Social rejection and the construction of new value systems

As many of you have likely intuited, it would appear that humans have a common inclination, or mechanism if you will, to construct new value systems, identities and movements therein, in the face of persecution by or rejection from a norm or standard, whether merely perceived or real. This is exemplified by subcultural movements, delinquence among proletarian youth, ethnic minority culture (e.g. blacks in the US & UK, leftism in the Jewish diaspora), the nerd archetype against the jock archetype, and the intellectual against the ‘crowd’ or ‘hordes’ (or whatever you care to call the undistinguished masses).

In the abstract, the dialogue between the Normal and the Reject goes as follows:
Normal: “This is our value-system, whatever it may be. Those who do not conform to it will be met with raised eyebrows and perhaps even ridicule or rejection”
Reject: “You hate me because you are narrow-minded, I reject your value system”
Normal: “Your failure to live up to our standards through inadequacy, cowardice and/or laziness means you forge a new set of standards for yourself as a defence mechanism”

This dialogue exists on countless levels, within cultures and subcultures themselves. I think about this a lot.

Let’s be honest here, if you’re reading this blog, you have in some way found yourself on the Reject side in the context of something or other and know, through reflection and analysis, how demeaning it is as we acknowledge the aforementioned dialogue in our minds. There’s a painful acceptance that your words may be discredited by virtue of being that person, especially with the constant verbal and non-verbal hints from others that your values and ideas are null and void – you’re a loser and nobody will give your ideas credence.

Example. I feel disdain towards liberal/progressive/leftist types and other assorted ‘rebels’ on the whole because to me it seems many of them are simply performing mental gymnastics in the face of harsh realities, challenging expectations in regards to things like civic responsibility and manhood, and a looming fear of inadequacy. This is evident in many things, including their tendency to be physically unattractive. I walk down the street and notice those girls with the horrid lesbonic haircuts have unpleasant gaunt faces and 10-year-old bodies.

Yet I myself am part of a subculture. I am a socially and emotionally invested fan of metal music and I honestly don’t think, if I was able to go with the flow socially, that I would end up in that same position, learning the guitar and all that goes with it. Hell, I was even a teen lefty for a few years – I used it as it suited me, barely even bothering to read Das Kapital or pretending not to hate the proles. I would not have any of the ‘profound’ thoughts I have, had I never found myself ‘watching from a distance’, so to speak.

Sometimes it feels the only way ahead is to ‘play ball’ with Normal. After all, it’s no good throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In this part of the blogosphere, we acknowledge that sometimes Normal is Normal for a good reason, though it may be flawed. We should be using our mental faculties for reflection and improvement, not rationalisation and defensiveness. Thus concludes the tangential thought of the day.

Addendum: I think Sofia put it pretty accurately here:

Unattractive people are more likely to experience alienation from normal social models and thus start their own movements where they can feel accepted. Any fringe group is likely to be defective by popular standards.


~ by CallistoRising on July 14, 2011.

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