Conformism and Nonconformism, Philistine - Political Psychology

Conformism and Non-conformism

As a result of studying this chapter, the student must:


• What is conformism and non-conformism;

• what is the lability of the psyche;

be able to

• Analyze forms of conformism;


• skills in diagnosing conformal forms of consciousness.

You must command me,

And I have to be obedient.

Osip Mandelstam


Conformism (from late-late conformis - similar, similar) - the socio-psychological orientation of the individual, which manifests itself not in an independent, deeply thought out choice of life and social values, but only in a passive, adaptive attitude to the existing order of things. Conformal behavior is a consonant, uncritical behavior. A conformist refers to one who, without critical analysis, joins the judgments that prevail in certain circles.

A few years ago, on the day of the last presidential election, one of the central newspapers issued a slogan: "Do not be a sheep ..." This animal obviously does not belong to the reflective creatures, so the herd arrives, in other words, adheres to a common lamb line. It is better not to get out, but there it will be. Maybe we'll fit into a shish kebab, but all together.

In response to the results of voting, jubilation over public unanimity is interspersed with complaints related to slavish psychology, thoughtless obedience and drug dependence on political technologies. Perhaps, we again became hostages to stereotyped behavior, the stencils of thought?

The concept of conformism means opportunism, the passive acceptance of the existing order of things, the prevailing opinions, and so on. Moral and political conformism should not be identified with conformality (conformal reactions) as a psychological phenomenon. Psychopathy of conformal type does not exist. This type occurs in its pure form only in the form of accentuations and therefore it has not been included in clinical taxonomy. The picture of conformal accentuation in characterological studies appeared gradually. Back in the late XIX century. T. Ribot described the & amp; amorphous type character, allegedly devoid of any specific features, floating along the stream, blindly obeying its environment. According to Ribot, for such people the society thinks and acts, perfection at them is limited to imitation. PB Gannushkin accurately outlined some features of this type - a constant readiness to obey the majority's voice, stereotypedness, banality, propensity to walking morality, goodwill, conservatism - but unsuccessfully linked this type with a low intellect. In reality, the matter is not at all intellectual level. Such subjects often study well, receive higher education, under certain conditions they successfully work.

The main feature of this type of character - constant and excessive conformity to its immediate familiar surroundings - was most vividly described in the descriptions of American social psychologists. They also noted the mistrust of these people and a cautious attitude towards strangers. As is known, in contemporary social psychology, conformism is understood as the subordination of an individual to a group as opposed to independence and independence. Under different conditions each subject discovers some degree of conformality. However, with the conformal accentuation of character, this property is constantly revealed, being the most stable feature.

Representatives of the conformist type are people of their own environment. Their main quality, the main life rule is to think like everyone else, to act like everyone else, to try to have everything, like everyone else, from clothes and home furnishings to world outlook and judgments on burning issues. Under all usually refers to the immediate environment. From it conformists do not want to be left behind in anything, but they also do not like to stand out, run ahead. This is particularly evident in the example of attitudes to fashionable clothes. When there is some new unusual fashion, there are no more arrogant detractors than representatives of the conformist type. However, as soon as their environment develops this fashion, say, trousers or skirts of the appropriate length and width, as they dress themselves in the same clothes, forgetting about what they said two or three years ago. In life, conformists like to be guided by sentences and in difficult situations tend to seek solace in them ("you can not return lost!", Etc.).

Aspiring to always be in accordance with his environment, conformists can not resist him at all, therefore the conformal personality is completely the product of his micro environment. In a good environment - they are good people and good employees, but, having got into bad environment, they eventually learn all of its customs and habits, manners and rules of conduct, however much it contradicts the previous ones and whatever is harmful. Although the adaptation for them at first time is quite difficult, but when it was realized, the new environment becomes the same dictator of behavior, as before was the former. In this regard, conformal teens for the company easy to drink, can be dragged into group offenses.

Conformity is combined with striking uncriticality. Everything that the familiar environment tells them, everything that they learn through the usual information channel for them, is for them true. If information is received through the same channel, which is clearly not true, they still accept them at face value.

To all this, the conformal subjects are conservative by nature. They do not like the new, because they can not adapt to it quickly, it is difficult to master the new situation. True, in our conditions conformists do not openly admit this, apparently because in the overwhelming majority of micro-collectives, where they find themselves, the sense of the new is officially and unofficially highly valued, innovators are encouraged, etc. Positive attitude to the new in them remains only in words. In fact, conformists prefer a stable environment and once and for all established order. Dislike for the new breaks out of the causeless dislike of strangers. This applies to just the newcomer who appeared in their group, and the representative of another environment, another manner of holding oneself, and even, as is often observed, of another nationality.

The professional success of conformists depends on one more quality. They are not initiative. Very good results can be achieved at any level of the social ladder, if only the job, the position occupied, does not require constant personal initiative. If this is what the conformists demand from the situation, they give a breakdown on any, the most insignificant position, sustaining a much more highly qualified and even hard work if it is clearly regulated.

The childhood bent by adults does not give excessive loads for the conformal type. Perhaps, therefore, only beginning with adolescence, the features of conformal accentuation are striking. All the specific adolescent reactions take place under the sign of conformality.

Conformal adolescents treasure their place in the usual group of peers, the stability of this group, the constancy of the environment. They are not at all inclined to change this group, which they have become accustomed to and have become accustomed to. Often the deciding factor in choosing an educational institution is where most of the comrades go. One of the most serious mental trauma, which, apparently, exists for this type of people is when the usual teenage group for some reason drives them out. Conformal adolescents usually find themselves also in a difficult situation, when the generally accepted judgments and customs of their environment come into conflict with their personal qualities. For example, risky adventures are alien to conformance, but are characteristic of a teenage environment. Deprived of their own initiative, conformal adolescents can be dragged into group offenses, alcohol companies, are beaten to escape from home or run away with strangers.

The reaction of emancipation is vividly manifested only if parents, teachers, elders tear off a conformal teenager from his usual peer environment, if they counteract his desire to "be like everyone," to adopt the prevalent teenage fashion, hobbies, manners, intentions. Enthusiasm of a conformal teenager is entirely determined by his environment and fashion of time.

Conformal accentuation in adolescents seems to be quite common, especially in boys.

There is a special variant of the conformal type - conformal-inertial. From other conformal species it is distinguished by an elevated vital self-esteem. Adolescents of this type are somewhat euphoric, emphasize their cheerfulness, health, good tone and appetite. They are also characterized by an overly optimistic assessment of their future, the conviction that all desires will be fulfilled. However, this also limits their similarity to the hyperthymic type. They do not find any great activity, no liveliness, no entrepreneurial spirit, no striving for leadership. They are malleable to discipline and a regulated regime, especially if all this is observed by others.

Conformal adolescents, except in cases of combination with debility, are relatively rarely under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Only 3% of the surveyed continent of hospitalized adolescents were evaluated as representatives of this type. Nevertheless, the explicit conformal accentuation is the extreme version of the norm. Gannushkin also noted the propensity of representatives of this type to reactive states - hypochondria after "terrible diagnosis", reactive depression in case of loss of loved ones or property, reactive paranoia in case of threat of arrest, etc. Their weak link is excessive compliance to the influence of the environment and excessive attachment to everything that is habitual. Breaking a stereotype, depriving a society of the usual for them can cause reactive conditions, and the bad influence of the environment - to push into the path of intense alcoholization or drug addiction. Long-term adverse effects may cause psychopathic development by an unstable type.

In addition to acute reactive conditions, the danger of alcoholism and drug addiction, the possibility of psychopathic development in an unstable type, it should be noted that adolescent conformance can serve as a temporary stage, as if anticipating a relatively late formation of accentuation in other types, for example, paranoid or epileptoid. The assimilation of certain norms, habits and values ​​is a necessary aspect of the socialization of the individual (the acquisition of qualities, without which his life activity in society is impossible). Psychological mechanisms of the selection and assimilation of social information by an individual depend on a whole set of factors: individual-personal (the level of intelligence, the degree of suggestibility, the stability of self-esteem and the level of self-esteem, the need for approval of others, etc.), microsocial (the position of the individual in the group, its significance for him, the degree of cohesion and structure of the group), situational (the content of the task and the interest of the individual in it, the measure of its competence, whether the decision is made public, in a narrow circle or alone and etc.), general social and general cultural (conditions existing in the society for the development of independence, responsibility of the individual, etc.).

Meanwhile, enlightened humanity has not developed a final opinion on conformism. In recent history, perhaps the first to take up arms against the obedient obedience Schopenhauer. Words conformist then it was not, it was successfully replaced by the concept of "philistine". Talking about such a social character, the German philosopher stated: "Oysters and champagne are the apogee of his being." The purpose of the life of the philistine is to obtain everything that contributes to his bodily welfare. That's why such a person feeds addiction, according to Schopenhauer, to rank, wealth, power and influence. That is why he is conscientious in everything that concerns the usual public institutions.

Neither Marx nor Engels complained to the philistines. Both sarcastically criticized those who, as they expressed themselves, were chained to their living environment and were not capable of enthusiasm for the sake of freedom. Even Goethe, who, according to the classics, was colossally great, then immeasurably shallow. Because of his talent, he could be disobedient, and Goethe behaved like a contented and narrow petty bourgeois. At the same time they received on nuts all those who experienced petty-bourgeois thrill in front of the "great ice." What this metaphor concealed in ourselves, we are well represented today.

In the Bolshevik ideology of the "philistine" replaced philistine and "philistine". People who grew bread, extracted coal, traded, raised children, multiplied their own wealth, immediately exposed, because they did not show revolutionary enthusiasm. The Bolsheviks called people on the barricades, and uncomplaining burghers stupidly clung to their own life track. They were admonished with a word and a bullet ...

Soviet historiography has done its best to glorify rebels, insurgents, rebels, thugs and subversives. In the heroes were those who knew how to shed blood, and in villains - who submitted to power, customs and life circumstances. Nevertheless, the Bolshevik ideology fell into an insoluble contradiction, when, along with fanaticism, it was necessary to spread loyalty, ideological obedience, and leaderism. The striking lines of Mikhail Isakovsky urged not to believe the evidence:

We so believed you, Comrade Stanin,

How could it be that they did not believe themselves ...

The concept of conformism in the literature has undergone a concrete rethinking. Until the 1990s. it had an unconditionally critical and even ironic insight. This mechanism Fromm compared with the protective coloration of some animals: they are so similar to their surroundings, which are virtually indistinguishable from it. Many modern analysts see it in the behavior of voters willing to vote for "unity" for Putin, foreshadowing authoritarianism.

Drawing on the psychological experiments conducted in the 1940s-1950s, by various methods, many psychoanalysts and sociologists have established themselves in the belief that conformality (compliance with external influences) is an immanent property of individual consciousness. The successes of propaganda were increasingly explained by the pliability of consciousness, and in the propaganda technique itself they saw the art of using the hidden springs of conformism.

Psychoanalysts emphasized such characteristics of a conformist-oriented person as the erasure of individuality, standardization, manipulability, conservatism. Conformism was seen as one of the mechanisms of "flight from freedom". The individual ceases to be himself. He fully assimilates the personality of the person, offered to him as a standard pattern, and becomes the same as everyone else, the way he wants to be. The distinction between one's own self and the world around him disappears, and at the same time the conscious fear of loneliness and powerlessness disappears. Having abandoned his own self and turned into a robot similar to millions of other similar robots, a person no longer feels loneliness and anxiety. However, you have to pay for this loss of your personality.

E. Fromm also analyzed pseudo-thinking, which is better known than similar phenomena in the sphere of desires and feelings. Ask the ordinary reader of the newspaper what he thinks about such and such a political problem, and he will give you out as "his own opinion" more or less accurate retelling of the read. At the same time, he believes that everything he says is the result of his own thinking. If he lives in a small community where political views are passed from father to son, he may not be aware of the extent to which his own opinion is " is determined by the authority of a strict parent, established in childhood. Another reader's opinion can be a product of minute confusion, fear of appearing ignorant - so that the "thought" it is only an appearance, and not the result of a natural combination of experience, knowledge and political convictions. The same phenomenon is also found in aesthetic judgments.

Suppression of critical thinking, as a rule, begins at an early age. For example, a five-year-old girl may notice a mother's insincerity: she always speaks of love, but is actually cold and selfish or, say, constantly emphasizes her high moral standards, but is connected with a stranger. The girl feels this rupture, insulting her feelings of truth and justice, but she depends on the mother, who will not allow any criticism and, suppose, can not rely on the weakly characterized father, so she has to suppress her critical acumen. Very soon she will cease to notice the insincerity or infidelity of the mother and will lose, according to Fromm, the ability to think critically, because it will find out that it is hopeless and dangerous. At the same time, the girl will learn a pattern of thinking that allows her to believe that her mother is a sincere and worthy person, that her parents' marriage is a happy marriage. She will take this thought as her own.

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