The discussion group this week attacked the topic of conformity. Here are two issues which generated much debate.
1) Obviously if there was only one person in the universe, they couldn’t be conformist because there would be nothing to conform to. But what exactly is it that we conform to? Culture? Authority? Social norms? Parental expectations? All of these?
2) Conformity seems to be in opposition to creativity, innovation, change, and progress. One question that kept popping up was whether it was possible to conform to these ideals. For example, scientists arguably value unconventional thinking. A scientist is expected to come up with new ideas and challenge existing theories. Are they conforming to the dominant practises of their group? Is it possible to conform to a social norm of non-conformity?