confuses me is fashion in schools, countries, continents and other areas. Look at the film Titanic, was it such an excellent film that everyone felt they should go to it or, to the contrary point of view did people enjoy the plot, the suspense etc? After all there's already been a version of that film made a few decades ago but which didn't have such success. Have tastes changed in the movie going world or is more to the point that people conform to their idles such as people conforming to Magic Johnson, All Saints, Spice girls or even extremist parties as described when talking about Stalinism? Is that conformist? Well, since it involves fear then it could be said that it is to a very extensive point that they have no choice… but wait a moment, they do have a choice, follow your leader or be punished. That's a choice which people don't need to conform to unless they want to. Therefore anyone has a choice as to what they do about something they dislike. Within school people can't be so simple minded as saying that they don't want to follow the instructions but the teacher does expect people to conform to these guidelines, therefore the school which teachers say we should be so grateful to be going to is in fact not so great. You don't have a choice as to how you want to respond to your essay except follow the rules or face getting downgraded. In what way therefore can it be considered an education? After all school is supposed to teach us to have a wide view. That's the idea behind bad grades, saying that your idea is valid to such an extent as to actually read it, but to what end? After all what is the point of studying history and then not being allowed discussing your concepts. I felt bitter for a while. The truth is that when you spend seven or more hours on homework and then get a bad grade for it you don't feel the need to study as hard since you haven't gained anything. In fact you've lost points which will be hard to catch up.
How can a school be considered good when people are not to think but to accept things as they are said to be? Also what is the point of going to a school such as the international school of Geneva when you don't learn what you want to but what you are told to. Why is it that after school and even in school I can discuss such theories as I am discussing now when I'm supposed to be tired. Am I abnormal because I enjoy thinking, am I in fact thinking? It doesn't seem like it after all I can see what I'm typing at the same time as I'm listening to Savage garden. Therefore what am I doing here? Why do I enjoy thinking and finding answers while others hate it? Nerds are said to receive good grades and spend a lot of time working but what about someone who enjoys to think but doesn't get good grades in school? Therefore is this really an effective way of teaching? Sitting in a class for hours on end wondering whether the lesson will end or not because the teacher is boring and you are not learning so much as it is sitting in a group listening. If you wanted to get bored you could be sitting in a bus looking out of the window and feeling the same amount of boredom, therefore is boredom a sign of learning or is it simply a way to pass the time of day.
Another question, which could be asked, is about my e-mail friend Saara. I don't write to her anymore and she hasn't answered my e-mail in quite some time. What is curious is that while I was listening to Savage Garden earlier today I was wondering about whether or not I knew her in person. However strange this may seem to others when I read her e-mails I had the impression that I felt when she was happy, sad, melancholic etc. I feel that I've got to know her well and became a friend. But wait, How can she be a friend when I haven't met her? How can I say that I hear her voice and can read her emotions when all I know about her is that she lives far away from me and that I'll never meet her? Do I know her any better than the girls I go to school with today or in fact better?
People say that she could have been lying about all her info etc. but after a while of those lies and that person getting to know you they'll change their stories to please you (at least I think they would. She didn't seem to do that so was she truthful about herself? Was she the friend I never met but got to know? In fact, will I find the same type of friendship within my own school or within the area I live in?
Last updated: September 23, 2002