Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 C - Conformism

Conformism: To behave according to the current social norms, ideals and practices.

Conformism is the basis of all social behavior and of all human groups: Without agreements in assumptions, ends and acts no group and no society can exist, whereas the great majority in any group is not capable of developing rational ideas about most problems by themselves.

The essence of all real social conformism is the clear understanding of the conformer that his conformism is a conscious lie, conscious role-playing, intentional theatre, and that his conformism is mostly collusion and deception in cooperation with other conformists, based on the same motives: fear and egoism.

What counts most in (almost) any society - for those who succeed or live peacefully in and with it - is the pretence and appearance of conformism and conformity, based on the conscious effort to conform. The main problem with this is not that this is so, but that many can't do much better than conform, and indeed act wisely by following others, since they don't have the wherewithall to lead themselves.


See also: Character, Society


Multatuli, Goffman, Hilgard & Atkinson, Zinoviev

 Original: Mar 29, 2005                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top