Society only "approves" of you if you are to be easily controlled by the masses. The minute you deviate from the predominant approved culture of a society, you are bound to be doomed before you are given a chance to explain yourself; or in some circumstances, even before you know it. To experience the wrath of society is a terrible event. In society, especially if you belong to a minority group, chances are, you would be ostracised. What bigotry.
Deviance is not accepted in any form. These people claim to be the "guardians of the fragile fabric of society". Privacy is only available when you use the washroom. in a society where privacy is non-existent, the act of breathing is seriously monitored. The only thing that connects me to this society (offline), is the fact that we breathe in the same air. To be associated in any way with such a society is a nightmarish thought.
What is society? It is a very elusive concept that everyone has trouble defining. Margaret Thatcher once famously said that there is no such thing as society; only families and people with similar interests. Society, in my opinion, refers not to a group of people, but, to the complex pattern of the norms of interaction that arises among and between them.
What is this "fabric" of society that these people are claiming to protect? in my humble opinion, there is no such thing as a "fabric" of society. A fabric, as defined as per norma in any dictionary, refers to a material, mostly in clothing. more importantly, we know that there are different types of fabric - nylon, linen, silk, cotton, polyester, leather, wool, chiffon and so on. What society deems to be the "fabric" of society is not fully and completely understood. Just as there are different types of fabric - but all making up lothes to protect oneself from nudity - there are different types/classes of people within society. Society has always been segregated. Social conflict is what defines this segregation. Upper class, middle class, working class and so on. Even people in employment are segregated: white-collar, blue -collar and such.
With so many factors to be taken into consideration, why then is there a predominant culture that is widely accepted by the masses? Fact is, there is no one predominant culture. We could go as far as to say that the culture that most accept is one of a purely political nature. Happiness for the majority, the level bar to decide on a basis of pain and pleasure is mostly absent. Just because the majority rule applies, does not mean that we "accept" these norms. To understand norms, one must view this as an external observer, objectively, and then slowly, subjectively, as an insider, who actively participates in the everyday happening of the predominant group of people. Norms are rational. We acknowledge each other in any given setting. Can norms change? Yes, they can. What was frowned upon once - for instance, hugging someone of the opposite sex - is now a norm. Yet, the predominant culture (mostly adults) does not consider it to be a norm, but something that the younger generation would commonly do as a form of informal and familiar greeting. Can it still be said hugging someone of the opposite sex is a norm? Society in itself, is a paradox. It is alive, yet dormant. It is evident, yet obscured. It is abided by, yet frowned upon. How can then it be said that defining norms can be matched against on the basis of maximum pleasure and minimal pain?
What is culture, then? Culture could generally refer to the values, technology, beliefs and laws that bind a society together. It may include examples as arts, languages and religions. Does the predominant society embrace everything that it considers to be the culture? Conventional wisdom dictates a negative. There is charm in variety. Society, as elusive as it may be, is connected through many networks. There is definitely no one culture that we can belong to. In this age and time, individuals hold many positions in life. A woman could be a mother, a wife, a sister, a niece, and even a tattoo artist. Can there be only one society that she belongs to? Well, clearly not. She could belong to the tattoo network, a proud mother club or even a feminist group.
The point is, is that the definition of a culture can be more concretised than a single definition of society. Norms change. Beliefs change as we grow. The life in a rural area, and the life in an urban area depends very much on the "culture". Therefore, although it can be said that one may be involved in various societies, the culture that defines each of these societies is easily identifiable, in contrast.
Having said the above-mentioned, let us talk about identifying this predominant society. It is not arguable that the predominant culture is one that is run by organisations wielding ultimate power, ie. the government. in a democracy, the government is answerable to the electorate. The social contract theory stipulates that individuals, who slowly shape into the predominant society, surrender some of their personal freedoms to the prevailing organisation in return for protection and benefits. Therefore, our day-to-day lives are dictated by these norms that the ruling organisation have set - consciously or unconsciously. Society here, becomes a political experiment, where the element of conditioning is evident.
As time passes, people lose the ability to question these norms. This happens when the link between a norm and its rationale is broken or not evident. People slowly become complacent and therein lies the weakness. Norms, social behaviours and such would be blindly followed. It is this blind acceptance that weakens the link between society and belief. Someone who raises a question of doubt about a particular norm would be considered a trouble-maker and consequentially, labelled as a deviant.
When one deviates, conforming to a wholly different culture, that person faces the wrath of the society that he/she has left behind. The question thus arises: Does this act of deviance mean that the existing social contract between him and the state has terminated? For the intellectual mind, rationale states a 'No'. This social contract, whether he be part of this new society, does not matter, it still exists. The full force of the law, however, would bear down upon him in the event that he breaks an acceptable norm.
To prevent such a deviance, one must be conscious as to why such norms exist in a given society. There are various acts of deviance, and this essentially says this: All criminals are deviants, but not all deviants are criminals. Therefore, there is nothing to worry about if society disintegrates. Reality would be that once beliefs, thoughts and actions start to cave in and lose meaning, there needs to be a re-shaping of the values of the existing society. This is not a cause for alarm, but a mere wake-up call. If this meltdown of beliefs, thoughts and actions signifies the disintegration of a society, there is a need for change.
Change can appear in various forms: Through the change of your thinking process, change of beliefs, change of ideologies and change of mindsets, can we grow and enjoy the glorious days of this society. Do not fear nor succumb to persons who attempt to "control" you just because you are different. Stand up tall and be firm that no one can dictate how you live your life. If we were to exercise rationality, the change that is inevitable would be slow and gradual, thus pleasurable and comfortable.
Remember that society, whichever you may belong to, is elusive. What was once thought as the predominant society is slowly crumbling down on its foundations. This is a cry for change; not a change of the physical, but a change of our inner beings: your beliefs, thoughts and actions. With the end of the Mayan calendar, we have all been propelled into a different dimension of existence. One where wars of the minds will take place, causing a shift in your mind.
As Churchill said: "The empires of the future, are the empires of the mind".