Nearly indistinguishable conformity.
Christian Life

So Much Conformity, so Little Influence

October 28, 2015

Why does there seem to be very few structures or platforms set up in this world to allow for people to exercise influence and judgment?  We know people hold opinions, yet they nearly always conform to an existing system.

Everyone has opinions and I think it is safe to say that most people think their opinion is correct.  It’s ridiculous to think someone would hold an opinion they didn’t think was true.  Therefore, when it comes to how to do things, whether in a job, family, church, or community, I also think it is safe to say that people generally think their way is best.

I do and I’m sure you do too.

Day in and day out we operate wishing certain things would be done differently or that we could contribute our opinions in order to make things better, in whatever environment we may be in.  Everyone feels this way. Guaranteed.  There is an astronomical chance that there is someone who has no desire even in some minuscule way to contribute, in a positive way, their two-cents about something, somewhere.

While all this diversity should be a strong suit for our world, I observe very few structures set up allowing this kind of thing.  Yes, I admit to this obviously being limited to my own experience and knowledge among an entire world of social, business, and religious structures.  Duh.  How could I not be?

I do think many of you would agree that you do not feel as if you have influence of any kind that carries any weight.  Yes, not everyone deserves to have that kind of influence in every realm simply because they exist and have an opinion about something.  I’m not saying that.  I’m only suggesting the idea that among so many people and opinions, there is so much conformity.

I am NOT talking about media influence of any kind.  Whether social media or news, I am not talking about the biased, manipulating, conniving forms of media that are used in this country.  I would elaborate more, but I’ll save that for another time.

My previous blog, Where do We Take a Stand?, refers to some experiences at work that are perfect examples of a typical conundrum I believe people regularly face.  They believe they should act a certain way, yet settle for what they are being told or what everyone else is doing.  There are not systems in place allowing for someone stand up for themselves or their opinion.

Churches might be another example of this, sad, but probably not too far off.  My mom conveyed a thought she had about how the pastor was preaching at church about having faith and how powerful faith is, especially through prayer.  Yet, in the following prayer the Pastor did not pray for someone’s child to be healed but instead simply prayed that the family learn to cope with the child’s disease, a typical prayer request at her church.  Her concern about the contradiction being displayed was evident and valid, but she didn’t know what to do about it.

I share this because I believe this is probably pretty common among churches around at least the United States.

Psychological studies of authority and conformity and the like, do evidence themselves through these examples, but I don’t see that as an “Oh, that’s probably the answer” excuse that essentially just avoids the entire issue.  Authority and the way people interact with or respond to those in authority has to play a significant role in people simply conforming, amid their conflicting desire.  Also, people’s inerrant craving for power and control definitely has to be considered.

In all this theory and hypothetical thought, I do believe this phenomenon exists and I am perplexed about would-be practical solutions or further evidences/successes.

My current question is as follows: How can people, personally or structurally, act to influence systems or behaviors that will allow for the constructive communication brought about by diversity that will counteract the authority-conformity issue discussed here?

Please enlighten me with your thoughts!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *