There are two kinds of Integrated nonconformists: Insiders-Outsiders, and the opposite. In each case, the two contrasting identities form the overall persona. According to best-selling novels and cinematic plots, this is akin to a spy game: the image they portray versus who they really are.
In real life, there is rarely such a notorious game in play. The dichotomy is simply about who you think you are versus who everybody else thinks you are. What you really are may not even be relevant if you can’t prove it. And even if we could define it, it may not be of value if it has no impact. Who you portray to be is even less significant, obviously.
So, why should we study integrated nonconformists? Because a certain kind of integrated nonconformist has, throughout history, played the part of the ‘game-changer’. And it makes sense! To improve anything as sizeable as society, one must positively challenge preconceived notions and the structures serving them. There is only one way to charge and eventually change something so massive: only from the inside.
But before you start thinking about revolutions and underground plots, hold your horses and ask yourself: Am I a nonconformist? Perhaps you are. If you determine soon enough whether you are an Insider-Outsider or the opposite, you could make a difference.
A search for a better world we all need and hope for, if not for us, at least for our children, has become the mandatory course for humanity for well-known reasons. It is not a romantic vision asking to become a reality but a necessity searching for facilitation. Those who will eventually transform malady into perspective, will define the century. And this can happen only by a tiny group of people: the consciously integrated nonconformists (my term).
Such people have skills, education, training, experiences, and perhaps even genes of another kind, in that inherent talent is essential for such ‘impossible’ missions. Such individuals have no problem functioning within the parameters of our society and even excel remarkably in their field. The difference between them and all the other success stories out there is that, at critical moments, they will place collective good above personal gain.
They unintentionally infiltrated the accepted social system (which usually favors opportunists) as they find themselves in posts or roles of significance. But in critical moments, they make a different call than the expected one: a better call for everyone.
On such (rare) occasions, the generated blow inflicts the greatest (positive) damage, and societies make the necessary leap towards progress. History books have classified such individuals as ‘heroes’, ‘prophets’, ‘revolutionaries’, ‘benefactors’, ‘inventors’, ‘renaissance spirits’, and the like, but I think we must view them as ‘consciously integrated nonconformists.’
Do such people exist today at all? And if yes, do they form a small or large part of any society? It doesn’t matter because a different kind of nonconformist citizen keeps everybody from finding out: The ‘unconsciously integrated nonconformist’ (my term).
Whereas the hero (despite understanding his position and function on the chessboard) decides to make a different move, the latter and much more common nonconformist (also outsider) citizen has no idea about his actual role and yet moves according to plan. Not his plan!
Do not be surprised if such people proclaim themselves ‘different’, feel like renegades, present themselves as anarchists, develop the consciousness of an outcast, or export a behavior akin to a revolutionary spirit. They will continue to live marginal lives on the outskirts of what one could call ‘vibrant’ society and still serve the beast they seem to hate as consumers, workers, employers, partners, or parents. Nonetheless, they will take it easy at every critical moment of their (and our shared) lives, much to the collective cost.
No greater myth exists in our time than the supposed nonconformists, and none has been more responsible for delaying the much-needed progress.
If you ask them again tomorrow, they will insist they are ‘different’.
No wonder nothing changes.