Grappling with Conformity

The person was comfortably seated in my living room when they stated, without hesitation, even a sublime hint of it, that life is not a book club, that there are norms in the society that need to be subscribed to, rather sheepishly, in order for the individual to belong. Or rather, for the subject to not have to face the mighty wrath of the occupants of the streets.

A claim so bold and at the same time uttered so matter-of-factly. It took me more than ten days to absorb the audacity of the proposition. Within that week and a half I busied myself with a Raspberry Pi project so that my mind would steer away from the cold reality of human tendency to conformity, and yet, I attended to the supposed “distraction” in my own living room, where their casual body language, as they hastily discarded the value and merits of thousands of years of human attempt at finding some meaning to life that would exceed, at least momentarily, the activities of the flesh, still lingered on.

Ten odd days later, I have now shifted my attention from the other to my self, from without to within, from what I had to endure to how I was an accomplice. I am still digesting the course of events that led to that frightful Sunday morning and I am far from a solid theoretical framework that would dissect the misfortune and give some hope that the malaise is somewhat less likely to repeat.

These days a portion of my commute time is alloted to Alain de Botton’s Consolations of Philosophy and I have developed the daily habit of posting a picture of a page that I have read on Instagram, wherein one or more sentences are highlighted. Here is the share of enlightenment that I received, and attempted to share, today: “The depth of his attachment to La Boetie signalled the extent to which, in his interactions with others, he had been forced to present only an edited image of himself to avoid suspicion and raised eyebrows” (read more).

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