If Everyone Becomes a Non-Conformist, Won’t We All Be Conforming?
I used to get this question a lot, sometimes framed in skepticism but other times just curiosity. The simple answer is that not everyone wants to become a non-conformist, or any other particular means of self-identification. Plenty of people are happy with the way things are, which is the definition of conformity. It’s not always a bad thing.
It’s also like asking, what if everyone wanted world peace? It would be wonderful If everyone wanted world peace, but not everyone does. People generally operate in their own interests, and some people benefit from conflict and strife. It’s no surprise that the world is full of constant conflict.
Being a non-conformist, or just a rebel in general, isn’t about fighting for the sake of fighting. Nor is it usually about rejecting an orthodoxy or culture. When it is about those things, the rebellion is usually superficial and short-lasting.
Rebels aren’t anarchists. The anarchist just wants to burn things down and walk away. The rebel wants to build.
The rebel seeks to create transformation and positive change, whether in broader society or (just as importantly) in an institution they already participate in.
This is why if you want to change the world, look around. School, work, church, mosque, synagogue, state, community, business—your opportunity for influence is waiting for you.
True rebellion, therefore, is ultimately about a deep desire to belong, just not at any cost. Like all of us, the rebel wants to be loved.
Not everyone will become a non-conformist. But if you don’t like what you see and you want to be part of building a different world, start thinking for yourself and asking questions of others. As I have said for eight years now: you don’t have to live your life the way others expect. You can chart your own course, and you don’t need anyone’s approval.