Encouragement: Be the Nonconformist Creator You Came Here to Be!
(Mike DePung — Post II.96–17)
The word and concept of this week has been encouragement, Project Encouragement. Today, my encouragement focuses on nonconformity. Encouragement: Nonconformity!
I ended this morning’s post with “Live Wild!” I don’t mean that as living stupidly or flagrantly slapping society in the face. Well, in some ways I do; however, I meant it in the sense of living Heart, living true Self, and that will appear as wild to this Ego-sodden society. I do not censure, denigrate, or nullify any individual, but the leadership of almost any institution or government or policy-makers — the majority of them operate via Ego. They shape societies and cultures in a way that says “Conform or be left out.”
That’s not so incredible; however, the fact that so few wake up, set their alarms and acknowledge Heart, that’s what is amazing. I have seen it for decades, people so bound by oligarchs, fearful of not conforming and losing their jobs, as if that is the worst fate that could befall anyone. Do you have any idea how many teachers fear to speak out or act in discord with idiot administrative policy. Shit, for that matter, how many administrators operate in fear of losing their jobs from higher administrators? It’s almost laughable to me.
I suppose that is one marker for me that affirms I have, for as long as I can remember, known at least at a subconscious level my Heart was working. Or maybe it’s just that I may be diagnosed as having Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I will always question authority, and I do not fear, never have, losing a job. Ego uses money to control; so do oligarchs. What misery so many precious, loving souls have endured because of this Ego ploy!
For those in ultimate control, I have no sympathy because they not only set their alarms and woke up to Heart, but also they hit the snooze button and arose to a life dedicated to Ego. Those types sicken me, and I have neither fear nor respect or admiration for such, especially including the jokers in Washington, D.C. right now — not the least of which is this “president” and his “education” secretary.
See, I feel strongly about this because oligarchs know that education characterizes society. Most teachers who come through the system are the best examples of meek conformers who fear for their jobs. If the teachers have buckled to Ego conformity, what do you think they pass on to students? What are grades but extrinsic rewards ensuring conformity, worthless as far as true education is concerned? And so much more, sickeningly so much more.
I never cared, really, what any administrator thought, and I basically told them so. I defied when I needed to with well-backed thought and, when required, research. When faced with Heart-truth about education, administrators had no idea how to respond except by being Ego bullies. And what really pissed them off was they did not intimidate me. In fact, I encouraged students and equipped them to discover themselves through our literature and writing in defiance of those who sought to force conformity on them — administration and the education establishment.
My nonconformity focus tonight, then, centers on education. I have said it before: Education must be redefined, and redefined to focus on drawing out the Heart interests, passions, and brilliance of our youth. All that other stuff — things I value like specific literary works, the development of language, writing rhetoric, for examples — is secondary to this mission of creativity and Heart-awakening.
No matter the age or situation, whether it be education or career, when we choose to wake up to Heart, we will be automatic nonconformists, because the majority of people and the nature of society and culture is Ego-driven. Heart will cause us to stand out and stand up for living authentically.
Last night I mentioned a man who I esteem very highly, Sir Ken Robinson, who writes and speaks about creativity and how that focus, a Heart-attitude, makes us nonconformists. In his classic work on creativity, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, he says this: “The Element is about discovering your self, and you can’t do this if you’re trapped in a compulsion to conform. You can’t be yourself in a swarm.” And the swarm is Ego.
If anyone would wish to read wisdom of Heart-energy, read Dr. Robinson’s book. In addition, long before Ken Robinson or I existed, Henry David Thoreau had it. Read Walden, too, and “Civil Disobedience.” These are primers on nonconformity.
I have referred to Thoreau’s quote on desperation so many times along with others that it’s become cliche; however, it is anything but that. The Ego-fear that subdues and conforms so many, that the educational system perpetuates, will be escaped only when people say yes to Heart. If we don’t, we may very well discover, instead of Heart-truth, that when we sum up our lives, we will “discover that [we] had not lived.” Thoreau really pissed on the Ego-driven society in practical ways.
This grows longer than I expected, which means I should revise; however, since this is a daily blog and I am a nonconformist, I hope this brings you blessing to help you discover Self and piss on the oligarchs who condition society and you through Ego. No fear. No regrets. Just pressing forward, onward, upward. Thoreau: “I learned this, at least…that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” It has little to do with money and commonly accepted security standards. It’s about Heart-energy.
I will end with this from Ken Robinson, who recognizes that oligarchies understand how they maintain control through education. If you are an educator, especially, defy standardization. Defy testing and all extrinsic measures that seek to subdue and conform students to preconceived goodness or intelligence. It stinks to high heaven, so as I urged last night, either learn or quit. Robinson: “Inspire creativity in students.” Before any other curricular decision. Before the equations, before the principles of historic or literary analysis, before — especially before — preparing for any kind of tests. For god’s sake, stop giving tests; they are a primary tool of conformity and Ego.
Live wild. Live your Heart for you and any with whom you interact, whether you are a teacher or a salesperson or anything beyond and between. Stand out. Make a difference. Be the creators you are and came to this Earth to be.