Do you think a certain level of conformity is necessary?Why and why not?

2 Answers

wordprof's profile pic

wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Brief addition to an excellent answer: "Necessary" implies a goal, a project of the will". To be sure, the traffic example demonstrates the "necessity" of some conformity when dealing with the laws of physics vis a vis physical survival. But the cases of creativity or social conformity are much more ambiguous, and the degree of "conformity" is open to question. We don't want "starving artist" conformity in our art --no Picasso without throwing conformity out the window.
thanatassa's profile pic

thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Although `conformity` can often be used in a pejorative sense in contemporary discourse, and contrasted unfavourably with terms such as innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, studies of various societies have shown that highly cohesive groups in which people conform to relatively similar sets of values produce greater happiness and overall social welfare.

Imagine the fairly simple case of traffic laws. The notion of stopping for red lights and going for green is arbitrary, but if people do not all conform to it, accidents happen. On a larger ethical scale, if people in a given community all conform to similar social norms (including ones such as not stealing, contributing to charity, etc.) society functions much more smoothly.