Conformity is Suicide

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I have a high state of resentment for the conformity in this country. If you’re not married and having children, it’s like your life is empty or you’re a communist meanie.

Bill Maher 

 

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

Mark Twain 

 

                            If you go with the herd you will get slaughtered. The masses are lemmings that will follow each other into a river and drown. Life is not a “one size fits all” scenario. The people that are most successful are the people that defy mainstream culture and create their own path. Cultural currents are usually misinformed and easily manipulated. There are 4 recent examples that illustrate this point. They are the housing bubble, college, marriage, and the stock market.

  Housing Bubble:            

                               Houses never lose value was the often repeated lie of the decade. This lie was so pervasive that people took it as an economic law. I just turned 28 but i can still remember when people in the United States went house crazy. It was complete pandemonium. Flipping houses was an epidemic. I remember my parents buying real estate under this false dogma. I vividly remember my mother explaining to me that houses are a great investment because they always appreciate in value. Never did i hear any adult question this statement. The economist that did question this statement were laughed at and ostracized. Fast forward 6 years later and the non conformist were correct and the conformist were wrong. It was a very expensive lesson learned. Especially for my mother. 

 

College:

                                  In my high school you were considered a loser if you didn’t go to college. Going to college was perceived as the essential step to having a comfortable life. Not going to college was equal to heresy. The cult of college was reinforced by every high school counselor in the country at that time. They would implicitly communicate to you that if you don’t go to college you will be doomed for life. Upper middle class parents would disown their children if their kids decided that they didn’t want to go to college.  We laughed at the few kids that decided to hold off on college and to try their hand at a trade school. Fast forward 10 years later. We now have a looming trillion dollar college debt crisis. Many college graduates now understand that college was not necessarily a good idea. Again, we see that the non conformist were correct and the conformist were wrong.

Marriage: 

                                      Our society expects everyone to be married and have children. Not being married and being in your middle age is perceived as odd. People start wondering if you are socially dysfunctional. They start assuming that you are homosexual (nothing against gay people, i support gay marriage) if you are unmarried too long. Statistically speaking, American marriages are an abysmal failure. Half of all first time marriages end up in divorce and 60% of second marriages end up in divorce (http://www.divorcerate.org/). So the odds are that if you get married today, you will divorce your spouse within a decade. Why is this still an expected social convention? Because people are conformist. Again we see that the nonconformist may be correct. 

 

Stock Market:

                                    A rule of thumb in trading stocks is that once the masses hear of a great deal on a stock it is already too late. By the time a stock is mainstream you better have sold because its on its way down. This is why mainstream stock market shows never made sense to me. Why are you getting stock advice from a guy on television. Millions of other people are watching the same show and going to buy the same stock. People in groups lose their ability to critically think. They lose introspection and devolve into a primitive hive mind. Maybe this is an evolutionary relic that allowed our species to survive for thousands of years. I do not know. I do know that i will no longer ridicule the views of the counter culture. They may just be right. 

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