What Will You Sacrifice to be Accepted?

Lesson:

The need to belong comes at a great price to our individuality and is almost always at odds with our principles

One is always most conspicuous with characteristics they find most appealing.  In a social setting, the difference between what an individual finds appropriate and appreciable and what the ‘community’ finds appropriate and appreciable is bound to lead to dissonance, that is to say, we often find the tug of war between societal norms and our own to be ever strenuous.

Some buckle under the pressure, becoming complacent, finding happiness in acceptance.  Others make it a point to be subversive, not necessarily for the sake of being a contrarian, but self-preservation.

My parents always had a subtle, if not all together reticent, approach towards the herd mentality.  Around the age of 15, I found that despite our family’s readily social nature, we’ve had sparse acquaintanceships; we warmly engaged in neighborly conversations, humored those around us and on several occasions entertained house guests, but we never made it a prerogative to be “active”.

The motive for this social ambivalence was not apparent until my own experiences had slowly sifted away copious deposits of naivety from my brain.  A deliberate attempt to insulate ourselves from the hypocrisy and malignant metastasis of group think.

I recall my experiences with “the community”: a relatively amorphous entity comprising of individuals connected through ethnic, religious, or extracurricular affiliation, the later of which is somewhat less insidious than the former two.

My anecdotes, as insightful as they may be, do not meet the carrying capacity of the wordpress community, as such, my experiences will be summed within the length of a few paragraphs:

The contempt that is bred against organized religion is purely for that very reason; because it is “organized”.  There are rules, standards, and frameworks by which one must abide.  Subordination to such norms is ensured through social shaming rather than finding commonality in belief.  Open subversion is highly discouraged and may result in expulsion and/or excommunication.  You may very well find that the “community” functions like a sentient psuedo-fascist entity reliant on adversarial relationships amongst its adherents to thrive: a modern-day Stalinist era commune in which every individual lacks trust in all of their surroundings.  Belief is hence instilled through the most basic of human instincts: fear.  It is difficult to imagine that one can respect something that they fear.

Generally, we strive to emulate that which we find successful in stabilizing our lives.  In this case, adherence guarantees stability with a dagger to our throat.
All the while, the chorus preaches: “but we are not fear, we are love; we are acceptance”.  Be that as it may, the strive for acceptance and identification is overshadowed by the possibility of rejection.  Here the sapling of hypocrisy begins to bloom, the undertones of human nature assume control and out sprouts a second face.  As new generations take the helm, they are more cognizant of the drawbacks, if not sheer idiocy of tradition, alas their elders insist and persist.

Though the urge to indulge in life is strong, they unfortunately oblige, with a slight contingency; certain rules may be bent, certain loopholes may be exploited and certain violations maybe overlooked.  In the eyes of the community, no such violations shall take place, but in the confines of secrecy, they are slowly brooding to a boil for nature does not like to be repressed:

  The preacher that condemned premarital sex yet had an affair.  

  The pious lady that attested to the glory of God before scathing her children for having “black” friends

  The prideful father who murdered his daughter for the sake of preserving the family honor.

These are all examples of the atrocities conservative communal mindsets may pose to our daily lives.  Among them are individuals who are desperate to be liberated from the shackles of hypocrisy yet fear for their own well being.  A good reputation proves to be a failsafe in the event of a fallout, but it comes at a price of sacrificing one’s individual liberty to a mindless herd.

The backlash associated with defection is far less severe for those who embrace their lifestyle openly rather than continue to live an obscure double life.

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