Friday, January 05, 2007


Last night, my eldest daughter was leafing through a real estate magazine. "Are there houses that look the same outside but are different inside?" she asked.

"Probably," I said.

"Imagine if all houses looked the same on the outside?" she continued. "Wouldn't that be creepy?"

I thought it was interesting that this made her feel squeamish... the thought of complete conformity.

And, then I remembered the discussion here yesterday about efficiency. It often relies on conformity— a much-hailed improvement on the "parts" side that made the Industrial Revolution quite successful. (Thanks, Ted G., for reminding me about the IR.)

Yet, conformity is also "creepy" in its way. Why is that?

Blue Noise photo by Sonia.

LINK to this post:
"Don't Conform to Platitudes Against Conformity"


Blogger Andrea said...

Well, because just look around! :)
It's obvious that the Lord created everything.
It goes against our very core being, that's why it makes us squeamish.
Paradoxically, though,in some ways we *want* to confirm--to feel loved or accepted.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Here's the funny thing to me: nonconformity is held up by our culture to be a high standard. It's popular to nonconform, man! But our nonconformity most often looks exactly like the nonconformity of the person next to me. The same nosering, the same tattoo, the same books, the same music, the same clothes. Nothing wrong with any of these things, but it does make me wonder, what does nonconformity really look like? I don't like the answer that comes to me, because I think it looks something like my Savior hanging on a cross.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Shammickite said...

Conformity negates individuality. But individuality becomes conformity when there is a lack of imagination and all those non-conformists non-conform in the same way!

10:12 AM  
Blogger Inihtar said...

Your observations are so true. I went to an international school in India that didn't have a uniform, because they wanted to encourage the differences the students brought from their varied backgrounds. But everyone dressed the same. . . jeans and t-shirt/sweatshirt. That was our "uniform" despite there being no official uniform. And we couldn't be pried away from it!

1:09 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Well, you are unique and special... just like everyone else.

1:52 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... yes, the beauty of the world is in its great abundance! But, we are working on changing that-- between species loss and mono-cropping, it's an interesting trend towards conformity.

Heather... it's an intersting question to consider... in what ways did Jesus conform, and in what ways break out from the norm? Obviously, the ways he chose to break out from the norm were a little bothersome to a few people.

Ex-S... Confirmed. I mean, conformed. I mean... could you please tell me what I mean?

Ini... too funny. And, what do our conformity choices really say about us? Who we want to be?

Craver... tee hee. :)

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always find depictions of future utopias very interesting -- everyone dressed the same, talking the same language, living in the same egg-shaped houses. I find equally fascinating the totally devastated depictions of future dystopias. All that conformity destroyed into a heap of brownness. What does this say about our sense of improvement and advancement? Conformity can only take us so far until we self-destruct?

On a completely different note, I totally agree with Andrea that at times we often want to conform, i.e. junior high, for me.

4:33 PM  
Blogger agreenearth said...

Your daughter is so on track. We are all born with different gifts and if we are unable to express those gifts in our own homes something is definitely off track, best wishes, The Artist

5:08 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Great post, L.L. Most of these comments seem to be leery of conformity, but as an editor my job is to help people conform to our standards.

Does that make me an enemy of creativity?
; )

5:29 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Hello L.L, you have some pretty intelligent people leaving comments here, I wish I could express myself as well as them.

I hope you are well and busy.

Kind Regards


7:53 PM  
Blogger The Gatekeeper said...

Our neighborhood has conformed. Is that a sentence???

5:25 AM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., I thought I probably made a comment on this yesterday, but guess I got sidetracked. Haha. Yeah. About the industrial revolution. Your welcome.

Sonia's photo is a nice one for thinking about conformity. This certainly seems to deny our uniqueness as wonderful creations and also new creations from God. And we can put all of that together (actually God will)! Breathtaking in the end, I'm sure. (Good enough now, actually, even in our smaller scale experiences of it)

10:56 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

Conformity is public compliance, and because of social influences which surround us on a daily basis. Your daughter has a great imagination and her thoughts are spoken yet kept close within her. This is something that will come in handy later in life.

Happy 2007 to you! (yes I'm still around, reading more so than writing)

Mandy x

5:16 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

LL (Cool J),
I really want to say something insightful that makes me acceptable to this stellar group of commentors. Would that be trying to conform?

Guess so.

9:28 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Check out the new link to this post, at the bottom of my original post... Mark, you're always one step ahead of me!

10:46 AM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Thanks for the link, L.L.! And the complement that I don't deserve.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Jim Martin said...

Good question. I do think that mindless conformity, in particular, has a way of causing us to coast and keep our lives in neutral. Others take the inititive and we mindlessly go along. Maybe it is the mindlessness of it all that alarms me even more than conformity in and of itself.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...


I wanted to conform the consensus non-conformist opinion but I actually think that the beauty of God glory is seen in both conformity and non-conformity.

For example -

The wonder of seeing a beautiful snow fall...beautiful because it's all white and feathery...yet each flake uniquely different.

Isn't God great?


7:58 PM  
Blogger jan@theviewfromher said...

Well, you must never bring her to southern California - you'll give her nightmares of conformity. :-) Entire hillsides of houses, all exactly the same color, identical.

But at least we have the ocean, which is ever-changing.

1:18 AM  

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