Deviance isn’t a crime, it’s a badge of individuation and honor
It’s hard to have a predilection for rebellion.
When your dominant ethos is innovative, risk taking and individualistic, and when the choices you make are often as an expression of your identity, you have to steel yourself against the inevitable slings and arrows.
Because despite millions of years of evolution, human beings are still superstitious natives. We’re still tribal animals. We possess the profound tendency to affiliate.
And so, any time a person is heretical enough to raise doubt and deviate, they’re vulnerable to being discouraged, ridiculed, shamed, ostracized, isolated, and sometimes even imprisoned, tortured and killed.
It’s the oldest form of social control. And if we have any intention of chasing down the authentic self, we must resist. We must make personal choices divorced from inherited morals and values of the current culture.
I’m reminded of an fascinating interview with a successful comedian who’s known as an avid non drinker. Hal’s explanation of the reasoning behind his choice was brilliant:
At a very young age, it seemed like drinking was an experiment that everybody seemed to be conducting on themselves, but with no control to the experiment. Normally when you test a drug on a lab rat, you have one rat that isn’t taking it. But it seemed like everyone I knew took the drug without ever seeing if their life would be better or different or the same, normal or abnormal, if they just didn’t. And so, I figured I’d just be the control. The odd thing is, more people ask me why I don’t drink without ever asking themselves why they do drink in the first place. Considering they’re making the decision to participate in an activity, logic would follow that they would have to explain why they do it, instead of those who are sober having to explain why they don’t.
The point is, saying no is the fundamental way we have of differentiating ourselves. It’s not about drinking, it’s about making personal choices independent of what the herd is doing. Even if we’re ostracized for doing so.
Remember, deviance isn’t a crime, it’s a badge of individuation and honor.
Instead of perpetuating norms of what is acceptable, instead of mindlessly accepting the socially sanctioned boundaries of what can be rejected, embrace alternative ways of being and relating.
Because all unhappiness grows from that which goes unquestioned.
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Do you do what you do because you actually believe in it, or because you inherited the culture around you and mindlessly started marching in lockstep?
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