Roy Masters — The Psychology of Rebellion and Conformity, Part 2
We tend to think of “conformity” and “rebellion” as opposite forms of behavior. Yet rebellion and conformity, in their usual form, are actually two sides of the same syndrome. Both are responses to pressure which keep the victim reacting to, and therefore “conforming” to, the pressure source. There is a third way of dealing with pressure that involves neither rebellion nor conformity, which allows a person to fully develop his innate potential, without outside interference.
In a sense, it can be said that rebels, criminals, and the insane are specially bred to provide a horror show that distracts the rest of guilty society from the real horrors of its own condition. There is relief and reassurance in the spectacle of others who are worse off than ourselves. We are fortunate and good by comparison, and as we make them worse still by our cruel and hypocritical “help” and punishment, we use them to reinforce our own rebellious, false sense of worth.
There is no human dilemma that does not involve pride and is not complicated by rage. The greater our frustration and resentment, the more far-out, distorted and extreme will our fantasies, aberrations, and madnesses become. Rebellion is pure hell. Tabloid headlines are replete with such horror stories as: ‘Teen Goes On Rampage After Mother Asks Him To Make His Bed.”
Often we hear of a quiet person, a good student admired by his peers, suddenly going on a murderous rampage. Why is this? The answer is that when a compulsion to please (initially perhaps a right rebellion, gone sour) becomes too painful to bear, it may revert to what it really was all along. And when the compulsion to rebel breeds intolerable feelings of hate and guilt, it may change into a compulsion to conform. You may fluctuate between extremes, going the way you are led for some advantage of the moment, see-sawing between rebellion and conformity. When the cost of rebelling is too high, you can crawl back into favor, hat in hand, by conforming again to the system. Hurt again by rejection or use, you rebel again.
In this world, things are rarely what they seem. More often than not, the person you perceive to be a victim is merely someone getting what he deserves. The poor, innocent, battered wife may well be the real villain—and the one gone berserk, the victim. The hypocritical media almost never report the real story behind the headline. Probably the real story behind ‘Teen Goes On Rampage … ” had to do with the way the mother “asked” her son to make his bed. It was probably the sneering contempt, the tone of voice, the insincerity that drove the son over the edge. This is not to suggest that the violent are always innocent, but to illustrate that Frankenstein monsters tend to recreate one another endlessly. Of course, there are psychopaths who delight in what the world has made of them, and delight in making new victims.
But we don’t have to be victims. We may learn to overcome resentment and judgment. For a season, some of us are destined to experience total madness—to rebel, to hurt loved ones, to be acted through, to become like the parents we hated and to experience their hell, in our turn being the instrument of harm to our own children. It may be that we could learn in no other way to arrive at compassion for our parents, our children, and ourselves. It may be that we must squander years and inflict much injury, wandering aimlessly through life as a religious hypocrite, as an overprotective mother, a drunken woman chasing a business ex-ecutive, a punk, a gang member, a dope addict, a thief, even a murderer. Some of us are so incredibly stubborn that we have to eat dirt to appreciate steak. Sinking as low as we can go is what it takes to wake us up.
Patricia Hearst‘s tormentors once left her alone with a car, but she didn’t try to escape. On a TV interview she was asked about this and she replied: “I didn’t want to believe that anyone could make me do anything.” In other words, when her brainwashers left her alone and her chance came, all their implanted suggestions which she had tried so hard to resist had to become her own loyalties. Her ego could not admit she had been subject to others. She had to demonstrate her “freedom” by choosing to stay when she could escape, or else admit to having been under the SLA’s control. The same sort of self-deception is practiced by smokers, alcoholics, and drug addicts: “I could stop if I wanted to. It’s my choice.” The prideful, enslaved ego insists it is free. Once corrupted, it must go on working in favor of the enemy. Over a period of time, Truth becomes the more feared enemy; pride and guilt require us to rebel against conscience rather than against the enslaver, to go on doing evil as if it were our choice. The point is that the fallen soul cannot creatively rebel. Its only hope is to repent of the sin of pride.
Always, tyrants have resorted to terrible cruelty to keep the masses meek and submissive. Do you see why? The more violent the trespass and the more resistant the pride, the more surely will the outcome be surrender and submission.
Realizing how confused and out of control………………….
- We Are Jack’s Reflection in the Mirror (bookbloggeur.wordpress.com)
- Kenyans were tortured during Mau Mau rebellion, High Court hears (telegraph.co.uk)
- Scholars Misbehaving: A Mormon Flavor (Part I). (servileconformist.typepad.com)
- Dissent Without Permission: Will Protest Permits & Free Speech Zones Halt Or Hasten Rebellion? (corporategreedchronicles.com)
- Choose your side of the Rebellion with these retro Star Wars propaganda posters [Star Wars] (io9.com)
- Rebels Without A Spine (accordingtohoyt.com)
- Rebellion roils Mount Pleasant school board (columbian.com)
- The Definition(s) of Justice (thereisnojustice.wordpress.com)
- Rage Against The American Dream (businessinsider.com)
- You Were the Chosen One! (memebase.com)