Society’s Responsibility to Individuality
June 2, 2017
In the interest of originality, students must take a stand for what is right and for what they believe in, even if it means going against the crowd.
Individuality is one of the most valuable traits a person can possess. It is vital for students to be themselves, to make good choices, and to always stand up for what they believe.
In high school and overall in life, conforming to fit in with the majority is the easier thing to do. Opening one’s mouth to speak up against the crowd is incredibly difficult. The only way to be content and self-satisfied, however, is not by following the masses, but by being an individual.
Every day, students have many choices to make. Unfortunately, bad choices tend to stand out, but that makes it all the more imperative to make good decisions. All it takes is one voice to cut through the group agreement, and then suddenly, others feel comfortable expressing disagreement. It may be easier to avoid confrontation and to not to speak up; however, though it is easier, it is not better.
That is why individuality is so important: it allows people to get out of their comfort zones and stand out from the crowd for something they believe in, whether that is morally, intellectually, politically, or socially. It allows people to grow and gain perspective of how the world works and who they want to be. Self advocacy takes great maturity, which is vital to develop as soon as possible. There will never be a time after throwing those graduation caps when people will care about high school popularity, fashion choices, or social circles. Instead, people will care about what you learned, the way you made people feel, and how LZHS crafted you into the person you are now.
According to Merriam-Webster, conformity is “action in accordance with some specified standard or authority.” Contained within this definition is a recipe for disaster, because it is possible that the standard is bad for humanity, and people are more likely to conform than they like to think.
In 1951, Solomon Asch conducted an experiment on human conformity to see if people would trust their own perceptions or go with what the group said was true. Over the course of twelve trials, 75 percent of participants conformed at least once. They trusted the group over their own perceptions, the most basic observable truths people have, and were steered wrong because of it. Humans tend to conform, but they should instead trust themselves.
Everyone wants to think they would be in the 25 percent who did not conform. However, the only way to guarantee this is to commit to the proper course of action. Next time something is happening that does not feel right, say something.
There is, however, value in cooperation. The important thing is to avoid “groupthink,” which occurs when people consider agreement more vital than good decisions. Everyone must have a dialogue and discuss different methods of accomplishing goals. Synthesis of ideas leads to the best solutions.
Some of the brightest moments in our four years have come about because of people speaking about things they believe in and working together. Charity Bash is stupendous every year because students rally around causes near to their hearts. A few strong leaders promote the charity, but everyone is given a chance to care about doing something good.
LZ should be known for its stupendous spirit and good decisions. Every student is capable of being unique and unapologetically individual, and of standing up for what is right. If every person stands up, takes a risk, and advocates for oneself and others, the world will be a much better place to live in. People need people to stand up for them, support them, fight for them, and most importantly understand them in an era of distrust and uncertainty.
These days, it may feel like one voice will never be enough, like individual powerlessness prevents any sort of societal change. Change, however, does not come from the top – it starts at the bottom with the average, concerned citizens. As Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist, said, “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
In the face of fascists and bullies, of inequality and unfairness, people must push back. It will always be easier to simply melt back, faceless among the crowd, but at crucial moments, it is those who stand strong that are the heroes of tomorrow’s history.