Social Norms

There is no flaw it the warrior’s way. Follow it and your acts cannot be criticized by anyone. Question without fear, without suspicion and without draining yourself. ~ Don Juan, Tales of Power

Yesterday’s post got me thinking more deeply about acceptable social norms. A previous post about controlled folly just barely touched on the tip of this iceberg. Back then I stated that my authentic warrior self does not care to participate in acts of controlled folly anymore to merely satiate someone’s need to be fulfilled…

The following definition came from a website called changingminds.org who claims to be the largest site in the world on all aspects of how we change what others think, believe, feel and do.

Social Norms: The rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to stick to the rules can result in severe punishments, the most feared of which is exclusion from the group. A common rule is that the some norms must frequently be displayed; neutrality is seldom an option. Norms are often transmitted by non-verbal behavior, for example with ‘dirty looks’ when people act outside the norms. They may also be transmitted through stories, rituals and role-model behavior. Other norms include:

  • behaviors which are perceived as being approved of by other people.
  • perceptions of how other people are actually behaving, whether or not these are approved of.
  • Explicit Norms are written or spoken openly.
  • Implicit Norms are not openly stated (but you find out when you transgress them).
  • expectations that valued others have about how we will behave.
  • standards we have about our own actions.

An impeccable warrior does not abide by most social norms. To do so would be to compromise their integrity. Just look at how incredibly outrageous the sorcerer’s party was! This is where controlled folly comes in. It’s basically playing the game, giving people what they want to hear but without any energetic attachment to the act. Just going through the motions in order to fulfill their expectations.

Social norms are part of the foreign installation and only serve to divide. They encourage false behaviors and mask a person’s authenticity. A warrior can see through the façade though and as a result has nothing to do but laugh and laugh at the ridiculous behavior they witness. Most of my life is lived authentically, no pretenses, and in conversation I am very direct which makes most people uncomfortable. Why waste time making small talk with lots of insincere comments when you can be efficient and to the point? At work recently I flossed a tooth. Not my whole mouth, just a tooth. A colleague walked in and was utterly appalled that I would choose to undertake something such as flossing a tooth while sitting at my desk. She went into a rant about it shrieking things like, “you’re flossing at your desk? Why don’t you go to the restroom, what if someone walked in?” Talk about being completely enmeshed by social norms.

How many “social norms” do you buy in to? How many of them are the result of being so ingrained in your head from early conditioning and how many are the result of your need to fit in? Recapitulate them…all of them. It will make people around you very uncomfortable to see you act in a manner that does not appeal to their behavioral expectations. It will, essentially, stop their world, and bring about all sorts of judgment on their part. GOOD! While breaking down your own foreign installation you will be assisting them in weakening theirs. It’s a mutually beneficial action.

You will become more efficient, authentic and free. You will become an impeccable warrior because you will no longer try to mask yourself and hide in an attempt to please the people around you and further strengthen the predator. You will gain personal power and find clarity.

When people ask me for my advice I first offer this warning: Please don’t ask me anything unless you really want to know what I think because I refuse to blow sunshine up your ass.

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