After reading a couple of blog posts of my colleagues on the topic of norms (These Unwritten Rules Called Norms & Norms…it can be a scary thing). I started to wonder if norms are necessary for society to function harmoniously. There has been some discussion concerning the notion of not conforming and not following the norm, but I think this just causes problems for the most part. But what happens if we don’t agree with the norms put in place? Should we still follow them?
Being a polite and respectful member of society is important in my opinion. We should be open to following norms in public such as waiting in line, walking in an organized manner in high traffic areas, holding doors open for each other, and keeping our outbursts to a minimum. However, like Brandie mentioned in her post, what if the opposite becomes the norm … should we still follow it? I think for the most part, the norms in our society are put in place to keep everyone happy and to encourage people to behave “properly” in public. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t like when people don’t follow the norms when it affects me (well maybe I only care about the “common courtesy” norms…). I feel as though they think they are above being polite and waiting their turn.
I used the example of going to the movies in my comment on Vanessa’s blog. It just blows me away what some people do – especially when it’s busy. People push, are upset about waiting in line, talk through the whole movie, make loud annoying predictions about when Eric Bana will show up next in The Time Travelers Wife, and so on. I would be embarrassed if I did things like this in public. However, there are no repercussions for people who don’t follow these simple norms, other than my built up anger of course, so why not do whatever you want?
I realize that conforming and following norms when you don’t agree with them is not a good thing, I just feel that perhaps society needs some norms in order to function cordially.
Even though I clearly had a bad experience with people not following the norms… go see A Christmas Carol 3D, it was awesome.