Herd mentality. Conforming. I just read two nodes about ideas fellow noders had about it. Especially in the area of the clothes we buy. Both nodes pretty much supported the idea that buying name brand clothing and the support of big-time fashion was a kind of social deficiency in whomever had that kind of thinking for what they wear. Never conform. It is bad. I suspect that when someone says something like," I don't buy so and so because I don't want my character to be judged by my looks," he/she is alluding to a general attitude that in the long run, they'd enjoy being measured as a person by their thoughts, opinions, and the subtle interactions they have with the rest of society. Clothing is seen by them as rather flimsy criteria to judge anyone's real human worth by. And you know what?

They're right. Clothing does not make you who you are. But that's not my point in writing this. I'm absolutely certain most noders (not all, though) have a very wonderful grasp of the more obvious facets of life, like the minor role clothing takes when judging the whole human. My point is that when you make a comment about the evils of supporting one corporate industry, be very wary of the various herd mentalities you may already be a part of. It may also be the case of a free thinker agreeing with the herd-mentality, too. I'll explain that later. I tend to think that I subconsciously conform to different ideas about, I dun no, a HUNDRED times a day or so. Now it isn't anything too extreme, like in one minute being God's mightiest Catholic warrior and then two hours later going on to win the atheist of the year award. But when I'm able to step back from my life, and nitpick myself and my actions, I do see certain things I do as rather conformist in practice. A good amount of people involved with computers in a big way don't really care about their clothes. I've noticed that. In fact, I'm the poster boy for these people. A long time ago I realized that the best fashion sense I could muster up went like this:

Slightly snug fitting black shirts go with army-green cargo pants.

Viola, my radically chic sense of color and pizzazz was born.

But I'd feel silly to think or have others think that I'm suddenly some kind of example of a non-conformist. Because I think that's what happens a lot when strong opponents of one conformist attitude preach. And people should be cautious. I conform to many schools of thought and opinions daily. Usually it's because I've heard and agreed with the past ideas of the person and respect whatever he'd probably say in the future. I may not have the time or whim to go into an in-depth analysis of the content at hand, so I'm conforming. One example is slashdot and me. I've been a slashdot fan for a long time, and almost always agree with certain ideas the editors have on issues dealing with the Internet and privacy. I EASILY go along with stuff they say sometimes JUST because they said it. Not always, but it happens. Sometimes I don't know exactly why they think a certain way (usually technical heady stuff way over my web-designing head). I trust that their views are based upon the same sense of character those editors used to arrive on other judgments I HAD researched in the past and come to a similar opinion with. Geek herd mentality at its finest, folks. Call it laziness to do my own home-work or a faithful trust in people I've come to accept as 'good' and 'smart', whatever. Some people in my life and on the Internet say shit that I blindly agree with. Shoot me.

I have one friend who likes clothes. She's a fashion nut who enjoys the finer tailored things a designer can offer a girl. She even sews and wears her own designs. She isn't a Tommy Hilfiger or Fubu poster girl, but designer garments ARE part of her wardrobe. At the same time, I know no other girl who has purchased more clothing from Target and K-mart in my life. What the hell is THAT all about? Easy. My friend falls into the group of people who enjoy nice clothes. Only with her, she has a real personal opinion about fashion. She buys for the cut of the fabric and quality of the cloth. A good quality $7.99 shirt in the sales bin of Wal-Mart is just as meaningful to her as the $89.00 dollar faux-snakeskin pants from Betsy Johnson. Would you still have a criticism on her wearing name-brand apparel?

I'd like people to have a more thoughtful idea of conforming and herd mentality. Just be wary of where you're coming from. To thine own self be true, right? Do you really have a legitimate reason to hate Microsoft? Do you really like that new Eminem album or is it because your friends like it too? As a general opinion, I think it's ok to follow the pack every once in a while. Noone will die from it (Please don't call me on the Nazi party, ok? I know this isn't a statement on every conformist situation in history). I mean, how can you always do everything in your life differently than the majority? I think a lot of us do it already in very non-lethal, non-political ways. It may not be the BEST way to go about shit, but the beauty of humanity is our ability to learn from our mistakes. A lot of us conform to ideas that don't really hurt anyone and generally agree with a reasonable lifestyle. Use common sense. Don't conform to racist, murderous, or homophobic attitudes and every so often do your own investigation into the beliefs of the pack you're running with. If it turns out that you still arrive on the same opinion, fine. If not, kick yourself in the ass(it is possible, you just got to really swing that knee hard) and stop thinking that way. Life goes on, young jedi. Often times too, you'll find a stray in the pack, following the rest, but with their own opinion about it. A free thinker surrounded by the herd, you know? Or sometimes people may conform to something like how I sometimes BLINDLY follow slashdot editorials. And that's that.

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