April 28, 2008

Conformity

OneFrumSkeptic recently wrote a post, blasting what she sees as the ever growing drift of frummies to conform. In her case, she sees her frum friends all basically heading into the same career field. While this is true, this sort of conformity in choosing career fields is present in all sub-parts of our culture to varying degrees. My secular friends all went into fields of finances and those in the Persian community always lean toward either being a doctor or lawyer. Every community out there has its own values and priorities that generally might affect certain decisions in life (in this case, a career). Now even though OFS agrees that at some level, conformity is inevitable, I still feel she was overly cynical.

Anyways, while (re)reading "This Is My God," by Herman Wouk, I stumbled on this:
Human Life cannot be formless. The only true nonconformists are in the asylums; the only radically free spirits are in the death house awaiting the chair. We live by patterns. We move in comradeships. We cannot move hand or foot without high signs and passwords, no matter what our work or our station may be; and while life lasts, we all wear uniforms. Conformity is evil when it distorts, flattens, and erases fruitful ways strong ideas, natural identities; it is evil when it is a streamroller. But a man cannot escape being part of a milieu-and a recognizable part- unless he flees naked to a cave, never to return.
Coincidentally, both OneFrumskeptic and the person Herman Wouk was responding to are college girls.