Saturday, April 20, 2013

For the Opinionated, Non-Conformist:

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. 
- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

There is a certain comfort in not caring. It's so easy to brush things off with an “EH”. It's so easy to nonchalantly let life and its issues pass by and not even check the rear-view mirror. It's too easy.

For decades, I fought a dreaded battle against lethargy. Like a fat, complacent cat not wanting to be roused from its slumber, I was apathetical; unmoved by the multitude of personalities, ideas, global issues, and injustices that surrounded me. In short, I didn't give a shit about anything.

I shied away from it all. Perhaps it was fear of making the leap from the objective to the subjective or simply a depressive indifference I faced. But I knew I wanted to be sophisticated and outspoken to voice my opinion and individuality. Stifling my inner-voice meant being trampled by those who piped up the loudest or influenced by those who spoke boldly and with confidence and conviction.

We live in societies separated by political and religious affiliation but I always doubted that everyone miraculously fell into one category or another. So many people couldn't possibly agree on one thing. I didn't want to feel pressured. I hated feeling obligated to walk down the avenues of RIGHT or LEFT or conform and join a team in the political arena. And I absolutely abhorred dogma. Isn't the world big enough to house new ideas?

But conformity is a recurrent theme in the blueprint of nature. For example, the molecules in water droplets pool together in what is known as cohesion: 

Photo Credit: Sparks of David Photography

Some vines and other vegetation weave themselves through other plants in an attempt to gain more light and secure survival:

Photo Credit: Sparks of David Photography

Fire, musical synchronization, clouds, even the “slow-clap” are all examples of forces that will eventually find order, symmetry, and harmony.

So too, regarding human nature, many choose to conform to conventional ways of thinking and succumb to the force of gravity that pulls us downward when we try and ascend to new heights of intellectual freedom.

When you break nature – the inertia of the status quo - you create a new reality and are the narrator of a novelty. YES, the world IS big enough to house new ideas! But If we don't express our opinions - or at least voice an excerpt from our stream of consciousness - we can feel insignificant and miss an opportunity to gain wisdom by bouncing ideas off one another. If we conform to “the norm” we can disregard, or worse, suppress our individuality.

Granted, unity is important but if it is an excuse to not think for oneself – to be lethargic and not have an opinion – it is useless.

Opinions come from interpretation which is the result of our individual life experiences. To voice a thought or idea is the epitome of creating from uniqueness. It is our brain-child that should be loved and cultivated to maturity. One day, it can even be an influential game-changer in universal ideology, thus continuing the saga of progressive thought in our dynamic human existence.

Don't settle for second best. Think for yourself and stick out from the rest.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Beautifully written, keep being awesome!

  3. There are ways to conform in certain ways yet follow non-conformity. I think I fall into that category: Chabadnik, single mom going to school, raising children to follow a path of goodness, and figuring out what to do with the cards that G-d has dealt from the Ultimate Deck.
    As Robert Frost says,
    "And both that morning equally lay
    In leaves no step had trodden black.
    Oh, I kept the first for another day!
    Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
    I doubted if I should ever come back.
    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference."
    David, have you tried the road less travelled? Have a good one! Thanks for bringing it alive!

    1. I have, in fact, taken the road LESS traveled but it wasn't for me.
      So i opted for a new route, one that is hidden from without but easy to find from within...


      Thanks always for your positive feedback!

  4. David, my boy, you have the gift of clarity. Putting it words so beautifully. Individuality is the piece of the puzzle that's missing from REAL conformity. Without being yourself, you aren't conforming, you are simply dying without your own thoughts.