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  • Society values cooperation over independence, obedience over individuality, and niceness above all else.

  • ... orthodoxy is a fixed habit of mind. The average man and woman hug their orthodoxies and spit their venom on those that outrage them.

  • Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers.

  • Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul.

  • If you stand up to the human race you lose something called their 'goodwill'; if you kowtow to them you gain ... their permission to continue kowtowing.

  • Sane people did what their neighbors did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them.

  • ... only dead fish swim with the stream.

  • I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

  • Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expresssion and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.

  • ... all autonomous agencies and authorities, sooner or later, [turn] into self-perpetuating strongholds of conventional thought and practice.

  • Honey, try harder to be like th rest — tu run with th rest — it's easier, an you'll be happier in th end — I guess.

  • The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • What you have when everyone wears the same playclothes for all occasions, is addressed by nickname, expected to participate in Show and Tell, and bullied out of any desire for privacy, is not democracy; it is kindergarten.

  • ... nothing is more restful than conformity.

  • I cannot write too much upon how necessary it is to be completely conservative that is particularly traditional in order to be free.

  • Regularity was an air they could not breathe.

  • The average mind is easily content with inherited and acquired things, or with the dicta of parents and teachers, because it is much easier to imitate than to create.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," in Mother Earth ()
  • The strongest bulwark of authority is uniformity; the least divergence from it is the greatest crime.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "The Individual, Society and the State" (1940), in Alix Kates Shulman, ed., Red Emma Speaks ()
  • It's terrible to allow conventional habits to gain a hold on a whole household; to eat, sleep and live by clock ticks.

  • Freedom to think requires not only freedom of expression but also freedom from the threat of orthodoxy and being outcast and ostracized.

  • They sucked my soul from me / All for the sake of holy Uniformity.

    • Anna Wickham,
    • "From Poets, Workmen, Women, and Children in Orphanages," The Contemplative Quarry ()
  • I have tried and failed to lead a conventional life. When I try to be like other people, I fall out of bed.

  • The pursuit of conformity, like that of security, ends with slavery.

  • People are easier to control when they are all alike.

    • Lynn Laitala,
    • "In the Aftermath of Empire," in The Finnish American Reporter ()
  • ... she recently began contemplating celibacy ('Everybody's not doing it,' she told me last winter) ...

  • ... I was struck by the absence, even among very young boys and girls, of any interior motivation; they were incapable of thinking, of inventing, of imagining, of choosing, of deciding for themselves; this incapacity was expressed by their conformism; in every domain of life they employed only the abstract measure of money, because they were unable to trust to their own judgment.

  • We want our children to fit in and to stand out. We rarely address the conflict between these goals.

    • Ellen Goodman,
    • "Admission Tests to Adulthood," in The Washington Post ()
  • For the more a soul conforms to the sanity of others, the more does it become insane.

  • She had for so many years been trying to be like other people, that she was now like nothing in heaven or earth.

  • Ah, beware, Susan, lest as you become 'respectable,' you become conservative.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1880), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I imagine she has not been content for some time, but to open her eyes to what she was not supposed to see required courage for which she had no training. No bondage is so hard to break as heritage and custom.

  • It's the non-conformist who gives color to history.

  • In these days the young folks is all copy-cats, 'fraid to death they won't be all just alike; as for the old folks, they pray for the advantage o' bein' a little different.

  • A serious, simple person, of little humour and slow to accept unfamiliar aspects of any problem, she liked humanity to fit into pigeonholes; and her charity was most generous toward those types of distress to which she was already accustomed. A certain lack of resilience in her mind would always prejudice her again the unknown.

  • ... an interesting fate (sometimes involving rats, sometimes not) awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.

  • Someone once said that under the bell jar of compliance, the only thing that blooms is rage.

  • I cannot change the world, but I do not have to conform.

    • Marva Collins,
    • in Terri L. Jewell, ed., The Black Woman's Gumbo Ya-Ya ()
  • When everybody agrees, nobody is thinking much.

  • ... conformity has been a devastating thing. Its ill effects continue right to this day. Customers still look at the woman in the next chair and say, 'I'll have what she has.' That's all right for ordering at a restaurant — but not in a beauty parlor.

  • In our mechanized society where thoughts as well as automobiles may be assembled in an automated factory, it is also, by some narrow logic, expedient to reduce children to those yes-no codes most easily processed by such a system. ... When life becomes one giant data-processing system, the winners are those with the greatest aptitude for being data.

  • Beware of conformity, committees, and insurance policies.

  • And so is the world put back by the death of every one who has to sacrifice the development of his or her peculiar gifts (which were meant, not for selfish gratification, but for the improvement of that world) to conventionality.

  • For Miss Ogilvy had found as her life went on that in this world it is better to be one with the herd, that the world has no wish to understand those who cannot conform to its stereotyped pattern.