Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nonconformity Is Not Always Rebellion

So, I just saw the new X-Men movie: awesome.
    But there's a deeper point to this one than just lots of action, cool special effects, and pretty people fighting each other. I don't want to read too much into it, but the premise of the X-Men has always been about conformity or nonconformity. Whether to fit in or rebel. Coexist or take over. The conflict is always present, and the decision at hand is something that is terribly relevant for anyone having an identity crisis or experiencing a coming of age, which is one reason the comic book was so popular with young people.
    We may not be quite as unusual as the mutants in the film are, but we all have had that moment or era in life (and if you haven't, don't worry, it's coming) where we had to decide to go along with the status quo or speak out against it. Sometimes this speaking out is peaceable, and sometimes it's violent or disruptive.
    Personally, I can only go along with some things for so long. Eventually, I have to put my foot down and say: this isn't working anymore; or no, I'm not going to do this. But all too often, we conform almost without thinking about it. Or we conform directly as a result of not thinking about it.
    I think we should stop that. Stop not thinking and start thinking. What do you think about the issues? Not what does your favorite television personality think about it, what do YOU think about it? If you come to the conclusion, after careful and deliberate consideration, that you do agree with your TV actor/commentator's opinion after all, fine, but at least you gave it some thought and can back up your reasoning.
    Conformity is about many things. In high school, it's about wearing certain clothes, listening to certain music, watching certain TV shows, or other things that are focused on your appearance, style and likes/dislikes. As a grown up, sometimes it's still about these things, but because your microcosm now extends a little farther beyond yourself, you have to worry about other things. Politics (even if you think you don't care), economics, society. Like it or not, it's important to think about these other things. We can't be egocentric forever.
    Coexistence with people we disagree with is necessary. Just because we don't all agree on things doesn't mean we have to eliminate the opposition. That is called fascism. And we should probably try to avoid that direction. But coexistence doesn't mean we have to keep our mouths shut. We can still argue for what we think and believe in. If we have our opinions, but keep them to ourselves, it's just as bad as not thinking about things and not having opinions, because then a certain group of people can make all the important decisions about politics, society, economics, etc, on their terms.
    Make up your mind and make a stand. It may not always seem like it makes a difference, but it could make all the difference.
Caring is not creepy.

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