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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

It's good enough for me. The rise of conformity

Sun, 15 Dec 2019 13:49:00 +0000 Published in Basque Newspaper

Rebelliousness and conformity are two opposing attitudes. They are like water and oil, which cannot be mixed. To do so would be typical adolescent incoherence. Gregorio Marañón maintained that rebelliousness is the duty and fundamental virtue of youth: "Since the present state of societies is a transitory structure in need of constant renovation, the legitimate driving force of this change must be youth. With the years, the spirit becomes hardened to injustices and ends up accepting what was incomprehensible when young". Marañón was not referring to the immature rebelliousness of adolescence, but to the rebelliousness based on ideals and values that arises in the juvenile stage and that can and should be extended to the rest of life integrated in the youth of spirit. Other thinkers maintain that this hardening of the spirit is not due to age: "it is not true that people stop pursuing their dreams because they grow old; they grow old because they stop pursuing their dreams" (Gabriel García Márquez). Those who stop dreaming risk falling into one of the worst evils of our time: conformism. In today's society its members live trapped in a system of routines and arbitrary demands from which it is very difficult to free themselves. This is why many people resort to conformist attitudes.

The rise of conformism in Europe has led to the following diagnosis: sclerosis and pessimism. To refer to this attitude, the concept of Euro-pessimism was coined at the time. It is "a syndrome characterized by apathy, disillusionment, dullness and negative anticipation of what may happen in the future" (Youth Today and Society of the Future). The conformist is a person without ambition. He ignores that human life is projective, that it must be at the service of new and successive goals to be achieved. He aspires only to live in a world designed to the measure of his own desires and desires. It is unconcerned about the future, to limit itself to the immediate and the uncommitted. To conform is to limit oneself to doing what is strictly necessary, whether out of laziness, fear of making new and more difficult decisions or fear of embarrassing other conformists. As a consequence, the conformist falls into stagnation, leaves some talents undeveloped and misses many opportunities to be better at staff and professionally. Conformism is currently very much in evidence in the work of people of any age who tolerate sloppiness. It is a work that has been done badly, carelessly, too quickly and with a poor finish. In his work The Good work, Schumacher criticizes the utilitarian conception of work that does not entail illusion. It is a mere necessity for survival. He stresses the importance of educating for "the good work ", considering it the main means that man has to achieve his perfection. The Education for the work is not reduced to technical teachings; it also includes doing it with valuable motives, skill, eagerness to improve and spirit of service. The Education in the human aspects of work corresponds mainly to the family, since it is a community of work and love, in which, with the good paternal example, virtues related to work, such as industriousness, fortitude, order and perseverance, are discovered and lived in a natural way.

The conformist tries to justify his mediocrity and indolence with the well-known expression "that's enough" or "it's enough for me". The mevalist worker does not stand out for any quality. He is also malleable and accommodating. He does not conceive life as continuous novelty but as repetition, habituation and routine. This explains why he usually has some common traits with the depressive: sadness, frustration and anxiety. Conformist parents deprive their young children of valid points of reference letter to project their life, since their supposed values are reduced to the good life, forgetting the good life. This does not include civic duties and solidarity with the disadvantaged. A synthetic and accurate criticism of the current conformism is expressed by Eduardo Galeano with these words: "What human facet destroys us? Conformism, the acceptance of reality as a destiny and not as a challenge that invites us to change, to resist, to rebel, to imagine instead of living the future with an inevitable penitence". A formula to prevent the evil of conformism: "Never stop, never conform until the good is better and the best is excellent".