Identity

 Trigger warning: discussion of closets, rape culture

Creatively Maladjusted

Identity is a tricky thing. Human societies depend on a balance of conformity and individuality in order to function, and different cultures and subcultures balance the two differently. Too much individuality begets anarchy; the libertarian movement is a good example of individuality taken too far. On the other hand, too much conformity leads to stagnation and decline as creativity is quashed and society marches in lockstep towards fascism and eventual destruction.

Society therefore must play a role in encouraging some types of personal expression while discouraging others. The key, in my mind, is to determine whether or not a given behavior is harmful to others when divorced from cultural expectations of behavior. Behavior should not be banned merely because it makes others uncomfortable: such laws should be reserved for behaviors which do demonstrable harm. Indeed, to do otherwise is to harm those whose activities are quashed in the interests of preserving the comfort of the majority.

The harm inherent in quashing individual expression (again, assuming such expression doesn’t harm others) is obvious: closeted people committing suicide, societal acceptance of assault (sexual and otherwise) of non-conforming individuals, a pervasive culture of intolerance. People should feel safe and supported in exploring their identities. A great many people are deeply unhappy because they have not been able to do this openly, or in many cases at all.

If society disapproves of something, it isn’t going to go away – it will just go underground, leaving people with limited support in their endeavors. Even if you don’t agree with a particular behavior, unless it is demonstrably harmful to others you should support a person’s right to engage in said behavior. Closets kill. Don’t make people hide their innermost selves – doing so deprives the world of their creativity and passion.

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2 Comments

  1. Claire said,

    June 6, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    This reads a bit like a college essay. Also, hi!

    Like

    • Tyro said,

      June 7, 2014 at 12:53 am

      I guess I’ll do well when I go back to college, then. Format aside, how does it strike you?

      Like


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