Is Social Conformity the Survival of the Fittest?

in #philosophy6 years ago

Go with the flow. Make friends. Go along to get along. Keep the peace. Don't rock the boat. These are all mottos to promote cohesion and non-conflict at the level of relationships and society.

When things get controversial, we are often faced with change. It could be a change in ourselves, our way of thinking, our way of acting, or way of reacting, our way of living, our ideas, etc. Or the same can be applied to others that we interact with in that controversy or conflict.


Many people change with the wind when conflict, pressure, interference and fiction appears. They don't hold onto principles or values that should guide them. Going against the grain of society, of our group of friends, or in romantic relationships can be hard to bear, for some more than others.

The collective whims of the a social group or a personal relation can make us feel the pressure to get 'in line' with something else in order to create 'order' again, to create a 'peaceful' situation of no conflict, no controversy, no friction between people. Failure to conform can result in consequences that are often unfair and irrational, just because we don't toe the line.

Society and other people can reject us. The fear of ostracization is strong in us highly social beings. Being punished be being excluded is harder for some to bear, and is avoided at all costs. Some people become 'people pleasers' or 'yes men'/'yes women' in order to make life smoother for themselves.

Is that the best way to go through life? Is that the best way to go through society? Is that the best way to survive?

It has it's advantages as a survival strategy. The fittest to survive in evolution are those biological life constructs that are most able to adapt to change. In terms of surviving social cohesion and not being excluded, changing with the wind, bending to the pressure of the group/society and being highly adaptable to conformity, makes for a strong case for social survival and evolution.


Are those who are the most conformist to align with the overall current in society, the most 'fit' to survive, the most able to survive social changes be they in the right or wrong direction?

What is the best thing to do? Conform in order to maintain social 'cohesion', 'integrity' and 'order' of the group no matter what is right or wrong? Or to stick to and stand for principles and values; to be in cohesion and integrated with those values and principles, even if that gets us excluded, rejected, outcast or ostracized?

Stand together blindly for greater survival, or risk the dangers of standing alone...


Thank you for your time and attention. Peace.

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We are born into an established group - immediate caretakers, family, ethnic group, nation... No infant would survive without being a part of a group. Not many adults could make it in the world without eating food others grew, living in houses others built, using tools others thought into existence. Being a part of a group gives us a sense of safety. Yet all of us disagree with at least some of social norms. Would we fund a war with people on another continent whom we never met if we had a choice? Would we deny health care to a baby or an elderly if it was up to us? Would we agree to build nuclear plants, coal mines, concentration camps? We realize swinging to far right or left might result in much more than strange looks from the others, we might end up in jail. Social conformity is a balancing act and without some of us taking a stand and going against established norms we'd still have slavery, a woman still would be man's property in most societies, we'd have kings and inquisition, we'd still think we are living on a flat Earth. Being a part of a group is a constance exercise in confronting our boundaries, our "code of conduct", it's a constant lesson on the subject of knowing one's values and beliefs, of finding one's place in the world, of knowing who am I.

Well said. Thanks for the feedback. Cooperation is key to optimizing survival, but blindly conforming to the group doesn't help ourselves of others when the group has it wrong :/

I think that keeping ourselves too PC is harmful.

What we are doing is lying to ourselves and to each other. We do not discuss anything with each other and thus build a dam that will eventually burst and that will be harmful to everyone.

I see a lot of posts about what is right and wrong and what helps us survive. I understand and I agree with these points of opinion. Social status is required for a lot of interactions. Individuality is also needed.

However the fault in this personal behavior that I would like to point out is what happens with the bigger picture.

People divide themselves into groups all the time. Usually by identifying with the most discernible difference. If you remove race, then there is religion, if you remove that then it is culture or class, then it can be anything from industry, sports teams or taste in music.

So there are going to be differences. What people do wrong is they don't talk about it like civil, grown up, intelligent people. They wait for all hell to break loose and then they hate the other group of people for a hundred reasons and then there is violence... or flagging... or something.

That I would like to avoid.

yes, we don't discuss thing of substance, too afraid to deal shattering bows of truth that conflict with people conditioning... so we talk about appearances and superficial crap that doesn't really matter doing on in our personal lives...

"My" sports team". "We" will beat X, Y, Z lmao! Identification and attachment are a big problem in letting go ;) Avoid the flag at all costs. It's a poison :P

I think there needs to be a drive towards eliminating unwarranted flags.

Many people change with the wind when conflict, pressure, interference and fiction appears. They don't hold onto principles or values that should guide them.


Most people don't have it anymore because when somebody asks them "What is that?" they immediately switch topics or act all insecure because they stand for something someone doesn't agree with or finds hilarious.

People have become tourists, universalists, nobodies. There are not a lot of individuals with character out there anymore because of fear.

Fear of loss, fear of being alone, that causes them to fit in.

What is the best thing to do? Conform in order to maintain social 'cohesion', 'integrity' and 'order' of the group no matter what is right or wrong? Or to stick to and stand for principles and values; to be in cohesion and integrated with those values and principles, even if that gets us excluded, rejected, outcast or ostracized?

I am an outcast because I stand for the things I believe in. What I believe in is reflected in my work, in my words, in the clothes that I wear & and more.

Claiming the forest.jpg

I walk my own path for such a long time that I have gotten used to it. Of course there are a lot of contras to that but I prefer to live my life like I want to and not like how others want to.

Freedom comes with great responsibility, solitude & danger.

Indeed, we have attachments to people and externalizing our sense of self-worth, value and meaning in life through others being in our lives. For many, if other people are not present, there is a sense of being devalued, worthless, etc. Standing alone is hard work, socially and psychologically.

Conform or be ostracized as an outsider. That is often the choice we are given by society in general.

You start in childhood that girls plays with dolls and boys with cats and guns.
In school boys work shop building chairs and radios and girls do homeroom and cook.

People are expected to graduate, get a job, pay taxes, have kids and conform to a life dictated to what their elders had.

Conform or be branded as divergent and suffer ridicule and judgment how you are wasting your life in the pursuit of happiness that is not real.

Often branded as dreamers, heretics. Those that go against the flow are touted as troublemakers.

I myself have this tagged to me several times when I refused to go with management "prerogative" because of my moral ethics that I came about living my life to my ideals and desires and not as a dictated norm.

The trouble with a lot of people is that society is teh on calling the shots and can raise you up or destroy you.

So will we blindly conform to the beliefs of society in general or would we dare to be our own person and free ourselves from Plato's cave and look to the light of what is real freedom.

Indeed, conform to rise with everyone, or stand out and be destroyed by the mob :/ Quite bleak and crazy to think about it ;)

Most people today do not have the fire in the belly to take a stand. And a former day men and women had Grit had conviction new right from wrong and we're willing to have principles. Something happened along the way to dumb down a generation or two. Some folks started drinking the Kool-Aid and started to lose the fire in the belly. Sheeple the dumb down once May survive because they conform. But that does not mean they're the fittest. Quite on the contrary. Oddly today black is white and white is black right is wrong and wrong is right. It is my hope that the truth will always prevail and those that take a stand will always come out on top. There is a price to pay but the reward is worth it. Thanks. @krnel

Yeah, standing up for right is needed more int he world, but lacking often :/ It can be dangerous, as history shows for some, but we are a time where things are better and freedom of speech to counter the established norms doesn't result in our persecution in most cases ;)

On steemit it feels like allot of people tend to kiss ass when it comes to whales like haejin,berniesanders etc. I feel like people should say what they want to say even if it means getting downvoted by an oxygen thief like berniesanders.

Do they ever kiss ass! It's ridiculous. So many do wrong things and people don't care because they only see the "Good" being done, and ignore the bad behavior, so it keeps going on. BS is the king of BS.

Haha glad I found someone who agrees. I feel like people should just be themselves and say what they want regardless of if it will result in a downvote. This platform will suck if it just becomes an echo chamber of "praise the whales", I saw this guy on reddit who said he hates steemit because it has an "amway feel to it",everyone is just trying to promote their own stuff and make money. I think this is a powerful platform and could be used for something positive like circumnavigating censorship in countries like China and Iran .

This concept is even worse here on steem where you want upvotes and fear getting flagged. so many people just playing the odds instead of being themselves, taking a risk, or being interesting. always taking the bland safe play.

great post
good post
nice post
have a good summer
will you sign my yearbook?

I believe that in Steemit, we should not be giving flags for people who post things that we do not agree with.

I believe that it may be right when a post becomes threatening or intentionally harmful. However, when stated as an opinion it is content and this is a blockchain social media blogging platform where all voices have a chance of saying something.

This should be kept sacred as we already have the big companies who own the other platforms controlling what we may or may not be able to say and what is or isn't worthy of remuneration.

If you post something I don't like then I won't support you. But why would I waste my time looking to see if you post or talk about stuff that I don't like?


I agree with the flagging. About 3 months after I joined, I had the misfortune to make a whale mad at me. He had decided no one had a right to upvote a specific person, no matter how much he had helped them. I refused to follow his command, he went out of his way to downvote every little 0.10 SBD I was making, lol. Guess he showed me how powerful he was after wasting a weeks effort to get my 2 SBD from me, but I stuck to my guns and he gave up after about a week.

It's all a power thing. Far too many people think it makes them powerful when they can make others bend to their will.

I'm a stubborn old beotch. My pet peeves are stealing, intentionally hurting others and bald face lying. I don't back down if I think I am right, but if you can convince me I am wrong without using any method that entails a religion or any of my pet peeves and I will admit I was wrong,

I rarely get convinced to change because most people can't stay away from my pet peeves or attempt to bring their personal version of their religion into it.

How about using some good old fashioned logic without all the bullshit thrown in?

I believe people need to be honest and that by abusing power, ie use of power without wisdom, that it will play out in the other direction at some point. Not because of karma or something like that. People are people, it is going to happen because we can make ourselves into villains.

Flagging someone because they support someone they don't like sounds a bit conformist to me. I hope that kind of thing is not still happening.

Of course it is still happening. It's a whale doing it. They are the gods of Steemit and have super powers stronger than Superman & Hulk all rolled into one!

lol, that's terrible in a way. Are they Gods or are they Titans?

lol, both and neither, but only in their own minds. Oh and it is not still happening to me, but to others. Seems to be a long term battle.

This tyrant bullies people and gets away with it, meanwhile people throw adoration towards his two-faced behavior and dismiss his wrongdoings, praising him as a hero. What a twilight zone of a community we have here :/

It is all about greed. Were constantly reminded that if you are not rich, you are crap on someone's shoe (or worst). People are willing to sell their souls (so to speak) for a chance to one-up someone else. Say and do anything you want to others, just make sure their wallets are a little lighter when they leave, lol.

Flags are a big issues. Whales like to throw it around, because there is no accountability or consequences for their abuse of power. I like your attitude. I fought back from being flagged for BS reasons too. It lasted months. Who was the whale, are their initials BS too? lol

You got it! lol

LOL. Yes. Fear of being targeted and bullied is strong throughout life, especially on Steem when the rich and powerful get to do what they want and get away with it, unlike in society where there is recourse possible.

What troubles me is that people who are strong, have a platform, arrested aggressive, etc, shout their views and weaker people conform to them. Also, I think that many people are like sheep and just follow along. That is why there are destructive beliefs and actions in our society which people appear to be just meekly following. We need to stand up for what is right and not be afraid of rejection. That way will win in the end.

We need to stand up for what is right and not be afraid of rejection.

I concur. We win when we stand for what's right, and things only get worse for others or ourselves in the long term if we let it keep going.

I am watching my country slowly die due to the influence of selfish people who can only think of their own interests or their own "tribe." We need to build a new tribe of people who will win others over by their goodness and kindness. By standing up for good, and not just against what is wrong.

While bending to social pressure and being a conformist is a good way to survive, it's the leaders and the innovators who thrive. I'm not a conformist and am not happy just hiding in a crowd and maintaining the stress to keep up complete normalacy. Learn something from a cat, independent thinking is almost always the best as long as you conform to some social norms. Copying others will leave you slghtly below average. We need leaders and freedom.

It is stressful right? Being in front of falsity or wrongs, and being expected to shut up... it boils many of us inside, creating great internal conflict :/

Sometimes a new idea will change your view and the way you think about the world. We cannot always follow what the society tells us to do, sometimes we need to go in the opposite for something better.

Indeed. But it can be dangerous and reduce your friendships and relations, making us more isolated socially and less optimized for help or survival :/

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