Conform

Conform: (v) to comply

In case you occasionally slip up and start thinking there is some sanity in the actions of our social order, let me remind you of the greatest piece of hypocrisy ever hatched in the henhouse of clucking. Here it is:

“Be yourself but follow the rules.”

It is the message of America.

Both of us–you and me–are encouraged to be creative individuals, and then are informed that the advice given is faulty.

There’s an ancient piece of philosophy which challenges us: “Be not conformed but be transformed.”

In 1962, if you were living anywhere in America, the general consensus would have been that segregation of the races was not only the norm of the day, but funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
actually proper.

In 1966, you would have been struck down as anti-American if you suggested the war in Vietnam was anything other than a bold act of patriotism.

In 1971, you would have been laughed out of the room if you had proposed that black athletes should be able to play college sports in the Southeast Conference.

In 1981, the thought of homosexuality being part of the mainstream would have brought you criticism and cost you many friends.

In 1998, you would have been totally out of step to insist that oral sex was actually sex.

In 2003, suggesting that the war in Iraq was a foolish ploy would have brought the house down on top of your head.

And as I have recently found, in this day and age suggesting that the archaic American voting system is an insult to the notion of democracy, makes me an enemy of God, America and most ingredients in the apple pie.

You can conform–as long as you’re willing to be considered foolish within twenty years.

 

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Beatnik

Beatnik: (n) a young person in the 1950s and early 1960s belonging to a subculture associated with the beat generation.Dictionary B

Trends and fads have one thing in common: they have a commencement with no graduation, also having a beginning minus destination. For that reason, it’s difficult to assess their genesis, or comprehend their exodus.

But if you take a moment and think about it, every movement goes through three stages:

  1. Purity
  2. Parity
  3. Paltry

Our new ideas often begin with purity.

Like beatniks.

I believe the purpose of such a social awakening was to become more introspective and discover our inner selves and how we relate to the world around us.

Quite noble.

But for an idea to become popular, you have to be able to market it without promoting its more cerebral aspects. So eventually the beatnik generation sought parity by wearing black berets and turtlenecks. It was an easy way to identify a fellow beatnik.

Yes, often our greatest movements are shrunken to a simple fashion statement.

Then, once they became tired of wearing their costumes, they decided to just maintain the angst. Thus, the 1960s and 1970s.

We ended up with a paltry representation of self-realization–actually merely an adolescent temper tantrum to anything our parents did.

After all, there would have been no objection to the war in Vietnam if there weren’t a draft blowing young men into military service.

So how is it possible to keep the purity without insisting on parity and ending up with paltry?

I don’t know.

But I think it is the job of writers, who detour their material through the brain, to insist on considering such idealism.

 

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Appropriate

dictionary with letter A

Appropriate (adj): suitable or proper in the circumstances

Yes, it is similar to those orange cones they set up around construction areas.

You find yourself driving along and you look up ahead, and suddenly traffic is backed up, and as you inch your way closer, you discover that someone has put up these orange cones to cordon off an area which is under repair–although it is not always obvious that such care is actually being given.

That’s the way I feel about our society.

Having lived for a while now, I have seen the social “orange cones” put up around certain issues to slow down the traffic of human progress and establish the fact that this subject or issue is “not appropriate” for either consideration or discussion.

When I was a kid it was divorce. “Good people” just didn’t get divorced. Matter of fact, if you were writing a play in that era, you could connote that a woman had loose character simply by stating that she was a divorcee. But eventually the orange cones were removed from the issue simply because so many people were participating in the practice.

In my teens, we were taught that the Vietnam War was patriotic. Orange cones were placed around the appropriate response, which was to show support for the endeavor. Anyone who considered it a worthless adventure was alienated.

Then, almost overnight, the orange cones were removed and it became appropriate to stand against the war and criticize U.S. involvement in Indochina.

It goes on and on.

I suppose there are those who consider the removal of all orange cones, offering a freeway in policy and thinking, to be the ideal way for human evolution to travel.

But it’s tricky business.

We do need some orange cones placed around a few issues–otherwise we will ignore the appropriate response necessary to grant each individual dignity.

I can think of two right off the bat:

  • Orange cones should be put around free will.

The minute we think we are victims of destiny, unable to change our circumstances, we lose the power of what it really means to be human.

  • And I think orange cones need to be placed around the sanctity of life in all its forms.

Otherwise we will make arbitrary decisions that certain members of the family of humankind are worthy of death and others should be lifted up on the shoulders of life.

What is appropriate?  Give people free will. And don’t kill.

How cool. It rhymes.

Free will and don’t kill.

Great orange cones for protecting something that is totally appropriate.

 

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