How Are You A Non-Conformist?

There are many ways that you can be different from the crowd, some obvious and so not so obvious. How are you a non-conformist?

Social pressure encourages people to fit in. To become one of the crowd. In our current capitalist society, to become just a cog in a larger societal machine.

While there is some value in that, as individuals we often struggle to be the unique beings we naturally are. There is no one in the world that is quite like me, from my DNA to my fingerprints to my upbringing to my personality.

And so we find ways to display that uniqueness. We are all, in one way or another, non-conformists.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Some people shake off the yoke of conformity as rebellious teenagers. That might take the form of defying our parents, or dressing or behaving in ways that are not expected of us.

For others, being a non-conformist comes later in life. You might get a tattoo that has some sort of significance to you. Perhaps you decorate your work space in ways that are different from your co-workers. Clothing or jewelry can be used to set you apart from your peers.

Those choices are fine if you want to convey to everyone else that you have a streak of individuality. However, some might choose to be less obvious. They might seem just like everyone else from the outside, but they have a vibrant inner life, through what they read, or write. Or just think about.

Do you know the way in which you stand out from a crowd? Have you consciously chosen it, or does your lack of conformity come naturally? How are you a non-conformist?

Related questions: Individual or society? How much power does an individual have? How are you special?

Where Are You From?

The question ‘Where are you from?’ might seem pretty simple. After all, everyone knows where they are from, right?

However, the real trick to this question is how you define the word ‘from’. It can mean many things, and how you choose to define it will influence your answer to the question. It also may reveal something about you.

One way to interpret this is to think about where you were born. But even that has some ambiguity. For instance, you might answer with the country you were born in. Or the state, or the city. Or even the hospital.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss the related question: ‘What makes you you?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What gives a person value?’


Of course, where you are ‘from’ might not have anything to do with where you were born. It might mean where you lived the longest. Or where you spent your formative years. It could even mean where you live right now.

It might be the case that the person asking the question can further refine the question. They may be trying to get a specific piece of information, like country of your citizenship.

However, in the absence of any such clues, this becomes a question that is really about identity. How do you identify yourself? With whom do you align yourself? Perhaps you consider yourself an inhabitant of a particular region, like the Midwest or the Northeast. Maybe you are from Seattle or Atlanta, or some other metro area. Or your nationality is your defining point of origin.

However you choose to answer, what do you have in common with the other people who hail from the same place as you? How are you like the others in your town, your state, your country?

Where are you from?

Related questions: If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Why do you live where you live? How would you define yourself in ten words or less?

Can An Internet Friend Be A True Companion?

As we spend more time online, we are bound to make friends there. But can an Internet friend be as good a friend — or even better — as one you meet in person?

In some ways, it makes sense that you could find a connection with someone online. After all, without geography limiting the people you can interact with, you are bound to meet people that share your interests — like an obscure band, a niche artist, or a cult movie — that you might not meet otherwise.

In addition, we have a multitude of ways to communicate over long distances. Everything from hand-written letters to phone calls, from text messages to video conferencing. As a result, if the motivation to stay in touch with someone exists, there are several different ways to do it.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How can we encourage debate?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What is the value of inefficiency?’


However, each one of us has a physical presence. We evolved to be attuned to the physical presence of someone else. This might include unspoken communication like body language, pheromones, and body heat. There is something about the touch of another human being that produces a chemical reaction inside your body. And it is not just limited to intimacy.

So what do you think? Can a friendly relationship between two people be sustained solely through e-mail messages, Zoom calls, and social media posts? Or is a true, deep, thoughtful friendship dependent on physical proximity? Can an Internet friend be a true companion?

Related questions: What makes a friendship? What do you get out of social media? How can we engage in meaningful conversation? What makes a community?

Global Or Local?

As the saying goes, “Think globally, act locally.” Is one more necessary than the other? Do you like global or local better?

Share why if you wish.

Global Or Local?