why follow norms?

why can’t people feel free to do anything not to the extent that he or she could violate laws? why should we follow these thing called ‘social norms’? why can’t we jump as many as we could in the department store? why can’t we just say anything nice to a stranger? In my opinion, these norms prevent me from feeling my absolute freedom…just wanna share my thoughts… :wink:

I don’t think it’s a matter of “can’t,” I think it is based in how we are raised as well as how society is run. From birth we are given norms to follow and taught there is “right” and “wrong.” Even if one realizes this and is able to break free from this mode of thinking, society certainly does not approve of those who shun the norms it imposes on people (whether intentional or not).

I think that norms provide an antidote for the sensation of anxiety. It helps to smooth out the experience of socializing.

One does give up freedom, but you also have to look at what do you gain from this? Every act of giving or getting involves an exchange of some kind in an interdependent system. One gains the security of continued group membership. Odd behavior will get you various degrees of separation from the group. The odder the behavior the larger the separation.

Total freedom means losing out on the benefits of group membership and sometimes freedom is worth it.

When you look at theses “benefitis” very near, you see that by choosing freedom, we’d lose nothing.

It is better die than to accept to live in a world whose “rules” and “costumes” you clearly despise and don’t see any reason behind them.

Good post Xanderman!

we were programmed to think this way at a young age, so we follow these rules subconciously most of the time. its as if something clicks when making a minor descision.

ex: why else would gay marriage be a shock to society? if we were raised in a gay community, heterosexuality would seem absurd.

plus, i guess some of us simply dont want to go too deep into things…after all, it is easier to do what you are told, than try to figure out why you are doing it and then contradict society.

I don’t agree. I did lose a lot by choosing freedom. (Not that I am able or want to go back to the herd.)

No, it would be absurd to even have a gay society, since we cannot “all” become gay then it is ultimatley absurd for just one corner of the nation or world to become gay. I think after a while, we would all figure out that being gay is the most absurd, not heterosexuality.

err, ancient greece anyone? Most everyone was gay. Exclusive hetrosexuality was a perverse fetish.

Logically impossible for everyone to be gay, if i were in a gay society, i would be shocked to see that the men amongst myself would not see that being gay is logically incorrect. Unless of course you are saying that these “homosexuals” would share in sexual relations with women so that they could reproduce?

this has gone on long enough…

“why follow norm?”

because cliff wouldn’t buy you a beer…


It becomes a bore when you talk in riddles and nobody can understand you.

It refers to an American show called Cheers (which might have been based on an English one) about a bar. There were two characters called Cliff and Norm that were friends.

Psyque will probably post that I am lying about this, but she is Canadian, so don’t you believe him!

um…i didnt mean it literally…i meant it as an EXAMPLE…thats why it had “ex:” in the beginning…anyways, youre missing my point. i was trying to say that we cannot know who is right and who is wrong; despite what the majority is, we shall never know if maybe the people in insane asylums are actually the “sane” ones…perspective is a funny thing…

“we” could not “be” if the majority or “all” were gay.

“you” are missing “my” point

Good question.

I guess that those people who are good at following norms in any pecking order, are the ones who are going to get the goods on offer. Even better, pretending to follow norms and secretly cheating to get even more goods.

Challenging norms gets you noticed, often rejected, and can lead to the life of the lonely outsider.

For most people the calculation is a no-brainer, sad but true.

Saying something nice to a stranger? That’s tricky. At this level of norm testing the said stranger could go either way, either they say something nice back or they runaway. People who talk to strangers in my country (UK) are generally thought of as nutters, sad lonely people with no friends, or retired and bored.

It’s not perfect.