“If you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior. It is far safer to blend in and nurture the common touch. Share your originality only with tolerant friends and those who are sure to appreciate your uniqueness.”
We live in a time where anybody and everybody with an internet connection can have blast their voice to large audiences in a moments notice. Before the 21st century, if you believed in something that went against societal norms it was difficult to find a group of people who had similar viewpoints — so you were isolated as a result.
Flaunting and showing off alien ways of thinking can potentially result in those around you conspiring to see your downfall, especially if they disagree with what your expressing.
1. We all tell lies and hide our true feelings, for complete free expression is a social impossibility.
2. From an early age we learn to conceal our thoughts, telling the prickly and insecure what we know they want to hear, watching carefully lest we offend them.
3. There are ideas and values that most people accept, and it is pointless to argue.
4. We believe what we want to, but on the outside we wear a mask.
5. There are people, however, who see such restraints as an intolerable infringement on their freedom.
6. They have a need to prove the superiority of their values and beliefs.
7. In the end, their arguments convince only a few and offend a great deal more.
8. The reason arguments do not work is that most people hold their ideas and values without thinking about them.
9. There is a strong emotional content in their beliefs:
10. They really do not want to have to rework their habits of thinking, and when you challenge them, whether directly through your arguments or indirectly through your behavior, they are hostile.
The Real Power
1. Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behavior and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them.
2. The power these people gain from blending in is that of being left alone to have the thoughts they want to have.
3. They express their ideas to the people they want to express them to, without suffering isolation or ostracism.
4. Once they have established themselves in a position of power, they can try to convince a wider circle of the correctness of their ideas— perhaps working indirectly.
1. Use your invaluable ability to be all things to all people.
2. When you go into society, leave behind your own ideas and values, and put on the mask that is most appropriate for the group in which you find yourself.
3. People will swallow the bait because it flatters them to believe that you share their ideas.
4. They will not take you as a hypocrite if you are careful—for how can they accuse you of hypocrisy if you do not let them know exactly what you stand for?
5. They will not see you as lacking in values. Of course you have values—the values you share with them, while in their company.