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quotations about conformity

Sanity is not truth. Sanity is conformity to what is socially expected. Truth is sometimes in conformity, sometimes not.


I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and consistency. Let the words be gazetted and ridiculous henceforward.


The opposite of bravery is not cowardice but conformity.

ROBERT ANTHONY, The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

MARK TWAIN, quoted in Greg Tanghe's Pearls

The conformist is filled with the need for approval. He can never get enough. He runs from one person to another seeking compliments and endorsements for his behavior and actions. As a child, he turned to parents and teachers; when he started to work, to his boss and fellow workers; in marriage, he turned to his mate. He must always have someone around to pat him on the head and tell him he is doing a good job. This bolsters up his poor self-esteem.

ROBERT ANTHONY, The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence

Most people can't understand how others can blow their noses differently than they do.

IVAN TURGENEV, quoted in 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road.

VOLTAIRE, quoted in William R. Shad's The Whole Truth

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.


Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else?

JAMES THURBER, attributed, Oxymoronica

Everything in life that deviates from the straight and, so to speak, normal line, makes people first curious and then indignant.

STEFAN ZWEIG, Beware of Pity

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.

MIGNON MCLAUGHLIN, The Neurotic's Notebook

You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.

DOUG FLOYD, attributed, 1,600 Quotes & Pieces of Wisdom That Just Might Help You Out...

Once conform, once do what other people do because they do it, and a lethargy steals over all the finer nerves and faculties of the soul. She becomes all outer show and inward emptiness; dull, callous, and indifferent.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, The Common Reader

I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.


Conformity is the ape of harmony.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, journals, 1840

Alas, everything that men say to one another is alike; the ideas they exchange are almost always the same, in their conversation. But inside all those isolated machines, what hidden recesses, what secret compartments! It is an entire world that each one carries within him, an unknown world that is born and dies in silence! What solitudes all these human bodies are!


Few, if any, survive their teens. Most surrender to the vague but murderous pressure of adult conformity.

MAYA ANGELOU, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.

ERIC HOFFER, Reflections on the Human Condition

Let's all be different same as me.

JOHN BRUNNER, The Shockwave Rider

One of the useful things about age is realizing conventional wisdom is often simply inertia with a candy coating of conformity.

ANNA QUINDLEN, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

Rebel children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory.


When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. Originality is deliberate and forced, and partakes of the nature of a protest. A society which gives unlimited freedom to the individual, more often than not attains a disconcerting sameness.

ERIC HOFFER, Between the Devil and the Dragon

The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

JOHN STUART MILL, On Liberty and Other Essays

Perhaps, if one wishes to remain an individual in the midst of the teeming multitudes, one must make oneself grotesque.

SALMAN RUSHDIE, Midnight's Children

Born originals, how comes it to pass that we die copies? That meddling ape imitation, as soon as we come to years of indiscretion, (so let me speak,) snatches the pen, and blots out nature's mark of separation, cancels her kind intention, destroys all mental individuality. The lettered world no longer consists of singulars: it is a medley, a mass; and a hundred books, at bottom, are but one.

EDWARD YOUNG, Imperium Pelagi

It takes far more courage to violate a custom than a law.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

In order to be able to be an irreproachable member of the herd, one must, above all, be a sheep.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, "Aphorisms for Leo Baeck"

The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity.


The power of the culture industry's ideology is such that conformity has replaced consciousness.

THEODOR ADORNO, "The Culture Industry Reconsidered"

One of the saddest things about conformity is the ghastly sort of non-conformity it breeds: the noisy protesting, the aggressive rebelliousness, the rigid counterfetishism.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

JIDDU KRISHNAMURTI, attributed, A View from the Cosmic Mirror

We are so placid that the smallest tremor of objection to anything at all is taken as a full-scale revolution. Should any soul speak up in favor of the obvious, it is taken as a symptom of the influence of the left, the right, the pink, the black, the dangerous.



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