Conformity Persuasive Essay
Mark Twain is the famous author of Corn-Pone Opinions, which has been read by people all over the world for a long time. He wanted people to know about certain issues in society that affect almost every individual. Twain claimed that “We are creatures of outside influences; as a rule, we do not think, we only “imitate”. He wanted to address the issue of conformity where an individual has to conform to what already exists in nature.
In an article by Sandra Blakeslee, in the New York Times, ‘What other people say may change what you think’, she talked about the issue of non-compliance, based upon social perception. This means that there are times when individuals will resist nature as well as the norms in society because they have been influenced by others. This paper seeks to give a critical analysis of why people choose to conform to some issues and at times even resist.
When reading Corn-Pone Opinions by Mark Twain, it is evident that he wants to address issues that society has chosen to ignore. He has even come up with an example concerning certain fashion statements. In the past, such statements were viewed as being awful, but lately, they have accepted by society. The book was written more than a century ago, but people can still see its relevance in various modern-day realities and representations.
An example of this is the product known as Crocs and Snuggles, which was not well received when it first entered the market. Most people believed that they were ugly and stupid products that had no value to human beings. This does not mean that people stopped buying the products or giving them as gifts to others. In later years, the two products became quite popular as society started becoming aware of the products’ importance. It means that time provides people with an opportunity to conform to things.
The issue that Twain wanted to address can even be explained even further using more relevant examples. Some of the deeper issues that continue to affect society are gay and interracial (miscegenation) marriages. In the past generations, society shunned all forms of interracial marriages, despite the fact that such marriages have been legal in America since 1967. It is evident that it has a true conformity as gay marriages have now been made legal in some American states. It is thus true that Twain said that in order to be accepted by society, an individual has to conform, regardless of whether they like it or not. There are certain things that individuals cannot resist quite easily. Conformity is extremely natural and it exists in all human beings. Almost every human being seeks to ensure that they are identified and associated with certain groups in their society.
It is true that Twain was right when he said that human beings will always conform to what they believe will make them whole. In a philosophical point of view, people often turn to religion as they believe that they can improve their lives by serving a higher being. In some religions such as Christianity, it is wrong to take any form of action that will cause harm to others. This means that people should allow religion to take its course and also let it flow regardless of time. It is too hard to resist higher power and that is the reason why people cannot go against it. Therefore, if people naturally seek to conform to new notions and ideas, then in the shortest time possible, certain things will gain popularity.
In the article ‘What other people say may change what you see’ by Blakeslee, a lot of information regarding social conformity is known. She used a study conducted by a famous social psychologist known as Solomon Asch to make her point known. The study was indeed quite intriguing because it raised some issues that concern the adaptation to social groups. It is thus not a surprise that social groups have existed for a long time since the time of evolution. The various stages of development have given human beings the ability to engage in social activities.
This starts from the time one is a child up to the time they reach adulthood. However, there are some compromises that have to occur as part of the adaptation process and thus the society should be aware of such things. The study claims that “but independence of judgment-standing up for one’s beliefs-showed up as activity in brain areas involved in emotion”. It means that emotions have a role to play in the life of human beings.
The family is the basic unit of any society and it greatly advocates for conformity most times. The head of the family, which is usually the father, often gives certain rules that have to be followed by all the members. For example, the father might want all his children not to go out to parties. This is especially true if the family adheres to a religion that does not allow young people to engage in ‘immoral’ acts such as drinking alcohol. In this case, the young people in the family have to conform to their religion as well as their father’s orders.
If any of them try to go against the established rules they will be viewed as people not conforming to social rules. Therefore, the study in Blakeslee’s article is true because it claims that there are times when people will go against nature or established norms in society. This takes place because the individual wants to fit in with the rest of the people who seem to have power.
In my opinion, I believe that conformity is part and parcel of human nature, but there are times when it is ignored. This is regardless of whether it is aimed at individuals or at the larger society. The larger society and individuals are intertwined when it comes to matters concerning conformity. Twain says that “the outside influences are always pouring in on us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts”.
This can be easily interpreted to mean that there are times when a person can be forced into doing something wrong because of peer pressure. In turn, an individual ends up committing illegal acts such as theft or selling drugs. The individual has thus not conformed to the rules that have been established concerning such crimes. In the end, the individual is found guilty by a jury, and thus have to spend time in a prison cell because they were not able to conform to social order.
It is advisable that people learn to confirm in order to avoid getting into trouble. Conformity should be targeted towards things that have positive results. In turn, society, as well as individuals, will reap the rewards that come with conformity. For example, in school, individuals are taught how to interact with other people. This lays the foundation for future interactions and relationships that will exist. Individuals that learn how to conform to the ideals and rules established by the school administration will surely not get into any trouble.
On the contrary, individuals that do not follow the rules will have to face the consequences. This means that they are likely to be sent home from school and they will be shunned by the larger society that does not approve of anti-social behaviors. Once people decide that they want to conform to positive things in life, they will be sure to succeed in life. It is no wonder Twain said that a sense of belonging makes people want to confirm.
In conclusion, social conformity is an issue that exists in society and people need to learn to use it well. The study shown in the article by Sandra Blakeslee gave a perfect example of how people tend to be easily influenced by others. Mark Twain the humorist sort to examine how people’s beliefs and thoughts are affected by social pressures. He meant to make it known that human beings tend to have more than one opinion at any given time. One is sincere and the other is secret, meaning that one tends to be tainted while the other is corn-pone. Indeed, I agree with the fact that “we are creatures of outside influences; as a rule, we do not think, we only “imitate”.
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